Smith Silliness

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Shawn

on July 1, 2015

I just finished an email about this adorable kid:

2&Carbone 2014-079

He’s going to VBS in late July and I wanted to let his teachers know a little bit about him before he goes.  Because he’s speech delayed, and has some sensory processing issues.  And if you don’t know that ahead of time it can seem like he’s just a naughty kid.  He has a hard time sitting still and listening.  And he can get frustrated when people can’t understand his words, so he uses his behavior to get your attention.  And if you’re focused on his behavior you miss who he really is.  A sweet, considerate, loving little boy who goes out of his way to help others.

But because of these delays I have to write emails like the one I just wrote, before I can take him places that I would ordinarily just drop him off at – like VBS.  This past week I dropped my oldest kiddos off at VBS without any concern about how they’d do, but I kept Shawn home because I wasn’t organized and didn’t get a hold of the director early enough to come up with a plan to figure out how Shawn could be successful there.  So I wrote the email now so he can go to VBS July 20th.  I didn’t say anything about James and Katie in that email, because they can just go, but he can’t.  And it kills me to figure out how to communicate the good with the hard.  I don’t want him labeled, but I don’t want him constantly in trouble because no one knows.  So I’m working to find the balance.  To figure out to make him successful, even if laying the groundwork makes me cry.  When my heart’s desire is for him to be included and accepted, but I know he won’t always be.

I struggle with just wanting him to be “normal”.  To wear his shoes when he goes to Children’s Church, to not refuse to get dressed every.single.day, to say “hello” to new friends, to look in my eyes when I talk to him.  And I wish that people understood that I am constantly picking my battles.  That some days convincing him to wear underwear and sit on the potty is more important than getting him out of his pjs.  That I can’t ask him to just sit still, because he needs to move so he can figure out where his body is in space.  That there’s no point in making him wear shoes if it means he can’t listen.

Sometimes I look at the challenges that he faces on a daily basis and I wonder why God made him this way.  But on those days I cling to these verses:

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.                                                                                                                                – Psalm 139:13-14

We live in a broken world, so we all face hard things and we always will.  But God is bigger than the brokenness and there is redemption in the pain.  He made Shawn, and He gave Shawn to us, and God doesn’t make mistakes.  So it’s our job to guide him and protect him.  To teach him how to use his strengths to overcome his weaknesses.  We are his safe landing place, where the love is unconditional and the journey is traveled together.  There will be hard days and tears  and an aching desire for things to be easier, but there will be a closeness with God that may not have been possible before the need was so desperate.  And I don’t want to miss it.  The lesson in the journey.  The blessing in the storm.

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