Special Needs

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV)

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV)

When I was in the 7th grade, my mother was called in to meet with my teacher because I had received a conduct grade of 3 (the worst). "He just won't sit still," my teacher lamented. (Apparently I had also stood and saluted my teacher. Nervous energy I guess). I often lost my focus, and finished high school with a B - average. In college, my grades improved as I took classes that interested me and allowed a creative outlet, plus I had good professors for the most part. By the time I received my Master's degree, I graduated Summa cum laude, and was named Valedictorian of my graduating class, because I was studying exclusively something I was passionate about (theology) and again, blessed with good professors (most PhD's from Ivy League schools). When I delivered the commencement address with the Governor in attendance, the majority of my speech was earnestly thanking everyone who had mentored, encouraged and contributed to this humbling recognition. My Savior, my mother and my classmates led the list of those whom I had leaned on. In between my undergrad and graduate studies, I launched a successful consulting company and magazine, all outlets where I could apply the multitude of creative thoughts racing through my head. Unlike the 7th grade, I could also get up and run around whenever I liked.

For over the last decade I have served as a minister and/or senior pastor, where each Sunday God and my church family encourage me to get up, walk, run, jump, be creative, and use all that energy for the glory of God and to further the Kingdom of Christ. Really it all comes back to the fact that I was first encouraged by my mother who believed (or at least told me she believed) that I could do anything. I also had a friend in my youth group named April (still a dear friend) who shared that Jesus loved me, died for me and had a plan for my life. Almost 50 years later, it still makes me feel special.

As we prepare and ready ourselves for a new school year (even if your preparedness primarily includes patiently waiting for children to board and disembark school buses as you drive to and fro) , I want to encourage you if you, your kid, your spouse or anyone you care about is struggling with ADHD, OCD, and/or other challenges/special needs. Let me assure you and encourage you to assure them; there's a great big God who loves you/them and has a plan for your/their lives. We all have special needs, and I believe for those who trust in the Lord, our needs will be met, and in many cases, expectations exceeded. Have a great year! God bless.

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