Building faith and community with special-needs families
Welcome to the Walk Right In Ministries blog!
Walk Right In Ministries’ co-founder Lisa Jamieson is the primary contributor to the WRIM blog. She also serves on the writing team for Key Ministry and regularly contributes articles to their popular special needs parenting blog and the Church4EveryChild blog. You can also visit Lisa’s personal blog at lisamjamieson.org. We trust you will find encouragement, insight, hope, and many useful articles with the following like-minded organizations as well:
The Bible provides many anchoring truths to guide us and spur us on in life. Caregiving families see those truths tested with extraordinary perspective. We also get to see — up close — how a foundation in certain truths stirs our compassion for each other, bolsters our sense of purpose in suffering, and reassures us that each person in our family is celebrated by God.
Consider how our lives would be transformed if we really believed this one thing about ourselves and each other:
Each and every one of us is one hundred percent unique, purposed for God’s kingdom, and made for belonging.
In today's post, we're taking a closer look at this foundational belief though the lens of eight truths about disability and relationships.
When parents find themselves in a life of complex — possibly even lifetime — caregiving, as we have with our daughter, Carly, we are regularly faced with hoping for healing, praying over various obstacles and longing for sleep. We are constantly grappling with expectations that life could get better or easier while frequently pushed to the limits of our capabilities and capacities.
When the needs of our child are complicated by disability and/or medical issues, the bar of expectations is naturally raised. We are quite desperately reliant on having a robust system of supports in place in order to maintain quality of life. We don’t want to be so needy. But we have found ourselves in an unexpected dilemma.
Like it or not, caregiving radically alters our realities and mindsets about what we need and expect from ourselves, others, life, and God. We must work out our expectations of that system on a daily basis.
Expectations — that is the subject over at the blog today. Head on over and check it out!
This is part of our ongoing series on the 8 Habits of Caregivers with a Robust Support System.
Many caregiving families are hesitant to ask for help because they don’t want to lose their privacy, their sense of control, or their pride. If we’re honest, many of us aren’t even sure what we need or how to ask. Even more, we’re not confident people will respond. Fear of rejection is a debilitating condition that impacts the whole family.
Those with a robust system of supports say the costs are worth the benefits.
When we weigh the costs of trying to go it alone, our perspective is usually worth reconsidering. Play it out for a moment. What might life look like for you or other family members in 10, 20, or 30 years if you don’t start right now getting better at asking for help?
The consequences of avoiding it range from inadvertent neglect of relationships and imbalanced attention toward siblings to distanced relationships with grandchildren, exhausted and depressed spouses, and radically decreased earning potential for the breadwinner(s) in the home.
And that's not all.
On the blog this week, we're exploring tips and insights about something that greatly challenges every family living with special needs — asking for help.
In our home, defining roles isn’t about whether we are pulling equal weight or that the number of hours either of us puts into the process is comparable. It is about how we are learning to leverage and optimize our own unique strengths, talents, capacities and perspectives to ensure the Carly, our marriage, and our family thrive.
You and your team may benefit from a periodic review of the division of labor in your home. Such a review can help clarify roles, validate or affirm team members for their contributions, highlight gaps in coverage, reveal needs for fluidity, identify needs for more delegation or collaboration, support healthier boundaries, confirm why someone is needing more rest, and bring greater respect to those whose contributions are more indirect but no less valuable (e.g., someone serving as the “primary breadwinner” outside the home).
In today's blog, we're inviting conversation about how to adjust for more balanced systems.
I’m learning that a steady dose of personalized appreciation and encouragement from me is essential. I’m realizing that I can find more and better ways to express how much I value you. And I want to teach our kids to do that too.
"My own sense of purpose as a caregiver started from my aspirations to be a mom and my natural inclinations as a nurturer. But when we became parents of a child with disabilities, I needed more than that. I had questions for God about the much bigger picture and my role in it."
— Lisa Jamieson
Today's message is related to Lisa's earlier post on the 8 Habits of Caregivers with a Robust Support System.
We welcome guest writers too! It is our joy to help share your stories and resources. Whether you are a published author, a writer looking for a platform in the disability movement or the family member of someone with extra needs, please don’t hesitate to contact us for Submission Guidelines.