Tuesday, July 17, 2012

You Are Special

One of my absolute favorite "children's" books is You Are Special by Max Lucado. I say "children's" because the story is for much more than just children, but I suppose it's considered a child's book. If you don't have it in your collection...go get it! :) Anyway...I've loved this book from the first time I read it, long before Dylan, or even Kaden, was born. I loved the message and the sweet spirit felt in the book (as with many of Max Lucado's books).

At the time Dylan was born I was in charge of a group of girls, ages 8-9, in my church. We held bimonthly activities outside of church where we taught them gospel principles or life principles through various activities,  lessons, crafts, etc. About a month after Dylan was born, before we had shared with anyone Dylan's situation, my sweet friend, Amy, who also was in charge of this group of girls with me, suggested that we read You Are Special at the upcoming activity and get some gold star and gray dot stickers and put them on the girls as we read the story and then ask questions and open up conversation about the meaning of the story and what we can learn from it. I thought it was a great idea, because A. It was an easy activity and I didn't have to plan anything, and with a newborn baby, time to plan an extensive activity was not a reality :) and B. It had been awhile since I read the book, but I knew I loved it and the message and thought it would be a great message to teach the girls.

The week of the activity had been a rough one for me, like many of the weeks after Dylan's birth. I was emotional all week. The reality of Dylan's situation was still so raw and I found myself crying about it often. The day of the activity was no different. I hesitantly showed up to the activity to fulfill my responsibility. Amy asked if I would read the story while she went around and did the stickers. As I read the story, for the first time since Dylan was born, the story had a whole new meaning to me. Maybe not a whole new meaning...but it all of a sudden had an extra special place in my heart. A place that was reserved for Dylan and for the inevitable struggles he would have to face in the future. I fought back tears as I read the story to my class of girls that night. I wanted to grab each of them and make sure that they knew...A. how special THEY were in the eyes of our Heavenly Father, no matter what anyone else thought or said...and B. to NEVER, EVER judge someone because they were different.

My biggest fear and worry with Dylan THEN and NOW, is how his situation may affect him emotionally/mentally/spiritually. I know he'll be okay physically. Especially seeing him excel so awesomely after just a few short months of having his first leg, I know he'll be able to do anything he puts his mind to physically. And I'm sure he'll be okay emotionally/mentally/spiritually as well. But I know there will be times when he will question why he is the way he is or when kids (or adults) will make comments that might hurt or act a certain way because he is "different". It's inevitable. I pray that when those times do arise, that I will be strong enough to comfort him and give him the strength that he will need. I pray that HE will have the strength that he will need to get through those times, by having a true understanding of who he really is...a son of God...and that no matter what anyone thinks or says, he is PERFECT and SPECIAL in God's eyes, in his mother's eyes, and in his father's eyes. He's absolutely perfect just the way that God made him!

This morning I was reading with my boys and they were taking turns choosing books. Kaden chose "Punchinello" (that's the main character in You Are Special...side note, Kaden used to call him "Punch-a-pillow" hahaha!!) so we all sat and read it together...for the 100th time. And once again, I got emotional reading it....for the 100th time. :) I'm fairly confident I will get emotional reading it for the next 100 times too. But it's a feel good, inspired emotional. I'm so grateful for the knowledge of a loving Heavenly Father. I know he created each of us...each of our strengths, each of our weaknesses, each of our talents, each of our differences. We are all so unique and so beautiful and so perfect in His eyes.

I just wanted to share a few of my favorite lines from the book of Punchinello's conversation with Eli (the woodworker who made him, can be likened to God, the creator of mankind).

Please remember today (and always)...YOU ARE SPECIAL...and so is the person sitting next to you or walking by you, so make sure to treat them as such. :)

And while we are talking about how great Dylan is doing....had to share some pictures of Dylan running around yesterday.

And a cute video showing just how good he's gotten...and how a couple falls don't stop him. :)

And lastly, just because this picture cracks me up. :)

Sorry to have gotten so wordy...anyone who knows me knows I have a hard time keeping anything short and sweet. :)

PS...we have an amputee clinic today and Dylan will be getting fitted for a NEW leg. Leg #2 in just 5 months. Eek...hopefully this pace slows down a bit!! :)

1 comment:

  1. I took that book on vacation to read it (again) to my grands in Lehi not knowing that the Shields would be there too. I am SO glad I brought it. I was able to read it to Paul and Tom who have lots of mean dots put on them. When we got to a part that was allegorical (taught them about allegory), they were to say "ding, ding, ding!" and tell how they thought that part related to our real life. When I read the book to Tom, Megan said, "can we do the ding, ding dings again?" This is such a wonderful story.
    Love seeing Dylan racing around. Sorry I won't be there for the new leg :o)