The other day I was driving and a song came on “Broken Things” by Matthew West. The chorus of the song is:
Oh but I heard a whisper, As Heaven bent down Said,
“Child, don’t you know that the first will be last and the last get a crown.
Now I’m just a beggar in the presence of a King, I wish I could bring so much more
But if it’s true You use broken thing, Then here I am Lord, I’m all Yours.
I was in tears thinking of how God is using my son who happens to have Down syndrome for a ministry.
The world may see those with disabilities as “broken” but in God’s eyes and in His word, He says they are an important part of the body. 1 Cor. 12:22-23 NIV says “Those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor.”
My family took this verse to heart and decided to share this with our special friends in Ichmul, Mexico.
Ichmul is a tiny village of Mayan Indians, in the Yucatan Peninsula. Two years ago, I felt the Lord place on my heart to go there because there were special needs families to be found and loved. That first year we found 6 families, that Mission House Partners International didn’t know were there, and a special needs ministry was born (all because of my son). The following 2 years we found another 12 families in 2 other villages.
We told them about Ryan having Down syndrome, that he could not be cured, it wasn’t a curse and he as well as their children were perfect. When we showed them pictures of our son, there was an immediate connection, the kind you feel when you meet another family with special needs. You understand each other because you walk the same walk, whether in a different country or in our neighborhood. We told them how much God loved them and that their child was made in God’s image and even with a disability, God has a plan for their life.
This summer we honored those families from three villages, with a dinner just for them (just like in Luke 14.) After the dinner, my husband spoke about our son and the impact he has made in this world and in the ministry God has him doing. His ministry grows even without great verbal skills or ever stepping foot in Mexico. My husband then placed medals on each of the special needs children’s neck and told them that God sees them as number 1!
God has and is using Ryan to show HIS love to others, and help people see the beauty in the brokenness. Our special needs children come into the world to make a difference and God has a plan for them. He can use them to bring glory to His name and to His kingdom! I look at what God has done with Ryan’s life in the 17 short years he has been here and I wonder why I ever worried. I know God’s plan A is better than any plan I could come up with.
Sometimes life as a special needs family can certainly be hard, but God is GOOD all the time. We just have to look at our children’s faces to see the beauty that shines from them and see that God’s fingerprints are all over them.
Amy is the Special Needs Ministry Director for The Chapel Green. She grew up at The Chapel and has been married to her husband Mark for more than 20 years. They have two children, Abby and Ryan. Ryan was born in 2001 with Down Syndrome. As her family began the journey with a special needs child, the Lord placed on her heart that Ryan came into the world to make a difference and that God had a plan for his life—even with an extra chromosome. (Jeremiah 29:11.) Amy was inspired to come alongside other families to support, love and share with them that their children are made perfectly in God’s image and tell them how much Jesus loves each of us. Amy is the author of It’s More Ups Than Downs and when she is not working, she enjoys being with her family, sunshine, flip flops and reading a great fictional history book.