I learned early on in Penny’s life that if I spent my days comparing her to other kids, I would find myself in a place of judgment or jealousy. I would either think I wasn’t doing enough as a mom to support Penny’s growth (jealousy), feel sorry for myself for having a harder time as a parent (another form of jealousy), or dismiss the hardships other moms faced with their typical kids (judgment). Either way, my comparisons moved me away from these friends I desperately needed.
I eventually learned that I needed to receive Penny as she was, with gratitude for her gifts and support for her needs. I learned that I could do the same for the other kids. And for myself. And for the other moms. I learned that if I actually believe our belovedness—that each and every one of us is beloved by God and a gift to one another—it would change everything.
With the shift from comparison to believing our belovedness, judgment and jealousy changed to celebration and compassion. When other kids won awards or started playing soccer or performed in a show, I could enjoy their work. When other moms confided their anxiety about their children’s need for ear tubes or their exhaustion after a sleepless night, I could show genuine compassion. When Penny was having a tough time, I could be honest with my friends about it and receive their compassion too.
Judgment and jealousy moved us apart.
Celebration and compassion drew us together.
Believing our belovedness changes everything.
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