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One of the most rewarding aspects about directing the community-focused mission of a ministry is that you receive the beautiful gift of serving alongside amazing people!

This past weekend, we had the pleasure of celebrating at Clam Jam, which is an annual seafood and music festival at the German-American Social Club off of Pine Island Road in Cape Coral, and I had the privilege of serving with Michelle and her daughter, Kailyn, both of whom I met in early January.

Seeing Michelle and Kailyn’s passion to serve every single person who walked up to our tent brought me an incredible amount of joy. They were enthusiastic, they were loving, and they served with a level of passion that was so life-giving.

Something you should know is that Kailyn is on the autism spectrum. She has a worldly label of “autism.”

The world says Kailyn is “disabled,” that “she’s not capable.” But you don’t have to look very hard in God’s word to refute that way of thinking.

1 Samuel 16:7 says, “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

I want you to take a few minutes and really reflect on this question: Do you choose to see the ability in yourself and others, or do you choose to see the disability and complain about what you can’t do?

Labels are the enemy’s way of making you believe you have to fit into a box and you can never leave that box. But God didn’t design you to fit a mold. He designed you to stand out on your own, to dream, and to adventure!

I watched Kailyn thrive Saturday and Sunday as the person she is. She didn’t do anything different than she normally would. She simply showed up as herself and lived out what God had already instilled in her: a pure heart with pure intentions and a loving, encouraging and energetic personality.

Kailyn stood out this past weekend, not because of a label of autism, but because her mind and personality are beautifully and wonderfully made by her Heavenly Father, and both are used as vessels by God to carry out a specific purpose.

Make the commitment to yourself right now to never put yourself or someone else in a box. You were made to be YOU, not someone else. You are worth it, and you are worth celebrating!

Seeing life in a positive, can-do point of view is infectious! It’s God’s way of thinking, and it should be our way of thinking, too.

– Zack

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