i serve a Creative GOD

I bet you thought I forgot about this little series I had been doing, huh? I've been reading though, I missed the whole week I was gone. So I've been playing catch up this week. I love all the Old Testament stories, like Sampson and Ruth. Ruth is the story I'm reading right now.

But there's no way I can recap the last month. No way I can put posts out there like I should have. But there is another little story I want to tell you about. It's about our Creative God who made two sweet little girls that lived on different sides of the world, but He gave them both to a good family and made them sisters. He also gave them Downs Syndrome.

One of the girls' big brothers is in Slone's class. He's spent some time over at their house. He doesn't even realize that there's anything "wrong" with the girls. Slone thinks they are funny, like funny haha, not funny weird.

But this week someone did some horrible things to their home. Here's the story:

Sticks and Stones: those Wounds Heal
by Jolie Howard Alois
 story used with permission


When was the last time you used the word “retarded” to describe something you thought was dumb?
        When was the last time you HEARD someone use that word in that way… or saw them write it in a status update?
        When was the last time you spoke up when you heard it and said, “hey, that’s not OK with me”?
   I feel the same way about the inappropriate use of this word as I do about other discriminatory language… but today, I’m writing about THIS word – the “R” word – because of something that happened.
        Many of you reading this already know the amazing Hollis family and their inspiring story… but for those of you who don’t… let me fill you in on just a tiny bit about them:
Anne and Todd Hollis had the perfect life… a home in a loving, tight-knit community… jobs they loved… 2 strapping little boys, Noah and Caleb (perfect for dad, a high school football coach).  They wanted a big family and were so excited to welcome their first daughter, sweet little Meg, in July of 2006.  But their joy quickly turned to concern – elation to fear – when the doctor uttered the words “Down Syndrome”.  There was no warning, no time to prepare.  Their world was turned upside down.  THIS was the day that would change everything… in ways they couldn’t possibly grasp just yet.  THIS was the day, July 5, 2006, that God picked, to bring - not just a baby girl - but a whole family of advocates into this world.
         It didn’t take long for the Hollis family to take their new role quite seriously.  Todd developed a disability awareness program through Easter Seals (where Meg had been receiving therapy services since she was 2-weeks old) called “Black Out”.  The premise was to teach high school football players and their peers about disability awareness, while raising money for Easter Seals.  The program culminates in a football game where everyone proudly wears a black t-shirt with the Easter Seals logo on the back that says : Blacking Out Friday Night to Turn on the Lights for Disability Awareness, Understanding and Acceptance.  Todd started the program with his team, the Elmwood Brimfield Trojans, during the 2008 season.  This school year, 18 schools in central Illinois participated… raising over $55,000!
         But that wasn’t enough… they felt called to do more.  They wanted Meg to have a sister and a life-long playmate.  And so, their journey to bring their fourth child home began.  Alina was the first little girl on a list of children with Down Syndrome waiting to be adopted from overseas… and the Hollis’s knew she was the one.  When people would ask Anne, “Why are you adopting a child with Down Syndrome?”, she would say (in that smart, dry, Anne Hollis-humor-sort-of-way), “You would not believe how hard it is to TRY to give birth to a child with Down Syndrome”.    For the Hollis family, there were no questions to be answered… just a calling… and they let Proverbs 24:12 guide their journey:
"Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act"

    Flash forward to yesterday, Wednesday, April 6, 2011, when the Hollis family woke up to find their home and vehicle marred with hate.  Someone had spray painted the worst kind of hate-filled language and images on their HOME.  This place, filled with nothing but love and acceptance, was now a vile, deplorable example of the hate that most of us tend to forget even exists in the world today.  Now, don’t get me wrong, the home is still a place full of love and acceptance… no amount of spray paint can ever make even a tiny dent in that… but it is now also a place that is opening the eyes of a community and far beyond.  Opening our eyes to the discrimination that so many families deal with every day – with a stare, with a snicker, by using – or allowing others to use – the “R” word.
         Parents, I beg of you, talk to your children about acceptance.  Encourage your local schools to engage in a disability awareness curriculum (Easter Seals has one available for free).  Teach it at Sunday School.  Where ever you can spread the love… do it.  It has to start with our children… so they may grow up to be accepting adults.

This is what the amazing Anne Hollis posted on her Facebook wall the morning after her family was the victim of this heinous hate crime:
“…In the end this will NOT be a story of hate. It will be a story of love, support, awareness & a communities outrage towards ignorance.”

      I pray for the Hollis family, and every family, who deals with discrimination.  But I pray a little harder and a little longer for those who committed this act.  That they be brought to justice.  That their parents are dismayed and embarrassed.  That they grow to be the kind of human beings who are haunted by what they did for the rest of their lives.  That they beg for forgiveness and turn their lives around.  That they never again utter the “R” word, much less sprawl it in a hateful way on someone’s property, and that they might discourage their friends from using it as well.
         When was the last time you used the word “retarded” to describe something you thought was dumb?
         When was the last time you HEARD someone use that word in that way… or saw them write it in a status update?
 
         When was the last time you spoke up when you heard it and said, “hey, that’s not OK with me”?

"Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act" Proverbs 24:12

The Hollis Family
Hope this gets you to thinking about what you say and how you say it this week.
windish01@yahoo.com

Comments

windish01@yahoo.com

my heart aches for the hollis family … but God is so good ALL the time … and i love seeing Him move through this situation already!

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