Amy is going to college! Who knew?
During Amy's first year of life, we were bombarded with grim information about what doctors and therapist thought she would be capable of doing and being in her life. However, around every corner God worked miracles and we witnessed over and over again her ABILITIES vs. her disabilities. He began a work in our hearts and our focus changed. She still had struggles, challenges, and disabilities but He gave us the ability to see beyond them and to reach for His potential for her.
This week began another amazing journey for Amy. She registered for on-line classes with Liberty University! Our baby is going to college!!! Praise God! And now we trust Him to provide.
A glimpse into the worlds of the parents we serve:
On one recent evening, we had the privilege of organizing an informal gathering of some folks who are parenting special needs children at a coffee shop. It was good to see these moms taking a little time in their crazy worlds to meet up with others for support and mutual encouragement.
One mom of a four year old with Autism shared her stress in preparing for a meeting where she needs to prove her need for funding for a special therapy and respite needs.
Another mom of five children was communicating her struggle with how best to get through her homeschool day with five children, one of whom has Down Syndrome and another who has Sensory Processing Disorder.
Several moms were discussing options on getting the best educational settings and support for their children in the public school system - another perplexing and sometimes frustrating experience.
All were wondering about the future for their children. Questions like "will he ever be able to speak clearly enough to express himself?" "what will my child be able to accomplish academically?" "what kind of social skills will my child need me to help him learn?" "what professional help do I need for my child?
These parents are like all parents in that they want the BEST for their children. They want to help them to be the absolute best they can be. Some of them have other children whom they need to consider also. Life is hard.
However, every single one of them expressed how much they love their child. Each of them was looking beyond their own needs to offer support and encouragement to the other moms present. It was a beautiful thing to see. Our hope is that these moms left that informal gathering a little stronger, a little wiser, and very much encouraged to keep on keeping on.
It is a privilege to get to know them. Theses moms are pretty amazing.
Calming the panic:
Just recently Julie received an SOS text message from a mom who was sitting in the doctor's office with her 7 year old daughter.
They had just received some bad news about the daughter's medical condition. Mom was heartbroken for her daughter and struggling with holding it together in front of her.
Julie was taken back to a similar panic moment with Amy and kicked into action with support that she had received from another special needs mom:
Julie: "Please give your emotions to me for safekeeping. Sit up tall. Take a breath and be on a fact finding mission. This is not too big for God."
The precious mom: "I NEEDED this reminder, Julie. I will. My grit was just washed away and I will hand this to you and God and take [my daughter] to coffee on the way home."
The precious mom: "Fact finding. Fact finding. Fact finding. Must keep in mind."
Julie: "Enjoy your girl and steer her toward pleasant things."
The precious mom: "I will. I am fighting sobs mentally while I drive and will give this over."
Julie: "One thing we do is start naming all our blessings. Then we go off on a rabbit trail with good memories and end up laughing. Think of something you and [your daughter] love and chat about it.
The precious mom: "I will play that game with [my daughter] right now!!!"
Julie: "A favorite food, movie, game."
The precious mom: "The game was a BLAST. Our spirits are lifted. [My daughter] is so GOOD at this game! We have laughed and laughed. She wants sweet frog instead of decaf at Sbucks. So we are heading in for a rare treat.!"
AND THIS IS WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO!
Your gifts and prayers enable us to reach out to families like this one and make the journey a little lighter. On behalf of these families, THANK YOU!
KEEP THE GIFTS AND PRAYERS coming - God is doing a mighty work.
Events and other ministry happenings:
PEF Conference, July 25-28. Tom, Julie, and Amy will be heading south to Chattanooga, TN, for a missions conference where we will gather with others who are a part of our missions community. We will have an opportunity to continue to speak about our work of empowering and encouraging parents who are raising a special needs child or a child with challenges.
Pasadena, Maryland - We are excited about our communication with a Pastor who would like us to come and speak at his church. Stay tuned for info on date and topic.
Owings, Maryland - We are in communication with a MOPS leader who would like us to come and speak to her group sometime in the Fall.
Harrisonburg, Virginia - We have been invited to speak to parents of a local Christian school in the Fall. Stay tuned for more information.
We lead a monthly support group for parents who are raising children with special needs.
We continue to supporting the foster and adoption community through volunteering at dinners for parents and offering encouragement and practical ideas and strategies through Facebook groups.
Pray for continued strategic planning with ministry leaders.
Pray for opportunities to get the word out about this ministry to others who may want to partner with us.
Pray for opportunities to speak to groups of parents.
Pray for opportunities and financial means to host tables at parenting events and conferences.
Pray for Amy as she begins her classes at Liberty and for God's provision.
Please pray for the parents who are struggling to bring the best to their children. Some of their hearts are broken every day. May they always know God's love for them in the midst of their difficult journey.
Thank you again for your partnership in this work of God.
Please share our Newsletter and invite others to participate in helping Kids and their Parents.
We SO love having you on our ministry team!