Meeting Parents Where They Are At

Late last week, we had the great privilege of giving the parents of 18 children a much-needed break for the evening.  This is part of our ministry’s rhythm of quarterly respite nights staggered between quarterly fun family events for those who have a child with a diagnosis.  While we have been doing this in response to where we see parents expressing a need for both a break and a connection to others, we can still find ourselves delightfully surprised when the parents unwittingly demonstrate to us that they are looking for something different.

This last week, we tried something a little different as we are in a season of leadership change.  One of the classrooms in the enormous church basement we were using became the “sensory room” where kids could take a break from the loud chaos.  With a couple of lava lamps, bean bag chairs and multiple fidgets, we were ready for the munchkins.  But who we really spent time with in that room is the parents.  Surprised by some early pick-ups, we found parents with questions.  “My 5 year old daughter is having such difficulty with self-regulating.  I just don’t know what to do!”  “He gets so wild.  How do I get him to calm down?”  These were the types of conversations I personally found myself having with parents.  We discussed routines, fidgets, sensory issues and soothing baths before bed.  Meeting parents where they were at meant that we showed the practical love of Christ by offering ideas, resources and techniques to make their lives more manageable.

And isn’t that what our work is all about?  We are image-bearers of Christ, meeting the hurting right where they are at.  This means that our ears and eyes must be open.  Our hearts must be pliable at all times.  We need to, in the words of Henry Blackaby, “Watch for where God is working, and join Him.”   This also means, we may start out being called into a worthwhile activity, but find something new or unexpected happens in the middle of it.

Are you and your ministry fully open to where God is working?  Are you flexible in your plans?  Can you share some remarkable stories where you began doing one thing, but experienced Christ’s powerful revelation by following Him into something completely different?  We would love to hear about your ministry moments and what God is doing in your sphere of influence.

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