I’m so grateful to have Gillian Marchenko here today talking about how cool we all are, no matter what shape we’re in.She is a Christian, wife, mother, writer, speaker, and advocate for individuals with special needs. Check out Gillian’s website at www.gillianmarchenko.com
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
(Psalm 119:13 NIV)
My mother knits
I see her in a chair in my childhood home in pajamas, hair wet from a bath, a Coke sweating on a flimsy paper napkin next to her on the side table. Her hands move, click, click, click, click. Sometimes she’d unravel a sweater or a scarf because of a mistake. I didn’t see the point. Why start over because of a few mistakes? “Who wants something with mistakes?” she’d say.
How my child was being knit together?
Before the birth of our third child, I read a book about a woman who had a baby with Down syndrome. “I couldn’t do it,” I told my husband. “I could never mother a child with special needs.” Ducking to dodge lightning, I yearned to retract my words. Our baby, probably no bigger than a lima bean, tumbled inside me. A life paddled around growing fingers and toes. God was knitting her together in my womb. I trusted him, and yet I worried. What if she has special needs? I don’t think I can handle that, Lord.
Months later our baby was born with Down syndrome. I grieved. She was not who I expected. Being a special needs mother was not the life I wanted to live. I believed in a theology that God doesn’t make mistakes. But our daughter’s birth brought us home from the mission field, and broke my faith. It all seemed like a mistake.
God gives us more than we can handle
People say that “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.”
I call bull.
At first, I absolutely could not handle a child with special needs. But with time, God pointed out that I was not to handle this new path of motherhood. I was supposed to hand it to him.
I’ve been a special needs mom now for six years
The child I thought I could never parent is a daily anti-depressant in my life, and the best object lesson for living un-caged. With her entrance into the world, God picked me up, shook me, and sat me back down in a totally different place. My faith was broken and rebuilt. I started writing. A few years later we adopted another little girl with Down syndrome from Ukraine. God gave my family a thriving ministry in Chicago geared towards special needs.
What I’ve learned
God knits with purpose. Always.
I don’t have to handle life on my own. Instead, I try to hand it to Jesus.
We all have holes in our lives. Through Christ, they can be filled.