Spring/Summer 2016 Issue
The following content is part of the Spring/Summer 2016 Issue. Articles that are in this issue contain information about the biblical truth about self-righteousness, learn how false preachers are twisting grace, find out if it is right for women to speak, teach, or preach in the church, learn what it means to be saved in childbearing, and much more.
- Discovering God’s Heart for People with Disabilities
- Parable: The Two Coats
- What is Liberty in Christ?
- Prideful Christians are Thieves and Robbers
- 14 Biblical Things Christian Women Can Do for God’s Glory
- Divorce: Have Mercy If You Can
- Thinking About Leaving God? Read This…
- This Must Be What Heaven Is Like
- What Does It Mean For A Woman To Be ‘Saved in Childbearing’?
- Let’s Be Clear: What is Self-righteousness?
- Should Women Speak, Teach, or Preach in the Church?
- Grace is NOT an Excuse to be Imperfect
Discovering God’s Heart for People with Disabilities –By Evana Sandusky
Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes
For 10 years, I have raised a child with a developmental disability and complex medical history. This has set me on a journey of learning what is really on the heart of God.
When Jaycee was born, she was diagnosed with Down syndrome, which is a genetic condition occurring when 3 copies of chromosome 21 are present instead of just two.
For the first few years with Jaycee, I let the diagnosis rule my thinking and my perspective. I saw Jaycee as broken and imperfect. I desperately prayed for God to intervene on her behalf and struggled to find a place for her disability in my Christian faith.
Slowly, my mind began to change and God began to show me how to get past her many diagnoses. Today, I truly feel that while many see Jaycee’s Down syndrome as a very big deal here on earth as it impacts her educational, relational, and vocational opportunities, God views it as less of a problem.
Jaycee is just Jaycee. I think God sees that better than anyone. While Down syndrome affects her everyday life, I can see that Jaycee has abilities and giftings. Her spirit is kind and loving. Her soul is way more important than the limitations of her body.
It seems that those like Jaycee who are labeled with a diagnosis are seen primarily in the church as people who are in need. I sometimes feel like a second class citizen in church because Jaycee’s development and medical diagnoses signal that there’s something wrong with her (and us). If I take her forward for prayer, someone may launch into a prayer for her to be healed of her Down syndrome without ever asking us why we were going forward for prayer. Then there’s the occasional “pep talk” from a fellow Christian telling us to keep believing for Jaycee’s total healing of chromosomes. These encounters leave me feeling that other Christians can’t see past the obvious. I don’t want her to be viewed only through her Down syndrome out of church or in the church.
I am not for any person being singled out time and time again due to a difference, especially when it was not that person’s concern. Approaching people with disabilities in church only in an effort to speak to them about their disability being healed is wrong. The church then becomes just one more place where people with disabilities aren’t fully included. People with disabilities need the full support of a church like anyone else, and these individuals should be viewed differently.
This is important to me as a mother of a child who is often viewed as someone in need. Because of my daughter, I see more than the imperfections caused by an extra chromosome. I see Jaycee as a soul that loves God and other people. Her diagnoses come after that. That is why I feel there needs to be a better balance of accepting people with disabilities in the church in order to better minister to these people and their families.
How can the church do this?
Love the person with the disability. Get to know them. Offer to pray for them, but ask what their need is. Ask God to show you what their gifting is. Encourage this person to find their gifting. Invite them to church activities, even if you aren’t sure if they can physically do something. Be a friend. Teach this person about God. Listen to them when they need encouragement. Love them the way the great Creator does regardless of the issues in their body.
It’s time for people like my daughter to walk into a church and feel God’s love. She may not be whole in the body, but her spirit is perfect. That is what we should all be focused on because in the end that is what God is focused on.
Cite this article: Please update the Accessed or Retrieved date (September 13, 2015).
Thank you for reading!
Evana is a God-fearing wife, mother of two, and advocate for those with disabilities. [Her daughter] Jaycee has had two open heart surgeries, two heart ablations, multiple hospital admissions for illness, and a fighting spirit.