I am a Christian wife to Kirk and a mom of four teenagers. Lily is 19, Russell is 17 and our two youngest, Annie and Audrey, are 15-year-old twin girls. The twins were diagnosed with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex at five months old (2004). This resulted in both girls having epilepsy, autism, global development delay, and sleep disorder and anxiety. Our life has been challenging, rewarding and heart breaking for us but has caused us to lean into the Lord and surrender to His will. When the twins were toddlers and not progressing well, I began to wrestle with the Lord. I wondered about Jeremiah 29:11 and about the value people with profound intellectual disabilities have. Do my twins need to go to church? What is the point? Those questions drove me to the Scriptures and eventually to writing articles for Christian magazines and speaking about our life in various church settings. I then completed my BTh (2015) and then my MSEd (2017) at CBU under the direct supervision of Dr. Jeff McNair. All of this was completed while still caring for my family and managing our twins’ complex needs. Logically, it didn’t make sense for me to do what I’ve been doing but I know He has called me to call the church to be better.
The Lord has given me strength, wisdom, courage and even joy, in our ongoing season. He has also given me a vision of what the church should be and whom the church is missing. My heart is for those who exist in the margins of society, the disabled and the forgotten. I long to help families not only cope but thrive and truly know the joy of the Lord, in spite of disability, disappointment and on going seasons of trial. I believe all people belong in the church but understand not all leaders are prepared for disability ministry. This became even more evident when we were asked to leave a Pentecostal healing service because my twins were a distraction for some of the churchgoers. I was reminded that indeed education regarding disability ministry was lacking.
I am passionate about equipping Bible college and seminary students and all church leaders. I feel that God has asked me specifically to keep sharing our story as a catalyst for change. Without education of leaders, change may never come due to the fears that ignorance often brings.
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