Growing up I never really noticed people with special needs. A neighbor kid had a special needs sister, but I was too little to understand what made her different. My school didn’t have special needs kids mainstreamed so I didn’t pass them in the halls, I really didn’t know anything about them.
Fast forward to college. I took a job at a residential facility for what were then called “developmentally delayed adults” ages 18 through 65. The population of this private home ranged drastically from non-verbal clients to high-functioning clients. Some never saw their families, others saw they each weekend.
Their “delays” may be caused by chromosomal issues, some simply had a lack of oxygen at birth. Each one of those precious people was created still in the image of God, for a purpose and a plan that only they could complete.
So many times I remember their sweet smiles, their struggles to overcome the daily battles they faced, the love and gentle-spirited hearts who shared what they had with anyone who might need it.
I remember one woman who would sing hymns and even though she combined two hymns without realizing it the combination spoke volumes theologically.
Each one of these wonderful people taught me more about myself, the ugly side and wonderful side of life. I recently heard that my home church opened an entire facility to be available for the special needs members. A safe place to attend church in an environment best suited to their needs.
From interactive centers, to places were they could seek solace and quiet when over stimulated; each place was a fantastic way to show the love my church has for those who seem to see a bit more of Heaven here on earth.
Scripture is clear in Psalm 139:13-16:
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
Each one of us is special to God. Created by Him– on purpose, for a purpose.
Paul wrote to the Ephesians about this amazing blessing we have when we seek God and all that He can offer to us as His Children– no matter how we may be formed.
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen (Ephesians 3:14-21).