- March 1, 2022
- Posted by: Carolyn Mahal
- Category: Devotions
The year was 2014. My kitchen table was the platform for a serious discussion with a school in the Georgetown, Texas, area. My daughter sat across from me as I Zoomed with the Call committee. She was at an incredibly impressionable age as a ninth grader at a nearby Lutheran high school, but she showed both curiosity and interest. My desire, and hers, was to be part of this discussion – even if across the table from me, not on screen, and just intently listening. I was currently serving as a Lutheran school principal at a school in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan. This was an official contact for me and my family to consider a move from my current school to a new one in ministry.
My time in ministry was over twenty-five years. When serving as a church worker for this long, one begins to develop both a sense of confidence and a vision and philosophy of how one can best serve the church with his gifts and skill set. The conversation was filled with complimentary statements about this small Texas school from each of the participants, and then they shared highlights of the ministry. For Zion Lutheran School, the three areas of greatest note were the following: a staff position of curriculum director, a high-technology school, and a brand new program called “Academic Success.” I was floored! It was exactly those three things – a concentration on excellent curriculum, a technology-driven program of instruction and learning, and a school that truly understood the importance of ensuring every family who desired a Christian education, no matter what their needs, could make that happen at Zion. The third of these three specialty areas were a game-changer for me. In God’s Word we read…
I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14 (NIV)
It is clear that the biblical writer here desires for all people to praise Him for creating us as His own. All are created in His image. This is indeed a reason to rejoice! In the context of the Christian school, why would we not make it a priority to ensure the programming includes that which would bless not only the “typical” learner, but also the ones who struggle, who have special needs, who might not learn like others do? Such an opportunity can create a culture of acceptance and an embracing of a special needs’ ministry. The school will grow, and more students and their families can have the opportunity to become discipled in their faith, learn about Jesus for the first time, get baptized, and share Jesus Christ with others.
So as that kitchen table conversation continued and finally wrapped up, the screen went dark and my daughter leaned in and said, “Dad – even though I would miss my friends and our church and school so much, this is definitely something we need to pray about.” I thought to myself, “the faith of a child” shines through once again. As the wood-carved message on my office wall is a daily reminder of our most important work as parents and teachers…
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 (ESV)
For Lutheran Special Education Ministries, their programs and people facilitate the changing of cultures, to those that are more inclusive, ones that can bless each child individually and faithfully. For those who are parents of children with special needs, our Christian schools can be grace places, where learning reaches to all corners of possibilities – to places and people that God intended to reach. For those who are teachers through LSEM, your presence and encouragement are noticed and embraced. May our great God, through Spirit-driven conversations, lead our schools and families to bless every family with relational love and the hope of eternal life. This is indeed our prayer.
Devotion by Thomas Wrege, Principal at the school where this interview originated from, in Georgetown, Texas. He loves his LSEM program, and every child is served with the love of Jesus, every day.