We are all created in the image and likeness of God. All of us are given different gifts and talents, each one of us perfectly made with something unique to bring to the world. But we live in a world where the culture tells us that a person's worth and value comes from their accomplishments or worldly successes. Individuals who don’t fit that mold or “live up” to society’s sometimes unattainable standards are deemed as unworthy.
THIS IS A LIE.
Individuals with disabilities often fall into this category. There is a common misconception that just because someone may not be able to communicate the way that we do or an individual expresses things differently, that they don't understand or are not capable, but that is far from the truth. They are fully capable when given the chance and have something important to contribute to society.
God put the desire in my heart to advocate and work with special needs children for many years now. They have taught me so much about how to treat others and how to selflessly love. I truly believe they were sent here to teach us how to be like Christ, to be present, to live every day to the fullest, to love unconditionally and to not judge others.
These children teach us so much and bring so much joy and happiness to life. Our society wants us to believe that they are a burden rather than a blessing, but anyone who has ever met or had the privilege of loving a child with disabilities knows that they are the biggest blessings of all.
St. Teresa of Calcutta said, “each one of them is Jesus in disguise.”
Children with disabilities truly are Jesus in disguise and are no different than you or me. They desire to be loved, cherished and accepted just like anyone else. It is time that we as a culture start to open our eyes and embrace ALL people, regardless of abilities or disabilities.
St. Teresa of Calcutta was able to see the face of Jesus in every person she encountered. This is something I think we are all called to do, to look at others as the face of God. It is only then that we are able to break barriers and fully see others for who they truly are, that is as precious children of God.
Every person deserves to be seen and respected. God loves each of us simply because we are His beloved children, fearfully and wonderfully made. Because of that, we all have extreme value and purpose and play an important role in God’s plan for humanity.
When you really look at it, we all have disabilities and weaknesses, some of us have them on the inside where you can't see, and some you can see from the outside. Yet, we are not called to judge, but to love. I believe it is by our good actions and unconditional love that together we will change the world and the culture’s perception of these beautiful children. Through this change, hearts will be transformed and people will come to know Christ.
Lauren Costabile is a disabilities Advocate, Catholic speaker/singer, and film creator. As a presenter in the Array of Hope Concert Event, she actively spreads the gospel to young people and families through music and witness. She creates inclusive films that educate and raise awareness for those with disabilities, promoting the dignity and value of all life. She loves all things gluten free and strives to use her gifts and talents to spread joy and make our world a brighter place. For more information about Lauren visit www.laurencostabile.com.