Eliza Downer's Story | Worthy of Love |

7:41 AM

Growing up I had the typical fears that many children face. I was afraid of the monster behind my closet door, of losing my parents, or worse yet being lost myself. I feared not being good enough for other's approval. I feared being awkward and of not knowing what to say. It was this fear that led to one of my greatest areas of nervousness and fear: I feared those within the disabled community.
I feared not knowing what to say or causing more harm than good with my attempted kindness. I feared the unknown.
In Poland 
Little did I know how the Lord would change my heart. At the age of 15, I began to face some health struggles. As I fought this unknown enemy, the Lord brought into my life an individual with Cerebral Palsy and multiple disabilities. This was when my view of disabilities and individuals facing them changed. I had never seen people with disabilities as people with joys, dreams, and struggles. In the past, I viewed them as individuals needing to be "fixed" instead of people needing to be accepted.
Fast forward two years, and I myself, because of my health problems, became confined to a wheelchair. It wasn't until I personally had a disability that the Lord began to change my heart towards the disabled community.I threw myself into full time disability ministry and traveled to Poland with Wheels for the World, a wonderful organization which provides used wheelchairs to those suffering in poverty.That trip gave me a new view on ministry. However, I would say the biggest area of impact that occurred was this past Summer.
July of 2017, I boarded a plane to China, expectant for all that the Lord had planned, yet I didn't
With Ling Ling
know that He was going to do such great things in my own heart. Entering into the special needs orphanage, I was greeted by the smiles of the people laboring there, but most of all, the smile of Ling Ling touched me in an unexpected way. Ling Ling is a 24-year-old orphan, who struggles with a cognitive delay. However, despite her struggles, she purposefully sought to make sure I felt welcomed and appreciated during my three-week stay. Every morning, she would faithfully wait for me to come outside of the guest house. Her laugh is contagious, and her smile lights up the whole campus.
While there, the Lord quietly spoke to my heart. "Eliza, these are your people: the disabled, the rejected, the ones that everyone struggles with. Are you willing to love them as I have loved you?"
As I thought of John-John in Texas, Ellie in Colorado, Ling Ling in China, Anthony in Arizona and all the individuals that had touched my soul, tears came to my eyes. How could I have rejected these people who were created in God's image? They were utterly perfect, yet I had labeled them as a trouble. They were helpful, yet I had labeled them as a burden. How dare I label God's creation as unworthy of my love and care?
Since my return from China, the Lord has continually burdened me with this, and I am currently involving myself in special need ministry. I am expectant to what the Lord will do within my own heart.
I would encourage you to be seeking the Lord in the next year for a burden for something. Who knows who might become your people: the drug addict sleeping on the streets, the young teen with an unplanned pregnancy, the widow who sits alone within a nursing home, or maybe the child with autism who no one understands.
About Eliza Downer:

Eliza Downer, a teacher by day and writer by night, can often be found enjoying creation or sipping a cup of coffee. She currently resides in Colorado with her parents and 10 siblings. To read more of her writing, visit https://windowintomyworldblog.wordpress.com/

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6 of your thoughts

  1. I have Cerebral Palsy, and I needed this.

    1. Thank you for reading!!! Keep being awesome.

  2. I am amazed by your humility and kindness how you spoke about your experiences was done with such grace! I am so happy you have found a community of people who you feel great about helping (:
    Simply Me

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. I would love to speak about this in more detail. Would you be able to contact me through my contact page on my blog?


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