This much was clear: I am not alone in having my feelings hurt at church via people's response, or lack thereof, to my special needs kids.
This much was not clear: I love our church. Our pastor and Sunday school teacher are simply incredible in terms of teaching, humility, kindheartedness and other fruit of the Spirit. The vast majority of our children's teachers have been full of love and helpfulness to all of my children. I have so many friends who accept us as we are.
I love The Church, the bride that Christ is preparing to present to His Father, blameless and pure.
This much was also not clear: I didn't share what I shared yesterday to hurt anyone or manipulate anyone in our current church. On a church level, in fact, I believe they have done more than most churches do. The problem, and the solution, is that the church is composed not only at the organizational level but the individual level. Individuals are well able to disregard the clear teachings in the Bible. I know I certainly can and do! Individuals are also more easily able to change and grow, oftentimes more quickly than a church.
So why did I share it? My sharing comes from the same place that compels me to share about all the beautiful children with special needs on The Shepherd's Crook or listed with adoption agencies.
*I don't want anyone to miss the blessing of these children. I don't want anyone to miss the chance to slow down, savor the moment, remember that relationships are going to provide immensely greater satisfaction than powering through a Sunday school lesson.
*I don't want anyone to have to look back with regret when they realize they have not loved their neighbor as themselves, or when their child has a special needs child, or they themselves become disabled. Many years ago I read a book called Differences in Common by Marilyn Trainer, a series of essays on her son with Down syndrome. One essay had the title: I wish I had given a better smile, and was her sad remembrance of an encounter (prior to the birth of her son) with a group of mentally challenged adults on a field trip and the regret that washes over her as she hopes for people who will smile at her son when he smiles at them.
I will likely have more to say about the amazing and heartbreaking comments I received, both here and on facebook, in the coming days. Each one deserves a hug, a word of encouragement, a vision of hope. Thank you for sharing of yourself here. I truly appreciate it.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8