And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awecame upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. – Acts 2:42-47
Well, it’s been a very long time since I’ve logged on to my blog. It’s not that I haven’t had the desire to write. I’ve thought about writing almost every day. It’s not that I haven’t had material to write about. I have about ten half-written posts in draft-mode at this very moment, and at least five more shooting around in the crevices of my brain. I just have a baby that won’t let me put her down. Spare me the lectures about crib-training, self-soothing, and spoiling my baby. Been there. Done that. Times two. Baby #3 is just different. So, after lulling her to sleep in her car seat I’ve situated her in a bean bag chair (because it sort of feels like being held) and I’m racing to get a blog post out before she realizes I’m not there anymore. I’ve got maybe 20 minutes. Wish me luck.
I’ve made no secret that I am deeply in love with my church. I love the teaching, the worship, and the children’s ministry, but if I had to pick the one thing that really sets our church apart, it is the fellowship and generosity of the people. These are a with-you-in-the-trenches bunch. I can’t imagine going through the past two-and-a-half years without the support and community that has surrounded us, and you can’t get that watching TBN. God has blessed us very much through this season of our lives, and one of the most consistent instruments He has used has been Rio Vista Community Church. So, I wanted to take some time to give my church family the props they deserve.
I’ve read so many posts from special needs parents who have given up on attending worship services, because they can’t find care for their children. They are surprised when I tell them that not only do I have an attendance record that would rival that of a pastor, I’m also an active volunteer, but it’s not because of my amazing life management skills. It’s because I have a church family that loves and supports us.
When we were planning to attend Rio for the first time, I emailed ahead to tell the church that we had a special needs child and his particular challenges. I received a note back stating that even if they needed to pull an extra volunteer out of the service that Sunday just for him, Luke would have all the attention that he needed. Nick and I were both shocked when neither of us were called out of the service to tend to Luke. It had been months since I had been able to sit through a service. To this day, I’ve never been interrupted to tend to a meltdown.
Within a few weeks, one the pastors became aware that we had a special needs child and approached us to ask how our family was doing financially and if there was any way the church could help. To this day, it blows my mind to think they did that when they barely knew us. But the inexhaustible generosity of these dear saints didn’t stop there. Over the time that we have attended, here is just a sampling of the ways the congregation and leadership has loved our family:
The elders got together to lay hands on Luke and pray for his healing.
The church purchased Luke a new iPad when his old one was destroyed.
The church provided a financial gift to cover medical and therapy expenses.
Two volunteers expressed a desire to be assigned to care for Luke during services.
Another family offered to babysit for free so Nick and I could go on dates.
A stockpile of maternity clothes, baby gear and baby clothes were donated when I became pregnant with Grace.
Our supply of donated diapers lasted thirteen months. Our supply of donated wipes has yet to run out.
When we bought our home, a team of guys came to the house to make necessary repairs and prepare for move in.
Another family sent a maid over to clean the place top to bottom.
Another brother in the church continues to make our home repairs as needed to this day.
Three different families in the church have given us financial gifts.
I have received gift cards for groceries, baby supplies, and gas.
My cup runneth over. There have been so many ways our church has supported us that I’m quite certain I’ve failed to list them all, but perhaps the biggest thing that they accomplished was to let us know that no matter what comes our way, we will never face it alone, and years from now when Luke is grown he won’t be alone either, because a whole church full of people love him!
So, to my fellow special needs parents, who are sitting at home watching TV church because you can’t imagine getting through a worship service, let me encourage you. Try again. Find a church that will love you and support you. It’s worth it.
I mentioned earlier that Grace is a year old now! Please enjoy this video that was put together by Stacy at Just to See You Smile. I thought it would be appropriate to share with this post since our church has been such a huge part of nurturing her.
** I got through a post! For the record, the baby woke up and had to be put back to sleep three times and it took me just under three hours to complete this post.