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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Different or Amazing?

8 years ago something amazing happened in my life.  Something that has shaped who I am today, taught me many valuable lessons, and changed my entire perspective in life.  That event was the birth of my youngest sister Amanda.  She is a wild little child that loves to run, jump on the trampoline, sing and dance to Miley Cyrus, and play with her older siblings.  Amanda also has Down Syndrome.

For those that don't know, Down Syndrome is a genetic condition in which a person has 47 chromosomes instead of the usual 46.  Those that have it will typically learn a little slower and may have other problems that come with it.  Before Amanda came into my life, I knew nothing.  To be honest, I knew nothing about any disability.  It was all foreign and a little scary to me.  The unknown always is.  But, when my sister was born, a new world opened up before my eyes. 
People with disabilities are no different then those without. When I was a senior in high school I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in a special needs youth group.  We all had a "buddy" and would go each week to hear a lesson then participate in some sort of activity.  My buddy taught me more then I ever would have dreamed!  Not only could she show me up on the dance floor, but she had a rock solid testimony.  She knew she was "different", but it didn't matter to her.  She is a chosen daughter of the most high.  No matter what someone said or how they may look at her, she was a daughter of God! 
There is a song by Carol Lynn Pearson that literally brought me to tears the first time I sung it with the special needs group.  It is called "I'll Walk With You".

If you don’t walk as most people do,
Some people walk away from you,
But I won’t! I won’t!
If you don’t talk as most people do,
Some people talk and laugh at you,
But I won’t! I won’t!
I’ll walk with you. I’ll talk with you.
That’s how I’ll show my love for you.
Jesus walked away from none.
He gave his love to everyone.
So I will! I will!
Jesus blessed all he could see,
Then turned and said, “Come, follow me.”
And I will! I will!
I will! I will!
I’ll walk with you. I’ll talk with you.
That’s how I’ll show my love for you.

Christ loves everyone.  He is the perfect example of how to love.  The first time I saw someone look at my sister funny, my hackles flew!  My thought was "how dare they!"  After taking a step back, I realized that I had done the same thing once before.  It took me having my dear sister to really see that everyone is the same.  We are all sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father.  He is not a respecter of persons.  He loves each of us individually and infinitely. 
I love my sister.  She is the world to me.  She may not learn as fast as other children, may not be able to talk yet, may not even be potty trained yet, but she is perfect!  Amanda loves everyone the way Christ does.  There is no discrimination.  A goal I have set for myself is to see everyone the way my sister does.  Treat them the way Christ would if he were around.  "Jesus walked away from none.  He gave his love to everyone.  So I will!"  I will! Will you? 


Evamarie said...

I love that song and cry every time I hear it.

Sister B. D. Gorder said...

I love your sister! Even tho I have never met her, i feel like i know her just from the stories you have told me! She is so cute and i know and i can see and feel the Love that Heavenly Father has for her and for all of His children! No matter what their circumstances is.

Elder Brian Menasco said...

I will! What power comes from such a statement! Amanda is such an amazing example that I now look up to. I will strive to become like her, and love as she loves. Thankyou for this post!

Clarissa said...

Amanda is amazing. You can tell that she is so close to Heavenly Father. I love that little girl!

susan bunker said...

What a sweet post! "Jesus walked away from none!" That is an important thought! I WILL TOO, give my love to everyone. Thanks for the pictures of your sister. She is beautiful and pure!

Sister Brittany Nestman said...

Thank you for your posts! I tear up ever time still, and we joke that I have broken tear ducts! Amanda really is a treasure. She can be a bit of a "pain in the butt" as my sister Samantha said a few weeks ago, but she truly is one of Heavenly Fathers choice spirits.

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