Tag Archives: special needs parenting

The Advocate: Three Tips for Getting Services for Your Child with Special Needs

Advocate

As I sat listening to the experiences of special needs parents as part of a panel discussion offering resources, I recalled the parable of Jesus:

He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.'” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them?

(Luke 18:2-7 NRS)

The widow in Jesus’ story was the advocate who would not give up. She returned again and again, asking for what she needed until she received it. How often do we do that as parents? Pretty much continually with insurance, school accommodations, state and federal agencies, and more. I looked out from the panel table at a gathering of earnest advocates seeking advice of how to best advocate for the needs of their children. They received sage advice from Denise Briley of Thru the Roof Ministry at Houston First Baptist Church. She successfully navigated the waters of receiving services for her medically fragile son. Here are some of her insights:

Be persistent! As a family who was an early pioneer in keeping home a medically fragile child rather than institutionalizing, the Brileys fell through the cracks of programs that should have provided support. When denied by an agency she told the person on the other end of the phone, “I just want you to know I am going to call you every day at 1:00. I look forward to talking to you again tomorrow.”  And she did. Every day. For 59 days.  On day 60 her phone rang at 12:59, “Mrs. Briley, I have some wonderful news…”

Be prepared! Do the research. Ask questions. Document everything. If there is more than one local agency office that could provide services, find out which office is the most compassionate and helpful. Show up in person with your child. Denise shared a marvelous story about taking her son to the local agency office and then on to the main office in our state capital. “Oh Mrs. Briley, you didn’t need to bring your son.” “Well, as a matter of fact I did because I have no respite help to care for him and he clearly cannot be left alone.” Her burgeoning bag with medical equipment was an ample testament to his needs, with every machine that beeps set to max volume. Seeing, and hearing, is believing! “Mrs. Briley, clearly there has been a mistake in the respite decision…”

Be patient! It takes time. Prepare to hear ‘no’ many times. If a cover letter was missing, submit again. If a box wasn’t checked, check it and re-submit. Eventually there may be a ‘yes.’ And, while patiently working through the system for a ‘yes’, don’t feel like you have to pretend that you have it all together.  Obviously, don’t berate the person who is there to help you. But if it is a rough day don’t feel the need to hide your discouragement, tears, and anxiety.  Policies often have grey areas of interpretation and real people with real emotions interpret those policies. Let them see that you are human because they are too and it could help build a bridge to the services you need for your child.

Jesus’ parable is of an unjust judge. The good news is that our God is not an unjust God, but rather a God who hears our prayers and has sent The Advocate on our behalf.  Jesus told his disciples in his final evening gathered with them in the upper room:

 I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you. (John 14:16-17 NRS)

Truly, as parents we are strengthened as advocates because the ultimate Advocate is with us.

Holy Advocate, thank you for aiding us in seeking justice and services for our children. Strengthen us when we feel weak, renew us when we feel tired, freshen our perspectives when we are discouraged, and soften hearts so that we hear a “yes” for our children who are made in your glorious image. Amen

Rev Doc Lorna

Review: Every Child Welcome

Philo Weatherbee

Last week I shared with my readers an interview with Jolene Philo, co-author with Katie Wetherbee of the new book Every Child Welcome: A Ministry Handbook for Including Kids with Special Needs. This truly is a wonderful new resource for any children’s ministry team that wants to create an inclusive welcome to families with special needs, while at the same time equipping ministry leaders to be confident in their ability open the doors to all of God’s children.

Like expert guides, Jolene Philo and Katie Wetherbee gently lead the reader along the pathway to creating an inclusive ministry for children. From casting a vision for ministry all the way down to detailed strategies in the classroom, Every Child Welcome sets out a clear and easy to follow process for staff and volunteers alike.  The writing is clear, accessible and engaging with years of expertise in the field apparent on every page.  Any church with a goal to welcome all children and their families will be blessed by the abundance of wisdom contained within the pages.

Set in the metaphor of receiving guests for a dinner party, the authors create a comprehensive plan for welcoming children. Just as any good meal begins with planning and preparation, so too does creating an inclusive children’s ministry. Step by step, staff and volunteers are prepared with thoughtful consideration of how best to receive children by creating welcoming space and activities. With a clear understanding that not every volunteer has a background in special education, nor even in teaching, Philo and Wetherbee provide practical advice that is clear and concise. Their suggestions are both creative and adaptable to a variety of settings. This is a “go to” resource that I imagine children’s ministry teams referring to again and again.

Chapter topics include all parts needed for an inclusive welcome: preparing the space, preparing the children to learn, teaching the Bible, activities to enhance learning, ideas for holidays, and more. In addition to offering multiple strategies in each chapter, there are also suggested resources for children’s ministry teams who want to learn more. Readers can also connect to the author’s blogs for ongoing articles and tips on creating an inclusive ministry.

In other news…

I recently shared the story of Elizabeth who is new to long distance running and training to run the New York City Marathon this November.  I’m happy to let you know training is going well and she has already conquered a 16 mile long-run in the sweltering Houston heat and humidity. She is on target to be ready to cover 26.2 in November.  Also, she has already raised over $7,000 for Achilles International in honor of her children. And, I saved the best for last, her children with a rare genetic mitochondrial disorder are responding well to their new treatment and reaching new devlopmental milestones that used to seem impossible.  You can read more about Elizabeth’s inspiring story here: http://bit.ly/1I5odhg.

Gracious God, thank you for the gift of Jolene and Katie who inspire and equip others to reach out to families with special needs.  Guide ministry leaders to encourage their teams to create ways to include all children who come to be taught by them and to know you. Continue to guide and bless Elizabeth and her whole family on their journey of self-discovery of new abilities being revealed every member of the household. Amen

Blessings,

Rev Doc Lorna

Back-to-School Prayer

Little Boy Holding a Whiteboard by photostock

Here in Texas it is the first day of school. I’m thinking of all the parents and students who are feeling a bit anxious today. Transitions are hard for most, but especially so when for children with developmental differences. One friend is sending her son off for his first day of school ever. Another friend just sent a photo of her son on his first day of middle school and it reminded me of my anxious nerves when that was my son making those big transitions.

Years ago as I met with his helping teacher the week before school started she asked, “Do you just sit home and worry about him all day?”

I tried to shrug it off. “Oh no! I have part-time job I go to at the church while he is at school.”

She looked skeptical.  She knew the truth… that I simply went to work and worried about him there rather than at home.

Was there ever a perfect first day of school? No. Not at our house.  But we all made it home at the end of the day and sorted out the new routine.  Day by day it got better.  So much of that worry was simply a waste of energy.  I probably contributed to making my son yet more anxious.  Ouch!  That is a painful realization.

Jesus offers valuable advice about wasted effort of worry

And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.
(Luke 12:25-27 NRS)

Great advice, but I know it is hard to follow at times. And so I offer this prayer for all the folks feeling anxious about back-to-school.

Nirturing God, grant peace to those who are anxious, big people and little people alike. Bless teachers and thank you for giving them the gifts of nurture, creativity and patience.  Guide them in uderstanding and welcoming students who are unique. As parents we want good things for our children and want to protect them. Help us to let go of the worry we feel at times of transition and trust in what you have in store in the future. Amen

Rev Doc Lorna

Photo: “Little Boy Holding a Whiteboard” by photostock courtesy of FreeDigitalPhoto.net

When Compliments Hurt

Lorna and Craig watermarked

“You’ve done such a good job with him.”

I know it was meant as a compliment, but this statement from someone over a year ago has stuck with me for a variety of reasons.  As my baby turns 25 years-old I have to ask myself the question, have I?

Asperger’s is what it is. We’ve taken our son to all variety of therapies and he has gained genuine coping skills. He is a remarkable young man, confident and caring.  He advocates for himself. He understands his limits. A friend said something to him in humor.  It left him confused, so he asked, “Is that sarcasm?  I don’t do well with sarcasm.  I’m very literal.  Could you please explain what you meant?”  Way to go!

There are many things my son does, but one thing he doesn’t do is blend.  A parent recently confided in tears about attending a party with her son and being reminded again that he was different due to autism.  No one was mean. Nothing was wrong. It was just one of those times when the developmental disconnect reached up and slapped her in the face. That innocent comment, “You’ve done a good job with him,” did that to me. Differences had been noted and evaluated without anyone saying a word.

Honestly, it made me defensive. I wanted to ask, “How would you know? What leads you to believe it took extraordinary effort from all of us to get to where we are? How do you know the job we did was “good?”

I let it go. No harm was meant. It was a compliment! It just happened to be one that accidentally poked at a tender place that all special needs parents guard.  We had done a “good job.” Were we perfect parents? Of course not! Perfect is over-rated. We did our best.  A lot of the time we just winged it and prayed. Babies don’t come with owner’s manuals, especially not ours!

I’ve come to learn that blending is over-rated too. We aren’t meant to blend.  We are meant to stand out.  The psalmist writes,

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.” (Psalm 139:14)

How can a person who is fearfully and wonderfully made blend? Wonderful are God’s works in making each and every one of us as unique as fingerprints. Yes, as parents we work hard to equip our children. It is our most sacred privilege in this world. As they mature, let their differences shine. Embrace their strengths, reinforce where they need support.

When I pray for my son I hear the voice of my heavenly father saying, “You’ve done a good job with him.” To which I reply, “Thank you. You gave us great material to work with!”

Creating God, bless your holy name for making us all unique and yet all in your image. Free us from the expectations of this world and help us embrace instead the beauty in not blending. Amen

Eight Ways to Reduce Back to School Anxiety

Back to School

I’m sharing with my readers a guest blog I wrote for Ellen Stumbo.  You can read the original post here.

When I was a child, back to school came with lots of excitement and the good kind of anticipation. For my son on the autism spectrum, it was a very different experience.   Early on, we didn’t have anything close to a smooth transition when the school doors flung wide, welcoming all the little people who had become somewhat bigger people over the summer. As the first few years got off to bumpy starts, I found my son who is on the autism spectrum grew anxious about the start of the school year. I started to worry too. Would my son have a teacher who was a good fit for his needs?  Would he be able to cope with the social strain? Would he handle all the new material he needed to learn? Would he be safe from bullies? Would he make just one friend that year?

Dear God, is it asking too much for the answer to all of those questions to be “yes?”

For both of us, the sense of anxiety about back to school had much to do with the unknown. What happened to the “fun” part of back-to-school that I had known?  I was determined to help him have some happy memories by making what felt unknown become familiar instead.  Here are a few strategies that worked well for my family:

  • Brush up on academic skills. Math skills were always a challenge and hard-won gains eroded quickly over the summer. We found a math tutor who did a two-week intensive, meeting one-on-one an hour a day.
  • Review lists of back to school supplies with your child’s therapists. Check for alternate suggestions that best suit your child’s needs and motor skill abilities. Also, schedule ongoing after school therapy appointments. Therapist’s schedules fill quickly in those coveted afterschool hours. Booking early will help reserve the time slot that best fits the rhythm of your family and minimize disruption.
  • Make a “First Day Plan.” Navigating crowded hallways can be overwhelming to children with sensory issues, especially if he or she already has anxiety about a new routine. Introduce your child to their “go to” people, such as the school nurse, cafeteria monitor, and so forth. We used to arrange a time before school began, apart from the hectic “meet your teacher” night, and find the route to classroom, library, cafeteria, nurse’s office, and restrooms.
  • Avoid unnecessary embarrassment by having a spare change of clothes and underwear tucked away at school, just in case.
  • Help your child connect with other children he or she already knows who will be in the classroom. A familiar face on the first day of school can help alleviate anxiety.
  • Get in the groove ahead of time. Adjust bedtime and waking time to match the back-to-school schedule during the week before school. Experiment with lunch. The first day goes so much better if a picky eater is willing to eat what is packed in their lunchbox. What they ate happily a few months ago may suddenly be less appealing. Try doing a full dress rehearsal of getting ready for the first day and keep it fun rather than rushed.
  • Plan to something simple, but special to your child after the first day. It may take a few weeks to get into a settled routine and that is alright. Celebrate even small victories along the way.
  • Pray for your child each day and give over to God all that is outside of your control.

These are a few ways that my family made back-to-school fun again.  I’d love to hear what works for your family.

Rev Doc Lorna

Photo “Back to School” by Nuttakit at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Peace, Be Still

Poppy by Dan from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Be still, and know that I am God! (Psalm 46:10 NRS)

“Where did the summer go? Two months ago I had all of these great intentions. Now it’s almost time for back to school!”

My friend’s frustration certainly mirrored my own at times.  How often have I lamented, “If I just had the time I would…” But then the much-needed gift of time was wasted.

Or was it?

Engaging life at a different and slower pace is a gift.  Give yourself permission not to have to produce every moment. There is a saying, “We are human beings, not human doings.”

Simply ‘being’ rather than ‘doing’ is a gift in itself.

A scripture meditation to help you relax and enjoy that difference.

Sit comfortably in a place free from distractions for just three minutes.

Breathe deeply and focus on one line for each minute

“Be still and know that I am God.”

“Be still.”

“Be.”

May the peace that surpasses all understanding be with you now and forever more. Amen

Rev Doc Lorna

Image “Poppy” by Dan courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

But I Don’t Want to Run a Marathon!

“Exercising In The Park” by mapichai from FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, (Hebrews 12:1(b) NRS)

“But I don’t want to run a marathon!”

I think every parent of a child with special needs has received the pep talk, “This isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.  Pace yourself.”

This is great advice for all of us who are caregivers to children who have extraordinary needs. Pay attention to how you care for yourself, how you spread your energy, so that you don’t burn out and you have enough in the tank for the long road ahead. But what if running a marathon was never your goal? What if your personal road to acceptance means literally have running 26.2 miles?

Special needs parent Elizabeth Elder joined one of my support groups and shared her inspiring story:

My husband, James, and I have two beautiful children, a four year old daughter, Annabelle, and a three year old son, Blair. Both of our children were recently diagnosed with a rare mitochondrial disorder that has caused significant developmental delays and mobility challenges. Although we believe they will eventually walk and hopefully run someday, they can’t right now. In fact, they work very hard to sit up on their own. But what they lack in strength, they make up in determination, while flashing the most infectious smiles!

Frankly, running a full marathon has never interested me. Until one day about five months ago… I was having a difficult day and my dear husband gave me a pep talk. Having run the New York City marathon himself in 2009, James likened our challenge to running the marathon. He explained how our situation is not like a sprint. We can’t just give it our all with the comfort of knowing it will quickly be over. Instead, we have to follow our kids’ lead and give it our all, day after day, knowing that we have a long road ahead of us. To that, I responded, “but I don’t want to run a marathon!”

The next day I was actually on a run when I had a great epiphany: I CAN run a marathon and I WILL! From that moment, I accepted the road we are on and decided to use my strength to embrace what I have: an able body and two disabled children. Running a marathon is a huge personal achievement for anyone. However for me, running the NYC marathon is about overcoming challenges and proving that perseverance wins.

So on November 1st, I can and I will give it everything I have in honor of Annabelle and Blair and every other determined soul who doesn’t let their disabled body stop them from their own marathon.

Elizabeth has taken on training for the NYC Marathon in order to raise awareness and funds for Achilles International.  So far, friends and family has helped her raise over $7,000, far exceeding her original goal.  I hope my readers will join me in wishing her well and prayers for a successful journey, both physically and emotionally. You can learn more about Achilles International, a charity for children with disabilities and war veterans, here: Achilles International

Family hiking

Supporting God, Help each of us run with perseverance the task set before us. The fact that it is hard at times reminds us that we need you.  We lift up Elizabeth in her goal for NYC and pray blessings on her journey of self-discovery. Amen

Rev Doc Lorna

“Exercising In The Park” by mapichai from FreeDigitalPhotos.Net.jpg

Cords That Cannot Be Broken

 Strand by TCJ2020 from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“I tried to connect with another parent raising a child with special needs, but she compared her child to mine. She said I can’t understand what she goes through. My situation isn’t as challenging as hers because my child ‘just has …’.”

Q&A time after a presentation is always interesting, but this recent statement… Wow!  I spoke at a Mother’s retreat and this mom’s comment caught me by surprise in some ways, but also resonated in others.

I’ve led support groups for years and find parents connect on a variety of levels.  Though their journeys and diagnoses of special needs may be very different, parents have a variety of common experiences: grief and guilt, anxiety about the future, coping with school plans, and more. As parents bond and connect, they can see past the differences in diagnoses to their shared challenges in parenting.   Time and again I’ve heard parents marvel at how connected they feel despite the fact that the diagnosis within their families are so varied.

Yet I have also heard comments like the one the mom shared at the retreat.  My son is on the autism spectrum and when he was entering high school another parent of a child with autism told me that I didn’t know what it was like for her because my son was older then and didn’t have the same expression of autism as hers. True, on some levels. Though my son was not born “older,” one can never know the exact experience of another person.    There is a saying, “If you’ve met one person with autism, you have met one person with autism.” It is a spectrum with a variety of expressions as unique and individual as fingerprints.  But it doesn’t mean that the differences in the expression of that spectrum renders parents incapable of hearing each other’s stories and helping each other in the midst of hard times. If we limit ourselves to only connecting with parents on exactly the same path as our own, it is going to be a very small circle of understanding and support.

It is possible to care and connect even if our life circumstances are different.  We do that all of the time.  Recently we’ve experienced torrential rain in my hometown.  I’ve received phone calls, text messages, and social media connections from across the country from friends checking in to see if my family is okay.  I suppose I could respond by saying, “If you’ve not had multiple inches of rain in a short period of time day after day you can be no help to me.” The truth is that you don’t have to experience a flood of epic proportion in your home town to be able to understand that it is frightening, creating rising anxiety to match the rising waters.

Genuine empathy and compassion are not necessarily born of having lived the exact circumstance, rather they are born of caring and friendship. One of the healthiest things parents can do for themselves is to connect with others in mutually supportive relationships.  In the book of Ecclesiastes, the author writes poignantly of the importance of relationships.

And though one might prevail against another, two will withstand one.  A threefold cord is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12 NRSV

Sure, we can stand against adversity and challenges on our own, but it is so much easier to share the journey. Community and support are a gift, even when they come from unexpected places.

Holy God, bind us together, Lord, bind us together with cords that cannot be broken. Bind us together, Lord, bind us together with love. Amen

Rev Doc Lorna

Prayer by Bob Gillman

Image “Strand” by TCJ2020 from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Five Ways to Support a Parent in Medical Crisis

“Counting Hand Sign” by Teerapun courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A friend loves at all times, and kinsfolk are born to share adversity. (Proverbs 17:17 NRS)

Parents of children with frequent health crises and hospitalizations can easily become socially isolated. Family, friends and congregations often would like to help, but may not know what parents need. Parents may not even know themselves what would be helpful. Here are a few basic suggestions for offering support:

  • Parents often enjoy company. Compassion fatigue can be a real challenge for families. Even though hospitalizations may be a frequent reality, each one is due to a critical medical need placing parents under tremendous stress.  Parents spend countless hours on edge and in need of distraction. A friendly face at the door can be a real blessing. Contact them first to let them know you would like to stop by if they want some company and ask what time is best for them.
  • Offer to help, and be specific. I catch myself at times saying, “Let me know if you need anything.”  I mean what I say, but the offer is so vague that it almost never accepted.  It is better to be specific and ask if there is something in particular they need, or make an offer that is clear. “I’d like to bring a meal on Monday or Wednesday,” or “I can pick up your youngest child from school and bring her to my house for a play day,” or “I will be running errands all day Friday and would be happy to pick up your groceries or other things you need while I’m out.” Also, offer your prayers and be specific.  Ask parents how you can pray for them that day. The medical situation may be constantly changing with new concerns each day.
  • Check in regularly. A phone call or text message letting parents know you are thinking of them is helpful. Or if a parent is inundated with too many contacts (far too often this is NOT the case), offer to be a liaison sharing information with others, coordinating meals, transportation and other needs.
  • Hospital stays are expensive. Apart from medical costs and deductibles, paying for parking and meals adds up quickly. A gift basket with snacks, gift cards to local restaurants, or even a Visa gift card help defray some of those expenses. Many congregations have a hospital parking fund to which members can donate and then pastors pass the funds on to families as needed. If your church does have one of these, look into what you can do to help start one.
  • Families under stress need respite. A parent may be unwilling to leave a bedside unless another adult is constantly with their child. Once the child is home again, the effects of the stressful situation often remain. Parents need an opportunity for a break. Offering to stay with a child gives couples and single parents a chance to get away. If parents prefer to tag-team, with one staying home, moms and dads appreciate an invitation for a girls or guys night out. Even a few hours away with a good friend is a real blessing.

These are just a few ways in which families need support. The best way to know what is most helpful is to ask. Please feel free to share other suggestions in the comments.

Loving God, thank you for those who walk along side us when we need help the most. Guide us to return the favor in a way that is pleasing to you. Amen

“Counting Hand Sign” by Teerapun courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Rev Doc Lorna

There Are Plenty of Things More Painful than a Root Canal

“Discourage Or Encourage Keys” by Stuart Miles

Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing. (1Thessalonians 5:11 NRS)

Honestly, a root canal is no big deal. I had one 13 years ago, and then had it retreated on an emergency basis last week when that one failed.  All I experienced was relief, though there was one moment of great discomfort…

The doctor and his assistant kept a running conversation while I was in the chair, involving me at times with questions that could be answered by grunts and shrugs.

The assistant told of her two year-old daughter and her precocious language skills.  “We were at my son’s soccer game this weekend and my daughter was talking away.  She was talking in sentences early and has progressed to whole paragraphs. There was a dad near us who commented on what a good talker she is.  He pointed to his son, ‘This one is three and hasn’t said a thing.’ Then he hit the boy on the side of the head.”

It wasn’t long after that the doctor noticed a tear in the corner in my eye, “Are we hurting you?”

Yes, but not in the way you think.

My heart still aches for the young boy with a speech delay and a parent who is a bully. Is he receiving early intervention for his delay? I doubt it.  I could be jumping to conclusions, but reading between the lines I see a parent’s ego tied up in his child’s abilities. When those abilities don’t match his standards – whack! That “playful” whack was painful enough.  I hope that he does not also receive ones that are harder when others aren’t around to see.

It is normal for a parent to feel grief for a child with differences, and part of the grief process is denial. Denial can be helpful in some ways.  It guards us from what we cannot yet process and accept.  We are, however, not meant to dwell in the land of denial forever. It can be harmful to ourselves and those around us.

Maybe if that parent moved out of denial and into acceptance the conversation would have ended like this, “Your daughter is so inspiring.  My son is working hard to get some words. He has a great therapist. I know it will happen for him someday.” In my mind’s eye there is a hug in there too.

While finding the courage to face a diagnosis can be painful, it opens the door to become an encourager. A person who encourages also empowers. The Apostle Paul set an impressive example in encouraging.  Paul writes again and again to his churches, offering to “strengthen and encourage” them. Variations on the word “encourage” appear thirty times within Paul’s letters and the story of his ministry in Acts. He wrote to people being persecuted.  He wrote to people who mourned the loss of loved ones.  He wrote to people trying to follow the spirit of the Jesus’ teachings, but getting it wrong at times. If needed, Paul would admonish and correct, but he always followed up with encouragement. He went back to his churches and visited in person, or sent his friends, so that others wouldn’t feel alone in their struggles.

In part because of encouragement offered to the early followers, a rag tag band of persecuted people persisted and overcame hardship in order to share the good news of Christ. Encouragement empowered them to live up to their potential.  A little encouragement changed the world for the better.

And so, too, can it change the life of a child.

Encouraging God, I thank you for the parents who encourage their children in all things. I pray for the children who need an encourager and ask you to send your messengers with words of hope and understanding. Tear open the veil of denial and create a pathway to acceptance. Amen

Image “Discourage or Encourage Keys” by Stuart Miles curtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net