Jesus Loves the Little Children
“Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
All are precious in His sight,
Jesus loves the little children of the world…”
Most who grew up in Sunday school might remember singing this children’s song written in the late 1800’s by Christian pastor C. Herbert Woolston.
We need only look to the beauty of Psalm 139:13-16
to understand the truths embedded in these simple children’s song lyrics. David reminds us of three things amongst this Psalm that are true for every person who was ever born:
1. God lovingly created me.
2. God lovingly saw me.
3. God lovingly has planned my days.
Simply put within the words of a child’s song: All are precious in His sight!
And yet…children born with special needs have often been ridiculed, abused, and even aborted without much thought for decades. Even in today’s society, they push against our culture's obsession with beauty, perfection, and what is considered “normal.” These who are created and called precious by Him are often left wondering about their worth and dignity, leaving their families to carry the burden and isolation that comes with the diagnosis.
A Gift We Never Asked For
An article by Abigail Dodds
reminds us of the fragility and beautiful, the challenges and joys that come with being a parent of a child with special needs, while reminding us that our realities are actually the same: We ALL need God!
Dodds says “The emotional reality is what stings. You live in what feels like a parallel universe to everyone else’s — similar, but never crossing lines: scraping for an understandable diagnosis, watching kids younger than yours surpass them, grieving alienation from friends who are content not to enter in, looking for hope in a future that is all hard edges and curve balls, learning doctors are just humans like us.
But we adjust, by God’s grace. We calibrate and discover that we wouldn’t trade any of it. The secret, sad world melts into a loud, breathtaking thunderstorm, bursting with blessings on our head. Scary, but brilliant. We see the special needs more completely: as beautiful, hard, precious, and mournful. They become a gift we never asked for.
When I recount the disabilities our son was given — his delays, his abnormal brain, his sleep problems, his feeding tube — it tells one side of his story. The part of his story that most people can see, however, is bright and hopeful. He’s happy and vivacious most of the time, learning new things. He’s treasured.”
Night to Shine Prom
In 2019, 655 churches across all 50 states and 24 countries welcomed over 100,000 honored guests to the Tim Tebow Foundation
sponsored “Night to Shine” Prom. The event, started in February 2015, is an unforgettable prom night experience, centered on God's love, for people with special needs ages 14 and older. Tebow states, "I truly believe this event is about the world coming together to celebrate the love that God has for every single one of us.”
Tebow went on to say in a video that one of the favorite letters he's ever received came after the 2016 Night to Shine Prom. A mom whose daughter attended the event wrote to Tebow saying her heart's desire is that her daughter won't be forgotten. She wrote, "At Night to Shine, God whispered to me, 'I will never ever forget her. She is famous to me like an A-lister walking the red carpet... She is precious and she is mine.' Oh Tim, how extravagant is the love of God for us."
On February 7th from 6-9 PM, Bethel will host its 5th Night to Shine Prom event. Guests will enter the main foyer area to a wildly cheering crowd, a flash of camera bulbs from our photographers, and a walk up the red carpet as our guests become the “Kings and Queens” of the Prom. Guests receive prom flowers and crowns/tiaras, can get their hair and make-up done, play BINGO, enjoy food, limo rides and dance, dance, dance the night away. This amazing event gives us a great opportunity to share the love of God with the special needs community around us, and at night’s end leaves no doubt that ALL ARE PRECIOUS IN HIS SIGHT!
If you would like to join us as a volunteer, you can sign-up here
If you know someone who would love to be a guest, they (or a caregiver) can register here
This is truly a NIGHT TO SHINE for those in our community with special needs, and it's an honor to share this night with each one!