Crossing the stage on crutches due to an accident in her last semester, Beth received her college diploma, confident that God’s next steps for her involved the world of disability. Carter, a boy in her high school special education program, introduced her to God’s story for her life. Her years at The Master’s University and summer abroad in Slovenia comprised the first few chapters. And Beth knew that the Author and Finisher of her faith had only just begun.
When she was back on her feet, God provided, through the strong relationships and connections she had kept from her high school years, a series of job opportunities that opened the door for her to step into the world of teaching.
Those first few years proved to be a classroom of their own, including many victories and valleys. Despite her enthusiasm and love for teaching, Beth’s heart couldn’t shake the realities each day presented her. The contrast between vast availability of care in the school sphere to its near nonexistence in the church progressively weighed heavily on her heart.
While the community and government offered an overwhelming amount of services, Beth couldn’t help but notice the glaring lack both locally and abroad within the church. Although the multiple therapy services immensely benefited her students, she knew the only long-lasting hope for her students and families was found in the good news and truth of the Gospel.
Almost two years into teaching, multiple instances put this hopelessness into living color. Parents expressed their feelings of imprisonment, a “life sentence” they didn’t sign up for. Without Christ, they lacked an understanding regarding their child’s purpose in life and did not know how much longer they could endure.
The cracks in their voices and look in their eyes plagued Beth, their dread and despondency never leaving her. Looking back, she realizes, “God was moving me from the classroom to the church.” Though a holy discontentment stirred within her, she remained faithful, teaching with this burden to provide more. She knew she wouldn’t be able to provide it within the public-school system, so she began to pray.
Through a series of events, Beth took a semester off from teaching. During this time, she prayerfully dug deep into God’s Word, seeking His thoughts on disability. In 1 Corinthians 12:22, she found a vivid expression of God’s heart for disability: “the parts of the body which seem to be weaker are indispensable”— meaning, “absolutely necessary!”
“That’s it,” she thought, “I not only want to provide the opportunity for families and individuals affected by disability to come into a personal relationship with Christ, but I also want the church to understand that these individuals are necessary for a fully-functioning body.”
In January of 2017, this Biblical model led Beth to help found Indispensable, a ministry for individuals with special needs at Kindred Community Church. Since starting the ministry, she has sought to engage the community and educate the church on God’s purpose and plan in disability, the same things He taught her with Carter, at The Master’s University, and cross culturally in Slovenia all those previous years.
Today, Beth’s passion and prayer for Indispensable continues to be that the church would make and mature disciples of Jesus Christ by partnering with families, communicating God’s love and providing creative care for those affected by disability.
Like Beth, we all have the opportunity to sit at the Father’s feet and learn His thoughts for us and those around us. It’s a new school year. What better time is there to take a seat in God’s classroom and let Him use whoever and whatever He wills to teach us.
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.