World Autism Awareness Day: We’re Equal

world autism awareness dayI’ve shared some of this story before…but it is too good to hide in the archives. Please enjoy a little wisdom from my friend, Jonathan.

A couple of years ago, I spent the day at the offices of Insight for Living to conduct some interviews with members of the Swindoll family for Inclusion Fusion. It was an absolute delight to get to know this group! We enjoyed some splendid discussions about disabilities, sibling relationships, grief and suffering. The highlight of my day, however, was my conversation with then-14-year-old Jonathan, the son of Colleen Swindoll-Thompson and grandson of Chuck and Cynthia Swindoll.

Jonathan was a featured speaker for Inclusion Fusion, and he has much insight and wisdom to share about the Church’s role in soothing broken hearts.

Jonathan has been “labeled” with complicated diagnoses as he has grown up. While these diagnoses help his teachers, therapists and family understand him and his needs, the label that most aptly describes him is “Child of the King.” This is a label he wears proudly, and because of this, he has much to teach.

I have “known” Jonathan for several years, as Colleen and I have been friends and colleagues, sharing our kids’ triumphs and struggles. Until our trip to Dallas, however, I had never actually met him. When he rounded the corner in the Insight offices, I knew right away that this long-anticipated moment had arrived.

“Jonathan!” I said. “I’m so glad to finally meet you. I’m Katie.”

His bespectacled eyes regarded me, and he sized me up.

“We’re equal,” he said solemnly.

I smiled. “We are.” I slipped off my heels and said, “And now we’re even more equal!” He compared his height to mine, smiled and nodded and then off he went to find a spot to read.

We’re equal.

During our day at IFL, we adults talked a lot about God, suffering, prayer and theology. The discussions were enriching, and both stretched and comforted me. However, nothing that was said came close to inspiring me the way Jonathan’s statement did. In two words, he wrapped up 1 Corinthians 12 in a delightfully boyish and joyful package.

We’re equal. All of us…regardless of size or diagnosis or strengths or needs…and we’re all necessary to what God has planned for the Church.

I hope that the truth of Jonathan’s words will press us forward as we focus on awareness and understanding for friends and families affected by autism today….and every day.

Equally yours~

Katie

To listen to some of my interviews with the Swindoll family, please visit Steve Grcevich’s blog.

Just Wait…again…

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According to my blog stats, this post, written just over a year ago, has been making the rounds again via social media. It gives me so much joy to know that it’s a comfort to those in the trenches of new parenthood, as well as a happy reminder to those in other ages-and-stages of parenting of a fleeting and precious time.

I have loved hearing from so many of you as you reflect on your own “just waits.” Some of the comments, from moms and dads who are a stage ahead of me, with now-adult children, gave me great perspective as I travel through these teen years with my own kids.

I’d love to write a new post to share some of these, and I want you to be part of it! Leave a comment here on the blog, or email me with your ideas and thoughts. You will get full credit, of course…or I’ll keep your identity confidential, if you would prefer.

Think of the encouragement we can offer–together–through sharing our “joyful just-waits!”

I’ll be “just waiting” for your responses… 🙂
~Katie

PS You will notice that “Our Family’s Story” is now password protected…it’s just the “age and stage” we’re in! I am happy to share the password with you, particularly if you are a parent of a child with special needs. Please email me for information.

Someone I Know

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Someone I know had an abortion.

She is a loyal friend, a devoted wife, and a mom to some fabulous kids.  I admire her candor and communication skills, and uncanny ability to lead with love.

Someone I know has depression.

She’s honest and insightful…the kind of friend who will help you understand yourself. She’s extremely accomplished…recognized by her peers as an expert. She’s a seeker of justice and an avid reader.

Someone I know is gay.

He’s the sort of friend who would travel miles out of his way if you needed help. He’s creative and wickedly funny. He remembers details about his friends and follows up on their worries. And he loves Jesus.

Someone I know has alcoholism.

She anticipates her friends’ needs and celebrates their accomplishments. She is generous and industrious, with an easy laugh and a flexible, animated disposition.

Someone I know is obese.

He is gifted in his work, and is a leader at church. He’s respected by colleagues and beloved by friends. He’s a dad who adores his children and grandchildren, and a remarkable entrepreneur.

Someone I know has anxiety.

She loves to write, give dinner parties and spend time with her family. She tries hard to help others, and thinks that the very  best place on earth is HOME.
{you know her, too. She is ME.}

And every time someone tells me to “trust God” and “be anxious for nothing,” it makes me feel sad.
Guilty.
Less than.
Not good enough.

But then I remember...I AM good enough. I am a child of the King.

Just like all of the folks I described today…
Folks I love, and who love me, not because I’m worthy, but just because I’m me.

So, please remember, as you enter into the conversations of the day, listening to the  rhetoric, speaking your mind…please remember to speak the truth in love.

Because YOU know someone, too.