The other day, my friend helped my make a mission statement for my life, which resulted in something along the lines of: I hope to share my joy with others, especially kids with special needs, as a reflection of the love of Jesus Christ. Even as the words left my lips, doubts filled up my heart about my passion for kids with special needs. Deepset insecurity and anxiety have a way of counteracting my confidence in my ability to serve these kids well.

But on this very special day, God reaffirmed me in this passion. A friend of mine has numerous siblings with special needs who visited camp this weekend, and it was such a joyous gift and blessing. As they raced down the water slide, some filled with hesitancy and others delight, splashed around and climbed on the paddleboards (and on me!), and spent the day together, I was given the opportunity to get to know these sweet kids just a little better.

And then, the greatest gift of all: being invited to dinner by their family. There is something absolutely beautiful and very special about sitting around a dinner table with family. Many of the kids were adopted, but there was something beautiful about the way they each called on their mommy and daddy, just as we are adopted into the family of God, and able to call Him Abba, Father.

Holding hands and receiving notes of love and kindness from the kids was such a joy! Each of them had their own unique special need whether cochlear implants, cerebral palsy, autism, or other, yet each of them loved me so very well.

A dear new little friend of mine said to me that when she touched something and gave it to me, then I would always have her in my heart. What a beautiful and simple thing: that though people come and go, we can always have them in our hearts. And the most wonderful reflection of all: God has given us His Holy Spirit, which is always with us in our hearts until we meet again as the bride of Christ. Just like the notes these little girls gave to me to remember them by and hold onto until we see one another again, God has gifted us with His Holy Spirit to help us and comfort us until we are reunited.

Truly my heart is filled with joy: exhausted on the outside, but abundantly filled on the inside. My heart rejoices and delights in the time spent with these sweet kids with special needs, and feels affirmed in the passion the Lord has called me to. What a joy to serve Him!



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