Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Life Perspective

The past few weeks have brought the busyness of the Spring season. My interior design work had a surge with three deadlines culminating the same week and, of course, the end of the school year activities are in full swing! I relish this time of year because of the changing season, blue, sunny skies and the chance to watch the kids celebrate their school year successes. However, I must admit that I have had little time to write and I feel a bit disconnected from the book and stories that God has shared with me through so many wonderful parents and others who work with and love children experiencing life challenges. As the school year comes to an end, I hope to be able to remain focused and make more progress with my writing and sharing with others. The last few months have shown me the importance of continuing this journey. God is asking, He's got a plan, and I am determined to stay focused on His assigned task. When I am immersed in this "work" I experience so much JOY...why would I want to leave that undone?

As you have probably noticed, my posts about kids who face life challenges have all come from a parent's perspective. Most of the kids I have written about are still under the age of 13 and are either not fully aware of their differences or are not yet able to fully reflect on how their challenges affect their lives. However, today I want to share with you a post from a precious young woman. In her own words she shares how dyslexia has affected her life. Her story is honest and raw and you will be touched as she shares the pain and joy she has experienced.

Rachel is 22 years old now but I have known her from the time she was born. She is the daughter of David, our Minister of Music and JoAn, one of the Associate Pastors at my church. Watching Rachel grow up, I saw a shy and quiet girl who participated in the music programs at the church. What I didn't know was the struggles she was going through and the battles she was fighting. After reading her story, it is helping me as a parent and I am humbled by her determination and faith walk. God has and continues to help her through her challenges; a constant and loving source of hope and courage for her. I am thankful for her faithfulness to Him and her ability to be grateful through her circumstances. Currently, Rachel is working as an intern for Rick Bonfim Ministries. Her work for RBM includes designing/updating their website (, travelling to Brazil to Rick's Mission in Niteroi, and doing whatever else they ask of her.

Here is her story:

My name is Rachel Kinrade and I am 22 years old. I was diagnosed with Dyslexia when I was in Elementary school in second grade. It has definitely not been the easiest road, but with the help of God and my family I have learned to move on and get passed the diagnosis. (And live with it you can say) I can say now that it was quite a struggle! I attended public school from elementary school all the way through high school. I was in special education classes from second grade through fourth grade. When I got through fourth grade the teachers decided to take me out of special eduation, so I could be a “normal” fifth grader to get me ready for middle school.

From a very young age I struggled with school. I never was a good test taker, I didn’t have any friends, I was always the shy or quiet girl who would never say a word in school. And by a word, I mean a word! I would NEVER say anything in school, I was very very shy. The teachers noticed that I didn’t do well on test at all and that I was struggling and not comprehending a lot of material. My mom was a elementary school music teacher at the time and that’s when they decided for me to get tested for some type of learning disability. I went through a series of long and hard test, kind of like a standardize test if you will. I remember that day very well and everything about it. It was definitely traumatizing as a 7 year old. I was a very mature kid I did very well in school and just didn’t do well on test. I was too young to know what was going on, but now looking back at it having dyslexia and being defined as a child with a learning disability really hurt me growing up. Not being in an environment that understood was hard. I grew up holding back and keeping a lot of my feelings and even emotions inside. I didn’t ever express myself. I ended up not knowing how to act around other kids, because I wasn’t around them in the classroom. Felt very alone growing up and like I had no friends. I was so confused. Of course now looking back I see how much I have grown so much in this process, as a person and how it has helped me become who I am today.

I had many accomplishments throughout middle and high school. I learned how to cope with my dyslexia. My mom would talk to each of my teachers every year before the term started. Some would make accommodations and some would not. Some would be the best teachers and help me and some would be very rude about it. I got used to those…But I did the best I could and would work extra hard. I would spend three to four times longer working on assignments and homework as “normal” kids. No one understood while I was getting special treatment in classes and no one seemed to understand. But did that stop me? No! When working on homework and school work I would get extremely frustrated and angry at myself. I would get mad at myself, because I would not understand my work, I wouldn’t remember how to do the math problem, or I couldn’t comprehend a story I read. I would think to myself often, “Why are you like this? Why can’t you do this work by yourself like normal kids”, Why do you always need help?”

I got all A’s and B’s all through middle and high school. And I even graduated with honors from high school in 2009. I surprised my parents the night of graduation! I found out graduation morning that I reached my goal of graduating with honors. That tells you what someone can do if they put their mind to it.

Another big mile stone for me was graduating from the Art Institute of Atlanta in December of 2011. I graduated with my Associates degree in Culinary Arts degree with concentration in baking and pastry. I could not have gotten through without my family and me walking in Faith and Trust with God on my side.

I am not saying it was easy, but I am saying it is possible. Everything is possible with God. God has been my main supporter in all of this and my learning process. I was longing for a relationship with Him from a very young age even growing up in church. I leaned on Him even if I did not know what that meant. My parents also supported me. They would spend hours with me every night working through my homework with me and helping me. They believed in me like no one else! They were the best! Kids so much lean on there parents for support and help. All the kid wants is to be “normal” and feel important. That’s what my parents did for me. They always cared for me and wanted the best for me. They wanted to help in anyway possible. I know it was tough for my mom. It was hard for her to find common ground in fighting for me, doing everything she could and then deciding when it was a good time for me to jump out on my own. But she did great! 

I currently am an intern at a Mission organization in Athens, Ga. (Rick Bonfim Ministries) I absolutely love it and know that this is my call from God on my life. He has brought me through many hard times and that has brought me closer to Him. God has definitely brought me through this hard struggle of being a child and young-adult with dyslexia. He helped me realize that I did not have to go by Rachel who has dyslexia. I was Rachel, I was my own person and I didn’t have to be identified by dyslexia. Dyslexia does not identify who I am! I pray that my words encourage you and give you hope! God bless you! I will leave you with my favorite scripture that I turn to everyday and that helped me more then ever through this whole process:
Philippians 4:13 (NIV) “I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength!”

When asked what gifts Rachel feels God has given her to help her surpass her challenges, she shares that music, faith perseverence, compassion, caring and a servant's heart are a few. Here are her thoughts:

Gifts that surpass the challenges: 
1. I would have to say Music has helped me surpass the challenges. Having music and being in band in middle and high school and choir through church helped me cope with my learning disability. Music to this day helps me express myself and who I am as a person. If I didn't have music I don't know where I would be in life! 
2. Faith: Something that I've learned over the years is to have faith! I keep having to remember that we just have to walk in Faith and Trust! But mostly having faith can help you get through any situation! Remember: You just have to have faith the size of mustard seed! 
3. Perseverance: I learned to take each second, minute, hour, day at a time. I couldn't get through without doing this. But I did worry a lot growing up. and without looking at it this way, I would have NEVER gotten through and done things that I did. 
4. I feel as if God has blessed me with many gifts, but I would say the ones that mean the most to me are compassion, caring, and servant heart. I care SO very much for other people. That is who I am and how God created me to be. 

I am immensly grateful to Rachel for sharing her story with me and all of you. It takes courage to share and be transparent. I am also thankful to learn from Rachel. Although this journey began as an opportunity for me to share our story and how I see God working in it, I am finding that God has many plans beyond that. He is teaching me so much through others, how they have responded to their situation and what He has done in their lives. I have a lot to learn and am blessed with some great people to learn from!



  1. What a great post!! Rachel is truly an amazing young woman, her story really blessed me today! Thank you Rachel for sharing! Christi, what a wonderful tool for ministry you have with this blog. Every post I read leaves me inspired and encouraged to do more in my life for The Lord and others for His glory!!

  2. What a brave and inspiring young woman.