Out of all 708 blog posts I've written (make this now 709) this will by far be the most special one I've written. This weekend will always be near and dear to my heart and one etched into my memory forever.
For 10 years now a Christian organization called Nathaniel's Hope plans an event in downtown Orlando called "Make Em' Smile" ... It's a day to honor and recognize special needs kids. You had the opportunity to buddy up with a VIP (a special needs kid) and spend the day with them and their family.
I went into this knowing that it was going to be a very special day and a wonderful way to give back and take the focus off ourselves. I can't even begin to tell you how much it exceeded my expectations. I was hoping to be a blessing to someone else, but safe to say I was the one blessed ten fold.
She is a beautiful 7 year old with down syndrome and I can honestly say after having spent the day with her my life will never be the same.
Yes, clinically she may have down syndrome, but I never once saw her as a little girl with DS, but a precious girl who is fearfully and wonderfully made. She's a little girl who taught me in one day how far a little compassion can go for these precious souls that are born with that extra chromosome.
I thought about the challenges and difficulties that Jordyn might face in the years ahead. How kids can be so cruel and the teasing she might face, and the feeling that she doesn't quite belong. Frankly, when I think about it, it brings tears to my eyes because I pray that each and every day she can see what God sees, the beauty within and that she will always know there's a God that loves her infinitely more than she could ever imagine.
I truly was honored that she would open me to her world for the day and allow me to see first hand how unique and cherished these special kids are.
We were also privileged to spend time with Jordyn's Mom and her older sister Christian for the day as well. Jordyn's family was just as equally precious and so loved watching Jordyn's sister with her, such a great big sister. And we sat and listened as Jordyn's mom talked with us and shared her story.
This picture just shows a small fraction of the MANY people that were there to come together to honor these special kids.
As we said good bye at the end of the day to Jordyn and her family, we didn't want to leave each other. In the few short hours a beautiful friendship had already formed. As we hugged Jordyn's mom she had tears in her eyes thanking us for taking the time out of our day and that it meant so much because sometimes people just don't take the time to see and recognize how special these kids truly are.
But I so so do.
We exchanged our contact info and hesitantly had to walk in opposite directions to go to our cars.
As I'm thinking of Jordyn today.
Make Em' Smile??
Oh, that she did.