Tuesday, November 26, 2013

To Whom Much Has Been Given...

"...Much is required from the person to whom much is given; much more is required from the person to whom much more is given."
~ Luke 12:48, GNT ~

"To whom much has been given..."  Isn't that the part where we parents raising children with special needs usually tune out?  We don't feel like we've been given the "much" that others around us have.  We don't have much money, much spare time, much of the average life blessings that our neighbors do like a new car or remodeled kitchen.  The only "much" we feel like we've been given falls in the area of medical bills, troubles with school, parental heartache, and exhaustion.

Yet, as Thanksgiving approaches, I challenge you to pull back for a moment of quiet to contemplate how much you actually have been given raising your child with special needs in America.  Generally speaking, we are blessed to have access to the world's best medical care.  Our children are so fortunate to receive cutting edge therapies and procedures when many, many parts of the world don't even have access to basic medical care.  As I see friends serving as missionaries in foreign lands and adopting children from other nations, I am able to witness first hand the poor equipment, lack of facilities and virtually non-existent access to many lifesaving medications that we take for granted here in the US.

Taking a broader worldview makes it easier to see how much we have to be grateful for, especially when it comes to the care of our child with special needs.  Not only do we have access to medicine, equipment, doctors and facilities.  We also have things like therapy animals, music therapy, assistive apps on iPads, adaptive aquatics, and other complimentary alternative medicine.  We can also take comfort that we raise our children in relative safety in comparison to several parts of the world.  Even in our poverty, we have a roof over our heads, warm clothes and food on the table.

The truth is that we have been given much, even when we don't feel like it.  And there are places where we can pass on the blessing.  If you are the typical family, your child receives extra medical supplies that they don't use.  Our children also outgrow walkers, crutches, wheelchairs and other durable medical equipment.  We can bless others by passing these items on.  We can also make financial donations, no matter how small, to places that do this sort of work worldwide.
  1. IMEC America :: Supplying impoverished nations around the world with repurposed and repaired medical equipment, as well as spare medical supplies, you can feel confident that you are donating to an established, trustworthy organization.  We have even done medical supply drives for them through our church.  It is incredible what you can find yourself passing on.
  2. Joni & Friends Wheels for the World :: Since 1994, Joni & Friends has been delivering wheelchairs along with the Gospel message to third world countries.  They are all about showing the love of Christ in practical ways to the least of God's children.  Several cities around the US have a church liaison, making it easy to collect and pass on equipment.
  3. Save One Life & Project Share :: Founded in 2000 & 2002 by fellow hemo mom and Christian, Laurie Kelley, you can make a difference on several different levels through these organizations.  For those in the bleeding disorders community, Project Share takes donations of clotting factor that is no longer being used.  Through Save One Life, you can sponsor an individual child in a foreign nation on a monthly basis, also corresponding with that child to offer them encouragement.  They are running their "I Saved a Life" Campaign through the holiday season, attempting to reach 1,100 sponsors!  For both organizations, a one-time financial donation can also be made. 
  4. Katy's Kloset ::  Katy's Kloset is just one of many medical equipment lending libraries around the nation.  This one happens to be closest to our Snappin' Ministries Headquarters, but with a little searching, you may find one near you.  The equipment at Katy's Kloset is suitable for both adults and children, and is loaned out completely free of charge.  What they have in inventory depends largely upon what has been given to them, so it changes over time.  But for families just like us, this can be a tremendous lifesaver.
Of course, volunteering locally is an amazing way to give back the tremendous gift of time while not tapping your pocketbook.  We have many wonderful, gracious families without whom Snappin' Ministries could never function.  They write, serve at our Recess respite, coordinate various events, and serve in many other ways.  You can check out our website to see if you might have an area of giftedness that could be a blessing to others through our ministry.

Regardless of how you give, do it LAVISHLY, because God has lavished such incredible love upon each of us.  (See 1 John 3:1)  It may seem like our troubles are great and our blessings are small, but that perspective will suddenly transform when you begin serving or giving to others.

PRAY:  Lord, I give THANKS for the boundless blessings you have lavished upon our family, especially living in this nation.  I praise You for providing my child with great medical care, good schools, and even basic needs.  Thank You for working through people in our area who serve us through churches or public programming.  Holy Spirit, open my eyes to ways that I can give generously in return.  Let me reflect the love of Jesus to a hurting world.
 
Do YOU know other places where families like ours can pass on the blessing?  LET US KNOW, so we can pin them to our
Pinterest Board "Passing On The Blessing"! 

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