My beloved shoe repair shop is gone. Carly and I headed over there the other day because I was hoping to get a favorite leather purse fixed. I knew our local cobbler would be perfect for the job. He would have all the necessary tools, along with a willing and flexible spirit.
He filled some valuable needs for us in the early 2000s. Most notably, when Carly was very young, and her foot supination was needing attention. He rose to the occasion. We had been advised to find a shoemaker who could add a wedge on the outside edge of Carly’s soles. They would help neutralize her positioning, protect her from injury, and support healthy growth and development.
I enjoyed that shoe guy immensely. In stature, warmth and even facial features, he reminded me of Geppetto, the old woodcarver who created Pinocchio. His empty windows made me sad but grateful with nostalgia.
Times are different now. Covid has changed so much. But the culture was already shifting. These days, people rarely need shoe repairs. After all, many of us lived in our socks and slippers for the better part of 2020 and 2021! Also, with the quality of how things are made now, and the nature of people being enticed by shiny new things, we tend to replace rather than repair or renew anymore. I predict the repurposing movement may never make its way to clothing with the same gusto it has for furniture and nick knacks.
Still, when we really need our shoe guy, nobody else will do. He might fulfill a small niche need, but it’s an important one and few others can step in to fill that “shoe.”
Now friends, I really like my purse. I want it fixed pretty badly. It is disappointing and frustrating that I have very few options left, at this point. I’ve been told that one option is to take it to a leather repair shop that is going to charge me $50 for the repair. That’s not going to happen. The other option is start calling other shops to see if they can give me a cost estimate before I start driving far across town to the very few and far-flung options that are left.
Seriously, I don’t have time or energy for this.
This is where my mind pivoted to something I often hear my clients say. They have been desperate to find counselors who truly understand their situation as caregivers. They desperately want specialized and credible encouragement and practical application for their very complicated lives and all from a foundation of Christian values. They need a counseling “shoe” that really fits.
One mom’s voice often rises to the top of stories I’ve heard over the years:
I share this so you have a sense of where my personal passion comes from, but more so because this represents a grossly under-recognized heart cry of parents and family members who are caregivers.
This kind of desperation needs a voice and a platform. These friends need help. A unique kind of help.
When the Board of Directors for Walk Right In Ministries met in early March for our annual meeting, there was a great deal of discussion around this subject. WRIM fits a unique niche offering services that an extreme few others offer anywhere in the world.
Caregiving families, depending on the degree of health or developmental complexities involved, have many and varied needs. And there can be sources of help for many of those needs ranging from government benefits to charities and business that provide everything from adapted equipment, home modifications, horseback riding or music therapy, and braille books to specialized financial planning and legal counsel. But a caregiving parent who wants a Christian counselor who is experienced working with someone raising a child with disabilities or complex health needs will be hard-pressed to find it.
We’ve been preparing for Reach Night 2022 here at Walk Right In Ministries. That’s our annual virtual fundraiser. And the focus this year will be on raising money, specifically for counseling scholarships. Last year, WRIM offered $18,000 in scholarships to families seeking Christian counseling and discipleship services.
You may or may not have known exactly what our niche is at WRIM. You also have been unaware of how great the need is for what we do and how hard it is to find people and organizations who do it. Come hear the stories. Learn more about what an amazing difference these kinds of services are making for families living with disability. There will be music from national, award-winning artists too!
RELATED: Watch Impact Stories from Reach Night 2021. There will be more exciting stories like these at Reach Night 2022!
Walk Right In Ministries welcomes and needs financial support. Gifts to WRIM make several things possible:
- People with disabilities, their caregivers, and their families will be encouraged. They will feel seen, valued, and understood. They will have unique spiritual and emotional needs met, not just their physical and lifestyle needs.
- WRIM will be able to increase our investment in a growing team of trained therapists, coaches, and mentors who specialize in caregiver support.
- Caregiver-focused counseling, training and discipleship support groups will be readily accessible, regardless of someone’s ability to pay.
Note: As a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, WRIM offers many counseling scholarships and a sliding fee scale. No one is ever turned away.
- Other organizations will increasingly recognize faith-based caregiver support as a valid “niche” and have confidence to increase their own investments in counseling and discipleship resources.
Yes, we’re asking you to pray for our “competition” too. We welcome competition because that means families living with disability will more easily find and access essential help they need!
Pray also that every single one of us increasingly follows Jesus’ model for biblical friendship. Because if every Christian was walking in God-honoring friendship with others, especially those who live with extra needs or challenges, the world wouldn’t be so reliant on highly trained counselors and pastors.
We have a wonderful night planned with Reach Night 2022! I truly hope you’ll join us on April 8th at 7 PM Central on Zoom. RSVP here for the link and meeting code.
For a delightful half hour, you’ll hear stories of lives being changed by God through faith-based caregiver counseling, training and discipleship support groups. You’ll also hear music from national artists — Dove Award winning Ginny Owens and the Grammy nominated sibling group The Martins.
God is doing something powerful among us. He is building a diverse and rich community where people are finding true hope, help, and friendships.
Thank you for any part you are playing in this beautiful ministry and community where lives are being transformed! Thank you for helping caregivers find open doors and hearts, with practical spiritual tools and the hope of Christ.
Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.
Lisa Jamieson is a caregiver consultant, pastoral counsellor and author of popular books and Bible studies including Finding Glory in the Thorns and Jesus, Let’s Talk. She leads a weekly online discussion group welcoming caregivers in families living with disability. Lisa and her husband, Larry, are co-founders of Walk Right In Ministries, a non-profit organization building faith and community with special needs families. They live in Minnesota with the youngest of their three grown daughters, Carly, who has Angelman Syndrome.