We know from Scripture that God has equipped every individual with unique gifts and talents. Passages like Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 teach us that every person is a valuable part of the body of Christ. In honor of this truth, I wanted to take time today to honor one of my friends who has a lot of gifts and talents.
Shelby is a beautiful young woman whose smile and kindness capture the heart of everyone she meets. She was born with arthrogryposis causing several physical disabilities. In addition to this she was diagnosed with developmental delays at the age of 2 and diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 5. Her epilepsy is an ongoing part of daily life as they have not yet determined how to control it.
God has given Shelby a lot gifts and talents that inspire and encourage the body of Christ. Allow me to share a few of those with you:
- Shelby is an artist: She has an eye for detail and a steady hand as she carefully draws each piece of art. Her artistic talents are obvious as she uses contrasting black and white patterns. She has very high standards on what constitutes a completed piece and will pour hours upon hours in to every piece of her art!
- Shelby is a volunteer: She enjoys spending her time helping others. She serves as a volunteer with Joni and Friends regularly and occasionally sings as part of a choir with other individuals from the Friendship Club at her church. She works hard and contributes much whenever she is able to serve.
- Shelby is genuine: Shelby is honest and gracious. She cannot tell a lie. She remembers details about you and your life, kindly asking you about them the next time she sees you. Gaining Shelby as your friend is a gift indeed as she cares deeply for those in her life.
- Shelby is funny: The Lord has blessed Shelby with a great sense of humor. She is quick to crack jokes and quick to laugh. Her giggle is contagious as she seeks to share the joy of the Lord in her daily life.
- Shelby reflects Christ: Shelby loves Jesus and provides the body of Christ with a beautiful example of His love. Christ loved selflessly and without agenda as he gave himself for a world of sinners. In the same way, Shelby loves anyone who crosses her path with a strong and selfless love. She does not let fear restrict her affection, but gladly shares her gentle heart as the Lord gives her opportunity to do so.
My life is so much richer because of Shelby’s friendship. I am confident that everyone in her life would say the same. My hope in writing this blog post is to celebrate Shelby, but also to encourage you. If you are living with a disability or a chronic illness, what gifts do you have to share with the body of Christ? If you know someone with a disability or chronic illness, how can you encourage and celebrate the gifts that God has given to them?
Ali Howard is a Baylor University graduate who has engaged in full-time, nonprofit work since 2011. She joined the Joni and Friends team in January 2015, and serves as the Senior Coordinator of Volunteer Services. She also acts as the content editor for the Irresistible Church blog and books.