When Nate was about 5 years old, we began attended to church. As I sat in the pew with my son, there were times that I felt like the only parent of a child with special needs. I felt like an anomaly. I knew of adults with special needs in the congregation, but I was unaware of any other families with small children. Was I the only one, I wondered?
While a member of the church I sought other parents. In the large congregation, I met two mothers, one with a child with Cerebral Palsy and the other with a child with ADHD. Were there more? If so, how would I find them? I didn’t know. I thought it would be great to have a fellowship or ministry to find other families of children with special needs, bringing them together.
I wrote a letter and proposal to the pastors detailing my thoughts and my vision. I was humbly surprised when I received a response. Shortly afterwards, a meeting was held to discuss my ideas. I felt good sharing my thoughts and I left believing a plan of action would occur to start a fellowship or ministry. However, nothing transpired and I was left disappointed.
While I attended that church, I continued to pray for a ministry that would help parents of children with special needs, however it never happened, while I was there. Later, I joined another church and there was the same dilemma, there was no ministry for children with special needs.
As Nate got older, I had to stop bringing him to church, as his behavior and attention span would not allow him to sit for long periods of time. It was difficult because I disliked not having my son with me. Yet, the thought of fellowships and ministries for parents of children with special needs never stopped being a burden on my heart. In fact it continues to be a soft spot for me today.
Over the years, I have seen churches expand their children’s ministry to include those specifically for children with special needs. The church where I now attend, has a special needs ministry. Seeing this makes me happy. I am grateful that God is placing this burden on the heart of people to meet this need for families. And I will continue to pray that this need is met in churches around the world to give families with special needs the help and support they need within the body of Christ.