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In Which We Serve the Least

I didn’t choose to be the mother of a child with special needs. I was blessed with the opportunity.

It amazes me when others willingly take on the responsibility of caring for the more “needy.”

Camp Courageous-archery2

Recently I stumbled upon something I said to my children years ago (who encouraged me to jot it down): “Some of us are forced to enter the realm of disabilities. The beauty is when those who don’t have to choose to enter that world.”

Dedicated to Serve

This thought came after I interviewed an incredible man who spent his life creating a camp setting that would serve those who society tends to casually (and callously) toss aside. He didn’t have children or relatives who had disabilities. He willingly stepped into that world.

Through my 14 years of traversing the path of disabilities alongside my daughter, I’ve witnessed the dedication of other servant souls as well, such as

  • A renowned otolaryngology doctor donating his time to travel to another country (often dangerous settings) and repair cleft lips and palates and other facial anomalies that would otherwise go untreated.
  • An amazing mother and father who willingly gave up a “normal” life to bring a little boy with profound disabilities into their lives through adoption.
  • A lawyer offering his services “above and beyond.”

Daily I’m hearing and experiencing additional inspiring stories of sacrificial giving of time, talents, and finances to help those with different abilities live enjoyable, meaningful lives.

Would I Serve Willingly?

And I have to ask myself: Would I have done the same? Without Rachel in my life, would I have had the courage to step into a world so different from my dreams, so far from what our culture values? Would I have reached out to serve the least? 

Today, I can unequivocally state that, despite the challenges, there is nothing in my life that has been more of a blessing than having a child with disabilities (besides my salvation, of course). As mom to a child with disabilities, I’ve experienced unconditional love and joy, a new perspective, added patience, a humbled spirit, a transformed heart, and a renewed faith.

But without the knowledge of those benefits and with a choice, would I have sacrificially reached out to the least of these?

The answer shames me.

Of course I don’t know how my life would have unfolded without my sweet daughter in it. However, knowing my selfish bent, I’m not so sure I’d be quick to jump in.

Certainly, I’d give a little money and say a prayer or two (and pat myself on the back). But to really reach out, to give up my comfort and battle through my fear to make a difference in a population deemed “better hidden” by society, I’m less than certain.

As a Christian, I want to be Jesus’ hands and feet, but only to the extent it doesn’t interfere with my life too much.

What foolishness!

Jesus was quick to point out

“whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me’ “ (Matthew 25:40).

When we serve others, especially the least, we are serving Jesus Himself. 

When we serve others, especially the least, we are serving Jesus Himself. Click To Tweet

Reflections: So, friends, I am challenging myself, and I’m challenging you: What can we do to make a difference in the lives of the “least”? How can we emulate the sacrifices of the compassionate doctor, the adoptive parents, the generous lawyer? How can we become the Lord’s hands and feet on Earth?

And with tears in my eyes and a grateful heart, I offer a huge thank you to all of you who give of yourself to minister to  individuals and families  living with disabilities. You are reflecting Jesus Christ to us!

Click here for a list of resources and organizations I’ve found invaluable in our disability journey.

Linking with Ann Voskamp with my Joy Dare list (#1012–1033, read them all by clicking here) for Multitude Mondays:

  • Those special people who have been Jesus’ hands and feet in my family’s lives
  • Playing Candyland: Rachel is excited, even when she loses; Easy, tasty meals like pizza burgers; Glasses (love/hate)
  • Coffee/tea with a sweet friend; Perspective; Relief for my aching back
  • Great reports at Parent/Teacher conferences; Teachers willing to go beyond; Privilege of being a listening ear 
  • Riding with @robinstone12 to Parents as Presenters; Hearts of the #womenredeemed webcast speakers; God’s redemption
  • Parents passionate for their kiddos; Iowa Parents as Presenters; Dinner out with friends I only see once a year
  • Hearing amazing parents share about their special children; Uneventful drive home w/ a friend; Bear hugs w/ my girl
  • Hubby can get away on a guys trip; Hearing the Word and worshiping in fellowship of believers; Cutting my boys’ hair

By His grace ≈

Julie

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Find hope in your real-life struggles. We'll chase it together! I am a wife; mom of 4 (including a young adult daughter with special needs); miscarriage mom of 5; author & follower of Jesus Christ. I write, edit, speak and enjoy everything outdoors.

2 comments on “In Which We Serve the Least
  1. I love this. You can imagine why with my own girlie, Taylor. Bless you greatly for your perspective, Julie!!

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