If someone is drowning, does just one lifeguard swim out to save the person drowning? No! All available lifeguards and able observers come together to answer the call for help. If there is a fire, does one fireman insist, “Oh no, please let me go in alone. I want the credit for putting out the fire and saving all the lives!” NO! The whole fire department shows up to work together to accomplish the task.
Yet sometimes, we plunge into the deep end of special needs with little to no instruction in how to wade the waters or swim, and think we can do it on our own. In more than thirty-seven years of care for our son, we have found we are not able to navigate special needs alone. We are grateful for the support we’ve had.
We’ve needed experts to guide us to the next place in our son’s life and development, such as:
These are just a few of the experts who have helped us. We are sure you could add even many more!
In the times when we’ve reach the end of our rope, we’ve had a support system to ask for help. For the times we’ve needed to get away, we’ve had family who have offered and allowed us that time of reprieve and refreshment. When we’ve been asked to travel for ministry, we’ve been offered the ability to go, because our support network believes in what we do just as much as we do.
Not only have we needed and continue to need help from professional community resources like social workers and special needs educators, but we also need help from ministries and faithful followers of Jesus Christ. With special needs, the Church has the opportunity to leave their logos and egos at the door, and come together to unify the body of Christ. By reaching out to others in the special needs community who don’t have family to help or don’t know how to get needed community assistance, we can serve those around us in the body of Christ, our church family, community, and others.
We know that Christians and non-Christians alike are watching to see how we make this special needs journey work. But beyond that, we know that others are also watching to see if believers look from the sidelines of special needs or get in the game. Others are watching to see if Christians work together, if they’re willing to work alongside another ministry instead of being front and center in their own area of ministry, and if Christians will serve even when their ministry doesn’t get the credit. If only we could be willing to do what will further the true gospel instead our individual ministries!
Let each individual, each Christian church and parachurch organization work together in unity and not in competition. We hope individuals and churches will be challenged to a new sense of urgency to work with others, to show others that in our love for others we are serious about our love for Jesus and the church. Let us purposefully and actively support one another in love—for the journey.
Dr. Joe and Cindi Ferrini are authors, speakers, and bloggers for several blogging sites on family and special needs. They speak nationally for FamilyLife Weekend To Remember Marriage Get-a-Ways, authored Unexpected Journey – When Special Needs Change our Course, and have been interviewed on Focus on the Family, FamilyLife, and various other radio and television venues. Connect with them at www.cindiferrini.com and social media at: www.facebook.com/cindi.ferrini, www.facebook.com/UnexpectedJourney/, www.facebook.com/MyMarriageMatters/