Supporting churches to include people with Autism and Learning Disabilties

Whoops done it again!

This week I am scared. For the first time in 7 years of helping out at the group for adults with learning disabilities at church I said I would lead a teaching session.  We are teaching through some of Jesus’s parables at the moment and my parable is ‘The rich man and Lazarus’.

It’s time to think about all I know and have seen others do over the years and prepare something that is multi-sensory and explains sometimes complex concepts in accessible ways. My daughter has offered to ‘do puppets’ (But I’ll have to write the script) and my friend with Down’s is eager for there to be some drama as she loves dressing up and being part of the ‘action’ (as many of our members do.)

Sometimes I should just keep my mouth shut.  I am really good at jumping on what seems like a good idea at the time, grossly miscalculating the time it will take to prepare it or do it and then getting frustrated, over tired or overwhelmed by how ‘busy’ I have become…knowing full well it’s my own fault. I get panicky and convinced I am rubbish and can’t do it and waste lots of the time I could just get on with it worrying instead.

It seems really crazy and you think I might have learned by my age (over 21!)

But every now and again, this manic activity actually helps me grow. In regularly finding myself out of my depth I have learned to rely on God in a massive way.  As the realisation of what I have taken on dawns on me it is like God was just sat back waiting for me to look up to him.  After I have repented of my impulsiveness (yet again!) he helps me examine the thing I am worrying about and understand how I need to trust and rely on HIS wisdom, HIS enabling and HIS grace to achieve it.  Occasionally he will tell me that I need to let it go and this breaks my heart because it often means backtracking and letting people down.  I have to apologise and learn humility, even deal with the fact I might have hurt someone in the process.

But sometimes he will be gracious enough to bring someone to help me or his Spirit will teach me what I need to know to get the job done.  As I fall back on my dependence on Him I learn and I grow and am able to use that wisdom in another situation.

I wish I could say I had learned not to rush into things, that I had learned to pray and wait on the Lord before I said yeah or nay to anything…but that would be a lie.  That’s one lesson I think I am never going to learn!  I am so grateful to a gracious God who loves me and is patient with me but also is wise enough to teach me something from my mistakes and my triumphs alike.

So thanks to the Easy English version of the Bible, and those gifted people who have done this before – I am going to give it a go.   We will have drama, and puppets and pictures and signing and prayer and we will all learn a little more about our great God who gives us hope and life through Jesus his Son.

Now where’s that dressing up box…?

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