This post is adapted from an article the Bortons published in the Ministry Essentials Bible 2014 by Hendrickson Pulishers Marketing, LLC Peabody, MA
Embracing the sanctity of human life is more than being against abortion — it is being “for the life of my neighbor” in all phases of life. People with disabilities certainly need protection in the womb and protection from euthanasia. But they may also need respectful support and practical services throughout life in order to participate fully in community. It is simply not enough to establish the right for someone to be born, even someone with a disability, and to prevent them from losing life unnaturally while failing to love and support them when life gets messy and complicated due to disability.
For too long churches have turned a blind eye to those on the edges of life – those who need assistance with daily care, transportation, and health issues, thinking these needs fall solely under the domain of social services. While no one can meet everyone’s needs all the time, church leaders need to understand that we continually need to bear one another’s burdens, including those with disability and chronic illness, and thus fulfill the love of Christ. Galatians 6:2. Ministry to people with disabilities is a marathon, not a sprint.
Consider these practical suggestions to fill gap between birth and natural death for persons and families affected by disability.
Provide meals on a regular basis – maybe once a week or month, or stock their freezer, or supply a gift card or two. Life with disability is unpredictable. Having a back up plan for an occasional mealtime is a blessing.
Assist with transportation needs – visits to the doctor or physical therapist may require family members to head in several directions at once. An offer to drive may ease the transportation headache. Or going with someone to an appointment as a second set of eyes and ears may provide a measure of confidence.
Dust off the wheelchair or clean the accessible vehicle – these are tasks that may be difficult, if not impossible, for the person with the disability. And they add just one more task to the Caregiver. These simple offers lighten the weighty burdens!
Include non disabled siblings in family outings – sometimes siblings may feel like they don’t matter, or life revolves around the person with a disability. Sharing a trip to the beach, amusement park, or bowling may help them create a happy memory.
These are a few ideas to get your creative think tank going. Truly there are countless ways you can bless and encourage a person/family and apply your your pro-life conviction throughout the expanse of a lifetime.
We’d love to hear your favorite tip.