When I first heard the term “glass” child at work I was a bit confused. During a conversation at work with my boss and a co-worker they both looked at me and at the same time said, “you are a typical glass child”.
What does that mean and why did they say that to me? I found out that a “glass” child is someone who grows up with either a sibling or a parent with a disability. I grew up with a brother who has Cerebral Palsy and a best friend who is deaf. When I was around them people did not see me, they looked through me to my brother and best friend and what their disabilities were. I was like glass to others around us. I have never seen this as a negative thing but for many “glass” children I can see how this would be a negative and a hard thing to over come.
I believe “glass” children are fiercely independent and fiercely loyal. I can remember people picking on my brother and my best friend and coming to their defense often. I also learned how to do many things at a young age to help out my parents because they were very busy with taking care of my brother. This was my normal and to some extent still is my normal.
Working at Joni and Friends has really helped me in so many ways. I have told friends recently that working here has brought healing to my heart in just the short amount of time. Everyday the Lord reminds me, it’s okay. My life has never been “normal”. I have said for years that the Lord made me independent so that my parents would not have to worry about me as much as they had to worry about my brother.
Here I am, now working for an organization that affords me the privilege to not only be there for those affected by disability but to reach out to other “glass” children (who are adults now) and let them know it’s okay, you are not alone.
Even though I am a typical “glass” child, I see how God has used that over the years to help me get through struggles I might not have walked through as easily if it were not for my fierce independency and loyalty.
Do you have some one in your life that has a disability? How do you view yourself or your family? Have you heard the term “glass child” before reading this post?
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged disability, faith, Family, friendship, glass child, society | 1 Comment »
Sunday morning at 5:30am I was wide awake and not happy about it. But the disappointment and discouragement I was feeling was enough to wake me so very early in the morning.
Later on in the morning I sat in church alone and wrote this:
I woke up this morning with a great sense of discouragement and an overwhelming sense of disappointment. I tried to control the emotions that were bubbling up and over in the form of tears. I truly hate feeling this way. It is tiresome and quite unsettling. I wrestled my thoughts and feelings for what seemed like an hour until I heard a quite whisper reminding me it’s okay. I will be okay…there was a sense of peace and a flood of grace filled my heart. Grace like I had never felt before. God was there, right in the midst of my tears and wrestling.
Five minutes after writing that there was a video that was shown about human trafficking. I lost it. If anyone saw me sitting on the back row, sobbing, you now know why. My discouragement and disappointment felt so tiny compared to what I was seeing on the screen.
It doesn’t matter what the discouragement or disappointment were about, what matters is that God in His sovereignty knew I need to cry and let go of the feelings I had been wrestling with earlier. He just happen to choose a short video on human trafficking to get to me where I wasn’t thinking about myself but I was thinking about others and praying for them. I felt it was fitting that the song the church sang right after the video was “Amazing Grace”.
Amazing Grace indeed. God was there. He always is.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged church, faith, Grace, human trafficking, psalm 139, spirituality, tears, thoughts and feelings | Leave a Comment »
Twenty years ago today my life and the lives of many of my friends changed forever. I am not able to describe what others were feeling or went through but I can share what I was feeling and what I went through. I’ve tried time and again to write out what happened but have felt that my words would not be adequate enough. I still don’t know if they are adequate but I needed to write this.
April 8, 1993 started out like any other day. I was on Spring break so I am sure I slept in and then just bummed around the house. (Some memories of this time are a bit fuzzy.) It was fairly early in the morning when my sister answered a phone call from one of her friends letting her know that one of my friends, Shantel, had passed away. When she told me, I blew her off and said that’s not true. I thought that her friends were playing a joke and didn’t know what they were talking about. I had no idea it was not a joke until much later in the day.
My parents both got home from work when my dad received a phone call from one of the pastors on staff at our church. Shantel had indeed passed away earlier in the day and Jennifer her best friend was there when it happened. I kept thinking over and over that this can not be true. We just saw each other the night before at youth group. My dad ended the phone call and both my parents told me about the events of the day. I’m sure I cried and hugged them (I honestly can not remember) and then I went into the bathroom where I stayed for as long as possible alone, in shock. Some of our friends were in NY on a missions trip. Did they know? How are they handeling this? I would find out later that they were called and did know and were just as upset and in shock as I was.
My memories of the funeral and grave side service are very few and far between. I know that Michael W Smith’s song “Friends” was played and it took me years to listen to it without crying. My youth pastor, Daryl, spoke and I sat there numb. There are some days it seems like it happened yesterday and then other days it feels like a life time ago. I never thought my sophomore year in high school would be marked with tragedy. I am sure no one ever thinks that.
Life has moved on for everyone that was affected by the loss of Shantel. This year I needed to take some time and do my best to remember. To remember that Shantel’s life may have been cut short but I know without a doubt she loved the Lord and one day, we will all see her again.
If you knew Shantel I would love for you to share your memories about that time or any other time that you got to share with her.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged friendship, missions trip, tragedy, youth, youth pastor | 6 Comments »
I made this paper towel holder…in 7th grade.
Recently I was in my parents kitchen talking with the family about the above paper towel holder. My mom has kept this thing for 23 years. I made the paper towel holder in 7th grade shop class.
My mom and I have different memories that come to mind when we look at it. My mom thinks about how wonderful it was that I made her this creation during shop class. I took time to make it and give it to her. She remembers me in junior high.
I on the other hand, have different thoughts and memories. I sigh, loudly when I look at it! It is a reminder to me of how horrible of a job I did and how I threw up in shop class. Yes, I just said I threw up in shop class. That was SO embarrassing! I had been sick earlier in the day but my dad felt that I needed to go to school after eating an early lunch. Needless to say, my dad had to come back to school, pick me up and get me home before I threw up again. Did I mention how embarrassing that was??? The smell of wood being sawed also reminds me of that time. For quite a while I could not go into Lowes or Home Depot because the smell of wood being sawed would make me sick.
Did you have to take a wood shop class? If so, what did you make?
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged class, Family, Memories, school, seventh grade, wood | 4 Comments »
I have been wrestling with some thoughts lately about being in the ministry and doing ministry.
I know working in a ministry setting is messy. Why? Because you are working with people and people have lives that are not neat and tidy, wrapped in a big red bow. I’m learning this more with the ministry I work with. (Joni and Friends) Working with people who have disabilities is not easy and is messier at times than working with people who are considered “normal”.
I do know what it is like to be in a family that has some one with a disability and the challenges it presents. I’ve talked about my brother who has Cerebral Palsy and how it has affected him and our family. I can remember many times just wanting him to “act normal” and “be like everyone else” so that we could be a “normal” family. (Side note: My family is anything but normal and it has nothing to do with my brother. )
Many times I have begged, and pleaded for people to come alongside my brother and be a friend and minister to him only to have it fall on deaf ears. I got the “yeah, I would love to hang with your brother and connect with him” comments only to realize that it was not as sincere as either of us hoped or wanted it to be. Why? Because hanging out with my brother is messy. He’s not “normal”. I don’t fault the people I have tried to connect my brother with in saying “yes” when it came down to “I don’t know, let me think about it” and several months go by with no contact. It is not easy to connect with some one just because their sibling thinks you should. Another reason I don’t fault them is because I’ve done the same thing. Many times people have wanted me to connect with someone who is hurting, or their lives are just plain messy and I say “yes” with good intentions only to have horrible follow through.
I’ve realized over the years it takes special people who truly want to get their hands dirty and jump into the mess that is ministry. Disability ministry adds a whole new dimension of messy.
I like things tidy and neat, wrapped in a big red bow. That’s how things in my life make sense. But life is not like that everyday and ministry is certainly not like that. It is messy and often times makes no sense. As a believer in Christ, I’m called to the messy.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged christianity, community, disability, faith, Family, life, messes | Leave a Comment »
A few weeks ago, my boss showed us a video at work that I have been meaning to share with you.
This is worth a few minutes of your time!
I understand how this young boy wants his brother to experience everything he does even though he can not experience it the same way. I have always had the same desire for my brother! This young boy inspires me to do more! (Which I guess is a good thing that I work for a disability ministry now!)
Do you know some one in your life that has a disability? Are you a champion for them?
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged disability, Inspirational, people, siblings, sports | 1 Comment »
On January 13th I flew out to California for the Joni and Friends staff conference and had a blast! I loved getting to know more people within the organization and learn more about who I am working for and with. I can honestly say I met a lot of new friends and was able to hear their stories and how they were connected to the ministry. It has been a while since I have been in full time ministry and I realized how much I had missed it when being out in CA. One of my favorite moments of the week was putting up a picture of the church where the conference was being held on Facebook and getting a response from my dear friend, Rachel, from my DTS in YWAM that, the church I had been in all week was her home church!
I knew that I had to see her. I needed to hug my friend and catch up even if it were for a brief few minutes. I’m pretty sure I squealed when I saw her on Thursday morning! I got to meet one of her daughters as well! It has been too long since we had really talked or even caught up when it wasn’t on Facebook. Yes, it made me miss more of my closest friends from YWAM. I wish I could round them all up in one place for a week and hang out. Although I am sure one week would not be enough for any of us.
I was able to learn more how my job works and who to connect with when I have problems. I learned that grace is always there when I make a mistake. Which is huge for me! There was more healing of my heart through out this week. For that I am grateful.
I love that I have co-workers and I don’t work in an office alone. I made the statement last week that this job had been three years in the making and my boss confirmed that. God knew what He was doing when bringing me through the last three years of my life. The last part of 2012 was hard but I never felt that God had abandoned me. At times things were a bit scary as far as finding ways to pay my bills but without fail, God provided each time a bill came up. I also had lots of people praying for me. I am very grateful!
I am hoping to have a blog post written up this week as well about a book I was given by my new friend, Cindy. Another favorite moment was meeting Cindy who is from Michigan and learning more about her life.
I also hope to have many more blog posts coming this year.
How is your year starting off?
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged Books, DTS, friendship, Grace, Joni and Friends, work, YWAM | Leave a Comment »