The kids have been attending Summer Fun Days at our church – a VBS program being held once a week for a month. The VBS program has been Maker Fun Factory, which focuses on God as our Maker and the purpose He has for each of our lives. The music is fabulous and the kids love it. We bought the CD of the songs and the kids have been listening to it every day and singing the songs. They have been very excited about attending each Tuesday morning. Typically VBS programs are held for a week, four or five days in a row sometime during the summer, but for whatever reason our church has been doing it once a week. Administratively this has been a challenge for the leadership, but I am so thankful that it has been once weekly this year. Having a morning each week leading up to his surgery where Daniel hears and focuses on God’s amazing workmanship in creating HIM and that God has a purpose for his life has been wonderful for us.

All parents are concerned about the psycho-social development of their children. We all want our kids to have an appropriate sense of personal value. We try to build that into them from the earliest days by meeting their needs, being dependable, loving unconditionally, providing opportunities to discover and develop their skills and interests. As Christians, our hope is that our children learn that their ultimate value comes from the awesome God who made every one of them unique, precious and loves them forever, so much so that He made a way for the forgiveness of their sins through Jesus. In a world that prizes success, beauty, intelligence and physical ability, among other things, the parents of children with special needs have an extra concern about the way the disability affects the child’s sense of self and personal value. When children are quite young they don’t necessarily see their differences, but as they get older they become more aware of how they are different from other children and how they can’t do the same things. The feelings of being inferior and left out can become overwhelming and defining. Special needs parents (or at least this one) are probably extra concerned about tuning into these emotions in their children.

We are beginning to see some of this in Daniel. It is subtle at times, and he doesn’t talk about it often, but every now and then there will be a comment that reveals what is percolating in his mind about his differences and lack of inclusion. He also has an overly strong sense of self at times, and needs a little downward adjustment, shall we say. As we head into what will most certainly be the most painful and extended challenge of his young life so far, I am so encouraged that he has had several weeks of focus on how he, personally, has been made by God, how God is for him, how God will love him forever, and how God made him for a purpose; he is here exactly as he is for a reason, and it is a good reason. We’ll be playing the songs from Maker Fun Factory in the hospital after the surgery and in the months to come as Daniel works on his therapies. Here’s a clip: Made For This.

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