A Wake-Up Call

A large percentage of those with disabilities struggle in silence because they have an “invisible” condition. Also called “hidden disabilities,” struggling people are often afraid to be open about their condition and work tirelessly at appearing healthy and happy. Those with such “hidden” disabilities struggle to endure their mental, physical, and emotional disorders specifically due to social judgment, harsh comments, assumptions, and accusations—all of which can lead to self-doubt and deep sorrow.

(Photo Courtesy of Pixabay.com)

Unfortunately, a shocking aspect of disability ministry is that many non-typical families—families who have members with “invisible” disabilities—run from Christian communities. Why? Because the environment is often caustic and critical, lacking basic kindness and authentic grace. I do not believe most Christians wake up and wish to further injure someone already in pain. But I continue to find that ignorance, as well as a lack of seeking to understand one another, fuels many judgmental folks.

The Need to Wake Up

I address this directly because the agony is pervasive. I commonly speak with challenged individuals or families who have shared their personal agony of visiting or attending a Christian gathering only to receive insensitive or apathetic responses. Finding healing for the resulting wounds is extremely difficult for those already fighting painful and persistent challenges. So please, seek to understand others; take a few minutes to look up some of the more common ”invisible” disabilities listed at the end of this post. There is no test; there is nothing to fear except choosing to stay unmoved.

I have never written this directly to you before, but the need is pressing as the diagnosis rate for many of these disorders has skyrocketed in the last 10 years (http://www.disabled-world.com/disability/statistics/who-disability.php). Thus, I am speaking without reservation. Every professing Christian needs to step up and become better learners and listeners. We must remember that as a result of our own broken condition, Christ left the throneroom of heaven and came to this earth. Sin is an “invisible” disability for which there remains no cure without Christ. What we cannot do for ourselves, God did by sending His Son to live, die, and rise again. Not a person on earth lives with an unbroken, perfect soul. Our names all appear on God’s disability care treatment list with God’s eternal plan of healing should we accept His gift of grace.

Maybe this is the first time you have heard that sin has caused your soul to be disabled. Please, sit with that this week. Allow the truth to sink in.

You are, because of sin, disabled.

When you begin to accept your own disability, giving grace to others is not even a second thought . . . it will flow out of you. So let‘s take this as a wake-up call and stop the wounding, the disasters, the breaking of already broken hearts and remember we are all disabled. God’s grace is the permanent healing remedy. Without it, the diagnosis is terminal. No relief. No hope.

I encourage you to find and read a simple overview of any of the topics listed below. It is my hope that you will learn to see past the “invisible” and into a person’s heart.

List of some mental and emotional disorders:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Dissociative Disorders
  • Dual Diagnosis and Integrated Treatment of Mental Illness and Substance Abuse Disorder
  • Eating Disorders
  • Major Depression
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Panic Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Schizoaffective Disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder
  • Suicide
  • Tourette’s Syndrome

Leave a Reply

10 thoughts on “A Wake-Up Call

  1. Others to add: fibromyalgia, migraine, short stature( you can’t know all the problems if you don’t try), chronic pain, chromosome disorders, dementia, chronic fatigue, executive function disorder, dyspraxia, attachment disorder, addictive personality, chronic severe allergies, asthma, COPD, body image/eating disorders ….we are all effected by this fallen world directly and indirectly. Thanks for posting-we’re all afraid to be ourselves at times.

  2. Aaron, WHAT A GREAT LIST!! Wow! I’m going to copy it…how cool for you to put that here. Thank you, thank you. Aaron, thanks as well for admitting the truth-that we are all afraid at times to be ourselves. How much our world would change if we weren’t afraid. Yet, because of the hurts and wounds, we are afraid. I am so thankful there are folks like you who are honest and brave-coming forward with the truth which brings light and life. May the Lord bless you and keep you in His perfect peace as you rest and wait upon Him. Have a wonderful day, Colleen

  3. Renee, you are so kind! Thank you. It is pure joy to watch the Lord use every life for HIS honor and glory. I honestly say it is all HIS work; watching it unfold like hearing from you today is what makes the journey incredible! When Jon was 3 and his first set of life long diagnosis were given, my prayer was “Lord, should any of this pain be a part of sharing you with others, then I welcome it in quietness”…so it has come to pass. I pray the Lord continues to show Himself faithful to us all in the midst of our brokenness…He brings us together and there we find great hope. Have a blessed day and thank you again for your kindness.

  4. Commodity Tips, thank you for your kind note. I hope you have continued to find the posts interesting and encouraging. If there is a specific area of need, let me know and I would love to help out. Thanks again, Colleen

  5. Hello Colleen,

    We at The Heart At Play very much agree with your article for the Global Community to become more sensitive and aware as to the growing needs of special persons-social acceptance and the needs for a natural therapy program without medications. Our Foundation was built on an advocacy of propagating and sustaining a Dance Movement Therapy program for special needs persons with developmental disabilities. The program is family oriented and encourages community volunteerism. The beauty of the program is a parent or caregiver participates along with the child/adult and depending on the venue size, the sessions can provide therapy to as much as 280 children or 80 adults at a time-we were able to share the program to a Sheltered Workshop Organization in New Jersey in 2012. For close to three years since we started propagating, parents and family members have witnessed and observed marked improvements in their special need members Behavior, Proprioceptive and Cognitive skills. Currently, we are serving five communities with about 579 families participating ( 2 parishes and 3 public Sped school centers in different parts of Metro Manila). Our vision is to propagate the program worldwide through the power of Dance and imaginative play to empower special need persons from age 3 years to adult age to be Focused, Alive and Creative that they may reach their full potential.

    We are looking for forward to working in partnership with governments, the private sector, donors and organizations to achieve the greatest impact for close to 300 million persons worldwide.


    • Jay,
      I’m so thrilled to hear from you again…and to learn more about your foundation. As you know, there are so many in need of help and so many small groups that remain unknown. Your mission to work in a collaborative way is fantastic. If the lesser known groups are united with others such as natural therapies, community volunteers and workshops, sections of the government, public and private sectors…you bet this would create revolutionary change for so many people. I get excited just talking about it. At Insight for Living, one of my main objectives is to connect many organizations and resources that help those in need. Sounds like we share a similar vision and I can’t wait to hear how things come about. Thank you so much for responding and letting me know about your work. Have a great day! Colleen

    • Ann,
      Oh my gosh…I’m just uncovering some wonderful comments and so sorry I’ve not replied sooner. Thank you. And thank you for what you are doing as well. Ministry is a team effort; may the Lord use all of us to reach the lost and broken. Isn’t that an honor. Hope you are well today. Great to hear from you and again, sorry for my delay. Colleen