Your Child Doesn’t Have to Fit In to Belong (Stephanie Hubach)

I’m really excited about a new 31-day devotional for parents of kids with disabilities, from P&R Publishing, written by Stephanie Hubach. Today’s post is Day 22.

For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them.

Rom. 12:4-6

In disability circles, there is a familiar meme about autism that says, “The problem with trying to fit a square peg into a round hole is not so much the amount of time and effort and frustration of forcing the fit, but that you end up damaging the peg.” Have you ever sensed that your child has been injured—emotionally, psychologically, or spiritually—by efforts to make
him or her fit in? Rather than adapting the environment, have others pressured your child to change in order to belong?

Parents of children who have disabilities are always looking for places where their children can fit in or for ways they can help them to adapt to settings that are unprepared for their presence. Belonging in the human community can feel like an elusive goal.

Part of the wonderful beauty of the fact that God is with us—in our union with Christ—is that the parts of the body of Christ do not have to fit in to belong. By definition, when we are in Christ—when we are connected to our Savior and thereby also to his people—we already do belong. Belonging is our God­ given privilege as part of the family of God. We collectively grow as Christians by learning to genuinely value every part of the body of Christ in such a way that positional belonging is felt.

Though it is painful for our children (and for us) when belong­ing is not felt or experienced as fully as it could be, we should take heart. In our union with Christ, every one of us already belongs—to him and to his people. It is a done deal. Let’s ask God for the grace and patience to model for the church what that belonging looks like in its fullness.

  • Reflect: Has your child ever experienced a moment when a sense of belonging was painfully absent? Who was the most wounded? Your child? Or you?
  • Reflect: We each have our own unique “belonging blind spots.” What individuals in the body of Christ do you find most difficult to move toward? Why do you find this difficult? Can you move toward them so that they begin to experience a sense of belonging?
  • Act: When those we love are pushed to the social margins of life, it can be heartbreaking. This week, as you approach a situ­ation at school, or in your community, or in your congregation in which your child is potentially vulnerable, remind yourself that your child already belongs to Christ. Jesus knew what it was like to have no place to lay his head. Jesus suffered the iso­lation of not belonging in this world so that we might always belong to him. Give thanks to God for that present reality as you enter, with your child, into the world around you.

Pre-order the 31-day devotional, Parenting & Disabilities, from Stephanie Hubach.

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