Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Extraordinary Life......

“Dear God,
I am so afraid to open my clenched fists!
Who will I be when I have nothing left to hold on to?
Who will I be when I stand before you with empty hands?
Please help me to gradually open my hands
and to discover that I am not what I own,
but what you want to give me.” Henri Nouwen
When the little slip of paper came around to volunteer at church, I happened to notice a little box right next to help out in the special needs class. It was as if that choice alone of all the other choices was outlined in bold, yet I know it wasn't. I remembered my words, I said....."every big church should have one." Because of my niece Lauryn, I'm sensitive to it. I think it's important that people with special needs have a place in church, a class all their own, an option like everyone else.

I felt the Lord give me one of His nudges. "If you support it so strongly, maybe you should help out." I checked the box and prayed while my little slip was passed along with the others down the aisle. Because I knew I had to. Because I knew the Extraordinary Life class was something out of my comfort zone. I like safe, I like predictable. The truth is, sometimes the world feels out of my comfort zone.

Dear God forgive me, I didn't even know what hand over hand drawing meant when I talked to Amy on the phone and she told me a bit about the class. As I saw shortly after I got there, it means you put your hand over theirs, coloring in what they cannot. What would it be like to have a child who can't do the simplest things? Those things we all take for granted. I thought of Lauryn and how she can do just about anything physical and yet in her brain there are many words still fighting to get out.

As I put her little hand in mine and we colored in the outlined cross on the paper, it had to be purple, her favorite and also my niece's favorite too....... I suddenly felt the impact of what that meant......hand over hand.

Just like God takes ours and does the impossible.
And another curious thing I felt? My own weakness as well as her own. I didn't want to hurt her hand, and I didn't know if how I was holding it was comfortable for her. I complimented her on her beautiful nails, which her Mom, (it turned out to be Amy, the same lady I talked to on the phone) painted a brilliant sparkly deep red with a hint of pink.

And then there was Kathleen,  who had quite possibly the most beautiful pair of blue eyes I had ever seen, framed with wonderfully long dark lashes. In them, I saw the whole sky of Heaven. I have a feeling she sees more than the rest of us combined. She was 33 and all of 70 pounds soaking wet, also wheelchair bound. She smiled at me and I smiled at her. At that moment, I saw the Lord looking back. In her hands she clutched onto two balls, one in each hand. It was clear that she didn't want to let go of them.

She loves the song Jesus Loves Me.....they say her face lights up when she hears it.

As I looked at her little fists so tightly wrapped around what made her feel better, I thought of all the things I kept closed around my fists too, for fear of letting go.  I understood how she felt. In some ways we are not so different after all. 

These parents, these kids. These are the ones who teach the lessons. The ones the world so often calls the least of these. One thing I am sure of, Jesus loves them this I know, and I also know they are somehow closer to Him than I am.

Even so, I know He loves me too.

Photo credit: Google images


  1. Oh my, Lori -- what an absolutely heartfelt and BEAUTIFULLY written post. It touched my heart so very much, because I have a son (19 next month)who has special needs. I would have loved for our church to have had a special needs ministry. We tried, but sadly, we could not get enough interest and helpers. In any event, kudos to you for stepping out of your comfort zone -- NEVER an easy thing to do, is it? Yet look at the blessing you're receiving because of it: getting to look upon the face of Christ in each and every person you serve there...and having His look back at you!

    May God hold you close and continue to shower you with His love and blessings,

    Pam M.

  2. Hi Lori,
    Oh!! This one is an awesome post, sweetheart.
    Your heartfelt and inspirational words touched my heart so deeply. The story certainly moved my feelings. Yes!! It would be great to achieve the goal of getting more helping hands at Church for the vulnerable ones in need.
    Thank you for sharing your great food for thoughts, your wisdom with the world, Lori!!
    Now, that I have taken a break from my own personal writings, I shall have more time to read wonderful blogs and posts such as yours.
    I have already sent a couple of Emails on your way, but I am not sure whether you received them, because you haven't replied to me yet.
    I wish you have a HAPPY EASTER with all your beloved ones, sweet Lori!!
    God keeps blessing you with showers of blessings, Lori dear!!
    Love in the Lord & Blessings,
    Poet Starry Dawn.

  3. Happy Resurrection blessings to you both and thank you for your time to comment so kindly. Bless you Pam, I believe those who have special needs kids have a particular hard road but also a road filled with unexpected blessings!

    Thank you Starry for your kind words also. I did get your Easter email and well wishes, thank you so are so sweet, and I hope you have a wonderful Easter week with your family....

  4. This is just beautiful, Lori - I love your heart.

  5. Oh thank you Michelle, I am a reluctant volunteer, really, God has so much patience with me! Lori


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