Have you taken time to contemplate how the disabled people in your church approach God?

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Welcome our special guest post by Jennifer Lubanski, a counselor and teacher.
 

 

She may not come every week but she has been a background fixture in your church for many years. Watch how she interacts with the people around her.  Her interactions will bounce between sweet and bizarrely severe.  Most people ignore her or boss her around.The few who do give her attention are often drawn into a conversation from which they have no clue how to escape.Jesse just wants to know she matters.  She needs to feel like she has something valuable to contribute. But most of all she needs to know she is loved.Jesse is has a slight physical disability and is cognitively delayed.  She lives in a community home with other disabled individuals. She does not always receive great care and her Social Security benefits are controlled by a community caseworker.

Her parents left her with a trust when they passed away but her caretakers found a way to circumvent the safeguards and the money is gone.

Jesse will never have more that she has now.  In fact, if she does save any money her benefits will be cut off.  From time to time she may show up having spent money on a flat screen TV or a trip to Disneyland. Those are times when she must “spend down” her savings to keep the state from confiscating the little she has.

Everyone tells Jesse what to do. She is told where she will live.  Often she is moved just as she has developed meaningful relationships. Most of the time she feels like nothing is in her control.  When she finally has the opportunity to be in charge of something she is overbearing because it is all she has.  She loves being able to help because it makes her feel important.

Jesse would benefit from a team of people who are willing to keep tabs on her life, People who might take her out for dinner or on a family activity once or twice a month.  She could learn to be less over bearing and controlling if she had people reminding her that she matters.  A weekly game of Uno with someone who cares about her could literally change her life.

She needs to be reminded that the Kingdom of God is an upside down kingdom.  The bible says the first shall be last and the last shall be first (Matt 20:24-28).  Because God looks on the heart we may find in heaven that, although, she seems like the least, she is actually the greatest. Help her see that God honors her heart more than her abilities. Teach her to share God’s love through acts of service to others.  Include her in service projects and community events. Give her simple tasks. She may be the greatest greeter ever, and a gentle reminder to your congregation of Matthew 25:40:

“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

Most of all, never underestimate her ability to grasp the gospel or be filled with the Spirit. The simplicity and genuineness of her faith will challenge and inspire your entire congregation.

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Jennifer Lubanski is a teacher and counselor with a heart for families dealing with disabilities.  She loves her family and worshiping with her local church.  She hopes to empower the church and community to support families dealing with autism and other disabilities. Her approach to therapy incorporates the core belief that mental heath is an outflow of right relationship with God, self and others. None of us were meant to live life alone.

More information at: www.jenniferlubanski.com.

 

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The people in this “Coming to Your Church This Sunday” series aren’t real. They are a compilation of people we have known, read about, heard of and heard from throughout the years. If you see yourself in them, you just have a lot in common with the rest of the human race.