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Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Touching Reflection by Kelly Langston

After a sudden rush of writing, I've decided to take a break and dedicate some time to feeding my soul. I have several devotionals sent to my email box each day. When I read a really good one that I like and want to share, I save it with hopes of sharing it here. Well, I've accumulated a few and it's time to start sharing.

This is a touching reflection by Kelly Langston, author of the book Autism's Hidden Blessings (see link below). It came via the Proverbs 31 Ministries. It is a beautiful story that I wanted to share. There is one thing I'd like to mention before you read it: I am one who does NOT see ANY child as "broken," but for today I am willing to let that go to share the rest of the story with you because, overall, the message is quite beautiful and really a blessing.

{getting my soapbox} I will always say that my son is not a puzzle that's missing a piece. He is exactly like God meant for him to be. Sure he has a lot of areas he needs to work on and improve, but doesn't everyone? I have worked for almost two decades with a WIDE range of children with special needs and to say they are "broken" is not very nice, it's actually inappropriate. Every child has potential to grow if we take the time to get to know them and tap into their interests. Every child, no matter what level of ability, wants to be loved... if they know you love and accept them, they will reach for the stars while you hold their hand! The first step to peace in this puzzle is acceptance and unconditional love no matter what the circumstances. I'll take "diamond in the rough" as opposed to "broken." OK, now that I've clarified that fact, here is the devotional:

March 30, 2012

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
It was now broken, with an asymmetrical flutter to its wings that moments before lifted the butterfly in a dance around the church lawn.

The butterfly wasn’t what first caught my eye though as I stood in line to pick up my son, Alec, from a day camp for special needs children. It was the boy with autism that first captured my attention. He was tugging on the arm of his caregiver with a brawny strength, roughly pulling her this way and that. As I watched the two in their strange dance, my heart ached for the boy just as it does whenever I see a child with autism. A familiar feeling rose in the pit of my stomach. It was the same one I felt when I didn’t know how to reach my autistic son in his younger years. I’ll never forget how hard and long the days could be.

Lost in my memories, I was more than happy when the butterfly caught my eye. As I watched it, in one quick swoop-and before his caregiver could stop him-the boy’s hand captured the butterfly in a clenched fist. She pulled it free from his grasp and I watched fragile wings fall to the sidewalk. The butterfly fluttered for a few moments before dying.

Isn’t it strange how something so simple can hit you so hard? Grief rose in the back of my throat, but I wasn’t sure what hurt me most. Was it the brokenness of a boy who longed to touch something beautiful and carefree, only to crush the life from it? Or was it the thought of how quickly something so lovely can die? The vivid scene stuck with me all night, broken wings falling to the ground.

The next morning, I walked with Alec up to the church for another day at camp. I stepped onto the sidewalk behind a little girl with Down Syndrome. Without a care in the world she sang, and when I heard the words, I stopped in my tracks:
“I am a beautiful butterfly! I am a beautiful butterfly”

With each light step, she twirled and sang this little song. I realized then what God was showing me.
Yes, Lord, I get it! These children are like that butterfly. They are full of beauty! Full of grace and wonder, and even so, they are broken. But oh, how lovely and special they are to You, Lord. And how precious to behold one single moment of the beauty that lives within them!

As a parent to one of these broken, beautiful butterflies, it is a privilege to see God carry him through painful days. And I know I’m graced to be touched by the beauty that exists in brokenness. To feel the loss of what might have been, the crush of overwhelming need, and the Divine Light that runs through it all and makes it worth our efforts.

Alec’s teenage camp buddy leaned down to greet my son with a high five and a smile. It was then I noticed the counselor’s shirts with the words “I am a New Creation” on the front and on the back was the week’s Bible verse:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Like the butterfly, we’re all broken. But, praise God, there is great beauty within our brokenness when we allow God to carry us through the pain. Better yet, we are new creatures with a future and a hope of eternity—unbroken—in Christ. One day each broken body will be resurrected to a new beauty unimaginable in this life.
Kelly Langston
Reflect and Respond:
Scripture is filled with stories when God chose people who were overlooked by others to do great things for Him. Never underestimate God’s power to use your child to bring Him glory. God has a marvelous purpose for your child!

What is one weight of life you can trust God with today? Lean completely into His care. He did not spare His own Son to demonstrate the extent of His love. Knowing this, you can be certain He will honor every one of His scriptural promises for you! Take heart, your God is for you.

Power Verse:
Revelation 21:4, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (NIV 1984)

© 2012 by Kelly Langston. All rights reserved.

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