Same T-Shirt, Different World

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On Sunday, after Doulos, I went to the Special Ministries service at 10:30 AM. I had a little trouble finding the room, but when I did step into it, there was no doubt I’d come to the right place. There were people of a wide spread of ages (but almost entirely adults) with varying disabilities, levels of responsiveness, and personalities.

Almost immediately, I spotted a young man in the middle of the group of about 20 people. He caught my eye because he was wearing a bright blue striped shirt, the same one I’d bought for Andrew at Target a few months earlier. He looked to be in his early twenties and he had a very handsome face. At first I thought he might be a volunteer…but when he opened his mouth or moved his arms, it became clear that he was a participant in the disabilities ministry.

For the whole class period, I was drawn to him. He was very much in tune with the teaching time, sitting on the edge of his seat to listen, and answering questions about the gospel correctly (though his speech was difficult to decipher). There was something oddly sobering about such a normal-looking guy in a t-shirt my husband often wears. So similar in some ways, yet so vastly different in others.

God’s sovereignty and providence are really all that lie between blessing Andrew with a typical, robust life and creating him with the severe disabilities I observed in the young man in the bright blue t-shirt. It was a powerful challenge to thank the Lord for knitting Andrew together from conception in a way that provided him with a strong body and healthy mental capacity. God could have created him with special needs and thus taken him down a very different path. He would still be fearfully and wonderfully made, just as this young man was, but Andrew’s life would have many difficulties that he doesn’t have to face. I was also reminded that a bad car accident could change our lives forever if Andrew (or I) were to sustain serious brain damage.

Basically, God used a t-shirt to fill me with a renewed sense of gratitude for the blessings in my life, not the smallest of which is a healthy, intelligent husband. It’s not a gift he bestows on everyone, but for whatever reason, in His good pleasure, He did that for us.

Never take your life and luxuries for granted…there are so many who know nothing of them.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thes. 5:16-18

{Seminary Journal} All I Have Is Christ

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At Grace Community Church (GCC), there are two (identical) 90-minute worship services at 8:30 and 10:30 AM. During each one, there are various Fellowhship Groups happening elsewhere on campus. These groups are also 90 minutes long and are basically full-blown worship services, with a singing time and a sermon. Add the 90-minute evening service, and you’ve got a packed but oh-so-rewarding Sunday. Since moving to LA, we’ve spent each Sunday visiting different Fellowship Groups in the mornings to figure out which one to join. It’s been hard to attend a group or two and then have to wait an entire week to go to another, when we both want so much to jump in and start connecting with people and getting involved. We appreciated things about each of the four groups we’ve visited, but were excited this week to decide where we will land, for many reasons–Doulos (the Greek word for “slave”).

During the worship portion (which we absolutely loved) of Doulos we sang All I Have is Christ. To me, that song embodies our church family back in Bellingham, since it has become a favorite staple there in recent years. I couldn’t help but cry as we sang the chorus together in Doulos and I pictured our church at home, worshiping God at the same time. As I pondered the profound lyrics, I was reminded again of what a precious thing it is that no matter where I go, I have my Savior there with me. “Hallelujiah, all I have is Christ.” I had Him back in Bellingham, surrounded by familiar faces, and I have Him here in LA, where everyone and everything is new and different. I am still His, and He is still mine…and no matter what the future holds, that truth will never change. Amazing!

Andrew and I are both 100% excited about joining Doulos and growing under the solid teaching of Pastor Travis, who we know through mutual friends. It’s great to finally feel like we “belong” somewhere, instead of floundering. I can’t wait to share more of how we learn to love this group as it becomes home for us.

Stay tuned for a guest post from a very special individual!