Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Friend Ray 1941-2011

Life often unexpectedly changes and since that Blog on January 21st I have not only gained a daughter but lost a dear friend.

Here is the piece I wrote on Facebook about Ray, I will never forget him or the gift his friendship was to me.

The Winds of Change.........

I last wrote to you on January 21st, about the gift of people with intellectual disabilities. It was also around that time that I thought about my hearts desire from a very young age, to welcome a disabled child into my family. I figured at almost 55 years of age that dream would never be realised and I was content with that. I trust God to know me and know what's best for me and He has never failed me!

I had always wondered why people were so distraught (some to the point of murdering their unborn child) at finding they were expecting a child with Down Syndrome, or in fact a child with any kind of disability that can be detected by prenatal testing (don't get me started on the dubious practice of prenatal testing, that's another blog altogether!!) when I had always found them to be so delightful, so affectionate, such lovers of music and so easy to love.

Maybe the Lord has prepared me for this ministry since my birth? I have a disabled aunt only nine years older than me and a disabled cousin just a little younger, and I believe I have a God-given gift of understanding and enabling those so often labelled "disabled". I worked with disabled children in residential care (10 children per house, an effort to replicate a normal family but as I see it now, far, far from it) for three years after I finished my nursing training way back in 1977. I loved the children but chose to return to nursing in an effort to become a midwife. Shortly afterward I found I was expecting my first baby and my days of being in the paid workforce gladly came to an end ; )

Fast forward to Monday, January 31st 2011, ten days after my last post.

I had a routine visit from my case worker (I have been a foster carer of one 16 year old girl for the last two and a half years) and at the end of this visit she tentatively mentioned a child who needed a home desperately. She told me she was only eight years old,  had multiple disabilities caused by a chromosome problem (not Down Syndrome but there are some similarities) and that her previous carer was not able to care for her any longer, after a six year placement.

Whoa, an eight year old? At my age? Me, Panic? Yep : ) Does the Lord know your hearts desire? Definitely yes! Does He give it to you in YOUR perfect timing, maybe not ; ) He knows best, always. No exceptions.

Do I trust Him, you bet!! I took a few minutes to get my head around the concept. A child with nowhere to call home? No one to love and accept her? No one to guide her and enable her? Unthinkable. There was only one answer. When is she coming? The answer surprised me, it was "this afternoon after school".

And so Tish arrived. Bouncy, happy, full of life, like a cheerful cyclone in our lives ; ) A beautiful, delightful, wonderful, engaging, clever ball of endless energy and such a blessing. Perfect timing in so many ways, a dream fulfilled when it was least expected. His grace abounds, when we are willing to trust Him.

It's been six weeks and I would be lying if I said it had all been easy. Adjusting is rarely easy, but oh so rewarding. She has settled in exceptionally well. It's been like living with a new born baby in so many ways, and I did feel as I did after I had my babies, that the world looked different, brighter, changed by her little presence. I am honoured to have been chosen for her, I am thankful the Lord graciously provides for all my needs so I can be the best mummy for her.

I believe this little girl was chosen for my family long before she was born, in fact, long before I was born. God's idea of time is nothing like ours. He sees the big picture and lovingly controls it all, for His glory and for our benefit, in this life and the next. I am so blessed to have the opportunity I was content to live without, if it was God's will.

So stay tuned for the exciting adventures of Tish, my greatly loved fifth daughter and sixth child and an absolute blessing to my whole extended family, and you know who you are ; )

Love and blessings to you all
Lynn xxxx