K. KENDALL MATHEWS: Let God help you blossom

Friday, April 29, 2011 | 11:41 a.m. CDT

Springtime is upon us, and all the flowers will soon be blooming. What a great joy it will be to see many different flowers and bright leaves with beautiful colors. Spring is a wonderful time to make changes in our lives, such as taking a deeper look at our relationship with God or more fully appreciating the nature all around us. 

For me, the key word is "blooming." Blooming spiritually is vital for me and I hope for you as well. As the springtime sun and April rain fall upon God’s creation, let us count our blessings as we wait to see those flowers bloom. God wants us to be a blooming flower — full of grace, love and spiritual beauty, but we must allow him to nourish us through his grace.

God desires that we grow in our relationship with him and others around us, but more importantly, in his son’s character. For me, this means praying everyday, reading my Bible, unconditionally loving those I serve and seeing the good in humanity, which leads to holistic growth and personal development. For you, it may be encouraging others or living a good life. Whatever the case, I believe this spring will be a great opportunity do some Christly blossoming that encourages a stronger faith in a world needing to bloom to its full potential. We all have the potential to be dazzling flowers — waiting to break out and flourish for everyone to see.

One such dazzling flower that is still blossoming is my 17-year-old daughter, KaShaye, a junior at Rock Bridge High School. She is a special girl who is moderately autistic. Some statistics say that one in a hundred children today have autism. We never thought one of our five kids would affected by this condition. Nonetheless, her life is one multi-colored flower that is bright, carefree and affectionate. If you personally know her, I am sure you would agree.

When she was 2, we noticed that her communication skills were not like those of our other children. After we took her for testing by the school system, the results came back that she had autism. With this news, we feared she would never grow into a gorgeous flower. But we accepted it and raised her just like our other children. Our faith was tested, as we thought we had done something wrong. We even blamed God, questioning why He would give us an autistic child. Today, KaShaye plays Special Olympics basketball, has made the honor roll and loves reading books. She will be visiting China next year and as friends and family know, she loves listening to music.

KaShaye is indeed our blooming flower, and this spring we are eternally grateful for her life. Recently, she was admitted into the hospital and given four pints of blood. Our flower seemed to be withering, but we had faith. Upon getting the first pint of blood, we saw her liveliness return. It was the prayers and faith of others that connected to God, the true source of power, that caused her to make a full recovery. Like any natural flower, she needs to be cared for with a loving hand. God’s healing hand and the prayerful love of others helped to restore her as a beautiful, ever-blooming flower.

If you have a special needs child, I have some words for you. God does not make mistakes. Trust him with all your heart and love your child with the same love that God has for his only begotten son, Jesus Christ. Here are thoughts that have helped us see our KaShaye blossom. I pray that this will encourage you.

  • Treat your special children no differently than any other children..
  • Tell them that they are special in your sight and in God’s.
  • Be patient with them, as God is patient with you.
  • Get them involved with other children.
  • Pray with them and for them. Encourage them to have faith in God and themselves.
  • Find out their interests and lovingly push them to achieve their goals.
  • Keep them on some type of daily routine, which will encourage structure.
  • Do all you can to let them know they are a precious, one-of-a-kind person created in the image of God.

As you feel the warming sunshine of spring vital for flowers to bloom, remember the story of how Jesus was crucified and died on Good Friday, then rose from death Easter Sunday. Jesus became our resurrected flower that bloomed completely for the world to give us abundant life.

Like our darling KaShaye,  let us live life with beauty and bloom, not just for ourselves, but for others as we serve and love dearly. I guarantee you that someday you will see someone special to you bloom into a great flower created by God, our eternal gardener. He is the endless giver of spiritual rain and heavenly sunshine, and is our biblical source of knowledge and wisdom, which leads to becoming a radiant, blooming flower.

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