Life With True Purpose – God’s

The words were said, the prayers offered, memories shared and it was time to leave. Short. Simple. I had to trust that it ministered to the few standing there.

Julie was unaware of the impact her life had made. That might be said of many of us, but it was literally true for Julie. She’d been born without the mental capacity to recognize or respond to anyone or just about any stimulus. She was dearly loved by her parents, but was a growing burden upon a young family working hard to live in the dirt of Minnesota farming. Her mother got to a point where she could no longer carry her or move her easily. Caring for Julie began to take its toll. It must have been a heartbreaking decision to finally realize they would need a great deal of assistance to care for her; help they couldn’t provide. Julie was placed in a state home for the mentally disabled.

And yet, despite what many would say today, Julie didn’t live in vain. For many young couples today, if they would have had an amniocentesis that revealed a defect of this nature, abortion would barely have been a second thought. Statistics show that the number of just Down syndrome babies has dropped dramatically, largely based on pre-birth tests and the “choice” to not keep a child that would be a burden, a hardship and have no purpose or quality of life.

While I won’t make the argument for every baby born with such defects, because I don’t know these individual situations, Julie didn’t live in vain. While the heartache of having a child that couldn’t recognize him or ever respond to him weighed heavily upon Jack, her father, Julie was used by God in powerful ways. When he would come in from the field work, the other children would greet him joyfully. Julie, on the other hand, didn’t even know her dad had come in the room. And even if she did, she couldn’t acknowledge it in any way. Jack didn’t know the Lord, but he began to wonder if this wasn’t how God felt about him – a father that loved the child that was his, yet  wouldn’t acknowledge or respond to this loving father in any way.

Through a sovereign ordering of events, God drew Jack, his wife Martha and their children to Himself through faith in Christ Jesus. Yet this wasn’t all God had planned for this newly saved family. Jack & Martha knew God’s call upon their life to go and share this life-changing message of the Gospel with others who needed to hear of a loving Heavenly Father. God works in wonderful ways, for their children all knew they were to serve God on the mission field as well.

Only God will fully know the number of His chosen ones He drew to Himself because Julie was used, by God, to draw her family to Christ. Perhaps in eternity, an accounting will be revealed and the glory given to God will be all the greater.

Julie passed away in Rochester. Her aging parents, unable to make the long trip from Florida, requested that I have a short & simple graveside service. The funeral director who made all the arrangements, brought his own personal video camera, taped the few moments we gathered there and sent this to the family. Not a few tears of sorrow and joy were shed, God was praised and Christ was exalted.

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4 Responses

  1. Wow. That’s about all I can say about this at the moment.

  2. […] on 17 May 2007 at 03:52 pm | Tagged as: Spiritual Growth Stop whatever you’re doing and read Life With True Purpose – God’s over at Kevin Sorensen’s blog. I don’t know if Julie had Down Syndrome or another birth […]

  3. Thank you for this beautifully written tribute to my sister’s life. Truly she has a part in whatever God accomplishes for His glory through the rest of the family.

    This piece of my family history has also helped me to trust God in other situations when I do not understand why He allows hard things to happen. When we get to heaven perhaps He’ll let us in on the rest of other stories like this one.

    For now, knowing a little of how He worked this “tragedy” for good helps me trust His heart and His wisdom in other unexplainable situations. And I am eternally grateful that Julie was born into our family. Nita

  4. A touching story that I was able to share with my MIL. Thank you!

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