As a young mom of four children, two of whom have disabilities, including severe intellectual impairment, I ask God tough questions. I imagine many ministry leaders wonder some of the same things I do, but fear asking. It’s natural to wonder and it’s okay to ask. It’s in wrestling with such questions, pressing into Jesus in prayer and exploration of His Word we not only find answers but gain a deeper understanding of who Jesus intended the Church to be.
God has used my blindness to others in so many ways. In my ability as a songwriter, I’m able to describe things in a deeper way than people who can see. I show people trust-in-action as I follow other people’s directions. Most of all, I think I’m able to show people that, despite my being totally blind and using a power wheelchair, there is still joy.
The Child Mind Institute has launched the #MyYoungerSelf campaign during Mental Health Month to counter the stigma for the 1 in 5 children struggling with these disorders. This May actors, athletes, social influencers, business people and others are sending a message of hope about their experiences growing up with a mental health or learning disorder. Here's a letter from the leader of our ministry team to an eleventh grade boy who was going through a difficult time.
How can each follower of Jesus pursue justice for people with disabilities? We see in David a paradigm when he meets Mephibosheth. In 2 Samuel 9, we see David exemplify three simple practices that can help combat injustice and inequity for people with disabilities.
Janet Parshall issued a powerful call to the church to minister more effectively to persons with mental illness in this keynote presentation from Inclusion Fusion Live 2019, a national disability ministry conference hosted by Key Ministry. She identifies key biblical figures who experienced symptoms of mental illness, challenges church leaders to end their stigmatization of persons with mental health issues and pastors to begin addressing the topic in the course of their preaching.