You Knit Me Together: All God’s Kids Have Special Needs

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In My Prayer Closet

My prayer closet is often a bathtub filled with bubbles. And it was while soaking in this prayer closet, at the end of a particular hard day, that I found the words of Psalm 139:13 echoing in my head, a cadence that seemed almost taunting.

You knit me together… You knit me together… You knit me together…

So what happened, Lord? I demanded. What happened when You were knitting Maesyn and Merci together? Did You just drop a stitch?

And almost immediately, I heard the timbre of God’s voice echo in my aching heart, the impression of thought that appears with comprehensive clarity.

Yes. Yes, I did drop a stitch. And would you like to know why?

It just got real.

Yes, sir, I replied.

It’s a simple thing to knit row upon row. But when you want to create something of greater purpose, of greater function, you drop stitches. You can then make a cuff, a sleeve, a banding for buttonholes — something that has a more specific use. So yes, I did drop stitches because I have specific intent.

Oh.

I mulled that over, soaking in bubbles and epiphany, soap and insight, lavender and vision, in my tub-shaped prayer closet. I felt profoundly convicted, slightly abashed, and delicately prompted. God had not, in a moment of distraction, let His eye wander from His work. He had counted the stitches, considered the cost, woven purpose into what some would see as accident. What some would see as weakness. What some would see as damage. But if I was willing to look with a right heart, I would find Him there.

He wasn’t done with me yet.

As the waters of my prayer closet washed over my stress and fear, God showed me something more, something that had been in front of me all along but I’d failed to see. He baptized me into a new way of seeing what He was up to, immersing me and raising me to a whispered understanding of the way in which He sometimes chooses to work.

All of us, all of our children, have special needs.

We all have areas — in character, in physicality, in personality, in soul, in cognition, in our individual histories — in which we struggle, we stumble, we stutter.

We all have areas where we think the Lord may have dropped a stitch while He was knitting us.

And He did.

For this purpose:

He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. — 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

When it comes to knitting, dropping stitches has been God’s style all along.

It’s not enough to know where threads of strength and gifting are. We need to know where the dropped stitches, the frayed fibers, and the thin places are in order to truly understand the fuller canvas of purpose — both our own and our children’s.

All Kids Have Special Needs

We see ten fingers and ten toes in the delivery room, and we glow at high Apgar results. We proclaim it a blessing. It is. But it is no less a blessing to be entrusted with a child who was knit with physical or cognitive or personality style challenges.

We’ve learned in our journey that all kids have special needs. Those needs may not be physical or cognitive, but every child comes to this earth with a special need to have their strengths discovered and shaped and their challenges recognized and coached.

As the treasures our children are, every precious gemstone is faceted differently to capture the light. If we insist on trying only to maintain a standard of “normal” in our children, we miss the amazing opportunity to coax true brilliance — the brightness of a completely unique soul — to its full purpose.

It would be easy to grab at the threads of their strengths — those Directors with their ability to conquer big tasks, those Inspirers who can ignite a movement, those Steadfasts who quietly make things happen behind the scenes, those Curators who know how to dig in and accomplish things. It would be easy to select those strands that seem to have success stamped into their fibers and start to weave plans for education and activities and future.

But it would make for a one-dimensional approach.

Have you ever noticed? God is all about paradoxes.

He puts them everywhere in creation. Light is both a wave and a particle. Water can be a vapor, a solid, a liquid. Things that shouldn’t be able to exist at the same time do. The deeper we’re able to go in our mathematical and theoretical peeping into the universe, the more we keep finding those phenomena that resist our linear suppositions.

God does it with people too. He sends Jesus as a king. A king without a country. A king without a crown. A king without a monarchal line. A king with no army. A king He is. A Prince of Peace who brings a sword.

God’s Word is filled with people who possess the natural skill sets and abilities to elevate them to key positions — and God skips over those gifted individuals in favor of the wallflower, the stutterer, the ’fraidy cat. God’s placement strategy often doesn’t match up well with job assessments, strength inventories, and the predictable.

Sometimes, in just the place where it seems God has dropped a stitch, He’s up to something of tremendous purpose.

Yes, your child’s strengths within her temperament and her talents may be the things you find easiest to be proud of. But what you might see as her weaknesses may hold incredible potential. Her weaknesses may hold treasure. Her weaknesses may just hold inklings of her direction. Which would make those weaknesses powerful strengths. Especially when her life is being woven by an intentional God.

Because He’s definitely got a track record of doing that kind of thing — that paradoxical purpose-building, that sometimes-befuddling streak of originality.

Excerpted with permission from Raising an Original: Parenting Each Child According to Their Unique, God-Given Temperament by Julie Lyles Carr, copyright Julie Lyles Carr.

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Your Turn

Are you wanting some answers from God about challenges for your kids? Does it feel like what He entrusted them with is too much? Too hard? Like a mistake? Come join the conversation in the comments! We want to hear from you about trusting God’s purposes in our families!

Julie Lyles Carr

Julie Lyles Carr holds a degree in psychology which she uses every day in her parenting of eight children and also a degree in English Literature, which came in handy for writing a book on parenting. She is a popular speaker and blogger. She serves as the Pastor of Women’s Ministry at her home church of LifeAustin in Austin, Texas. Julie is also the Founder and Executive Director of Legacy of Hope Austin, a non-profit group dedicated to serving families of children with special needs. Julie and her husband Michael have been married for almost twenty-six years.

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