When he was serving as a member of the First Presidency, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf emphasized God’s love for all of His children. He said:
“At times we may even feel insignificant, invisible, alone, or forgotten. But always remember—you matter to Him! . . .
“. . . No matter where you live, no matter how humble your circumstances, how meager your employment, how limited your abilities, how ordinary your appearance, or how little your calling in the Church may appear to you, you are not invisible to your Heavenly Father. He loves you. He knows your humble heart and your acts of love and kindness. Together, they form a lasting testimony of your fidelity and faith. . . .
Our Father in Heaven loves you. He knows you. He is aware of the many challenges you face. You have been given many unique gifts that can be used to bless and serve those around you. Your fellow Church members need you. You are a son or daughter created in Heavenly Father’s image, “entitled through your worthiness to receive revelation to help with your righteous endeavors. You may take upon you the holy name of the Lord. You can qualify to speak in the sacred name of God (see D&C 1:20)” (Russell M. Nelson, “With God Nothing Shall Be Impossible,” Ensign, May 1988, 35).
“God sees you not only as a mortal being on a small planet who lives for a brief season—He sees you as His child. He sees you as the being you are capable and designed to become. He wants you to know that you matter to Him” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “You Matter to Him,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 22).
It is important to keep the Spirit in your home even when you are unable to attend church. Increasing your faith and strengthening your relationship with your Savior, Jesus Christ, and your Father in Heaven is a personal pursuit and should be part of your daily life (see Deuteronomy 6:6–7; Acts 17:11).
There are many ways you can draw closer to your Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ, and invite the Spirit into your home. Here are a few suggestions:
Everyone has something to contribute. Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin said: “The Lord did not people the earth with a vibrant orchestra of personalities only to value the piccolos of the world. Every instrument is precious and adds to the complex beauty of the symphony. All of Heavenly Father’s children are different in some degree, yet each has his own beautiful sound that adds depth and richness to the whole” (“Concern for the One,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2008, 18).
You have been given unique gifts and talents from your Heavenly Father. It may be helpful to ask others what they see as your skills and talents. Brainstorm with someone you trust about ways you can best serve others. Let your local leaders know of your desires to serve and how you can use your talents and skills to bless others.
Our Heavenly Father wants you to serve others for Him. Even if you don’t have an official calling, you can find ways to minister to others each day. Pray to know how to serve others and for opportunities to do so. You can learn more about ministering at ministering.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
Sister Jean B. Bingham has said: “Like the stars which are each placed in a particular orbit and location, we have an influence on those around us. Because you are unique, there are things only you can do in your particular way to bless [others]” (“Keys to Progress: An Eternal Perspective” [Brigham Young University–Idaho devotional, Nov. 27, 2018], byui.edu).
At times we all may feel like we don’t fit in at church. We may feel that because we look different, talk different, think different, or act different, we don’t belong. We may even feel like we don’t have anything to contribute. That is not the case. Every person is needed in the Church of Jesus Christ. “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:12).
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, then a member of the First Presidency, explained why everyone is needed: “Brothers and sisters, dear friends, we need your unique talents and perspectives. The diversity of persons and peoples all around the globe is a strength of this Church” (“Come, Join with Us,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2013, 23).
Here are a few things you can do to get to know others around you and to help them get to know you better and come to appreciate your unique talents and abilities.
“And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
“And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
“Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him” (John 9:1–3).
President Russell M. Nelson explained: “For reasons usually unknown, some people are born with physical limitations. Specific parts of the body may be abnormal. Regulatory systems may be out of balance. And all of our bodies are subject to disease and death. Nevertheless, the gift of a physical body is priceless. Without it, we cannot attain a fulness of joy” (“We Are Children of God,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 86).
As part of Heavenly Father’s plan, we experience adversity during mortality. Although the details of our challenges will differ, unanticipated tests and trials—physical, mental, and spiritual—come to each of us because these are all part of our mortal experience. No matter what difficulties or challenges we face, they can help us grow spiritually and become more like our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
What the Lord told the Prophet Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail about trials can also apply to those challenged with disabilities: “Know thou … that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good” (Doctrine and Covenants 122:7).
There will be times when you may need to communicate with others that you need help, support, adaptations, or accommodations because of your disability. Sometimes, a disability may be hard to talk about. Often, others want to help but aren’t aware of your needs or aren’t sure how to help. They might avoid asking you about your situation, because they are afraid of saying the wrong thing or may think the conversation will be awkward. If you aren’t uncomfortable talking about your disability, you will often find that those who love you are willing to listen. Pray to Heavenly Father for courage and guidance about how to talk with people about your disability. Ponder what you would like others to know about you. What are your strengths? What are your challenges? What have you found to be helpful? What talents do you have that could help you serve others?
Realize that most members of the Church are open to guidance on how to help and include those with disabilities. Recognize that your brothers and sisters may also be prompted about how to help.
The Holy Ghost can help family members, teachers, and leaders know when to reach out and how they can be helpful.
Here are a few tips to consider when helping others understand your needs and your situation: