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Blessed, More Not Less

February 8, 2012

I love theologically complicated Bible verses. But sometimes the way we interpret the verses  most likely to end up on a greeting card, like “Children are a gift from the Lord” and “Every good and perfect gift comes from above,” makes me choke.

These are greeting card verses precisely because they seem accessible. They come clothed in every-day language and play into feelings that are universal in our culture: a gift is a good thing; receiving a gift feels good; children, raised correctly, are a pleasure to their parents and bless the world.

Those sentiments, generally speaking, work when parents are given neuro-typical children. They also work pretty well with neurologically atypical kids who have been given easy, happy dispositions despite their other challenges, like my daughter Joy.

But what of the kids we’re given who don’t fit the greeting-card Bible verses?

(I’m not taking issue with the Bible, but rather the way the Bible is often interpreted.)

What about those kids whose life experiences and neurological difference make them behaviorally unpleasant? Whose basic dispositions are fearful, overwhelmed, angry? Whose behaviors are loud, socially inappropriate, scary?

Are not these children created by God? Does He not call us to advocate that they not be aborted? To give birth to them? To adopt them? To welcome them as sons, daughters, church members, friends? Does He not say, “Children are a gift from the Lord,” without qualification as to whether or not they are easy to live with?

The greeting cards remain mute.

How do we celebrate unusually challenged (and challenging) children? What do those of us who parent them say?

I am only one mom. And my answer may stump people who’ve spent a lifetime hearing that the “blessed”s in the Sermon on the Mount are the equivalent of “happy”ness.

But it helps my heart on days where I’m not feeling gifted with a good and perfect gift to remember,”I am not feeling happy right now. But I am blessed.”

Jesus did not say,”Blessed are you when your children behave admirably and reflect well on you in public.”

He did not say, “Blessed are those whose children  respect  and obey them.”

Jesus did not say, “Blessed are you when your children snuggle  instead of beating on you.”


Jesus said blessed are:

  • the poor in spirit;
  • those who mourn;
  • the meek;
  • those who hunger and thirst for righteousness;
  • the merciful;
  • the pure in heart;
  • the peacemakers;
  • those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake;
  • you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you. (Matthew 5:3-11)

Then Jesus summarized, “Rejoice and be glad for your reward is great in heaven.” (Matthew 5:12)

Hear that hope? These gifts we’ve been given may contain little that feels rewarding today. But if we are trusting God’s wisdom and relying on his strength, we are blessed. More, not less, than if our children were more pleasantly disposed.

My children, every single one of them, is a good and perfect gift from God. I am blessed.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. mabiclark permalink
    February 8, 2012 9:27 am


  2. Aimee permalink
    February 8, 2012 11:24 am

    So good, thank you. I shared on FB; I know others will be blessed by your words too.

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