Despite Beth’s desire to become an elementary teacher, God used Carter, a fellow high school student in the special education program, to redirect her. Her school’s large student body offered exposure to dozens of students with all kinds of special needs. Even though she didn’t go looking for this experience, her teachers went out of their way to give it to her as a Teacher’s Assistant.
“I wanted to be a teacher,” Beth reflected, “but God put me in a field where I was the student.” Every day, Beth discovered a new aspect of disability. As each day passed, her previous plans dissolved into what God wanted to accomplish in her life.
After high school graduation, Beth discovered that she only stood at the beginning of God’s plan for her. Years in the public-school system made Beth yearn to further her schooling from a biblical perspective.
Next stop: The Master’s University.
By now, Beth knew God had redirected her to special education. However, The Master’s University did not include a special education degree. This dilemma extended yet another invitation to ask the Lord for wisdom, which she knew He always provided.
Moving forward in faith, Beth enrolled in Liberal Studies, prepared to work extra hard to equip herself with tools and techniques. The best part of all—The Master’s University facilitated a feast of truth from which she received a solid framework for thinking about humanity. She learned that our sovereign God has good purposes in allowing pain, namely to know and show Him in deeper ways.
“As strange as it sounds, not receiving my degree in special education was the best possible thing for me,” Beth states.
Those college years, she went to the local library as one of its most faithful visitors. With each visit, she checked out the maximum number of books allowed and buried herself in the pages, gleaning details on the copious amounts of disorders and diagnosis’s that exist.
Although learning generalities from a textbook was important, Beth was determined to learn hands-on as well. It wasn’t so much as a case on a page; rather it was a face in real life.
As often as her schedule permitted, she spent her time involved in programs, classrooms, and homes both locally and abroad to gain a greater understanding of what caring for individuals with special needs looked like practically.
“Where there is a will, there is a way.” And Beth would add, “Where there is God’s will, He will make a way!”
At this point in her journey, Beth was well aware that God would go to great lengths to accomplish His plan for her life. Those great lengths included packing her bags and preparing her heart for an opportunity with the university to join a ministry team overseas.
Next stop: Slovenia.
Working in a facility that cared for almost 500 residents with special needs was the largest education Beth could have ever hoped for. Individuals ranging from as young as one to as old as seventy, with all different disabilities.
While Carter introduced sixteen-year-old Beth to God’s heart toward disability, that summer in Slovenia expanded her understanding in ways she didn’t know were possible. Looking back on all that God had prepared for her then, Beth looked to the future, anticipating more exciting ones ahead…
Danielle Ledoux is a former intern with Joni and Friends’ Cause 4 Life program who enjoys writing about God’s work in people’s lives. She is a graduate of Pensacola Christian College and recently received her Master of Fine Arts in Dramatics.