The following is what my very dear friend, Monika Holt, and I lovingly refer to as “Monika’s Rant.” I must say she rants beautifully. The passage below is an outpouring of her very large heart after she and I had discussed concerns we saw in a large number of churches today. For some reason, many churches seem to have a much smaller percentage of special needs families than the population at large. We asked the question, why is that? I ask you, if your church is deficient in this particular population, what are you going to do about it???
Read and enjoy …
I see it clearly. I see how busy we are. Running from one appointment to another. Aren’t homeschoolers supposed to spend at least a little time at home? The laundry we made last week is still not folded and the dishes are piling up in our sink. The dog threw up again, the phone will not stop ringing and our heads will not stop spinning. Life is busy, too busy; and we can’t stop moving. The whole world “went and got itself in a hurry.”
Now, let’s imagine the life of a mom whose kid is sick. One who, on top of all our choirs, has to take her daughter to two doctor appointments a week. Another, who must carry her paraplegic child into the bathtub. Or one who must watch her precious daughter fall asleep in pain each night. Imagine a mom, whose heart beats wildly in her throat when she sees a boy walk by with a peanut butter cracker in his hand, hoping beyond hope that one cell of that offending food will not enter her child’s system, sending him into anaphylaxic oblivian. Imagine, the mom who always carries an epi-pen in her purse, and checks her little boy’s face for hives every time his cheek flashes. Or the mom who sees all the other kids doing normal things, realizing her child never will. Imagine living in constant anxiety, in the world where danger lurks around each corner. A simple field trip to a museum could cause a seizure, and a special event, like a Cookie Exchange, can end up in anaphylaxis, even death. Now let’s imagine having to make a phone call, or send an email every time we want to go somewhere, just to verify that it is safe for your baby to be there. Would we have the energy to do it, on top of everything else that is on our plate? Or would we be much more likely to withdraw from participation, into the safety of our homes, where things are predictable? How isolating it must feel to move through ones tired days, friendless.
Why are we not seeing more children with special needs around us? Why are churches and church groups not filled with them? After all, didn’t Jesus say, “Come to me all you who are weary?” Given this, shouldn’t the churches have more, not less than that of the public schools? The reason is, not that they are not plentiful, but because they are hiding. Hiding from the world, which sometimes does not welcome them. Hiding from people who are too inconvenienced by their presence. We do not see all of them because their parents are tired of constantly striving and explaining. So they quit in disappointment.
How incredibly devastating it is for the rest of us “normal” folks to be separated from these families of kids with special needs. It is in the hectic homes of tired parents that real perseverance is born. It is there that we find true peace and communion with the Lord. Beyond each painful trial there is joy overflowing. Beneath each bitter tear there is God’s perfect mercy. And under the heavy folds of deepest depression, born in monotone days without sunshine, are refreshing springs of His everlasting love. It is a great privilege for us to share in the lives of those who have kids with special needs. There, we truly encounter God’s love, which if only we lend a hand, perfectly overflows to our lives. Sometimes unaware of our ignorance we miss out on reaping the benefits and the blessings of honor, of being witnesses to the purity of this merit. How I wait to serve them one day in heaven; because when all is said and done, the least will inherit the kingdom of God.
Now, do the difficult thing and honestly ask yourself a question, is it easier just to look away? Is it easier to just walk by and preach empty platitudes; that these parents should be diligent to look out for their own? But where is the Body of Christ in that??? Why should we wait to get to heaven, to serve those in need? Our precious Jesus washed the feet of his disciples; He led us by being a perfect servant first. He humbled Himself to the point of the cross, not only so that our tomorrows would be in paradise, but also so that our todays would be filled with His Spirit. Hence, What Would Jesus Do? Often I find myself too busy to lift up my eyes and see the needs of others around me. If I stop to help a stranger on the street, my plan for the day will crumble into pieces. In it, I am Unfaithful! I forget that the maker of this Universe, the One who crafted my soul is able to stretch my hours and organize my days. As long as I am busy doing my Father’s work, he will replenish me, because His burdens are light and His yoke is easy. The work I do for my Maker reaps rewards beyond human understanding; for the more I do for His kingdom and for His glory, the more He fills me and strengthens my spirit. I should lift up my eyes and sift through my hours searching for tasks, which only He can assign to my destiny. Combing for ways I can be used, to humbly serve his children the way He serves me.
We forget that our life is the greatest treasure hunt in the history of the universe. We should dig deeply beneath our fleshly surfaces. We should look patiently beyond our material realm, and search passionately under the moods which sway us, hungry to discover the treasures, which await us from our loving Abba.
We know utopia is not promised to us on this side of heaven. Physical pain will always continue leaving us with countless emotional wounds to nurse. However, by extending ourselves for the sake of others, a piece of paradise could enter in to our hearts and brighten our very existence. Why not relieve the mom whose autistic child screams when she sings at home, so she in turn could bless her church with angelic tones of her soprano? Why not surprise the tired parents of a paraplegic child with a babysitting offer, so they could go out for a date, maybe the first one in ten years? Why not, pray with the sick, the hurt and the weary, right there on the spot? Why not let the Spirit flow and take the risk of being laughed at, rejected and ridiculed, for a chance to bless others and be blessed in return? Don’t miss out on the gifts of those who are tragically stuck in their homes. Become not only a passive witness of their Spiritual growth, but a catalyst to the revealing of their hidden strengths.
The hardest lessons that the Lord teaches us are the ones, which bring pain into our lives. Like a flood they sweep through our days altering the paths of each decision. Aches, unanticipated and unwelcomed, like wild fire test our character and build our strength. We like our cozy homes, where tomorrows are planned and we get to complain how busy we are, giving excuses for why we cannot pour more out of our souls for the sake of our sisters and brothers. In it we forgo on the true fellowship with the real irons of this earth, which could truly sharpen our hearts.
Thanks for reading. Next Friday, LBOC will be featuring a guest blog on how one autistic boy’s gifts were given full-reign at his church and school. One example of what we are missing when we don’t reach out to all.
Born and raised in Poland, Monika Holt is a homeschooling mom of three, with a passion for Christ. She has two special needs children, one with a peanut allergy and one with reading disability, on the mend. In her BC (before children) days she was a professional ballroom dancer with an unlikely degree in English Literature and Political Science from Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ. She now chairs the Special Needs Committee in her local homeschool group.