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Celebrating Leah’s life

Let me tell you about my daughter, Leah. She’s our youngest child. She turns 18 this week and we’re celebrating her life. Yesterday, dressed to kill, the Barnes women plus yours truly went out for a birthday brunch at Rudolf’s. Leah may be in the process of becoming a woman, but she retains an i…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

Let me tell you about my daughter, Leah. She’s our youngest child. She turns 18 this week and we’re celebrating her life. Yesterday, dressed to kill, the Barnes women plus yours truly went out for a birthday brunch at Rudolf’s.

Leah may be in the process of becoming a woman, but she retains an innocence and a simple faith. When problems hit us, her response is, “we should pray.” I’m trying to learn how to trust God like she does.

She loves animals and likes our quiet home in the country. Karen has homeschooled her most of her life. Leah was given a huge responsibility, the toughest assignment of anybody in the family.

God trusted her with pain. He trusted her with no good answers to the question, “why?” He trusted her with long seasons of loneliness, a shortened palate that makes articulation difficult, a chromosomal problem, and a few other “issues.” When she was a baby, we thought the main issue was clogged ear canals. As she’s gotten older, we’ve seen that it’s much more than that.

Leah has responded so well to the hard assignment God gave her. While Karen and I sometimes find ourselves overwhelmed in the upside-down land of “special needs” children, weighed down by a sense of inadequacy, Leah just trusts God. She’s doing much better with her assignment than we are.

How can I express to you what it feels like to be the only buffer between a world so full of cruelty and danger and one given such an assignment? We are completely out of control. We’ve prayed so many prayers, cried so many tears. Raged against the injustice – the impossibility of it all.

And yet, there are these words that our inscrutable God spoke to Karen early in her life: “Will you let me use her?” This past month, he gave us a gift – a school with 15 other students who daily battle their own challenges. What a thrill for her to not be alone in this world! What a blessing to Karen and I. Her teacher’s names are Mrs. Stephens and Mr. Cedarberg. We don’t know them, yet we love them.

We don’t know what’s next, but we weren’t given the job of figuring that out. While Leah wrestles with her assignment, our assignment is to trust God with that part and to enjoy and love Leah. Her gifts to us are many. She has birthed compassion, brokenness, and trust in us. These are precious gifts in a world at war with all that is simple and pure.

Comments (13)

  • Happy Birthday Leah !!!! Seth let her know that I wish her a Happy Birthday, you have a special and beautiful young girl. She touches my heart every time I see her. And yes I can see her saying “lets just pray” God has used her already in my life, one evening during training for the “C” squad I’ll never forget it.

    Blessings

  • Heather (of Gracedbychrist.com)

    What a beautiful blessing she is. Happy birthday to her. God gives such good giftssometimes they are hard but they are very, very good.

  • Happy Birthday Leah…I am excited about your new school! Have a great time and what an excitement to meet new friends, and have fun. Love, Mark

  • Leah is a wonderful blessing from God. What a wonderful person she is, and what wonderful parents she was entrusted to.

  • Happy Birthday, Leah!! While I haven’t met you, I work at a school with other young adults learning to become more independentit sure is a challenge, huh?? If you’re anything like your dad and sister, you must be a riot, loving, worshipper and lover of God (great things, all of them!). Glad you’ve found a place to grow and connect.
    Warm regards,
    Diana

  • What a beautiful childhood we’ve all had in the Barnes family. I do love my sister so much. She is an incredible blessing too often neglected. One of the purest and sweetest hearts I’ve ever met. Thanks for telling her story, Dad. I often forget how much I miss her. What a beauty she is throughout!

  • My mind travels back when Leah was a little girl. I have had the honor of knowing Leah since she was about 3 years old and have always been amazed at her amazing heart and soul. Leah has always blessed me with her smile and kindness. The Barnes and all of us are blessed to know Leah. I feel that those of us who have known her are blessed just by the simple fact of having someone like her in our lives. Leah even though I have not seen you in a while, do know you are loved.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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