I have had the privilege of working with children and adults with disabilities throughout my life.
This has always been a special experience for me. I have been truly inspired by their strength and their courage.
Working with those with Disabilities
I have had the privilege of working with children and adults with disabilities throughout my life. This has always been a special experience for me. I have been truly inspired by their strength and their courage. At one time in my employment, I was in continuous contact most often with mothers who were trying to care for their special needs children. I ached as they cried, as they explained how exhausted they were and how they felt completely inadequate to do as much as was needed. I knew that these mothers and fathers loved their children and I loved them because of it.
Heavenly Father giving help
I can imagine our Father in Heaven carefully watching these dear parents who are giving everything to help their families succeed and survive. I felt Him whispering to me how to help as I worked with them. The Holy Ghost told me how to respond to their questions and ease their emotional burdens. I know that he was sent to me because Heavenly Father knew and loved each member of their families. I saw how He stood ready to bless them in their need. We can get a small glimpse of a similar situation in the New Testament.
In Mark 9:17-24, we read of a desperate father who brings his child to Christ to be healed. He explains, “Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; and wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not.”
Many families who are raising a special needs child can relate to the helplessness that comes with caring for someone whose body or mind works differently. It can be a heavy burden on the hearts of everyone involved. It can also be a beautiful experience. I know many families who expressed that their special needs member of the family brought a special spirit and a joyfulness into their home.
This father in the biblical account showed faith once already by taking the child to the disciples but they could not help. As he approaches the Lord, he tells the Savior, “ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and help us.” Jesus Christ then encourages him to believe. Verse 24 reads “And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” In other words, he wanted to have the faith on behalf of his son but then asked for help with his doubts.
In 3rd Nephi 17:7 of the Book of Mormon, the Savior shows compassion on the Nephites and asks them to bring their sick and afflicted to Him. He called for the halt, the lame, the blind, the leprous, withered and the deaf and then he healed them, every single one. The miraculous healings came through the Savior’s power to bless both the afflicted and the caregivers of the afflicted. No one is forgotten in the Lord’s kingdom. No one is more or less important or valuable because of their mental or physical abilities.
Elder W. Craig Zwick of the Quorum of the Seventy said, “During His ministry, the Savior, with great compassion, saw beyond the imperfections of body and mind and looked upon the heart. Our discipleship includes the sacred responsibility to follow His example of reaching out and loving those with disabilities. Valiant disciples seek meaningful ways to stretch their souls in service and love to others…Our lives are blessed as we learn lessons from trusted friends whose disabilities and humility invite the Spirit. They teach us a new dimension of faith, courage, patience, love, and individual worth.”
Our Father in Heaven loves these wonderful people who live with daily challenges. They are precious to Him and they are a gift to us. I have often felt cheered and encouraged by my special friends. Those I have been fortunate to associate with have been joyful, happy, and incredibly loving. It feels like they have a direct connection to heaven. What an honor to be able to spend time with these earthly angels.
1 “Encircled in the Savior’s Love”, Elder W. Craig Zwick, October Conference, 1995