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Experiencing God's Grace in a Special Need Family

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Cross Radio
January 18, 2022 5:00 am

Experiencing God's Grace in a Special Need Family

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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January 18, 2022 5:00 am

Sandra Peoples paints a picture of what life looks like for many special needs families and how the church can better reach out and minister to these families.

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Sandra Peeples knows firsthand what it's like to have a family member with special needs and their experiences have really shaped your life.

She's got encouragement for you today on Focus on the Family as we observe sanctity of human life. We thanks for joining us your hostess focus president Dr. Jim Daly and I'm John Fuller. John according to the last census almost 15 families wanted five is 20% in the US includes someone with a disability, ranging from autism to Alzheimer's that that's a significant number and so there are families who need hope and they need help and they need to know that they're not invisible to the rest of us and maybe you have felt that way you are that family or that one in five. We need to do a better job of offering these families encouragement and help and hope, and that's the core of the discussion you really glad were having this conversation. I'm looking forward to talking to our guest Sandra Peeples is really a leading voice in the disability community. She serves as the special needs ministry consultant for the Southern Baptist of Texas convention and is the inclusion coordinator for special-needs families in her own church.

Sandra has written a really insightful book. It's called unexpected blessings, the joys and possibilities of life in a special-needs family and we have copies of that here the ministry.

Click the link in the episode notes or give us a call 800 K in the word family center. Welcome to Focus on the Family thank you to be here, that's good to have your coming up from Houston have great friends in that area.

Love well it's a great place that is it is Sandra. Let's pick that picture for the listener of who you are. Give us an idea you're working in the church.

Why is this need about special-needs families so important to you now have been a member of a special-needs family my entire life.

My older sister symbol. She's just 14 months older than I am and she has down syndrome and so as her younger sister.

I have never known life outside of a special-needs family. We grew up in a small town in Oklahoma and because she has down syndrome and that's one of those visible disabilities. We were pretty well known in our community.

In fact, I was often referred to as simple sister instead of and so we because we were so close in age. We went to school together right there right on my high school years were spent with her as well being. Her sister really shaped who I am in and who I was. I remember the first time I heard somebody make fun of somebody with a disability. I remember where I was standing on the playground. Remember every detail about it. And in that moment I had to decide am I going to stand up for her and for other people disabilities something can't stand up for themselves or my going to try to just say Dannon look just like everybody else and and be just like my peers and so growing up as her sister shaped so much about who I am now so important. What was your decision in the moment and how old are you, 13 no wow member. It is just the grade in front of you and she and I remember being on the playground and these two friends at night they made fun of. They were kind of mimicking what a person with a disability would act like Indiana and they used the art. We caught the R word. We don't normally say it.

It's retarded. It's now sure not used its own usually used as an insult now and so I thought what any of that point I thought I didn't know that was a bad word.

I didn't know that was a word that you used to be mean to somebody else.

I thought it was just a label and this is in the 80s and and so I had to say to my friends that's okay is 79.

How we speak kindly to each other while my sister and her friends can't always stand up for themselves against this kind of talking is, it's not okay and what's interesting. The very first adult that I heard make fun of somebody with disabilities was one of these girls moms and so you know where it was coming around. It was something she heard in her home but it was and is not okay again it's such an amazing thing that you have the upbringing you know that it was part of who you are part of your family, but as part of who you are. Your sister who has down syndrome.

She's part of who you are and that way and you know what I have found so often is people that grow up in those families were there is a special-needs child there really pretty sensitive.

Obviously, a newer like that and not I think that's an amazing positive for people who grew up in families that you know have that situation.

Yeah I agree what the doctor say about civil there are some profound thing what happened and give us the circumstance so she was born in 1977, just a couple of days after Christmas in the small town where my parents live. Now she was their first child and said that there was no indication to my moms pregnancy that there be anything different about her. So when she was born was the first time that they knew they would have a child with a disability. So she not only had down syndrome.

She had an intestinal blockage and so nothing that she ate with processing her body and said the doctors took her from the small town in Oklahoma where we live to Oklahoma City where they were better hospitals and a young doctor took my dad into like a janitors closet.

Instead, lick your daughter has two issues. She has this intestinal blockage.

That's fixable by surgery. She also has down syndrome which will affect her and you every day for the rest of your life intestinal blockage will will kill her and so if you don't want to have a daughter with a disability. For the rest of your life. We won't perform the surgery we will just let her die naturally from this intestinal blockage and and you guys can have more kids and you can go on as if this didn't happen that you not mean it's my parent's first child. There's this whirlwind of going to a different hospital and being in the janitors closet and I did. I just can't imagine being faced with a decision like that just hours after your first baby's been born and my dad said no. We believe God has a purpose for her and has a purpose for her being in our family and of course we want you to perform that life-saving surgery and they didn't. It's just that story has stuck with me when were talking about the value of somebody's life thinking that because of the disability. Their life has less value right then any of the rest of us, even though they are fearfully and wonderfully made with a purpose, just like so demonstrates worldly view versus spiritually directed I like your eyes light up, never read, think your child will love Focus on the Family clubhouse and Focus on the Family clubhouse Junior magazines there, filled with fun activities, jokes and faith-based stories that will capture your child's heart and imagination. It really a good age level.

Per my Lord.

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