I sat reading a post on a social networking site recently.
The post was about deciding whether to have more children after you have a child with special needs.
I read through a few of the comments on the thread below and it struck me that there are a lot of people quoting Bible references in the hope of offering support or comfort.
I don't believe these people are ever trying to be hurtful - they have faith in the Bible and obviously they get comfort from it.
I continued to read the comments.
One lady had stated that she would never have another baby as having a child with special needs was too draining and unfair in a way to her current child - her feelings, her business.
Another lady added that she has six children, two of which have autism; she felt that having children with special needs was no reason not to have more children - again, her feelings, her business.
And the comment that caused a bit of a fuss and the one that perked my interest was: “God won't give you what you can't handle. If God brings you to it, HE will bring you through it.” (many comments commended this woman and her Bible quotes).
The comment directly under this one read: “Those quotes bring no comfort to a mother like me, a mother who has to watch her child fight cancer...It makes me feel like I have no right to share my worries and concerns because as you stated God won't give you want you can't handle? To me it translates as shut up and get on with it.”
There - that was it!
That was what I could never put into words.
I had plenty of conversations with people over those well meaning quotes - how little support I found in them, how I didn't get any comfort from them but I simply wasn't able to explain why I couldn't find comfort in them.
Until a complete stranger who, clearly, has an awful lot on her shoulders put it into words for me.
I was not the only one to gain no comfort from Bible quotes - I was normal!
Roughly 20 or so comments later, I got more confirmation of my normalness!
I am truly happy for you if those kind of quotes bring you comfort.
They bring nothing to me.
Well, that's not completely true, they bring annoyance, sadness, frustration...they scream "don't complain, there's always someone worse off" - which is no doubt true, but it is so very very condescending, dismissive even, when I am trying to talk to you about what my life is like raising three sons; one a toddler, one with ADHD and the eldest with an incurable life limiting condition...it makes me feel like a bad mother who is complaining about her children.
“God won't give you what you can't handle”, no matter how well intentioned translates to me as "Be quiet and get on with it "
If HE brings you to it, HE will bring you through it - translates to me as "There are worse out there, just get on with it, you'll be grand sure"
Please stop saying it to me when you meet me and ask about Ethan.
Just smile, listen.
Tell me you'll keep him in your prayers or light a candle for him - that brings me comfort.
- Thank you.
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