Bless you Leah! And thanks Seth, Karen AND Leah for setting an example that we can all learn from.
If Leah can do it, you can too
Ever feel like life is just too hard? Sometimes it feels like the deck is stacked
against you and no matter how you try, you can’t win.
You’ve tried in the past and it cost
you. You were embarrassed and you failed
and you don’t want to go there again.
We’ve got a daughter who often feels that way. Life has dealt her a tough
hand. Her chromosomal disorder and
speech issues make even small tasks feel frustrating, sometimes. Leah is 18 now and while school this past
year has been good, it’s still difficult to find her own way in a world that
moves fast. She loves her family and our
home in the country, but is shy around new people and situations. Change is hard for her.
Nevertheless, we believe that Leah has something to give
back to those who are less fortunate than her.
She has no less to give than any of us. So this summer is her fifth time spending a month or more as a missionary
(the last three without either Karen or me along). She went down to Mexico to join the AIM work
crew at our base there. They keep the
base clean and help the missionaries who are there on short-term trips.
The problem is that the last time down there wasn’t easy
for Leah. When the session was over, she was more than ready to come home. Parts of the summer felt like failure to her.
You’d think after our past struggles that we’d just give up, but here in the
Barnes family we believe in “getting back on the horse.” So we wiped away the
tears, reassured her about what a wonderful servant and missionary she is, and
sent her back.
Not wanting to meddle, we waited and were excited when the
initial reports were positive. Leah had
a good start to her summer. Her team loved her and she was contributing. Then a couple of weeks ago, disaster
struck. She got sick and was miserable
for three days. After that she hit
bottom and all she could think about was coming home.
We had a fateful phone call with her leaders. Do we admit failure and call it quits or keep
on going? The issue was made more complicated by our impending trip to Africa. Fortunately, she was blessed
with a wonderful team that cheered her on and encouraged her. “C’mon Leah, you can do this! We need you here!” And we all prayed.
And so, she turned the corner. It was amazing to us. We went to the brink of
disaster and then Leah pulled herself up by her bootstraps and showed every
person out there who feels challenged or handicapped that it’s possible to do
more than they would have thought possible.
The lesson Leah has preached with her life this summer is
that if there’s pain in your life, chances are that God wants you to stop being
a victim and face into it. It doesn’t
matter what your challenges are in life, you can serve and make a difference.
Leah you are an inspiration and God spoke to me through this blog.
I’ve never met Leah, but she is already a blessing to me. I have two very young daughters and can only pray and hope that they become what Leah is becoming. Dads have dreams for their daughters, and my dream is that my girls learn to serve and persevere like Leah has.
Leah’s faith and courage inspire me. Thanks for sharing this.
I’ve been to that place of “failure” and know how difficult it is to pull ourselves out of it. It is so much “easier” to just give in and give up. I will definitely be praying for Leah as she finishes up her summer and am so blessed by her. 🙂
what a wonderful story to share with us because there are people out there who are not handicapped but in the same situation as Leah’s its an encouragement to me and Leah may the lord continue using you all the days of your life.
Thanks Seth, Karen, & Leah for sharing about victory! In my own world of personal handicaps, I see God at work, and along with the mighty cloud of witnesses in the heavens we have those such as you, to encourage us on to victory!
YAY LEAH!!!! I am privileged to know you and to love you! Perhaps I can see you again soon. It has been way too long.
you’re a rock star Leah and a hero! I love you and am so proud of you! miss you tons too!:)
I love it. Wonderful picture too.
Leah… i am so proud of you! life is tough… but u r doing so good!
I know you must be so proud of Leah for her perseverence in the face of her struggle. What an inspiration!
Way to go Leah & way to go team.
PTL! We have been praying for her, I was wondering how she was doing and now I’m sitting here with tears running down my face. I am so proud of her!
Love you guys,