August 17, 2008

She Loves to Worship

Psalm 150:1-6

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Psalm 150:6


Our oldest daughter, Nicole, is severely multiply impaired. Society looks at her and says, “She is weak.” Though she cannot speak or walk and will always need to be cared for, she has gifts to offer God and other people?a warm smile and hearty laugh, an affectionate touch, and a deep delight in worshiping God. She shows her excitement by clapping, waving her hands in the air, and making happy little sounds, sometimes even laughing out loud. When my wife and I began taking Nicole to church, we received a complaint about the sounds she made during worship. Although we could have become discouraged and decided not to take her anymore, my wife found ways to help Nicole stay quiet at certain times during the service, especially prayer time. During songs we let her make joyful noises to the Lord. (I never minded at all when she clapped while I was preaching!) We didn't receive any more complaints about the sounds she made. In fact, when Nicole moved out of our home and no longer attended worship on Sunday mornings with our family, a number of people told us how much they missed her joyful presence in worship. Through her “weakness,” Nicole also offers great strength and encouragement to other people. She is our cheerleader in giving praise to God.

Praise to you, Lord our God, for every one of your children who gives you praise. “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” Praise your holy name! Amen.

About the author — Mark Stephenson

Rev. Mark Stephenson is the Director of Disability Concerns for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. Previously he served in two congregations in Michigan. He and his wife have four children.

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