Below is one of the five devotionals I wrote and recorded for HopeStreamRadio last week. The series I am developing right now is called “Family Life Lesson.” You are invited to listen daily.
It is my intention each week to share one of the devotionals I’ve written.
Each One is Indispensable
First Corinthians 12:14-26 reads this way in the English Standard Version: “The body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
”The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.”
There is so much rich content here. And yes, the writer is referring to how we as Christians are called to care for one another, honour one another, and work side by side to achieve God’s purposes. But in addition, this passage also has application to our families.
First, each of us is a unique individual. I remember way back when we only had one child. Our pastor at the time insisted that because my husband is very musical we would want all of our children to have music lessons. He wouldn’t believe us when we said, “Only if that’s what they’re interested in.”
Now I’m not saying that encouraging our children to take music lessons, try out for sports, or take art classes is a bad idea. In fact, they may discover something they love, maybe even something they’re exceptionally good at. But we must still realize each one is an individual and treat them as such.
While we shouldn’t refer to any member of our family as “less honorable” or “unpresentable,” the point is that no-one is dispensable. Every individual matters. Not just the one who brings home straight As or sets new school records for athletic achievement.
I had the privilege of co-authoring Paralympian Deb Willows’ memoir. And yes, she did go on to set world records and bring home gold medals from the Paralympic Games. But long before that, her family loved her, cared for her, and met her needs . . . while all the while, expecting her to do all she could for herself. And this was long before the time this was encouraged. In Fact, upon diagnosing her, Deb’s doctor said her parents should institutionalize her, not thinking they were equipped to raise a special needs child. They would hear nothing of it.
She was teased and misunderstood. Even the adults in Deb’s life knew next to nothing about cerebral palsy. There was no talk about accessibility and integration, but that didn’t stop the Willows family from banding together and blazing a trail for those who would follow.
Some may have considered Deb less honourable and unpresentable, but her family didn’t see things that way. And because of it, they suffered when she suffered and, to this day, they rejoice when she is honoured. But Deb doesn’t accept the honour for herself. Instead, she signs her books—and lives her life—quote, “For His Glory.”
Each of us is unique. Each of us has a role to play. And each of us is not only responsible for fulfilling our role but also honouring and building up the other members of our family. It isn’t easy for any of us, especially children, to be happy when another family member is receiving accolades and they are feeling neglected.
It’s a challenge for parents to find the right balance between celebrating and honouring one child’s accomplishments and teaching their siblings to do the same while helping each child find their special niche. This is especially difficult when one or two members of the family are exceptionally good at something society values, but it is well worth the effort.
Remember . . . each individual is indispensable.
Good news/bad news . . .
Write 30,000 words as per my Camp NaNoWriMo goal
Good news . . . I’ve written over 32,000 words this month, so I decided to raise my goal to 40,000 words. Call me crazy!
Good news/bad news . . . I’m keeping up with my guest posts but have to set up a schedule for SNEI and SBN.
Keep up with writing and recording for HopeStreamRadio
Good news . . . After I write and record another book review, I will be caught up. I only had to write and record five devotionals this past week. Doing one a day is great.
Keep on schedule with work for my clients
Good news . . . I’m still on target.
Finish prepping to co-teach a Creative Nonfiction Intensive at Write Canada
Good-ish news . . . I’m doing okay but need to kick it up a notch. If at least eight people don’t sign up, the class won’t run. It’s hard to be motivated knowing this is a possibility.
Do the reading and attend three births by the end of August to maintain my doula certification
Neutral news . . . I’m awaiting skywriting to make this one clear. The extra money needed to extend the deadline could go towards my trip to the UK in the fall. However, if I spend it, I could earn more money. If you have a skywriting plane and know the answer, please feel free to point me in the right direction.
Same old/same old news . . . I haven’t done as much as I’d like, but I have done more. Plus, the nicer weather means more walks with my hubby. Yay!
Redundant news . . . see comments re: exercise.
Check in with my fellow ROWers regularly
Good news . . . I’m on track with this one.
Check in with other ROWers here.