Sarita: “If we who occupy the world of AMC can’t see our and our children’s bodies as beautiful and unique rather than “defective” or “malformed”, how do we expect to show the rest of the world that we and our families are beautiful?”
Me: “To be honest, I have mixed feelings. I don’t believe this is what God had in mind when he made humans. (I hope this doesn’t offend anybody, but considering I have AMC myself, I didn’t think it would…) Or, throwing God out of the equation, this is clearly not how the body is supposed to look/function. If we were wild animals, we would be left by the herd and not survive. I personally do not find my arms to be beautiful… BUT…
Our “crookedness” creates a beautiful avenue for the most wonderful parts of the human spirit (ours and others’) to shine that much more brilliantly. AMC has shown me that I am capable. Period. Because my arms aren’t right, I have seen innumerable acts of kindness and benevolence from people who didn’t even know me. I’ve seen the best of the human heart.
I, personally, don’t see beauty when I look at my hands, but I see beauty when I look everywhere else BECAUSE of my hands.
Sarita:: “…(1) Do you believe humans are made in God’s image? (2) Do you believe God makes mistakes? If you believe the Biblical principles that we are ALL made in God’s image and that God does NOT make mistakes, then the logic of faith obligates us to conclude that all variations in the human body are definitely part of the beauty of God’s plan….”
I have asked Sarita’s permission to explore my thoughts further here, because I think she brings up valid questions that we all find ourselves asking at one point or another, if we ever think about the existence and/or goodness of God in a world so full of pain. These questions sort of boil down to the, “Why, God?!” that most of us have heard our hearts cry when we struggle to understand the hurt.
As a person with a disability that prevents me from doing all kinds of things that I want to do, how do I answer Sarita’s questions? If I believe a good God created me in His image, why do I feel so mangled? Why do I feel so inadequate sometimes? Did God slip up when He was working on me? Did He do this to me on purpose for some greater good?
In answer to the questions from the forum, (1) Yes, I believe humans are made in God’s image, and (2) No, I do not believe God makes mistakes. However, I do not believe that these two factors are the only ones we need to consider here. Working from these two factors alone, we could also conclude that a baby born with organs outside its body or with a cleft palate is exactly how God intended it. And if I am just how God intended me to be, should I look forward to no healing in Heaven? Because, I really, really relish the thought of having fully-functioning hands for all of eternity.
I’m not judging anybody here. I know that we all sort through pain in different ways and come to our own conclusions, and I’m cool if your conclusion is different from mine. In fact, I’m figuring out that all the “answers” I have today may look like foolishness tomorrow, so I reserve the right to change my mind!
But, for now, I think I would feel angry at God if I believed He designed my arms to hang limp.
There are moments that my son is sick and I can’t hold him like he wants to be held, and there are times that I want to give my husband a bear hug and I can’t.
There are days that I’ve wanted another baby so badly, but I don’t think I could care for my toddler while pregnant.
In these moments, I am most definitely angry. I mourn. And when I look at these arms, no. I do not see something beautiful.
I can’t believe God intended for this mother to not be able to mother, or love my husband and son like I want to.
But, I have been created in God’s image.
He did not make a mistake when He created me.
Humanity chose to eat the forbidden fruit, and as God warned, pain and death has been unleashed on us all. Everything is not as God designed.
There are earthquakes and tsunamis, babies get cancer, there is greed, corruption, murder, pollution, starvation and poverty. …And people are born with useless arms and legs. Bad things happen because sin eats at God’s good creation. We were cast out from the Garden of Eden and not a single one of us lives the perfection God had in mind… inside or out. I do believe we are all beautiful because we are human. We enflesh the very breath of God. Because He made me, and I am His, I am beautiful… even though I am flawed. I do my best to know that brokenness and beauty are not mutually exclusive.
As I see it, something that causes a body to lose function is tragic… What we choose to do with it, however, can be triumphant. Something unpleasant to look at can be used to create beauty in the world.
I suppose my opinion on the matter is that, I do see my arms as “malformed,” but that doesn’t make me any less beautiful. Though of course they are a big part of who I am, I am not my arms, and I don’t believe I’ll have this pair forever anyway. There is a certain kind of rest in being at peace with imperfection.
I think C.S. Lewis said it well:
“You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul.
You have a body.”