Tuesday, August 13

That Holy Spirit Work

Sometimes, I feel like I need to somehow show others the value or worth of my children with special needs.  Specifically when I recognize that another sees them as dispensable for whatever reason.  I go on a hunt, wanting to help others see what I see.  When I see a post by someone else that joyfully reflects this value, and expresses it in a way that I wish I could, I am generally eager to share it with others.  To hope that they will catch a glimmer of that joy that it gives me when others understand the beauty of the soul of a person with disabilities.

I think that sometimes this desire to help others to 'catch the vision' of the value of people with disabilities can instead be seen as a defensiveness or a sword up for battle. Especially in the world of FaceBook, where your posts and status messages and links are seen as a billboard in to what your life reflects.

Let me say this loud and clear:

The parent's desire for her child to be accepted is not a sword and rarely a battle shield.  It is more often a white flag of peace, asking for the battle to be called off.  

The battle is raging against us.  It's raging against our children.  The difference between those in people-groups that have been or are currently discriminated against and the group of people who are as a group defined as people with intellectual disabilities is this: People with intellectual disabilities CANNOT defend themselves.  They cannot speak for themselves to say how much it hurts.  They feel it, but they cannot articulate it as clearly as other groups that are discriminated against.  It is you and me, and our brothers and sisters and aunts and grandparents and cousins, and friends, and teachers, and pastors, and community leaders, who are their voice for inclusion in every aspect of their lives.

There's more to it, though.  You see, there are two types of 'hurt' that a person can feel when they see a post speaking to a 'negative' situation of a person with disabilities.  Whether it be in regards to them being mistreated in school, not included in their community or church, or any other thing that is brought to light...

There are two types of 'hurt' responses. There are those that hurt for the person with disabilities, and there are those that cannot believe that someone would "dare say that" about an organization/group/etc. 

It's the second 'hurt' that I am going to address.  Bold of me, I know... but it circles around as a type of political correctness within the 'non-disabled' communities and in recent months quite a bit of it has made it round circle back to me in real life and in the blog/FaceBook world.

If you're already angry that I'd even suggest that such a feeling could exist, and you're saying to yourself "I don't feel that way!" trying to make excuses for that pang you felt when I even suggested the notion, then hold on, because there's still some work to be done.   Because what I'd like to suggest is that maybe, just maybe, you need to study that conviction.  Yep, I said it.  It could be a conviction.  Study the conviction that says "that is annoying or not right," or "that doesn't apply to me," as you reach to click 'close' so you don't have to see this.

Consider that if it hurts you to see it, then there may be a part of your life where you've not yet applied it. Consider that if you see a post about the church-- and your church isn't accepting to people with disabilities-- that you may have a role in GETTING IT TO.  Consider that if you see a post about the loneliness of parents, or the lack of school support, or the difficulty finding respite or child care, or... or... or... and you feel a PANG that says "but wait, don't say that!"  Then something inside of you is conflicting with some of the outside information that is being put in.

Consider that there are 2 reasons that could happen:

1- the information you're reading is absolutely false and didn't/doesn't/won't/couldn't happen.  Consider the ramifications of that.  Does/could/ might it happen?  Shouldn't be too hard to figure out.

2- the information is correct, and you've got some Holy Spirit work going on in your heart.

Of course, it could be that something you've read is overstated or doesn't share all the facts, or that it's not from a reliable source.  But also consider that if you're feeling something that could be conviction, then some time in prayer might be a good start to recognize how God's calling YOU to be a voice.

"Whom shall I send?"  "Here I am.  Send me."  (Isaiah 6:8 paraphrased)

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:
I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’
 “Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’

Matthew 25:34-40 (The Message)

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