A Place for Me


The Real Me* by Joe Bishop

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Don’t just see my legs not running;
Don’t just see my hands not writing;
Don’t just see my mouth not talking;
These broken pieces are not me.

See instead the light in my eyes;
See instead my loving soul;
See instead my thinking mind;
These inner pieces are the real me.

*This poem appeared in the July 2001 issue of Exceptional
Parent Magazine; www.eparent.com.

My passion for investing in children like Joe began in 1992 when
I became children’s pastor at a church with an exciting ministry to
children with special needs. Supervising that amazing Royal Hearts
program of 25 children ages 2 to 15 changed my life. When their
regular teachers were absent, my husband and I gladly substituted.
The class met on Wednesday evenings to allow parents to enjoy a
support group or Bible study at Rose Drive Friends Church in Yorba
Linda, California. We quickly discovered that these special
children loved doing everything a regular class did but needed a
little more help…and more hugs, laughter, puppets, music, and

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Two years later, the special needs ministry at our church took
on a new perspective for us. A precious little girl with Down
syndrome became a part of our family and Jessica won our hearts
instantly. We soon realized that Joe, Jessica, and children like
them don’t always find a warm welcome at church.

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