Without faith, what is there?

It’s Sunday morning, again.  About a month ago I decided that no matter what happens I am going to take my children to church.  Rant and rave, cry and stall as they might want to we will be going to church.  Why, you might ask, would I take them to church if they don’t want to go?  I will explain that in a minute – but first let me tell you what happened on this particular morning.

Hebrews 10:25  “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another.”

After fighting with Rosalie in the lobby to take her anti-seizure medication (she refused to take it at home) I escorted her to her Sunday School class.  Since she was in such an ornery mood I decided to stay and supervise her.  The class was small, only 3 other 6 to 8 year olds were there.  Rosalie and I sat down and I listened as the teacher told the class about the Isrealites and how God showed his provision for them in the wilderness by providing water for them.

Something happens when I am around this particular group of children, well, one of them in particular.  This one child was born when Rosalie was admitted to the hospital as an infant.  He is only 5 weeks younger than Rosalie and they have grown up together in the church.  When I am with Rosalie and this wonderful child I sometimes get hit full force in the gut with how different she is.

I remember the day when they were both 3 – he was talking in full sentences about very meaningful stuff, and she was still only saying 5 partially intelligible words.  And that Thanksgiving day when he was chatting with his buddies as she was off in the distance throwing rocks up in the air and watching them fall to the ground, over and over.  And when he was playing hide and seek with the other children and she was in her own little six year old world perfectly happy to roll crayons back and forth on the floor for an hour.

Anyway, on this very typical Sunday morning he was answering a question the teacher asked.  He was telling the class how his dad had told him all about what an oasis was.  It just made me want to cry.  Honestly.  I wanted to cry.  At the gulf between a typical 8 year old and Rosalie.  At how articulate and astute the typical 8 year old is and how much he fully grasps of the teachings he’s heard.  At the thought of how much he understands and can communicate about the Lord and his saving grace.  And at how little Rosalie can communicate about her faith (or lack thereof – or if she even knows what faith is?!).

Meanwhile, today Rosalie was in her own little world writing her name over and over on her paper.  She spent the entire time scribbling on the paper, not seeming to understand or care about one single word of what was being taught.  Rarely looking at the teacher or the other children.  The one time she was aware of what was going on was when I leaned over to her and said “Rosalie, you are supposed to draw a picture of one thing that God gives you”.

Rosalie petting the hedgehog

I am usually pretty content with what the Lord has decided to bless me with.  I see Rosalie and her siblings and it is ‘normal’ around here that she acts a bit different.  It is actually normal that the other children have to make allowances for her unusual behaviors.  It’s somewhat normal that they have to take the older sibling role of forgiving a younger sibling – even though they are younger than she is!  That doesn’t ever make me sad because I’m so used to it and because her siblings love her, quirks and all.

What I don’t see every day is someone the exact same age who is typically developing working along side Rosalie.

Despair had been brought on by this random act of an 8 year old answering a question from his teacher.  As I briefly allowed myself to grieve, I realized that I grieved for her, not so much for me and my dreams and aspirations of what I wanted her to be.  I grieved because she is so obviously different and one day she will know just how different she is (one day she might even care)!  I grieved because maybe she doesn’t understand all that the Lord has to offer to her.  And maybe she never will.

But after letting that grief go, I thanked God.  I praised HIM for making Rosalie so loved – by most of whom meet her and most especially, loved by HIM.  I praised God that this seemingly typical little boy was able to share joy with her on the playground.  Thankful that she was able to teach him to be kind to others just by her special-ness.  I praised God that although she is different, she is not less.  I praised him that Rosalie is happy in her uniqueness – she doesn’t care (or seem to notice) that she is different.  I thanked God that even though Rosalie may not tell me what is going on in her head – God knows her thoughts and feelings and can talk to her in her own language.

Mark 10:13-14 People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them.  When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

Now I will tell you why I drag my kids to church on Sunday morning.  First, the Bible says we should get together with other Christians.  Second, I want my children to see me praising God.  And third, I can not fathom having special children in our family and not having the faith that God made these children special on purpose!  This was no accident – it was not some great cosmic misfortune.  It is not the poor consequences of evolution.  It is a sovereign God who, knowing exactly what He is doing, allowed special children to be born this way.

Jeremiah 1:5 Before I [God] formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart”  Psalm 139:13For you [God] created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”

I would be lost without my faith.  The Lord is the only thing that makes sense.  I could wallow in self-pity or despair at what Rosalie could have been, or I can praise God for making her exactly how he wanted to make her.

I choose to praise God.

If you do not believe in the Lord, or if you can’t imagine thanking Him for how special he made YOUR unique child, try this:  simply ask him – cry out to him, talk to him, or even holler at him if you need to – and ask Him if it is true.  That he made your child exactly as he/she is for a purpose that only He knows.  Ask Him if it’s true that he cares for your child as much as you do.  Ask him if it’s true that HE EXISTS.  He will answer you.

Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Do you remember when I said that I told Rosalie she was supposed to draw something that God gives her?  She drew a snowman lovely puppy dog, and showed it to everyone and told them it was her Goldie Dog!  She has been very excited about getting a seizure dog.  I don’t know if she realizes that without the Lord’s help, there is no way we could have raised over $5,000 in six weeks in order to get this seizure dog but she certainly is excited about it.


2 thoughts on “Without faith, what is there?

  1. That was beautiful, Cathleen. Thank you so much for being the talented writter you are. You wrote what i feel yet can’t put into words about going to church and why and about how some times it’s not easy to see the differences in our childrent to their peers. I also think that your other children, because of the gift of Rosalie – are going to grow up with more compassion, more sensitive to others, more empathy for others, and possibly do great things like become a speech pathologist or a special ed teacher. your other children will someday honor Rosalie and YOU – God has a plan 🙂 and we both know he doesn’t make mistakes. Hugs and love and thank you for writting so beautifully! Christy mom to Amy

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