And What About GOD?

I’m going to get a reputation for blogging about challenging topics. First there was my three-part series on sexuality and special needs (Let’s Talk About Sex). And now I’m going to broach another potentially sensitive topic—God.

I’m writing about this because spirituality is an important part of my life—and I want it to be an important part of my daughter Melissa’s life as well. But over the years I have found it to be very challenging. She attended sunday school while she was growing up. She was confirmed in the United Methodist Church. And she attends worship with us each Sunday. But I know that the depth of her understanding of God is limited.

The challenge starts with her disability—mild/moderate cognitive impairment. A major aspect of this disability is her inability to understand “concepts”. When it comes to tangible things (that she can see, touch, hear) then she seems to get it. But when the subject calls for her to reason and conceptualize … she struggles. And what could be more challenging than to consider the concept of God?

My strategy has been to use repetition and a narrow focus. We’ve found that Melissa learns best when she is taught the same thing, repeatedly. Rather than try to explain the many varied concepts of God and religion, I’ve found it best to FOCUS. And where better to focus than on the prayer that God taught us … The Lord’s Prayer. Melissa knows the words and recites them in worship each week. She and I have discussed what those words mean on many occasions. Lately when I bring it up, she will say “I know that Dad”. This tells me that at least she remembers what I’ve been saying. Whether she gets the concept behind it, I’ll never know.

It’s hard to find applicable passages in the Bible that relate to those with disabilities. I think that is because many of those who were “possessed by demons” during the time of Jesus were actually disabled persons. Yet in each instance where he encountered them, he saved them. Consider this passage:

And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly.

Matthew 17:14

This scripture gives me peace to know that God will save my Melissa, even if she doesn’t get all of the concepts. We know that Jesus loved children. And those with a cognitive impairment will be “child-like” forever. So that means to me that the Lord will love Melissa and those like her throughout their entire life!

I hope that these thoughts give you pause to consider how you might best bring God into the lives of your own children.


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