My grandson Joseph will celebrate his fourth birthday soon. Joseph and I share an amazing love affair. This boy has my heart, and I have his. When we received the official diagnosis that Joseph was affected by autism disorder, I cried many tears. Through much prayer, love and therapy, Joseph has made progress.
We personally have since learned of two pastoral families, friends of ours, who have received the same diagnosis.
We don’t talk about it a lot, but autism affects so many families. I think I always cared about children with special needs, but when it touched my family, that caring went off the scale. I love Joseph Benton beyond words.
Much can be done to help these children if therapy is started early. Often insurance won’t cover all the child needs to improve their lives, and in some cases covers nothing. While some free therapies are available, they often need more.
I think even more, I have realized that, as the Church, we must be caring and prayerful for these families.
For instance, does your church have any kind of ministry in place for families affected by autism? Does your church offer any kind of ministry to families with children who have special needs? The Church must minister to these families.
I’m thankful that our church is trying. Our church offers a group for moms to get together to encourage, support and pray for each other. I am personally working to put together a group, inviting moms into my home to minister to them. Our local church also has a ministry, The Haven, for all children with disabilities. In essence, The Haven allows a family to attend a church service. While the parents are in the regular service, someone sits one-on-one in the nursery or children’s church to help the child. For a season, the same person is usually with the same child, so that familiarity is built. The Haven throws a big Christmas party for these families. I know of a small church in the Midwest that raised funds to set up a sensory room, utilized workers trained in this area, and used it as outreach. They immediately got new families – families who had never been able to regularly attend a church service.
The Church has to step up. Don’t close your eyes to this need. Ask other churches for ideas. Search Pinterest for ministry for children with special needs. Call that mom and ask her how she is today. Pray with her. Men, reach out to a man who is trying to be a dad to a special child.
Think about it. Pray about it. Care about it. But, please don’t ignore it. Why? Because autism matters, children with special needs matter and families matter.
“Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2