There’s a difference between being happy and having joy. Joy runs deep within the heart and soul and is much richer than happiness. Joy is long lasting and doesn’t fade away due to circumstances. Joy can be seen in the eyes and heard in one’s words. Joy illuminates the lives of those it indwells. There are several things that bring joy to my heart, but there’s one I want to emphasize today: spending time with individuals with special needs.
There’s an amazing group home here sponsored by the Baptist Association that houses eight women and eight men with various types and degrees of special needs. From Downs Syndrome to Autism to Cerebral Palsy, they all come together as one big family. Our church recently fellowshipped with these men and women and as always it was a blessing. I’ve known these fabulous adults for four years, and each time I see them my heart bubbles with joy. Their hugs and smiles are priceless. In the past, our fellowships have always involved food, but this time we changed things up. We decided to play a game: Win, Lose or Draw. It was a blast! Both the residents and the church members loved it. Everyone participated and I was blown away with how well the residents did both drawing and guessing. I know some of them were better artists than me.
Whenever visiting the residents, we always go with the intentions to bless and pour into that ministry. But, I know I always leave feeling like I have received more than I was able to give. These individuals are not special because of their physical and mental disabilities; they’re special because of the love and joy they bring to those around them.