Being a special needs family, finding a church family is hard! When we moved to Wichita we were part of a church for a couple of years until Caleb’s behaviors came to the point that he needed extra help during Sunday school time. We asked for help from the children’s director and was basically told that either Tony or I would have to be in with Caleb to help him if we wanted help for him. This was our indication that it was time to start looking elsewhere.
I started e-mailing other churches in the area and telling them our story. I received an e-mail from one church basically telling me the same thing. I then got an e-mail from another church telling me that they would gladly help us and provide a para for Caleb in Sunday school. We started attending this church, after a period of times became members, became involved in a small group, and eventually leading small groups.
Our church went through two splits to start new campuses. For the second split, we were part of the core team for the new campus and part of the leadership team.
During the time at our church, we went through multiple psychiatric and other hospitalizations with the kids. We were supported by members of our home teams for the most part, but leadership, it felt like it was hit or miss.
Then came the most difficult time in our life. We had a two losses very close to each other — one of which rocked our world. After a very long fight, we felt like we were losing a part of ourselves. We felt like failures as parents. There is a lot more to this story that I am just not ready to share on this public blog yet, but I might at some point in the future. Or it might just be shared in a book that I feel like I need to write. Who knows!
Tony and I talked to our Pastor and we all decided that it was necessary to take a break from our leadership roles so that we could have time to focus on our healing from what we had just been through. Because for the previous 18 months we had not shared what was going on with anyone on the leadership team other than our pastor and our home team, he wanted us to share with the leadership what had happened and why we were stepping down from our leadership positions. That meeting happened in August. I went by myself because we didn’t have anybody to watch Caleb, so Tony stayed home with the boys, so they didn’t have to sit in the meeting and listen to us explain what happened and bring up the memories once again.
As I began to share I could not keep the tears away from the beginning. It was hard for me to even put words together. There was hardly a dry eye in the room. Our pastor had everyone come up and pray for me and our family. There were lots of hugs. One person even told me after to not leave without giving them my phone number, to which I provided to her.
However, after I walked out of that meeting, we have not heard from a single person in that meeting, other than the pastor maybe a couple times on Facebook, to check on us. Now, we have run in to people out and about in the community and they will ask how we are doing, but that’s the extent of it. I am writing this post in July 2016. The meeting took place 23 months ago in August of 2014. We have not attended a service in that church since that meeting took place. That church was our family! We have no immediate family in the area and we considered our church family our family. We feel like we were abandoned by family! It has made it very difficult for us to even think about trying to find a new church. I am very thankful for the very few individuals that we have met through that church, that are truly family to us and check on us regularly and we know we can count on! (I hope you know who you are!!! Love you all bunches!!!!)