Thursday, March 22, 2012

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14

I grew up in a home where my parents knew that if we always felt loved you could handle just about anything. There are four children in my family. My brother being the oldest, I was next in line and then our twin sisters came along. One of my sisters, Betsy was born with sacral agenesis. Basically what that meant for her is she was born without the bottom part of her spine. The spine is connected to a lot of the key nerves in the body. This effected Betsy’s growth and development. But when you are a kid all you know is that your sister is really small. She still gets on your nerves, borrows your clothes without asking and is your constant playmate. As her siblings we never doubted in Betsy’s ability to be normal. Because to us she was normal. She was our sister. The older she got the more we learned that the world sometimes thought they had the right to make her feel less than she was. As the older sister I took on the “motherly” role. This at times came out with severe anger. I told off a lot of people growing up. I made sure if I was around and someone even thought about staring or pointing I would be on the attack faster than they could get words out. I know this is not the Godly way to handle ignorant people but I found it very difficult to control my temper. However, Betsy always found a way to be the bigger person. Always.  What her family sees in her is what she knows is the truth. Because what we see is what God sees, perfection. God makes no mistakes. He had no intention of bringing Betsy into this world with a fully developed spine. He knew she was bigger than what the world tells her she is supposed to be. Everyone who knows Betsy quickly forgets about her disability. You cannot help but fall in love with her. She is addictive to be around and lights up every room. I cannot imagine life without her as an inspiration. I could not be more proud of the person she is.

The darkest time in her life is what most would expect, her teen years and it rolled into her college years as well. For the most part high school was a success. She had lots of friends and even made the cheerleading squad, proving once again she can do anything she sets her mind to. But college was a bit harder. She no longer had her family around as her constant support system and on a big college campus people see her as a stranger not as Betsy. What is worse is that they saw her as a stranger with a disability. I remember being shocked at the response from her fellow students. To me Betsy was Betsy, disability or not. What I learned during this time is how the world places you on their scale. You have to be a certain height, size, shape and look. You also have to fall into their specific standards for what they rate as “good enough”.  I think in many ways we as her family are blessed because our outlook on disability is far different than it is for most people. We know not to stare or point. We also know that more than anything anyone who feels different despises pity. Why in the world do we think they deserve pity? I know more than anything this is what will get to Betsy. Pity what? That she is small? Do you think she does not know that? Why is being a petite person a bad thing? And why does the world think they are better and can talk to her like she is less of a person because of her size? She is a 24 year old grown woman with a masters degree. And guess what? She has started her own ministry. She travels around the world and speaks to churches, schools and events. She constantly shares her testimony about how God has done amazing things in her life. How the world tries to beat her up but at the end of the day she knows where her standard lies. She is out there fighting this battle against the world proving she is better and has more worth and guts than anyone has ever given her credit for. And why is she doing this? To change the world. Because my sister Betsy really believes people can change. If just one child is saved from rejection, laughter and teasing because of her story it will be totally worth it. If by raising enough money to send a doctor to a poverty stricken country where children with disabilities do not survive without the proper medical care, it is all worth. But most importantly, for anyone who thinks they can justify aborting a child on the sole purpose of “they have a disability and life would just be too hard”. Is Betsy’s life really not worth living? Of course no one will say that is the case to her now. But somehow when that child is still in the womb they are considered to those who are pro choice that we have the right to choose if they should be able to live or die? According to our superficial standards of what life is about, we find it to be too difficult for them. In reality it is too difficult for us. Because our take on life is that anyone born into this world with a disability are looked down upon and pitied. My sister Betsy is determined to change the opinions of this world. It is time for us to sit back and actually think about what we are saying. It is time for us to recognize that life is a gift and it should not be in our hands to determine the quality of life we feel everyone should be rated on.  My sister, with her disability has done more in her twenty five years than most people do in their lifetime. To her this life has a purpose. To share God’s love so everyone knows the pure joy you find when he is in your life. The perfect body and the acceptance of the world is not what it is about. The world would be an amazing place if there were more Betsy’s in it. So next time you are considering justifying abortion for any reason. Stop and reconsider the life you are cheating the world out of. They are made in the eyes of our creator. He knows what he is doing. I think it is time for us to allow him to handle things. 

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