When the Church Abandoned My Special-Needs Family

Nine years ago our family received a letter, typed and signed by our pastor at the time, requesting our signatures. The church staff and their insurance agent wrote the letter, stating church volunteers would not pick up my daughter and would not change her diaper. My daughter, five years old at the time, weighed under fifty pounds. My husband and I signed in agreement and we wrote letters resigning from our various responsibilities within the church. The Sunday we returned the letter signed was our last Sunday in that church.

I felt abandoned by the people who were supposed to support us during our time of greatest need. I felt abandoned by the church. We are a family with a medically fragile daughter who does not walk or talk. We were told that our church would not help us, would not support us with our daughter’s needs.

Thankfully, we found a new church quickly, who agreed that our daughter hearing about Jesus was important. Our daughter's needs would be met by our new church's volunteers. Even now at the age of fourteen, she is well cared for.

That feeling of abandonment by the people of God can lead to feelings of abandonment by God.


I fought those feelings with truth: people are broken, people are flawed, people are unholy, people are untrustworthy, and people can be wrong. I fought the feelings of abandonment with the truth that God is always faithful, always loving, always trustworthy.

Acceptance by a church will never equal God’s acceptance. God, because of His son, Jesus, chose to be with me, to walk along with our family. 

When your church abandons you, Jesus never will.

My husband and I fought the desire to not go back to church. The easy thing would have been stay at home, get a caregiver at home for Sunday mornings, or take turns going to church. Many families I know have chosen one of these routes. They choose to stay home, listen to a podcast or watch church televised or simulcast. They choose not to bring the entire family to church because it is too hard.

But we made the choice to keep trying and choose to stay in the church setting with our daughter. I believe my daughter is an ambassador, a missionary. She represents an unreached people group—special-needs children and their families. She represents a group of people who many in the church never see, never know exist, unless I make sure I bring her.

Because my daughter has worth and value, she has a place in the church.

I make the choice every single Sunday.  I choose to make sure our daughter is seen and heard and known because she has worth in this world, and especially in church, because of her creator who made her just as she is.

Melanie Durity from My Life With the Girlie