It’s hard to believe that I am planning Alexander 23rd birthday party! Some of you who remember back to when I was pregnant with him will probably find it hard to believe as well! Every year around this time, I always seem to find myself reflecting on my journey of motherhood and both the challenges and joys of raising a son with a developmental disability. Whenever I reflect on these things, I feel so much gratitude for our UMB community.
I am so incredibly grateful that my son has been able to grow up in a church family where he is loved and accepted just as he is, where he is included and valued, and where he feels safe to learn and grow and be himself. I am especially grateful to each of you who have shown Alexander particular kindness, taken the time to talk to him, to get to know him, to include him in church tasks, or to simply listen to him talk about airplanes, Elvis, or birds. I know his life has been greatly enriched by all of his experiences and interactions at church and I hope you, in turn, feel that your own life has been blessed in some small way by knowing him.
People with developmental disabilities have so much to teach us—about being authentic and guileless, about living in the present moment, about finding wonder and awe in everything, and about breaking out of the molds that keep us from fully living into the magnificent beings that we are. In my life, Alexander has been my greatest teacher by far and being his mother has blessed me beyond anything I could have ever imagined.
Each of us is made in the image and likeness of God and deserves to be loved, honored, accepted, and cherished in all our uniqueness and with our different abilities. I have some fun things to share with you this Sunday, as we explore the importance of being the love of God in action by working for the full inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in our society.