Best Practices of Refreshed Special Needs Moms

I like to feel rested. My most satisfying days end with projects checked off my list and at least 7 hours of sleep. (And, hopefully, those are consecutive, uninterrupted hours.) But most days come and go with a lot of caregiving, emails with our daughter’s case manager, disability-related paperwork, medications organized, and the desperate need for a long winter’s nap! I know you relate.

The truth is, most people don’t get enough rest or true refreshment in their lives. Special-needs parents get even less. Lots less. I’m a special-needs mom to a young adult woman with significant needs and dependencies, so I’m going to share from a mom’s perspective. Dads are right here too.

Stick with me for a minute while I play out a metaphor.

Source: 123rf

Imagine you’re a hiker with a bottle of water and 2 hours of walking, climbing and extraordinary views ahead of you. It’s hot but bearable. No specific obstacles are anticipated. Then you suddenly turn your ankle on a loose stone and go down. At first, you think it’s simple a sprain. You expect to rest a moment and then walk it off. But your ankle swells quickly and begins to throb mightily. After a painful weight-bearing test, you get nervous about whether you can make the walk back to your car safely on your own. Sensing you have only four more hours of daylight, you gather your wits and will yourself to walk. Unfortunately, frequent breaks to regroup keep your progress painstakingly slow and your water supply is running low. You wonder why you didn’t save more, in case your adventure grew prolonged. You’re weary with regrets. Fear sets in as sunset comes and goes without another hiker in sight. The parking lot is still far off. Your worries of rattle snakes, hairy spiders and eerie bats is growing and you’re feeling hauntingly alone. You drop back to the ground and realize you’ve gotten lost in the dark. To make matters worse, your water straw is now sucking air. That reservoir of refreshment seemed so much bigger a few hours ago than it does now!

Are you with me? That “hike” I described sounds like our journey through special needs parenting, doesn’t it? We’re walking life’s road with great awareness that there is beauty and excitement in the adventure but it comes with frequent setbacks that include danger, fear, confusion, overwhelm, and a host of other surprises. If you’re like me, you need ways to recharge your physical batteries, replenish your emotional reserves, and “rehydrate” your soul.

Finding time to rest and engage in effective, personalized refreshment strategies is not easy.

I find it’s helpful to start by asking myself a hard question. It’s the root question, really.

Do I trust God enough to prioritize my rest? Or do I think I need to press on hard because “if I don’t do it, who will” or “what awful or inferior thing might happen if I don’t get this or that done for my special needs child?” Friends, this kind of thinking reflects our pride and our lack of trust in God to be our ultimate Supply. After all, this is the same God who commanded the Israelites to rest on the seventh day and just trust Him. God provided exactly what they needed for food each day, but only enough for one day at a time. Anything extra spoiled overnight so they needed to trust Him for each new day. And on the seventh day, there was an exception to His pattern. He preserved a second day’s supply of food (which they prepared the day before) and gave them the opportunity for rest. God’s people honored Him best on that day by trusting Him for every necessary provision (even their very freedom) and reflecting on His faithfulness.

The caregiver in me is nourished by several things as I try to make rest a regular part of my diet. It has also helped me to recognize that I may not be able to indulge in long, slow swallows of refreshment very often but I won’t stay healthy or safe without adequate pauses for steady “sips of hydration.” It’s taken time to learn what works for me — what needs to be on my list and how I need to pace my rations. If you don’t yet know what works for you, let me encourage you to prayerfully ponder it and do some experimenting.

When I observe special needs moms who make self-care a priority, I’m always empowered with ideas and renewed commitment. Perhaps this list might confirm your own approaches or inspire some new ways for you to stay equipped for the trail ahead.

Ways to Stay Equipped for the Trail Ahead

Take 30-minute power naps. Now don’t roll your eyes. Impossible as it seems, this may be the single most helpful thing you can do for yourself and your family. That’s right, for your family. Taking a nap is not a self-indulgent thing. It is another way to serve your family. A 20-30-minute investment will give you a huge bang for your buck! Ideally, allow yourself 10 minutes to wind down then 20 minutes to sleep.

Tackle high-stress tasks promptly and when your energy is most fresh. 

Recognize that the “perfect” IEP is not the ultimate end-goal for your child.

Release yourself from the weight of responsibility to find every “best specialist” or “best therapist” or “best teacher” or “best special education program” or “best everything” in town.Briefly ask questions or research online but cover it with prayer and then trust God to point you in helpful and productive directions. When the situation doesn’t seem ideal, remember that God is perfect strength in our weakness and will work out every single situation for His good purposes.

Know what triggers your personal stress then ask God to help you discern when to take action and when to let go of what is out of your control.

Choose healthy ways to pamper yourself. It may require getting a couple hours of help from a spouse, older child, parent, neighbor, friend, or church volunteer to make this happen. This may seem improbable but it is a worthy effort to seek such support with the same vigor you put into advocating for your child. Get a pedicure, soak in the bathtub or have coffee/tea with a friend. Watch a fun movie while snuggled up with your child or spouse. Gather up the family and take a short field trip somewhere fun and different than the usual routine like bowling, a wildlife museum, aquarium, or theme park. Plan a staycation day with your family or spouse. (There are times when it is appropriate and necessary to do this with your typical children but arrange care for your child with special needs to stay home.) Eat enough protein and veggies. It helps me to focus on putting more good things in my life rather than thinking about denying myself the more indulgent treats.

Don’t let guilt and unforgiveness fester. Confess your sins quickly. Give yourself permission to be imperfect. Ask your loved ones for forgiveness and grace. Give them the same. Seek the empowering Holy Spirit for help to live well and trust God to be the strength in your weakness.

Develop a practice of gratitude and reject a critical spirit.

Get counsel for chronic grief. It’s real. Find constructive ways to talk about it. Seek out friends and professionals who will empathize and guide you biblically.

Tackle household clutter as proactively as possible. However, be on guard about giving a tidy house too much power.

Saturate your mind with the truths and promises of God’s word.  Thankfully, there are many wonderful devotionals specifically for special needs parents these days. Check out Key Ministry’s Family Resource page for ideas. One of my mainstay tools is simply a good Bible reading app with a scheduled devotional. (YouVersion is my app of choice.) And I like that I can reset the calendar when I get behind on daily readings. No guilt here!

Prayerfully establish and protect boundaries, especially as it relates to interruptions and difficult relationships.

Do one unique thing each day to serve or encourage another person. This can be as simple as a Facebook comment or as involved as modeling generosity with your children by preparing a meal or cookies together for a struggling neighbor. Generosity and kindness are terrific energizers.

Do a daily review, thanking God for all meaningful connections, activities, results and happy surprises.

Finally, whatever is on our uniquely personal lists, there are two non-negotiable and reliably effective “best practices.” These are irreplaceable for any person seeking true and lasting refreshment, special needs mom being no exception.

Repent of sin and trust God.

Acts 3:19-20 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus.

Drink deeply from the well of intimate relationship with Jesus. 

John 4:14 “Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”


Best Practices of Refreshed Special Needs Moms by Lisa Jamieson first appeared February 21, 2019 on Patheos.com.

Lisa Jamieson is the author of books and Bible studies including theFinding Glory series of resources and the new children’s book Jesus, Let’s Talk. She is co-founder of Walk Right In Ministries and leads the Minnesota Disability Ministry Connection. Lisa and her husband, Larry, have been married 30 years and have three grown daughters. Their daughter, Carly, has Angelman Syndrome and lives at home with them in Maple Grove, Minnesota.

Making Decisions About Disability and Suffering from a Biblical Worldview

Circumstances involving disability, mental health, aging and caregiving are complicated. Individuals and special needs families face dilemmas with ethical or moral implications and those situations extend far beyond whether or not to have a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate order).

My daughter, Carly, is just weeks shy of 21 years old and she has Angelman Syndrome. Our family, and many others, face challenging decisions every single day. Many of our questions and decisions test our confidence, our faith and our sense of inner peace. For example, we have questions about whether we might be over-medicating Carly’s anxiety or her problems with sleep. There is pressure to enroll her in research studies and drug trials. We have interest in supporting medical research for her very rare disorder, but worry about whether that research will utilize embryonic stem cells or involve other factors that don’t fit with our values. We also spent years praying and pondering whether to see if medical cannabis could benefit Carly. 

Carly and her friends in medically or developmentally complex circumstances need reliable values along with extended families, churches and communities who will support and advocate for them in a world that is moving toward moral collapse.

Despite the world’s biased value system, God says we are incredible masterpieces of His own creative hand. We are made in His image, wonderfully complex. Regardless of anyone’s ability or condition, God’s sovereign mark rests on all of humanity as detailed in Psalm 139. Verses 13 and 14 celebrate, “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.”

But our culture is changing rapidly. The world shows partiality and our friends with disabilities are vulnerable. The world makes decisions based on values like happiness, ease, efficiency and economics. The world says God’s ways are impractical and outdated. We feel entitled to notsuffer. God’s word and methods show us another way.

Let’s have a conversation! 

Why do we need this conversation?

  • To develop richer awareness of the issues individuals and families face
  • To lay a foundation for parents and caregivers to apply life-honoring and biblical principles to their attitudes, decisions and strategies 
  • To elevate the role of Christian community in the defense of life and dignity
  • To resist cultural collapse when navigating life, disability, injury, chronic illness and aging (Romans 12:2)

Let’s spur each other on to consider God’s value of each and every person — their inherent worth, their dignity and their purpose in His hand. Let’s learn together and help each other make life-lifting decisions throughout the seasons and circumstances of life.

I have already shared some of the challenging questions our family has faced. Here are more examples of issues that parents, caregivers and individuals with special needs wrestle with:

  • Newborn screenings
  • Gene therapies
  • Hysterectomy/hormones for behaviors, pain, sensory management
  • Vaccinations
  • Palliative care
  • Housing choices
  • Guardianship vs. conservatorship
  • Marriage between people with intellectual-developmental disabilities 
  • Crisis hospital situation — this includes trauma or brain injury but can even include seemingly low-risk surgeries where people with disabilities can be vulnerable to Futility-of-Care policies
  • Praying for healing

WE NEED A GOSPEL-CENTERED FRAMEWORK

During our youth, many of us were counseled to establish clear boundaries for purity in dating before marriage. Knowing our values and goals beforegoing on a date set us up for greater follow through toward godly and satisfying decisions than if we had waited until an emotional moment or were under pressure. The same approach has potential here.

Personal values are not enough because those tend to shift and change with time. Biblical principles are reliable because they are based on the unchanging truths of scripture, God’s character and His covenant promises. God’s principles remain the same yesterday, today and forever. We can go about enjoying our lives resting on the unchanging foundation of these principles and access them at any moment they may be needed. We can’t anticipate every situation ahead of time but a biblical plumb line is freeing and peace-giving.It is are not subject to the emotions, whims or pressures of a given moment. 

The bible doesn’t hand us a checklist of specifics though. It gives us anchoring standards to shape our thinking, choices and behaviors. It leaves just enough room to keep us reliant on prayer and discernment through the Holy Spirit. Without that, we’d be tempted to just follow God’s instructions like a “rule book” without any need for personal relationship with an intimate and dynamic experience of God. And God is all about the personal relationship!

The world urges us to make decisions based on “pragmatic possibilities.” We need biblical wisdom and reasoning that trusts in God’s sound principles.

What would some of these biblical principles be?

The fingerprints of God are on every person and circumstance.

Suffering and weakness don’t negate the value of life. No matter how complex, senseless or hopeless a situation looks, every person has value and carries the image and power of Christ in them with the potential to contribute God-purposed things to this world. 


Genesis 1:26 (ESV) Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” 

John 9:3 (ESV) Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” 

God is not limited by anything.

All of the issues that are so complicated for us are really very simple to God. If we really believe this, it changes everything about how we live!God made each of us for a purpose and is going to help us in that purpose.

Isaiah 45:7 (ESV) “I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things.” 

Jeremiah 32:27 (ESV) “I am the LORD…Is anything too hard for me?” 

Disability frees a person to multiply grace.

Suffering positions us to give and receive unique and good gifts of grace form our Heavenly Father. Our friends who are most dependent are most freely used by God as a means for grace. They are not inhibited by the things that constrain the rest of us (e.g., desire to make a good impression, worry about reputation).

Romans 5:3-5 (ESV) Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. 

God is first and foremost concerned with our hearts.

“God is generally more interested in changing people than changing their circumstances.”  (Why the Church Needs Bioethics, John F. Kilner) A helpful guiding question: Does this decision we’re making drive us toward God or away from Him?

Matthew 9:2 (ESV) And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

God changes lives and churches when we engage with those who have an atypical life.

We — the church, the families and the friends — need to get engaged with people who have challenges, notbecause we are just really nice people. We need to get involved in messy lives because God tells us to and He uses life challenges to stretch us and increasingly form us into being like Christ. Jesus also showed us how to do this and the Word promises God will glorify Himself and give good gifts through those people and their circumstances. From a moral-ethical perspective, this principle reminds us that when we share the heavy lifting of the special needs community by engaging with their lives, they are freed to make spiritually healthy decisions rather than making decisions out of things like overwhelm, exhaustion, fear, desperation, bitterness, self-absorption and apathy.

1 Corinthians 12:22 (ESV) On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable. 

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (ESV) But God said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me…for when I am weak, then I am strong. 

The questions we face about life can be rather straightforward when we sift our decisions through the unchanging lens of God’s truth, character and promises. Our decision-making has eternal implications. Biblical principles help us narrow the options and align our lives more closely to God’s good design. It is not like weighing the pros and cons in an episode of Fixer Upper or Beach Front Bargain Hunt. We may not always like the options left for us but they will ultimately be the ones that are best for us and can guarantee us peace. 

THE DIVINE OPPORTUNITY

Our culture hates inconvenience. Jesus welcomed interruptions as Divine opportunities. The world tends to view the challenges of an adverse diagnosis as a problem to fix or something to dispose of as neatly as possible. 

Our circumstances can be extraordinary, complicated and often isolating. The benefits and opportunities of a Gospel-Centered framework supported in community are significant and many. 

What role can extended family, friends and churches play in the defense of life?

FRIENDSHIP— Friends fully engage in life with each other. No matter our vocation or the role we have in someone’s life —pastor, parent, sibling or friend — we must lovingly take every opportunity to preach, teach, pray, model, counsel, make referrals, show compassion, hold each other accountable and encourage one another toward Biblical Truth. Our word will have greatest credibility when we are willing to both model Jesus’ character and engage the lives of our loved ones. Each of us is called to engage in the way Jesus engaged others and encouraged us to serve. 

LEADERSHIP— As Kilner says in Why the Church Needs Bioethics, “in proactive pastoral ministry…more is needed than preaching and teaching. Pastors must seek to model healthy attitudes…encouraging an atmosphere of mutual care in which the people of God travel together in faith, along with all their doubts and fears and questions, through the valley of the shadow of death.”

CORPORATE WORSHIP—  The value of corporate worship and Christian community cannot be overstated. Our time in the presence of God allows us to absorb the greater mysteries of our faith. It shapes our perspectives about God and His ways. It renews our mind in truth. It increases our confidence in His power and presence among us. Ultimately, it overflows in our lifestyle.

CARING— A family is bolstered to make healthy decision when they know they will be supported by their community. We defend life when we come alongside caregivers. Every time we help create a supportive community around a caregiver, we extend length and quality of life to both the care-giver and the cared-for.  Our practical helps, our emotional encouragement, our spiritual direction and resources undergird them and spur them on in what is otherwise a grueling slog through life. There is a serious caregiver shortage in the US and the average salary falls under the living wage. This is a reflection of what we value in American culture and it is very different than most other countries. 

There is great power in presence. Sometimes, it’s not so much about what a caring friend or pastor says as it is powerful to just stand compassionately alongside some facing difficulty. For example, the presence and/or advocacy of a pastor or lay leader during a Care Coordination Meeting communicates that the individual and family are valued by their community and will be protected.

We want to be proactive about developing our relationships with God and others because it influences our growth in godly wisdom — the way we think and the way we live — while also equipping us with a support system, godly counsel and accountability when a crisis is faced.

THERE IS FREEDOM & GRACE IN GOD’S GOOD DESIGN

We only experience true freedom by living in alignment with God’s good design. Personal values evolve but God and His word are consistently reliable. As my friend, John Knight, taught me many years ago, “all scripture is equally true but it is not all equally clear.” 

As we sift dilemmas through biblical principles with each other, we must boldly assert the indisputable truths and graciously discuss  what is not clear.

Friends, God is forus!  

Romans 8:34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.


Please join this conversation. We would love to hear from you!

What kinds of dilemmas have you wrestled with in your family?

What standards or scriptures influence your decision-making?

How can we pray for you?

Walk Right In Ministries offers free consultations and caregiver coaching services (with sliding scale fees). Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you want to explore life, hope and practical resources associated with disabilities or caregiving. 


Lisa Jamieson is the author of books and Bible studies including the Finding Glory series of resources and the new children’s book Jesus, Let’s Talk. She is co-founder of Walk Right In Ministries and leads the Minnesota Disability Ministry Connection. Lisa and her husband, Larry, have been married 30 years and have three grown daughters. Their daughter, Carly, has Angelman Syndrome and lives at home with them in Maple Grove, Minnesota. You can learn more and follow her at lisamjamieson.org.

Life-Building Connections Amidst Challenges

Life challenges can take many forms — disability, chronic illness, caregiving for an aging parent or special needs child, strained or broken relationships, divorce, addiction, depression, unemployment, the loss of a loved one, and financial struggles. Issues can be complex and the journey may be long. Many experience confusion, anger, doubt, fear, or loneliness. Meanwhile, our society compels us to “muscle” through challenges but often leaves us feeling generally alone or overwhelmed.

Despite life’s painful seasons you can discover an adventure, right in the midst of adversity.

Thriving in challenges is possible with Christ-centered community and one-to-one friendships as well as personal study of the Bible and prayer. And while a strong and tenacious support system is critical, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is essential. READ MORE about this essential foundation.

Walk Right In Ministries considers it one of life’s blessed privileges to come alongside struggling people who are wanting to grow and thrive on their journeys toward solutions, strength, contentment and joy. We want to help you identify resources and build connection strategies that fit your personal circumstances and unique temperament needs.

CONNECT THROUGH COMMUNITY 

Walk Right In Ministries helps people find and be part of fruitfully supportive communities. There are supportive communities for virtually any type of life challenge. Links to some wonderful opportunities are included throughout this article.

It is important to remain active in a Bible-believing church where you can be regularly involved with others who will “rejoice with you when you rejoice and mourn with you when you mourn” (see Romans 12:15). However, we understand that the Church does not always know how to effectively support families experiencing disability and other kinds of crisis. We are thankful for a growing number of organizations making it a priority to learn about how to help in this important and complex area of ministry.

We hope you are already experiencing fruitful and grace-filled connection in a church home. Unfortunately, many churches are still learning how to help families with special needs experience belonging. If this is the case for you or your family, we want to encourage you to be patiently persistent in helping educate your church about including people with diverse backgrounds and various abilities.

If, however, you are struggling in this area, and feel it may be time to look for a new church home, please pray and reach out for help. Our friends at Joni & Friends as well as Key Ministry are working hard and fruitfully to help people in situations like yours to find supportive churches. Walk Right In Ministries is ready to pray with you and do what we can to help you initiate a search process. We want to encourage you in developing a more effective spiritual community.

Support Groups are another way to get connected and grow. Biblically-based support group resources are available with a variety of themes so you can find one that fits your own particular need. If you are experiencing any of these concerns, consider some resources we can recommend:

Finding Glory Groups are a valued resource for those needing a guide to follow for their support group. Whether you know a church small group, book club or group of special needs moms, dads, couples, or siblings who want to explore life challenges together, utilizing the Finding Glory Group Discussion Guide is a bible-based curriculum that is flexible for these kinds of gatherings. The six-session format is easily self led and offers a variety of discussion questions so that groups can reconvene and repeat a cycle of sessions after the first round, if they desire to do so. If you are someone who wants to understand God’s answers to tough questions, know you have value in the Divine Plan, be encouraged on your journey and grow with others along the way, then a Finding Glory Group is for you! Learn more about Finding Glory Groups HERE.

CONNECT IN ONE-TO-ONE DISCIPLESHIP

Be encouraged to develop friendships where you can share joys and struggles safely, be inspired and challenged, and experience the power of prayer.

  • WALKING PARTNERS— We encourage you to cultivate one or two close relationships where Christ is central to your conversation. Walk shoulder-to-shoulder with one another listening, encouraging, exhorting and empowering. (If you are married, please be cautioned to develop only same-sex Walking Partner relationships.)
  • TEMPERAMENT COUNSELING— We encourage individuals and couples who are facing life-altering circumstances to find a professional Christian counselor who is certified in Temperament Counseling through the Sarasota Academy of Christian Counseling(SACC). Prayerful use of the temperament tool in the counseling process can help you get to the heart of your needs quickly so you make efficient and effective progress towards healing, encouragement, hope, personal growth, and answers.
  • FINANCIAL COACHING— If debt or financial challenges are part of your situation, please explore the resources at Crown Financial Ministries.

Particularly if you are facing a crisis situation or are feeling very alone, we encourage you to ask your pastor or a church leader for guidance in finding a support group, professional counselor or crisis help.

CONNECT THROUGH PERSONAL STUDY

At Walk Right In Ministries we believe that prayerful reading of the Bible is our best source of interaction with God — our supreme and final authority on faith and life. There is true hope within the pages of the Bible. We want you to be encouraged in daily reading and study of the Bible recognizing the opportunity that it is to grow in your personal relationship with God, develop God’s perspective of suffering and discover peace that surpasses understanding.

There are many organizations who are making it their mission to help connect and engage people with God’s Word. Here are just a few nationally-recognized options we value highly for study and online daily devotions:

Joni and Friends

Key Ministry

Desiring God

Bible Study Fellowship

Community Bible Studies

Precepts

CONNECT IN PRAYER

At Walk Right In Ministries, we passionately believe in the power of prayer. Everything we do at Walk Right In Ministries is covered by and trusted to prayer. We offer prayer workshops and take prayer requests from around the world.

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.
JAMES 5:16

Be assured that God hears you and delights in connecting with you in a deeply personal way. The Psalms are a ready example and source of inspiration when we don’t know what to say to God. (If you need help getting started, read Psalm 6, Psalm 42, and Psalm 73 for some wonderful prayers!) God understands our aching, longing and groaning, even when we don’t know what to pray.

 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.
ROMANS 8:26

We are very excited about one of our newest resources on prayer, a children’s book called Jesus, Let’s Talk that released in 2018! It offers a delightfully visual exploration of basic prayers to help children, early readers, and people with developmental differences enjoy the sweet basics of conversation with Jesus. The book also highlights key prayer words using American Sign Language. At Walk Right In Minisitries, we champion faith in Jesus that is initiated and fostered within the family.

We want you to feel assured that you, too, are covered in prayer. Let our Prayer Team come alongside you to pray for courage, hope and victory! Contact us at info@walkrightin.org.

Another prayer resource we like to recommend is the Autism Strategic Prayer Network (designed with autism in mind but very broadly applicable to other diagnoses). Explore Children of Destiny for more information.

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JESUS: The Essential Foundation

Even when facing the most overwhelming obstacles, it is possible to discover a beautiful and powerful adventure. When a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is the central focus of your journey, you are freed from the grip of circumstances and empowered to see God’s purposes at work. Without Christ, progress is limited, slow and superficial. Only with Christ, can you begin to see your circumstances as bigger than yourself with eternal implications and a Kingdom perspective.

When you experience life consumed by God’s view of your circumstances instead of relying primarily on relationships, jobs, possessions, health, hobbies, ideas, philosophies or “expertise,” God gives deeper meaning to life and brings joy to you — even if your circumstances don’t change.

Please be encouraged to learn more about what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Consider pondering the book of John in the Bible. This is a great place to start understanding who Jesus is and how He wants to be involved with your life. A relationships with Jesus makes all the difference!

Enjoy a Personal Relationship with Jesus Christ

From the beginning of time, one of God’s greatest desires has been to enjoy relationship with us even to the point of spending intimate time in our presence. In Genesis 3:8 we see that God was right there with Adam and Eve. Tragically, after they sinned, Genesis 3:23 tells us that intimacy was broken. Sin separated them from God and we share that legacy because if we had been there, we would have done the same thing. God loved us enough to give us the free will to choose trusting Him or going our own way. He desperately hoped we would choose nearness to Him over being trapped in our sin which includes self-reliance, pride, covetousness, and other forms of disobedience.

God gave mankind chance after chance to remain faithfully with Him but we have repeatedly turned away. Because of God’s holiness, a price has to be paid for that rebellion. Jesus, by dying on the cross, paid that price on our behalf. Because Jesus lived a sinless life, He was the only atoning sacrifice that could pay the price — thoroughly and eternally — once and for all. In order for us to return to a state of intimacy with God, we must acknowledge our sinfulness, repent (grieve what our sin has caused), and receive the gift of Jesus’ salvation from the penalty of sin (eternal death). This is a very personal decision and a life-changing opportunity as well.

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
JOHN 1:12

And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
1 JOHN 5:11-12

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
ROMANS 1:20

If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”
ROMANS 10:9-11

Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
JAMES 5:16

Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord.
ACTS 3:19-20

It would be our privilege to explore this relationship with you! Please don’t hesitate to contact us at info@walkrightin.org or reach out to your pastor if you have questions or would like to pray with someone about this.

COMMUNITY: God Works through Intersections

Many of us walk through life trying to look “put together” while internally craving connection with others in deeper and more meaningful ways. We thrive in relationships based on things like love, integrity, transparency, commitment, respectful challenge and grace. Getting “real” with others isn’t easy but it’s important.

Incredible things can happen when our lives authentically intersect with others. Ideas are exchanged, support is given, love grows, a tangible expression of God is realized. In fact, the Bible says that a loving community gives us a picture of what God is like!

“No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”
1 JOHN 4:12

Fifteen years ago, Walk Right In Ministries founders Larry and Lisa Jamieson were just beginning to appreciate the power of a Christ-centered community. They had seen individuals, couples and families come together into healthier, stronger and more satisfying experiences of life and God when they were connecting with others who shared their desire to grow in faith and relationships. Since they had been carried through a storm in their marriage by a small group of Bible Study friends, Larry and Lisa understood the value of prayer, encouragement and accountability on a deeply personal level. A couple of years later, their daughter Carly was born with severe disabilities and they were on the receiving end of a remarkable expression of practical help and prayer.

Unfortunately, they were also discovering that such Christ-centered, supportive communities were rare, particularly for families facing a crisis. It was troubling to meet more and more people struggling to maintain strong marriages, face adversity with hope, and experience friendships where Biblical support and prayer were central to the relationship. The Jamiesons are frequently heard saying, “the communities we’ve been part of have been remarkable but Jesus would NOT want our experience to be remarkable — He would want this to be common-place!”

At Walk Right In Ministries, we understand this two-fold challenge:

  • Christ-centered support communities are frequently unavailable or inadequate to meet people’s needs, particularly when those needs involve disability, chronic health issues or caregiving
  • Hurting people find it very difficult to reach out and ask for help in ways that empower others to respond

Walk Right In Ministries is working to build bridges among people as well as between those people and the Living God. We want to encourage you and connect you towards fellowship, churches and support communities that will help you grow in Christ and thrive in life.

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
HEBREWS 10:24-25

To hear more of the Jamieson’s story about how God can use community, watch their interview on 100 Huntley Street and read Finding Glory in the Thorns.

FRIENDSHIP: The Foundation for Discipleship

Friendship is one of life’s greatest gifts. Having a trusted and encouraging friend to confide in during a time of crisis is particularly valuable. Yet for some people in the midst of challenges, the sense of loneliness and isolation can feel more overwhelming than the crisis itself. Sometimes we just need to talk with someone who “gets it.”

Walk Right In Ministries wants to support you in getting connected with someone who has “been in your shoes” but will do more than just empathize. Our prayer is that you are connected with someone who will pray with you and encourage you in your walk with God — the essential foundation for a life that truly thrives. We call friends like that “Walking Partners.”

A Walking Partner is someone who will cheer you on while helping you maintain a clear and biblical plum line against which to measure your relationships, choices, goals and dreams. You can get “social networking” and good mentoring in lots of places but Jesus-focused, disciple-growing kind of friendship like this is soul-reaching and can change lives for eternity. Walking Partners celebrate the Living God and will respectfully and lovingly share Him.

Sometimes a Walking Partner is like a “crisis coach.” You may simply need a note of encouragement from someone who has had an experience that resonates with yours. Perhaps an email or two may be enough to spur you on. On the other hand, you may appreciate meeting for coffee or going for a walk once in a while.

We believe that professional counselors would be needed in far fewer circumstances if more Christians lived out their calling to be disciples — in a lifestyle of walking shoulder-to-shoulder with one another listening, encouraging, exhorting and empowering in relationships where Christ is central to the conversation.

Walk Right In Ministries is privileged to collaborate with other like-minded individuals and organizations to help equip disciples and connect hurting people with Christ-centered support. If you have interest in connecting with a Walking Partner or want to know more about partnership with Walk Right In Ministries, contact us at info@walkrightin.org .

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
2 CORINTHIANS 1:3-4

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
ECCLESIASTES 4:9-12

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
PROVERBS 27:17

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
2 TIMOTHY 3:16-17

“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
COLOSSIANS 3:16-17

Read more about the Walking Partner model.