Grace in the Midst of a Handicap

Handicap International

“Lord, I give up” I said to myself in tears as I sat in the church bathroom with my two children. “I don’t know what to do.”

This wasn’t the first service I spent in the bathroom. My one-year old daughter refused to remain quiet in the intimate sanctuary and my three-year old son kept shaking loose from me to dart towards the drum set in the pulpit. I’m new to the church so some people stared. Some with looks of compassion and understanding, while others stared with judgment and annoyance on their faces. I couldn’t take it anymore. Why couldn’t they just sit still like the other children? I didn’t know how I was going to serve the church when I couldn’t even keep my own children under control.

I’ve written about my son’s special needs on my blog “Throw Up and Theology” in the past. He hasn’t developed at the same rate as other children. It started with sensory issues. It took him months to learn how to feed himself. As he approaches four this year, he is still not speaking at the same level as other children. He struggles to communicate. Some days, I can manage it. Other days, I feel like a failure as mother. I worry about his future. What will happen to him if I’m not around to advocate for him?

In the midst of my spiritual wrestling and angst, the Lord reminded me of Mephibosheth. Mephibosheth was Jonathan’s son who was crippled in his feet at age five because his nurse fell while running with him (2 Samuel 4:4). As a result, he spent much of his life in Lodabar. In Hebrew, lodabar means “pastureless.” You could say he lived “below the bar” in a place that lacked many resources. However, in 2 Samuel 9, David looks for someone from Jonathan’s house so that he can bless them. A servant tells him about Mephibosheth, and because of David’s love for Jonathan, he allows Mephibosheth to eat at the king’s table for the rest of his life. David blesses him despite his handicap.

This is a reminder to all of us who are struggling with something that God will raise up people to bless us and help us endure whatever hardship we are facing. I believe God brought Mephibosheth to my attention because his crippled feet didn’t prevent him from being placed in a position of prominence. Despite his location in Lodabar, the Lord still enabled David to find him and give him favor. This is a reminder to all of us that no matter where we are in life and no matter what we’re dealing with, we’re never beyond God’s reach. There is nowhere we can go that is beyond God’s grace and love.

If you have a special needs child or deal with a handicap, encourage yourself by knowing that God has his hands on you. He sees your struggles and will give you strength for the journey.

Lauren Jones (@revlaurelj) is an Itinerant Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and serves in the Columbia, SC metropolitan area. As a widow, she balances ministry and motherhood to two rambunctious children. She blogs about her adventures at www.throwupandtheology.com. When she’s not preaching, writing, or changing diapers, she raises awareness about epilepsy and the devastating effects of drunk driving as a volunteer speaker for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). She self-published “I’m Singing This Song to You,” a letter to her children in honor of her late husband available for purchase on Amazon.

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