Loving And The Mentally Challenged

March 10, 2017
by June Heale

He was in his early fifties, mentally challenged, and he fell in love. Oh, it was so beautiful to see! His friend, Marjorie, hung onto his arm like she would never let go of him. It brought tears to my eyes to see this adult man and woman look so happy. Never in my life did I ever dream that this would happen.

The man, Vernon, was my mentally challenged brother. The day that Marjorie passed on, it was a sad day for many, especially Vernon, yet he knew that she was with God. I was reminded that nothing is impossible with God. Vernon had faith, even though it might have been as small as a grain of mustard seed.

Galatians 5:22-23a – God's Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. (CEV)

Vernon was a loving, kind, and gentle soul, in spite of his many challenges. There was very little in life that brought him joy. Unfortunately, our dad was often unkind to him. Whenever aunts or uncles visited, like they did in bygone times without an invitation, Vernon would be sent off to another room and not allowed to sit with the rest of us. How cruel that was! I don't think that dad knew any other way. Times were different then, and he just did not understand.

After our dad passed on, my brother was allowed to go to our small town's annual fall fair, and he always would be so excited as he looked forward to attending. He also loved the folks at the local volunteer fire department, who were so good to him. They would pick him up at Christmas to take him to a party to see Santa Claus. Yes, this gentle giant of a man still believed in Santa Claus! It took so little to make him happy.

Romans 12:2 – Don't be like the people of this world, but let God change the way you think. Then you will know how to do everything that is good and pleasing to him. (CEV)

Make it a point to understand and be kind to those who are different in whatever way. In this, we will be doing what is pleasing to God. You may think, I could never love a person like that, and hope that I never have to face this challenge in my family. None of us is exempt; we never know until it happens. I know that you will learn how to deal with it if it does happen, and that you will help those who need it. Remember that with God, all things are possible.

Matthew 19:26b – There are some things that people cannot do, but God can do anything. (CEV)

Prayer: Dear God, stir the hearts of people to try to understand those among us who are different. They may be mentally, physically, or emotionally disabled. May we all show to everyone who crosses our path in life the love that You have taught us over the years. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

June Heale <jinnybug@shaw.ca>
Bowser, British Columbia, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Beautiful – thank you.


    What a lovely tribute to your brother!!


    Great challenge June. God bless.


    Outstanding devotion, June. You touched my heart.


    Dear June,
    Thanks for challenging us on a sensitive issue and beautifully written.


    People like your brother have many gifts for the rest of us and one is a simple faith in God.
    Thanks for sharing


    Thanks for sharing this story today about your brother, Vernon. I pray that it will indeed help others to understand those who are challenged and different and to love and accept them.


    Thank you for your reminder for us to know how fortunate we are and to remind us to be thoughtful to all who are blessed differently. God Bless You.


    June,
    Thanks for sharing about Vernon. They are such special gifts to us from God and so much we can learn from them.
    (CA)


    Thank you so much for sharing this message, June. I can’t help tearing while I am reading it. I just feel how amazing God is working. HE is pouring down his grace and mercy on the world, even people don’t know.
    What a privilege as His people to receive His Love, faith in Him!


    Hi June
    So good to see you on the Daily with such a moving testament on a lovingly and caring rendition of past gone by! (We all need to accept the things and people God gives us!)
    My blessings to you always.
    God bless.


    Oh June, how this devotional spoke to my heart! My dear son has Cerebral Palsy with mental challenges. He’s 40+ now and has been smitten with friendly girls, but never had a girlfriend. Now that he’s older, he’s given up hope of a loving relationship and a family of his own. He lives on his own with the help of aides who assist him with daily life. Again, thanks for sharing this devotional. Blessings.


    Dear June,
    Thank you for helping us to ‘see’ with your loving eyes and heart.
    I appreciate your devotion to your brother, and your devotional.
    May many people try to understand and love the different persons of the world, and pray for them.
    God loves all to whom he has given life.
    For Jesus’ sake, amen.
    Keep writing.


    Wise words June. A family who lived up the street from us had a daughter who was mentally challenged. They kept her locked in an upstairs room. It was very sad. Sometimes she would escape and her joy was boundless as she ran around outside with us until she was “recaptured.” I only saw her two, perhaps three times, but have always remembered her and wonder whatever became of her. I am so glad your brother and Marjorie were brought together by our loving and merciful Lord. Thanks for sharing.


    Dear June:
    These wonderful people are in my daily prayers. I love them so much and look so forward to visiting with my friends on Monday evenings at Friendship Club. The hugs I receive from them are just the best. I am so grateful to God for introducing me to them.
    Thank you so very much for sharing these stories with us all.
    May God bless you always.


    Hi June,
    A very good devotion this morning. I realize that a lot of people have trouble accepting those who are “different.” For many years we owned a building in town here and there were two apartments in it. For many years we rented to several mentally challenged people who were able to live on their own, with supervision mind you. I always enjoyed them, and most of them were good tenants.
    Thank you for reminding us to accept all people


    This brought back memories of a cousin who was mentally challenged in those days the thrashing machine went from farm to farm so he followed the thrasher. A lot of the men were mean but my father would always give him a safe job that he could feel useful.
    When it came mealtime mother would make him feel special that she would have a table just for him. The men used to be mean to him. He always knew that my parents would never be mean. Of course this was a long time ago.
    (ON)


    Greetings June,
    Appreciated reading your devotional contribution this morning. I have a sister-in-law that has Down’s syndrome but what a delightful person she is, to be around. She has the biggest smile and warmest hug ready to greet people at any time. I worked with a number of mentally challenged people as a care aide and life skills worker and really enjoyed my time with them and marvelled at how they coped with some difficult situations they encountered.
    Thanks again for sharing your devotional.
    Lord bless you,
    (B.C.)


    Good morning June,
    Thanks so much for your devotion. I too had a brother that had, what is now called Hyper active, attention deficit disorder but back when we were growing up they did not know what to do with such children and the answer was to institutionalize them so my brother was in a pysch. hospital until he was in his late 50’s and then put out because of cutbacks. My parents looked after him until their death and the family continued until my brother passed away. Through all of that my brother was always loving and kind and always took the side of the ‘under dog’ — those who needed help or a friend; those whom society misused or neglected.
    I am always thankful that my brother was part of our family. God taught me so much in and through that relationship and my brother continues to be a present influence in my ministry. I believe he contributed to the growth of compassion and understanding in all the members of my family.
    I am sure you have many stories you could share that demonstrate how God works in and through those we often discount or see as being of little or no value. So thanks again for sharing your brother with us. God bless.


    Hello June,
    In February we read your “Are You Afraid of Your Brother?” This offering was significant to us. Our son is a Special Ed teacher in Alaska. Every morning we read the PCC Devotional of the day with him and the daily reading from “Daily Bread”. This devotional was wonderful. He grew up with my best friend’s son who suffered birth trauma and is a special ed child. They were and are still friends today. We have always loved him and he and and our son chat whenever they get together so you can imagine how much personal meaning your writing held for all of us.
    Yesterday as we were reading “Loving and the Mentally Challenged” I said to him that I thought this was written by the same author as ‘Are you….brother’ so I’ve looked it up and we were right!! Thanks, June, for sharing what could be a difficult family experience to enrich the PCC daily readers. More people need to understand and appreciate what these dear people add to the lives who have the privilege of knowing and living with them.
    With much gratitude we pray God continues to bless your everyday,
    (NH)


    You touched my heart with this meditation. My “Vernon” was my nephew. He, thankfully, was never shunned in our family although my father had a very hard time understanding why he was so different. Everyone in the family treated him just like any member of the family. His mental capacity remained low but his enthusiasm was always high. He always said hello and made many friends.
    He was a joy to all of us and passed away far too young.
    I thank God for giving us this special gift for at least those 30 years. In his memory, I always stop and say hello to a mentally or physically challenged person. I want them to be acknowledged and know they are important both to me, and to God too.
    Bless you and I hope Vernon finds peace in his faith.


    I have a special place in my heart for challenged people. Each Sunday I take a challenged man to church with me and he is well accepted. I also had a challenged Uncle that granny loved and he was with her until her death. We can learn many blessing from each other. Your message was very touching. Blessings.


    June,
    What a lovely devotion and a wonderful reminder of things that happened in most of our pasts. I remember a boy in vacation Bible School one summer who had challenges. Every day I cried over him when I got home. I was very concerned about what would happen to him (I don’t recall that others made fun of him but he touched me deeply.)
    There was a tenderness in my heart for this young man and I don’t know whatever happened to him. What I do know is that he was precious in our Lord’s eyes. I would venture to say that he probably did touch others. He certainly touched my heart.
    What the world might toss aside as “not of value” He shows us that those different may be the ones who are perfect in His view, and maybe we are the ones who need to get it together!
    (NV)

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