Worshipping God in church is one way our non-verbal 40-year-old son shares about Jesus. We could not even count over these years the many people who’ve said, “Joey takes me to the throne of God in worship.” It’s true. He sings, closes his eyes (we hold his arm to stabilize his wobbling balance), raises his hands, and pays no attention to anyone who might be “watching him”. He has a direct line to God in his worship and is not hindered from it or concerned what others might think, say, or do. It’s him and his Lord. We can indeed tell you that there is something very special going on in that time of worship!
At our daughter Kristina’s wedding, Joey was an attendant. He was the one who stood on the floor and not up the stairs as a groomsman. (He was stabilized there!) While a friend of our daughter’s sang a solo, everyone watched her and listened attentively to her voice and words. Joey…..his eyes were closed, his hands were lifted, and his head was bowed in worship. I’m not sure what moved people more….the song, her lovely voice, or Joey’s being oblivious to anyone else but Jesus in that wedding service.
It’s sometimes hard to say our kids with special needs are someone special when things drive us crazy with their repetitive verbalizations, when we can’t sleep because they are up all night, when we’re exhausted, and the list goes on and on….. but always, always, we find we get to a point that we see our child/children with the uniqueness of God’s fingerprint on them like we see with Joey during worship. It is that point that we recognize them as someone special.
All of us need to realize those moments and treasure them – with our children with special needs, and with everyone around us. I want to take a little turn here. Many of us have other children besides the child with special needs. It is so important that they sense they are someone special, too. It’s so important that we find ways to make them feel special as well as point out to them those times we see their “specialness”. It might be their kindness, or humor, diligence, or other lovely character traits. No matter their age they need to sense their specialness, too.
Our middle child (and first daughter-Kristina) has been a teacher. I’ve watched her in the raising of her two boys (12 and9) and now for over a year with two little foster daughters….one that came straight from the hospital. This quiet young women has in so many special ways helped teach and train these children and I see her special qualities in them. To watch a nearly 6 year old who couldn’t write her name, count to 3, or say the alphabet begin to bloom to knowing and doing all those things in just 3 months – is partly a miracle from the Lord and partly patience He gave our daughter to see these girls to their next steps in life!
Our daughter (the youngest of our 3-Kathleen) was for 3 years a Christian radio morning talk show co-host. The start of this new morning team came with a lot of challenges because of the ending of the previous hosts careers which lead to nasty social media posts, hateful comments from (yes) believers/Christians, mean-spirited phone calls and even once, someone who opened a public (but fake made-up name) FaceBook page in which they said publicly and directly to Kathleen, “I hate your voice and your cackle.” She and her host always took the high road to these nasty comments, and her response to this one was, “I’m sorry you don’t like my voice and laugh; but it’s what the Lord gave me.” The FaceBook person replied, “Well, maybe you should ask for a refund.” That was so very nasty and hurtful.
Fast forward to Kathleen leaving a few years later came this amazing realization that God wanted her to know how special her voice and she was. Of course we always knew her voice was amazing as she has trained and enjoyed using it in plays, commercials, etc. (see www.kathleenzion.com if you want to see for yourself.) But while both her dad and I and others who love her tried to encourage her about her voice as well as her beautiful character, something that happened on a radio interview and call was such an amazing confirmation that there was a person who was touched in an amazing way by the voice of Kathleen. Nothing I can write or say could say it better than this very short audio “When You Think You Don’t Matter”: https://cindiferrini.com/index.php/when-you-think-you-dont-matter/
I’m sure even the person who meant harm and hurt to Kathleen on that FaceBook post has some redeeming qualities that make them someone special, but I submit to you that Kathleen’s voice and character is indeed something that makes her someone special even if there are others who think differently.
Let’s look at everyone as someone special, taking the time to find each person’s uniqueness and specialness…especially because God will use each of us where He has us. He makes no mistakes.
Encourage someone today that they are someone special. And remember that YOU are someone special, too!
Dr. Joe and Cindi Ferrini share their newest book: Love All-Ways: Embracing Marriage Together on the Special Needs Journey (order at www.cindiferrini.com). They are authors, speakers, and bloggers for several blogging sites on marriage, family and special needs. They speak nationally for FamilyLife Weekend To Remember Marriage Get-a-Ways, authored *Unexpected Journey – When Special Needs Change our Course, and have been interviewed on Focus on the Family, FamilyLife Today, Janet Parshall at “In the Market”, Chris Brooks of “Equipped” and various other radio and television venues. Connect with them at:
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Joe and Cindi have been married since 1979, have 3 grown children, grandchildren, and enjoy speaking together on topics of marriage, parenting (including special needs), leadership, and time and life management. They have written articles and blogs for Focus on the Family, FamilyLife, Family Matters, and others. Together they authored: Unexpected Journey – When Special Needs Change our Course. Cindi has written time management and organizational materials as well. They LOVE what they GET to do….
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