Lisa by Laurie Henry
We've always heard the verse "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord". Saturday, that "joyful noise" was screamed in silence. Every year my sister and I take time together and go to the annual Women of Faith conference. This year was our fifth year to attend. It's a great event if you ever get to go. The conference centers on a theme with speakers, dramatists, and singers. The conference is a spiritual buffet, lots of variety and very filling.
This year the group Avalon preformed. They were fantastic. They filled the arena with praises for God as they sang. You couldn't help but be moved. When they finished, the crowd applauded so enthusiastically that the hostess of the conference called for an encore. Avalon returned to the stage and began to sing "Testify to Love". The song in itself was incredibly moving. The audience sang and danced and clapped to the rhythm. Then one of the group members noticed a young lady on the front row. The singer ran down the stage steps, grabbed this girl by the hand, and brought her up onto the stage. It was then I saw the power of God at work. This girl, Lisa had Down syndrome. She confidently faced the audience and began signing the lyrics to the song. I have seen many signing translators but none ever like Lisa. The light of Christ shined so strongly in her it penetrated every heart in the arena. As she signed, her body swayed, her mouth smiled one of those huge, open mouth smiles, and her eyes beamed. She glorified God like no other there. She is truly one of God's masterpieces. I will never forget Lisa and what she taught me that evening about praising God.
Since Saturday, I have wondered what Lisa's parents thought when they got the news at her birth, that Lisa had Down syndrome. I wonder how long they grieved or if they considered ending the pregnancy altogether. I wonder if they didn't understand God's plan. Many times we don't understand God's plan. I struggle with this myself as I try to understand how God's plan is at work through my son's problems. It is though. God's plan is at work. It was at work through Lisa and it is at work in whatever trails you're working through. God never intended for us to get through this life on our own. The Master always accompanies us no matter how difficult the trial. God understands our weakness and provides us His strength. He will use all of the bad stuff that happens to us and make good come from it. How awesome. I am so grateful that I have a God who will use the weak to make the strongest statements about His love for us. Lisa was a treasured gift from God and I thank Him for her.
"Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing."