Friday, November 9, 2012

Thanksgiving Project 2012: Lynn

This is a weird way to jump into the Thankfulness Project.  I actually asked a non-special needs parent to jump it off.  This is why I started this blog.  I wanted those who were "Outlanders" to understand what was going on in my life.  I mean, I didn't exactly draw the cross-hairs on anybody, but I wanted to let folks know what our lives were like.  Not to feel sorry for us, but to see how we were alike and to bind us together more. 

The consquence in this particular case is bigger than I thought it would be, but this is why sharing our stories is so very important.  It makes other peoples' worlds bigger, and ours less constricting.  It makes us brothers-in-arms and partners, rather than foes.

I love Lynn in real life.  And I am thankful for her and her willingness to jump in to what God asked her to do...and I am thankful for her challenging and strengthening friendship.

Please welcome Lynn.  Last time I had her on, she was sharing her OWN, she is sharing ours...

"I am currently in the midst of trying to help my church become more inclusive. When my eyes were first opened to the gap in how churches minister to families who are outside of the typical need I thought I was going to get to be a cheerleader for change. You can imagine my surprise when I look around to find that I'm not on the sidelines, but instead I'm the quarterback throwing passes and making plays. This is so backwards from where I thought I'd be that it has driven me to make sports analogies. I don't even like football! I'm the mom who signs up for anything except working with children. Why would God in his infinite wisdom pick someone so wholly unqualified as me? I struggled with that question for almost a year. Then it hit me, or God did, that I have time. I had a year to wonder. I have time to research, make calls, and take meetings. Time is my qualifier. Everyday families fight to make a place in this world for their child. Church should be one place where you don't have to fight to be welcomed. It should be someone from the outside with time fighting that battle. The need almost demands someone unqualified.

Once I finally had that settled in my mind I became extremely humbled and grateful that God choose to open my mind and my heart in this way. I can't even begin to describe how I have changed since embracing this call. I feel like I should apologize to everyone who I've ever known that has been touched by any sort of disability. There is so much we, the outsiders, just don't know, and we don't know that we don't know. I feel like I've swallowed the pill and woken up in the Matrix, only I know that I'm still only just looking through the window. One thing I never expected to see was the immeasurable blessings. In the past couple of months I have seen mountains move, gotten to know people in ways I never would have before, and seen the capacity we have to do good after realizing our failings. I know there are some who would say that I've been "burdened" with a calling, but that is so wrong. I have been blessed to be allowed to see God's guiding hand in caring for His children, all of His children, and I am very thankful.

Tiffany asked me specifically if I was thankful to be brought into this magical world or if I was upset to have been dragged in. The answer is yes. Yes, I am thankful that God has opened my eyes, changed my heart, and that this community is allowing me in. Yes, I am upset I was dragged into it, but not because I'm here, because I'm ashamed it took dragging. I am horrified by how much growing I still need to do, but that doesn't mean I'm not extremely thankful for realizing I needed to change."

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