Disabilities, American Girls and the Generosity Of His Great Love


Just a small piece of me could have imagined what a disability felt like. Bronchitis; fighting to stand, serve, take care of those around us.

And when you’ve lost something your used to, have something taken that was a regular part of your person-hood, you grow weaker…

But you can also relate and associate with a group of people you otherwise might not have….

Any deep loss can grow wisdom in us, if we let it.

My two daughters and I stroll through the mall to find outfits for Easter. We enter the American Girls store.

I try to stop hacking, smile from the depths of Him in me, savoring these moments together….

Because as children grow older, the hours you spend with them get thinner. And you realize the importance of intentionally, selectively planning time together.

The toddlers, once underfoot, soon look you in the eyes, and relationships must flex and look different or your voice could be limited.

And that is a fate worse than b20170405_174014-01bronchitis.

The scraggly hair of Addy, my younger daughter’s doll is held out in hopes that the salon lady at American Girls, can fix it.

“She also has hearing aides….well….they both do.” I nod over at my youngest, and smile in appreciation that American Girls has wheelchairs, hearing aids, and glasses…

To replicate the broad range of girls that will be holding these dolls…

Because real people come in different sizes, shapes, and colors. And if we fail to represent the full span of people, happiness will be a slim piece only a few can partake in.

And how boring the world would be if we all looked similar.

And haven’t we had to use crutches, at one time or another….Even if they haven’t always been visible to others?

“How much if we just buy the hearing aides. The hole’s for the aides have already been punched.” I explain to the salon worker.

She leaves, comes back. I see Addy sporting bright, pink aides, just like the ones she used to have.

“It’s done. I talked to the manager and we are just giving these new hearing aides to you.” the Salon worker says.

My eyes flood with tear. I am not sure why. “Why are you crying?” my older daughter questions.

And its not the money, the aids, people, store, or even American Girls in particular…

The heart of those tears, amidst a new foster child challenging us, having a hearing impaired daughter struggle recently, and bronchitis humbling me…

Was that this one act of generosity, demonstrated….Somebody sees and hears,20170405_180930 someone cares at the exact moment I needed it most.

It was as if someone crawled up into our world and said, “You are not alone, we stand beside you, and what you are doing matters”, by donating those plastic hearing aides.

Now normally, I don’t get that teary. And I especially don’t wallow in emotion because some tiny, plastic pair of hot pink hearing aides were given to me….

But, today was different. And as a result of this experience, I am reminded of the power of just one, small act of generosity…

About how powerful, life-changing, and reflective of the Father, our giving can be. 

Giving connects us. It UNITES us in ways we could never imagine. It makes us part of something bigger than ourselves, and highlights that thread between all man-kind that says, “You matter”.

And yet, we don’t give because let’s be honest….It’s easier to be selfish, focusing on the here and now more than the bigger picture of what God is trying to tell us in a moment of generosity.

My hearing impaired daughter is often my greatest example of generosity. She gives and gives until nothing is left, better yet, she doesn’t even brag, or think twice about it.

As I scoured scripture I find, God lavishes loving-kindness and good gifts on us. And if Our Father pours generous blessing after blessing on us, how much more might should we give freely to others?

  • Because if we then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to our children, how much more does our Father in heaven know how to give good gifts to those who ask Him? (Matt 7:11)
  • Whoever is generous to the poor, lend to the Lord, He will repay Him for His deeds. (Proverbs 19:17)
  • Where our treasure is, there or heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21)
  • But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? (1 John 3:17)
  • The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. (2 Corinthians 9:16)

The widow gave two mites, giving all she had, even though it seemed like nothing. (Luke 21:1-4) Jesus exonerated her and makes her an example of how we are to give.

20170405_174159-01 (1)The Good Samaritan, stopped what He was doing, gave His time and attention, but also his money, to bless the one along the side of the road, needing help in the moment. (Luke 10:25-37)

There was an overflow of generosity, from those who encountered Jesus. Those in the upper room, were also clearly moved by generosity after being touched by the Holy Spirit.

  • “There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales.” (Acts 4:34)
  • “But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, ‘Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” (Luke 19:8)

Even Jesus commanded His disciples, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Matthew 19:21)

It seems, we cannot run from living generously, if we are true believers.

And I have personally been reminded in my own life, of those profound moments when I have been walking with others as my focus and in a place of willing generosity.

If one little, hot pink $3.00 hearing aide, could open my heart, and change my day so remarkably….

What could you give that might surprisingly bless other people?

After all, out of the overflow of His great love, He gave His son to us.

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Jen Avellaneda

Jen is an adoptive, foster, & bio mom to trans-racial family. You can find her writing, overlooking her property, advocating for the orphan domestically and internationally, & making memories with her husband of 24 yrs.
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1 Comment

  1. So beautiful. God is so good. I had the same experience, well similar. Yesterday, I was praying for specific words of encouragement and direction and He provided. It wasn’t some huge firework miracle display but it was from Him and turned out to be just what I needed.