I have many unique passions in life…passions for art, music, reading, writing, eating, baking, cooking, and most importantly, a passion for the hurting people to find God and lean on Him for their strength comfort and hope in their journey, ultimately turning to Christ if they haven’t already.
You see, I have had a life of one struggle after another and I am BEYOND grateful for it. Being a “problem child” at home from an early age, every problem I had from elementary on up was always anxiety and a learning disability…as I grew up it turned into chronic depression, an eating disorder, an addiction to self injury and many, many hospitalizations and rehab stays. With bullying and grade struggles throughout my school years, I found joy in my friend’s who were also different…I found them by helping out in my schools’ special Ed classrooms and I immediately knew I would be greeted with a great big hug! In those moments my eyes were off of me and what I was going through and onto how I can be an encouragement to them. Because, let me tell you, they are AWESOME at doing that!
Since I have rededicated my life to Christ and am now clean of my eating disorder and self injury behaviors for coming up on the 2 year mark now, I still find solace in my friends and those I work with who have special needs. I not only see this gift I have being reciprocated into just encouragement to me through their hugs anymore, I see it as a way I can offer encouragement to those who may need more of it than most, and that in and of itself, is a gift. When you’re being the hands and feet of Jesus in the way He has called you, you are automatically blessed in return. Yes, I enjoy the hugs and love I receive from such amazing people, but I treasure the many fun things in between, like the pillow fights, blanket forts, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, dance parties, proms, karaoke nights, doing crafts, and making food, having fun out in the community, etc even more. I have often replayed that song from the musical “Annie Get Your Gun” in my head but in REVERSE when thinking about my friends with special needs, singing: “Anything I can do THEY can do BETTER!”
Just stand in a sanctuary on a Sunday morning and watch the many ways these amazing people worship! They worship their heart out! It’s inspiring, really! It brings tears to my eyes watching them worship, people with every excuse in the world’s eyes NOT to, worship their hearts out the best ways they can. Again, it brings a tear to my eye just thinking about it!
And as I’m going through a two year round flare up of asthma that lands me in and out of the hospital at least once a month, unable to do much, and a year of dealing with a bout of ptsd from abuse I received in rehab, I am reminded that God is SO, SO good and works in such MARVELOUS ways. Because, do you know that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are more susceptible to mental illness and their family members are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression as well? I’ve been there, I’ve done that! God can use (and already has used!) that experience as an opportunity for Him to be glorified through me and my story…rather God’s story on my life. (Like my artwork says, I am just His instrument!) When I was in my upper teens I was diagnosed with being on the spectrum…totally putting my anxiety and learning differently into perspective-NOW some of my favorite kids I babysit have autism, more severely than I do, and I just feel like I get them and can remain calm when they are struggling and help them through their ticks, because I have a little bit of them too. I also was told when I was at the brink of my depression and anxiety just a few short, not even 3 years ago by insurance, my parents would need to find a grouphome for me to live in permanently because I cannot live on my own-NOW, I am in the process of becoming an IL certified Direct Support Professional(DSP) so I can work in a local grouphome.
God sure has a certain way of rewriting our stories, and I believe all these doctors I have seen and disgnoses I have received over the years are NOT wasted and it has been very therapeutic for me to see again and again how His Word is unfailing (Psalm 143:8), it’s a lamp unto my feet (Psalm 119:105), and stays the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:18.) He turns EVERYTHING for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28)…and that purpose is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever! (Westminster Catechism)
In my life, that is seen carried out on loving the different, the struggling, and the lonely, because really, NO MATTER ability, we ALL need the Gospel…minute by minute, second by second…we’re ALWAYS in need of the reminder that we need a Savior. A Savior that has already suffered JUST AS WE SUFFER! (2 Corinthians 1:5) He knows my mental illness, my ASD, my asthma. He knows your Down syndrome, your cerebral palsy, your physical limitations, your debilitating stroke, break, or cancer diagnosis. He sees you struggling to take care of your family member’s needs while balancing your own.
🎶Every tear that falls, every hurt and every sting, He has walked the suffering! He KNOWS! 🎶(Jeremy Camp “He Knows”)
And THAT’S why I am an advocate for people with special needs! None other than my great, great God!
So, through my personal stories and memories, interwoven with Truths found from Scripture and some of my favorite authors and songwriters, to my views on what all my friends with special needs can and WILL accomplish for the Kingdom of Christ, I hope by this blog, I can be even just a LITTLE light in a world full of suffering and give you some hope as you persevere through your darkness.
Suffering is very real, but do you know what’s “real-er?” His name is Jesus! My biggest love in life and the one I take solace in. But friends, the journey to get there will be challenging…and will continue to be. So…you have a choice to make!
Find Peace in God’s Providence
Find Temporary Pleasure in the Ways of this World
It’s not an easy way to live, but man, do you reap the benefits! Follow me, and little by little as we together align our steps with God’s will for our life, we will discover peace in our suffering and, though we may not always understand, ultimately find peace in God’s Providence. Life isn’t always easy, but trust me, as Christ-followers, it WILL BE WORTH IT!!!