It’s funny to me how a small moment in your life can change it so completely.
The interesting part is that I cant even remember the day or month that it happened. But it happened and today I am a different person because of it.
It was a Sunday morning and I was sitting in Sunday School. Nate (my husband) was teaching the teenagers (he’s the youth pastor at our church) and I was beginning to zone out. Sometimes it’s really easy as a youth pastor’s wife to think that the message doesn’t apply to you because it’s geared towards the teenagers. Not true.(and by the way I know that’s horrible)
This particular morning Nate was talking about children with disabilities. This of course caught my attention a little bit.
I heard him read an incredibly familiar verse.
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it well.
Sometimes I think the problem with these verses is that they are so familiar that they can go in one ear and out the other. You can forget to sit there and really soak up the meaning.
Okay, lets step back about three years.
When I first found out about Toby’s diagnosis I did not struggle as much with the usual, “Why God?” I struggled with guilt. I hate to even use the word guilt because it doesnt seem to really capture what I was feeling. When you think of the word guilt it’s easy to picture a child doing something wrong and getting in trouble, and in turn feeling guilty about what they had done. This was so much more than that. I felt completely and utterly devastated by my guilt. Toby’s diagnosis of Spina Bifida was my fault or so I thought. I was the only one responsible for taking care of him and carrying him for 9 months. I had failed. I never got truly angry with God I was too angry with myself. I struggled with guilt about every aspect of his disability. It was a sickness in my stomach that I could try and push away but would in the end overwhelm me. There was so much guilt that I couldnt even talk to anyone about it. It felt almost like a guilt I was trying so hard to hide, but in my hiding it I was actually sealing my guilt that much more.
For about three years I walked around with this guilt. It was always with me no matter where I was in my life. I’m not trying to be overdramatic, but I do want to get across how completely overwhelming it felt.
So jump ahead to the Sunday sitting in Sunday School class. Nate was discussing this verse with the teenagers. I had only read this verse in the King James Version and he was talking about the actual meaning of the words. He really focused in on the word, “knitted.” This word really stuck out to me. Before Nate and I even got married Larie’s now mother-in-law, Robin Buck was trying to teach me how to knit. I’m kind of a hard student to have so any time someone takes the time to teach me something I really appreciate it. I really enjoyed those lessons with her and while I was sitting there in Sunday School class I was picturing myself struggling with every little knit that I was trying to do. It took me FOREVER to get something big enough to be considered even a dish cloth. (kind of wishing I had kept it up) The reason that’s important now is it started changing the way I viewed Toby. I am completely one of those people who learns through pictures or examples. Well, I’m picturing God knitting my son together for the first time. I’ve always pictured Toby’s back as a horrible mistake, a defect as they call it in the medical community. Something that God wasnt responsible for, but something I was solely responsible for. That day in a teenagers’ Sunday School class an incredible truth came into my heart. (It’s incredible how God works) I looked at Toby as being knitted together completely the way God wanted him to be. Not a mistake that I had done to him. God knew every single part of Toby. What an incredible burden that was lifted off my heart that day. I don’t understand why it took so long for me to come to understand that or why it was that particular Sunday School class that got my attention, but it did.
I want to put a little segment of Nate’s book here because this was the other part in the Sunday School class that he went over that completely blew my mind.
“Did you realize that you are the work of the only true God? The One God who formed and created all heaven and earth and the same God who only has power to rule all creation is the same God who took the time and care to mold you as a potter molds the clay! This fact should make you jump out of your seat and praise God for your creation. You are the possession of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Perhaps some perspective will help you wrap your brain around your personal value. The price of a well-made quality guitar can range anywhere from $250.00 to $1,000.00. Now you take that same guitar and have a big name country music star sign the guitar all of a sudden, the value of that guitar skyrockets. The personal signature of an important person adds to the value of the object. You have the signature of God in your life. If the signature of a country music star can add to the value of a guitar, how much more would you say the signature of God adds to your value? You are priceless because God created your personally and left His fingerprint of expression.”
If you know anything about Spina Bifida you know that Spina Bifida Mylomengicele is basically like a hole in the back where it didnt close at all. The damage done in the womb is there forever. Toby’s spot on his back was not bubbled out at all but flat. He ended up having three different back surgeries to get it completely closed. The last one they had to really stretch the skin and he ended up with the shape of an oval towards the middle. I know it might seem a little cheesy but as I’ve said before I learn things by pictures. I look at that oval and really picture in my mind God putting His finger on Toby’s back knowing exactly how He is knitting Toby together. Not only knowing, but making Toby even more important because Toby got the permanent signature of God on his life. Toby has God’s fingerprint on his back.
That day God helped me to look at my son and myself in a different way. That day God wiped away my guilt and gave a peace that I am still holding on to.
My hope in sharing this is that the guilt I faced will not be faced by other moms and if it is will not be carried as long as mine was. Sometimes when you learn these big life lessons you just want to shout it from the roof tops. You want to shield any other person from the hurts if possible. And so I hope that you will truly consider what I am saying, truly consider your child being knit together by the hands of God. Not a mistake, not a defect, but wonderfully knit together. Pretty amazing!!