“I slept and dreamt life was joy, I awoke and saw life was service, I acted, and behold, service was joy.”
We limp into church.
It’s been a rough weekend for many reasons.
My oldest girl is one reason.
She’s out of sorts, non-compliant, hard to control, destroying everything in her path like a bull in a china shop, and pinging off the walls since 12:30 am.
I’m longing for heaven not because I want to see Jesus but just because I’d like to escape life.
A young woman, B, sits in the front of the church, as she does every Sunday, with her elderly parents. B has some developmental delays and a number of health issues, including a seizure disorder. She worships in the sanctuary with all her heart.
In the middle of the sermon B suddenly makes a loud, hacking noise. The preaching stops abruptly; it’s eerily quiet. All eyes settle on B as she proceeds to vomit in the front row. For a moment all that can be heard are the helpless sounds of retching. The sound of her suffering fills the room.
Instantly Brandon is on his feet, as are a few others. Someone retrieves B’s walker and gently, lovingly helps her out of the sanctuary. With each slow step she takes, she looks up, and people pray for her. Piano music is playing softly now. Others quickly come in with towels and, without a word, clean up the mess; one on her knees wipes the floor.
Tears burn the back of my eyes.
Because when you have a child with special needs, every child with special needs is your child.
There are moments in life when you know that you are witness to something holy, something bigger than yourself and bigger than the moment. When words don’t suffice, and all you know is that God has something to say.
I live in such a moment as I watch these people serve B, hold her up, clean her up, love her.
I once heard it said and now know it’s true: Christ is present when the weak are loved and served.
As lovely Rhema sits beside me in the pew, humming away, seemingly oblivious to what is happening around her, I drop my head and hear the message:
Just like this. Just like this, I have loved you.
You, weak and needy and hurting and helpless. I, your God, kneel down and wipe away your horrible mess. I help you up and walk with you, every painful, limping step. I uphold you in my hand. Lift your head. Do you see? Do you see how I love you? I love you with an everlasting love.
Now, I have blessed you and entrusted you with a very precious, very special one. And you get to spend your life pouring yourself out for her. It’s not easy or glamorous or even acknowledged, but when you serve her – when you get up with her in the middle of the night, when you clean her poop, when you drive her to speech therapy every Saturday, when you go to great lengths to keep her safe and help her grow – you serve me! So do it in gladness and patience, and I will be your help.
I hug Rhema, my gift, close to me.
My heart gives in to joy.