Extraordinary Service

It was 6:30 pm on a Saturday night and we weren’t dressed for it.

We’d been browsing garden stores for the afternoon and ordering Larry’s new grill for Father’s Day. After two weeks isolated at home with Covid-19, Larry, Carly and I were relishing the freedom of meandering and being around real live people (not people on screens). Our adventures had run long though and now we three were a hungry bunch.

There was little doubt our favorite restaurant would have a long wait at this time of the weekend. So, we hatched a plan. I started to call in a curbside pickup order for Larry and me, and we would warm leftovers at home for Carly. But as I dialed the restaurant and Larry pulled us out of Lowe’s parking lot, we both dreamed for a moment about dining in. It was too much to imagine the relaxation of someone else warming and serving our meals.

Such a ridiculous idea. Restaurants are never a relaxing place with our Carly. Also, her meals have become more complicated lately with special dietary and food prep needs. We didn’t have her dinner medications along either.

Still, as they say, you can’t blame a girl for trying. So, I asked. The wait was 30 minutes. That would really be pushing Carly’s limit. For that matter, I might be hangry myself soon.

Larry swung around the corner to find a parking spot after dropping me off to get us on the list. That’s when a series of mercies that started 24 hours earlier grew momentum. The hostess rechecked her board and found a table open immediately.

Larry and I have dined at this restaurant easily more than a hundred times. But we have never taken Carly to dine there with us. During the pandemic, we ordered curbside a lot though. It kept life feeling a little normal, we thought, while also helping our favorite place stay in business.

Unfortunately, Carly’s restaurant eating has been on pause for several months with the exception of a nice refried bean and guacamole treat at the Mexican place down the street. Recent progression of issues with chewing, choking, and digestion, have required that I purée most of what she’s eating. In any case, I had already started mentally scanning this familiar menu for new ideas of soft things she might manage without spending the rest of the evening suffering reflux and other gastric issues.

Our two favorite servers weren’t available but we were just glad for any table. Despite it being a busy prom night, there were a few tables both inside and outside. It was a gorgeous evening. Eating outside seemed the easier choice. Any spills or extra noise would go less noticed out there. But we hadn’t brought jackets or sweaters and it cools off quickly this time of the evening in May.

So I asked for inside seating and was escorted swiftly to a table with a white cloth. As we approached the table, I almost asked for a booth without a tablecloth. Every parent of a child with developmental challenges knows the necessity of proactively managing potentials for disaster. I imagined Carly giving that crisp cloth a good tug at some point shortly after the table was filled with drinks and plates of food. But something in me just said, “Lisa, just roll with it.”

Before Larry arrived with Carly and her backpack, there were three glasses of water set in front of me.

Carly sat down and frowned, immediately scanning the room in curiosity as if wondering where in the world we were. Never ever in our wildest dreams did we ever ever imagine ourselves here just hours before. And we still had no idea what a surprise was yet to unfold.

Carly’s eyes scanned the room. I’m sure she was quite curious about the unfamiliar atmosphere but what she wanted most was food — and FAST!
Proud dad is staying hopeful about an unchaotic meal.
Meanwhile Carly frowns with hope that the wait for food won’t be long.

The woman serving us was exceedingly kind. She began asking a couple questions about Carly and explained that her son (now 31 yrs old) was born with cerebral palsy. She patiently brainstormed menu options with me (because Carly has complex dietary and food prep needs that would normally keep us from such an outing). It was at that moment it also occurred to me that it was Carly’s 24th birthday yesterday. How ironic that we were all about to receive a very memorable treat and honor.

Then that dear woman, Marilee, brought Carly a special beverage (complimentary, of course).

Again, she returned to our table just a few moments later. And that’s when Marilee went way above and beyond. She offered to feed Carly so we could relax and eat our own meals!

Our first reaction was to graciously express appreciation but brush off such kindness. But lo and behold, she came back a couple of minutes later, pulled up a chair, indicated she had only one other table of guests at the moment, and proceeded to ask for instructions about how Carly needed to be fed.

I cannot find words to adequately express how this moved us.

Merilee at Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano in Maple Grove, Minnesota.

JAMES 1:17
Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father. 

God is ever faithful. These have been among the hardest several weeks we’ve lived in a long long time.

Yet, in the 24 hours culminating in that restaurant moment, God’s mercies shone so unexpectedly and beautifully. Alex, Carly’s older sister who lives nearby, had visited for her birthday and offered to put Carly to bed for us so we could go to sleep early Friday night. Then Carly’s friend, Claire, came early Saturday morning and worked for 6 hours so we could sleep late. Larry and I had the longest night of sleep we’ve had in many weeks.

And now, this dear woman at Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano was actually feeding our daughter part of her dinner!

It was a dreamy Saturday.

Only the God of the universe could have orchestrated such grace.

PSALM 20
1 In times of trouble, may the Lord answer your cry.
    May the name of the God of Jacob keep you safe from all harm.
May he send you help from his sanctuary
    and strengthen you from Jerusalem.
May he remember all your gifts
    and look favorably on your burnt offerings. 

May he grant your heart’s desires
    and make all your plans succeed.
May we shout for joy when we hear of your victory
    and raise a victory banner in the name of our God.
May the Lord answer all your prayers.

Now I know that the Lord rescues his anointed king.
    He will answer him from his holy heaven
    and rescue him by his great power.
Some nations boast of their chariots and horses,
    but we boast in the name of the Lord our God.
Those nations will fall down and collapse,
    but we will rise up and stand firm.

Give victory to our king, O Lord!
    Answer our cry for help.


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.

First Fruits and Surprises

Jon and Sylvia Flint have an inspiring and challenging story for us all. They have been faithful prayer partners, cheerleaders, and monthly donors supporting Walk Right In Ministries for many years. Their generous partnership may have started out as simple compassion but it has grown for surprising reasons over the years.

We’re thankful they shared their story, and thankful you are taking time to read it. God’s ways are ever-increasingly powerful and meaningful, when we step out in faith to follow His promptings.

It was many years ago when we decided that we needed to financially give back to God much more than we had been doing. We were giving far less than the ten percent tithe that many churches and pastors promote. Something or Someone inside of us kept whispering that we should do more.

And so we began.

As we approached the ten percent goal of such gifts, we began to understand that said number was not the roof of the “giving house” but rather the floor. And God really didn’t just want our left over “10% plus” income. He preferred the “first fruit” (Exodus 23:16, Deuteronomy 14:22).

At the same time, we were beginning to understand that we couldn’t out-give God.  Every time we would increase our giving, additional funds seemed to mysteriously appear. Where before this learning we had been living from paycheck to paycheck, we were beginning to have enough money to do things beyond basics and not have to call the bank to see if our check would bounce.

As we gave funds to typical non-profit groups, we noted that the whole world began to be in touch with us. We didn’t realize how much mail one person or family unit could receive each day. It seemed that the total group of non-profits keeping in touch with us was collectively spending more money on stamps than we were providing the few that we were supporting. We quickly realized that we needed to decide on those we were going to support and advise the others to look elsewhere. We did the first very quickly but they, the non-profits, didn’t keep their part of our one-sided bargain. To this day, we throw away so much unasked for mail from non-profits that we bemoan the wasted money we see going through our mail box.

Enter “Walk Right In Ministries!”

We’ve known Lisa & Larry Jamieson for more years than any of us would like to admit to. They’re members of our greater family. Larry is Jon’s nephew. We attended their wedding. We rejoiced as their children were born. We  watched from afar as their youngest was born even as something seemed different from the norm. We prayed with and for them as they struggled to determine what was going on with her and what support was available to help them through the different difficulties they had with Carly.

It was obvious that there wasn’t much of a support system for families like theirs. Yet, rather than sit and complain at what was happening to them, they chose to begin to be active and build a support system, not just for their situation but for the situations of many families who have special needs.

We must admit that we waited a bit to see if this ministry was for real or just a passing fad. It didn’t take long to realize that they were in this for the long haul. And it was also obvious that monies provided were going to be put to good use – not frivolously. These folks are the same “off camera” as they are “on!”

As time went on, we increased our financial support and watched as God used it through Walk Right In Ministries and, at the same time, God provided us with more to be shared with others.

Of course, as is the case in so many other places in our lives, God was already preparing the way in our personal lives.

Several years later we received the privilege of having a special needs great granddaughter (Cambria, pictured here) born into our immediate family. She lives here in our town.

It’s been a great sense of comfort to know that Walk Right In Ministries is available as quickly as a phone call. Even as they may not directly know the answer to the various questions we have, they have many contacts that can help with the support needed.

Earlier we said that you can’t out-give God. We should not limit our understanding of the gifts we receive to the financial world. The comfort and peace we feel in knowing that there is a whole community of help, available as needed, is far greater than any monetary gift we are able to provide.

People insure so many things in their lives and yet, too often, they ignore the most important parts of that life until it’s too late to receive help.

Come and join many others who have insured what is often thought to be the uninsurable – finding help and support in times of intense need.

There is help out there. If someone can only tell us where. Look to Walk Right In Ministries.




Contact us to RSVP for Reach Night and get all the details!

Your Story Matters

Each of us needs to know that we matter to God.

It is a gift to receive reassurances, now and then, about our value. And it is inspiring to hear from others about how God makes a big Kingdom deal out of our seemingly insignificant personal lives.

As we turn pages to a new year, in seasons of change and transition, or when life feels like a wilderness, each of us appreciates encouragement that our life matters somehow in the broader scheme of things.

I love to read. I don’t get much time for it but various things about reading make a powerful soul-fueler for me. Biographies and autobiographies, in particular, are a favorite genre of mine. I get important encouragement and inspiration from hearing how others have found faith in Jesus, endured adversity, persevered when life was a slog, learned new things, helped others, and had fun along the way.

In her book, Singing in the Dark, award-winning Christian music artist Ginny Owens helps readers understand the background of some incredible songs and she invites us to write our own prayers of worship, lament, and longing.

Ginny has been blind since she was three years old. She intimately understands how our lives write a story. Hers, like each of ours, is a story where joys and sorrows mingle. Hers, like each of ours, finds it places of resonance where someone recognizes a connection and finds themselves encouraged by something about Ginny’s experiences. How could she possibly have known as a young girl that God would give her a platform to lead hundreds of thousands of people around the world through darkness to see the Light of Christ?

Few of us can imagine that kind of impact will come from just living our lives.

RELATED: What is the parable of your life?

I am mother to three grown daughters. Our youngest, Carly, is 23 years old but remains entirely dependent on others for her care. All day. And almost all night long. My story has become integrally woven with hers. Together, our stories are even more integrally woven with God’s.

When I read Ginny’s book last year, I was inspired to start writing poetry again as part of my daily worship. Although I wrote several songs as a child and teen, I hadn’t written prose or lyrics for decades. It was refreshing to me to experience this prayerful process in a new season.

One of those poems came easily. It emerged from my passion for sharing life together with others based on the simplicity of following Jesus into the world in whatever circumstances we find ourselves living.

I’ll Follow You With My Story
by Lisa Jamieson

You put me in a family
Chosen to leave Your mark
But something has derailed me
Now confused, I’m in the dark

I’ve stumbled time and time again
Looking for more love
Disappointed by a world of hurt
Left only to look above

I tried so hard to look for you
Resented the absence of your touch
The world dealt me a blessing 
Of each one’s little, You made much

In the harsh and weary days and nights
My soul has languished low 
Yet now I’m growing confident
That a story You still sow

You are the Story Maker
My faith and purpose lifted
Not by my efforts or earning 
But by You simply gifted

As my tale is woven
My eyes catch Your vision
When Your cross was raised, and earth was split
My happy ending given

With each new day I’m strengthened
By no deed of my own
But simply as I stumble 
Within Your arms I’ve grown

The enemy may taunt me
Tension will remain
Life’s bitter cup will tempt me
I will wait for release from pain

All degree of patience 
Will surely bring reward
As all delay is purposed 
Confirmed and graced by Sword 

I see the pace of healing now
Your ever-present hand
I’ll follow You with my story
Into the hungry land

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would one day be a special needs mom, let alone an advocate and pastor, working and doing life alongside families living with disability.

“You don’t always get to choose your circumstances, but you do get to choose the story your life tells.”

GINNY OWENS

Today’s culture seems fascinated with story. But there’s an essential distinction to recognize. We are part of God’s story. His story is first. Our story within His is what gives our story its real value. Our story within His story is what packs ours with power and Kingdom-sized fruit.

It matters Who we’re following when we go out into the world with ourselves. Because the ultimate Spirit coming across in our message must be Love. Oh! How challenging it can be to move myself out of the way and let Love lead!

When I ask God, “break my heart for what breaks Yours,” (lyric from the Hosanna! Song) He changes my heart. He changes the motivations and directions through which my personal story unfolds.

PLAYLIST IDEA: Hosanna! (Hillsong UNITED version)

When Jesus said, “Come, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men,” (Matthew 4:19), he was essentially saying, “Let me make a new kind of person out of you. I’ll show you how to be moved by LOVE. I’ll teach you how to bring My love to every other life You encounter.”

Oh, God, make it so!

Oswald Chambers says in My Utmost of His Highest (October 18 devotion), “Our Lord told us how our love for Him is to exhibit itself when He asked, ‘Do you love Me?’ (John 21:17). And then He said, ‘Feed My sheep.’ In effect, He said, ‘Identify yourself with My interests in other people,’ not, ‘Identify Me with your interests in other people.’”

Yes, friend, your story matters so very much — to many — and it is power in God’s hand. Follow Jesus into the world with it!

“The Goal is not for us to go out and make sure that the whole world knows who we are and what we do. The goal is to do what He’s called us to do in the place and the moment where we are.”

GINNY OWENS

GET GINNY’s BOOK AND MUSIC: Singing in the Dark book and accompanying music EP

WEAR THE MESSAGE WITH US! Your Story Matters – follow Jesus into the world with it

PLAYLIST IDEA: Follow You (Leeland with Brandon Heath)


Lisa Jamieson

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. Lisa and her husband, Larry, live in Minnesota with the youngest of their three grown daughters, Carly, who has Angelman Syndrome. Together, the Jamiesons founded Walk Right In Ministries in 2008, a non-profit organization building faith and community alongside families living with disability.


Pivotal Markers in My Faith History for 2021

I’m excited to reflect with you today on a year-end tradition I enjoy. Every December, I ask God to show me scriptures that defined, repositioned or grew my faith and relationships in that year.

There are certain Bible verses that developed relevance for me in specific seasons of relationships and circumstances. For example, I wrote my first worship song around Hebrews 11:1 shortly after I made a personal decision to follow Jesus when I was 14 years old. Last spring, I started writing poetry again. It became like a prayer language for me as the summer went on. Now I’m looking forward to exploring that side of my mind, heart and relationships with Jesus more in 2022.

I use these two guiding questions:

What key scriptures were pivotal in your faith history for 2021?

What are some intimately memorable ways God has spoken into your life this past year?

God will never stop speaking to us through His Word — as long as we expose ourselves to it.

It is the same with my word. 
I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to,
and it will prosper everywhere I send it.
Isaiah 55:11

A lot of personal history can be packed into certain scriptures. Since the pandemic started in 2020, this verse has taken on a whole new level of meaning for me:

Stand firm against the devil
and be strong in your faith.
Remember that your family of believers
all over the world is going through
the same kind of suffering you are.
1 Peter 5:9

Oh, how many times I have prayed rather desperately, “Lord, I don’t know what to do. But my eyes are on You!” And so here is another that means a whole lot more after some confusing times this year:

O our God, won’t you stop them?
We are powerless against this mighty army
that is about to attack us.
We do not know what to do,
but we are looking to you for help.”
2 Chronicles 20:12

Below are more verses that reflect pivotal moments in my life and faith during 2021. I would love to hear how you will remember hearing God speak to you in 2021 too.

Psalm 139:1-10
O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do.You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there.If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.

Genesis 40:23
Pharaoh’s chief cup-bearer, however, forgot all about Joseph, never giving him another thought.

Psalm 23:5
You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.

Job 38:1
Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind.

1 Kings 19:11-15
…the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind…the Lord was not in the earthquake…the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper…And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Romans 8:35, 37-39
Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

These verses reflect intimate lessons God has poured into me at timely moments. They offer historical context that I will carry with me for my lifetime. They represent a sort of private conversation I feel I’ve had with the Lord this year. I’m so grateful to have the kind of relationship with Jesus that produces memories that will continue to influence me as His growing disciple on this side of heaven.  

I hope you’ll write me or comment below and share a verse or two that tell the story of your faith history for this year!


Lisa Jamieson

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. Lisa and her husband, Larry, live in Minnesota with the youngest of their three grown daughters, Carly, who has Angelman Syndrome. Together, the Jamiesons founded Walk Right In Ministries in 2008, a non-profit organization building faith and community with special needs families.


Guest Post: Not Yet

The waiting room.

We have all been there. Most of life is waiting for the next thing, the next season, the next phase.

The waiting room is sterile, awkward, and a place of palpable fear.

For those of us who are suffering, waiting is incredibly painful.

We are waiting for a cure. Waiting for rescue. 

Copyright: nanobey

As we wait, we massage the heartache of disappointment from dashed dreams. We try to convince ourselves that it will be okay — that is, until another salt-tipped dagger stabs our resilience.

Some of us are okay with waiting. But MOST of us are asking why, when, and how?

Why didn’t God answer my prayers for my deliverance or my loved one’s healing from a diagnosis? 

When will this agony of daily grief be over?

How long, O Lord?

I struggle with chronic suffering. I live in circumstances that cannot be fixed by intellect, hard work, or service to the church. I am the mother of a disabled daughter. I am the grieving daughter who lost her mother to a slow death from metastatic cancer.

I have wrestled with the God I chose to follow at age 7. I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior with the vigor of child-like faith. But suffering has caused me to question this faith. 

My childhood faith was black and white.

My adult faith is grey.

My childhood faith was the easy proclamation of “Jesus loves me.”

My adult faith is accepting “Though He slay me, I will trust in Him.” 

My childhood faith was about receiving.

My adult faith is about letting go of the most tightly held parts of my heart.

As a child, I was focused on Jesus’ hands. He healed the blind with his touch and he stilled the storms with a wave of his hand. With such a miraculous God, trust and obey was the assumed cadence.

But as an adult, as trials have heaped more questions than answers, I am focused on Jesus’ heart. I want to understand his purpose when he suffered on the cross. Because now I feel nailed to my own cross. And I need someone else to carry it for me. Especially in the trial of unanswered prayer, I am fighting to trust and obey. 

The call to trust and obey does not change from childhood to adulthood. But as adults, we just have more doubts about whether God is trustworthy. We become suspicious that He may not know all of our needs. Does He really know us personally? Does He really have our best interests at heart? 

The world is certainly filled with enough evil that it may seem God is hands-off and uncaring. We may see his “NO” stamped on every gravestone and stack of medical bills. There are even passages in Scripture that can cause us to doubt God’s love. But when we view Scripture as a whole from Genesis to Revelation, we see our story in the context of a greater one.

When we read the Bible to understand the giver and not the gifts, our filter changes. 

We see God’s heartbreak when his creation rebels against Him. We see God’s loving-kindness in providing for complainers in the wilderness. We see God’s tenderness to those who even killed him. We see God’s justice when evil will no longer win. We see God’s mercy in how he pursues us in our rebellion.

Through this lens, we are more aware of our need for rescue, and we stand in awe of a trustworthy God. As our minds are transformed, our emotions are also sanctified by these truths. But during this transformation, we still need to learn how to reconcile unanswered prayer.

We are tempted to believe that God’s final answer is No.

But in reality, His answer is just not yet.

It is not yet time for physical healing. It is not yet time for deliverance from the salty dagger. God is asking us to hold onto hope for the finale. And while we wait, He calls us to hold onto Him. For His grace is sufficient. 

Finding comfort in the end of the story is what fuels us to go on to the next chapter.

When our timeline ends at death, suffering seems purposeless.

But when our timeline extends into eternity, suffering produces hope. 

For the Christian, being told “not yet” is an act of love. “Not yet” is the gentle but firm hand on our shoulder as we try to cross a busy street. “Not yet” is the hand that wipes our tears when we get a disappointing rejection. “Not yet” is the hope of rescue we have in chronic suffering. Like a mother who dandles her child on her knee. Like a father who disciplines the child he loves. As a parent, God cares more about our character than our comfort. It is God’s loving-kindness in “not yet” that draws us to repentance. He is an intentional Creator that calls us to our customized crosses. But He does not leave us hopeless. God promises to restore decay and death for His children in eternity. But how does this truth change our daily hope?

Our daily cross-carrying is the secret to palpating Calvary for it solidifies our hope in our Savior.

Our good Savior rescues us from our inadequacy and carries us — with our crosses and all. We learn to hope in the Lord, instead of hoping in rescue from our circumstance. We are comforted by the sovereignty of God even in the darkest experiences of our lives. One day in heaven, we will thank Him for telling us “not yet” for we shall see how “yes” would have caused us to love ourselves too much. We will thank him for sparing us from a shallow gospel. 

When we understand these truths, the waiting will be less suffocating. In fact, the waiting room can even be a place of rest.

We may not have all of the answers, but we know Who holds them. Let us gather in the waiting room, each with our own chronic ailments and circumstances that are impenetrable to medication and expert advice. Let us keep our eyes focused on Jesus. He is the author of our stories and the perfecter of our faith especially in trial. Let us wait with expectancy for this deliverance in eternity. Let us encourage one another when we receive the disappointing news of “not yet.” And when it is time for our names to be called, and our waiting is over, let us run to our trustworthy Savior. For our Heavenly Father will be standing at the door, welcoming his children home. And the reunion will be sweeter because of the wait.

It will happen. Just not yet.

“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved.” 

Romans 8:18-24

Rachelle Keng is a physician practicing Obstetrics & Gynecology in Charlottesville, Virginia, where she lives with her husband Michael and their two daughters. She cares deeply for people and has a passion for writing about her reflections on life and faith. Rachelle’s oldest daughter has Angelman Syndrome. Her experiences as a special needs mom are often the inspiration for her writing.

WRIM Welcomes Deb Gustafson to the Ministry Team!

Walk Right In Ministries is thrilled to welcome Deb Gustafson to our ministry team! She will be serving the WRIM community through administrative support and special projects. Her passion is to ensure people have what they need to succeed. She understands that each of us comes with a unique story and loves to watch how God uses our stories for His glory and purpose. As we introduce Deb today, we’ve asked her to tell you some of her own story and explain how she came to share in this ministry.

The Gustafson Family (left to right): Elise, Deb, Finn, Brad, and Hope.

Deb, we’re very excited to get to know you! Please tell us about your beautiful family. 

I’m very excited to be joining the team at WRIM. My husband, Brad and I have been married 20 years (on 8/18/21). We both grew up in White Bear Lake, Minnesota and were high school sweethearts. We have 3 kids – Elise (15), Hope (13), & Finn (11) and our goldendoodle, Willow. I’ve spent the last 20+ years working as an office administrator, 15 of those years from home. In addition to that role, I’ve also been blessed with the opportunity to stay home and raise our three kids, one of which I also homeschool. I also love spending time with my family and being outside in nature at our cabin.

How did you first learn about WRIM? 

I first learned about WRIM three or four years ago when a mutual friend took our two daughters, Elise and Hope, to Jammin’ Pie Fest after church one Sunday. Both girls came home super excited to share about the pies they taste-tested, the backyard dancing, and the gift bag they took home with them. Yet that wasn’t all. The thing that stood out in my mind was how they both described how friendly and kind everyone was to them, with the bonus of getting to meet Peyton’s friend Carly. 

Then shortly after that experience, we had the opportunity to watch Lisa in a video at church share about disability ministry. It was captivating and remarkable to see how the team at WRIM comes alongside families/caretakers of kids with disabilities in such a supportive and caring manner. After the video, our family was able to participate in worship with Carly and her family. You could see the WRIM vision in action throughout each member of the Jamieson family. It was an absolute gift to everyone in the room.

Willow Gustafson

What drew you to this position and community? 

Our oldest daughter Elise was diagnosed with Autism & Tourette’s during her elementary years. We found that doing school in a brick-and-mortar setting was not a good fit for her and pulled her out in 5th grade. Throughout the process of the doctor visits, therapies, school plans, meltdowns, and tears, we discovered that we couldn’t do this type of parenting alone.

God continued to show up in amazing ways to help us through each step of the process. We were able to connect with other families going through similar experiences and God blessed us with a support system that we didn’t even know we needed. This helped us all stop just surviving and start thriving.

Fast forward to today. Each summer I plan out a homeschool schedule for Elise. When I realized that she would be turning 16 this fall, it got me thinking about ways I could create a class to help her learn about different passions in addition to learning some basic job skills. When I got stuck in my planning, I decided to jump over to Facebook to do some mindless scrolling.

As I was scrolling social media, a post for a Virtual Ministry Assistant caught my eye. My first thought was, I wonder if that’s something that Elise would like to do? Then I realized that I actually knew of the business (WRIM), and a little bit about the person behind that post and her heart for others. I didn’t reach out immediately, but I did take a screen shot and saved it just in case.

As the night went on, and the planning for school continued, I kept feeling this nudging to just reach out and ask more about it for my daughter. This is not my typical response to Facebook posts. So, I knew that this was the beginning of something and that I needed to respond. What I didn’t realize in that moment, was that it was an invitation from God into something new for me.

Over the course of three weeks, that nudging turned into gathering information, reflecting, reading, praying, and lots of conversations. I couldn’t get enough. I also kept pondering all of the excuses that came to my mind of reasons why I shouldn’t do this. And yet, every devotional and prayer time was interwoven with messages of “Fix your eyes on Me, I have so much more for you.”

Those thoughts of doubt turned into thoughts of what if God is calling me into something new and uncomfortable for His purpose and plan?

It’s easy for me to get stuck in the familiar and comfortable place of my own life and inner walls, but I don’t think that’s what God wants for me. He’s calling me into a new community to help support other people in similar situations, just like He showed up for me when I needed the same support 10 years ago.

The verse that keeps resonating in me is Isaiah 30:21.

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

And here begins the new journey!

What are you most excited about in your role on the ministry team at WRIM? 

I love learning new things and supporting people along their life journey. Each of us comes with a unique story and I love to watch how God uses every part of our story for His glory and purpose.


Will you help us welcome Deb with a celebration of greetings and encouragement? You can send her a direct message here.

Kelley Chose the “Yes” of Faith

As every mom has, I have been faced with some difficult decisions. And with five children, three with special needs, one might say my faith has been flexed. Several early life experiences contributed to my learning to be a caregiver and advocate. One season in my life presented extraordinary challenge to the trust I have in my Savior. 

As the oldest child in my family, I developed a nurturing protective spirit with my siblings. I also grew up with a father who was a veterinarian. He gave me perspective of the emotions and dilemmas I would later face as an adult.

By the time I was ten years old, I was feeding and caring for five orphan dairy calves. I would arrive at the dairy with my father, and the farmer would announce that an orphan calf would cost too much to feed out. This was completely unacceptable to me. So, I would commence pleading with my father to let me care for the calf. Usually, we had a baby calf in the floorboard of my dad’s truck on the trip back to the clinic. My mom would roll her eyes and sigh, “not another one.”

My father would talk to me about anatomy, chemistry, and critical thinking. I remember watching him do exploratory surgery on his patient, working out loud through his process of elimination. This instilled a passion for research and learning. My core values expanded to include a wider view of the world and, by the age of 10, I had simultaneously experienced a spiritual awakening.

I married young at the age of 20. I had my first child a year and half later. We welcomed our second child twenty-one months after that. My husband was working at a wonderful church as a youth pastor. We owned our first home and we all enjoyed good health. I’ve come to appreciate the saying,” health is wealth.” We found out we were, unexpectedly, having another baby.

When our third child, Conley, was born, we immediately knew something was very wrong. He was not breathing. Nurses and doctors worked feverishly to save him. It was almost as if it was happening to someone else. I couldn’t believe it was happening to me. For the first time in my 24 years, I was completely helpless and terrified.

I remember finally going to meet Conley the next day. Tears fell uncontrollably as I stared at this infant with tubes and monitors. I lived at the Dallas Ronald McDonald House for three and a half months, seeing our older children on weekends. I knew my life had forever changed in the blink of an eye. 

Tears fell uncontrollably as I stared at this infant with tubes and monitors.

Conley went on to require frequent hospitalizations and over twenty-five surgeries and procedures. I wrestled hard, asking God “Why?”

I underwent a procedure to ensure our family was complete. However, God had other plans. Almost eight years later, I discovered I was pregnant with our fourth child.

About eighteen weeks into my pregnancy, we learned there were major complications. I was pressed to have an abortion. The influences and morals instilled in me could not justify an abortion. I deeply believed that God, like a maestro, was creatively composing every life event.

Much like during the nightmare of Conley’s birth, our fourth son, Camron’s, birth required the immediate work of a medical team to save his life.

For the next five months, I lived in a hotel in San Antonio across from the hospital. We had moved to Austin a month prior so Conley could attend Texas School for the Deaf. My husband lived in Austin and commuted to work in San Antonio. I stayed at a hotel in San Antonio with our older sons, to allow them to finish their school year. I vividly remember the day I found out Camron’s diagnosis and prognosis. It was grim. He was profoundly deaf and blind with a feeding tube and tracheostomy at age three weeks.

As I left the hospital and approached the bus stop, I sat on the bench watching the buses come and go. I was mapping out my plan to step in front of a bus.

As my spirit warred inside of me I finally acknowledged and grasped the promise of an inherently good God. Just like Job, God blessed the later part of Job’s life more than the first. He said, will you still love me through these circumstances? Job’s response in faith was “Yes.”

I chose “Yes” that day.

I have learned through these experiences that God is the Maestro of my life. Sometimes he calls me to rest. Other times I am called to action. In all things I understand He is the center of every life event, and only He understands the intricacies of my ultimate purpose.

God continues to connect the dots in my life, through advocacy, service, and community. One of my favorite Bible verses, encompasses both my spiritual and world view:

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.

Colossians 3:23

RELATED: Community Story (Camron’s Birthday)


Kelley Cagle, beautiful woman and writer

Kelley Cagle is a freelance writer and special needs advocate with a passion for mentoring young moms who have children with special needs. Kelley shares from her own experience as the parent of children with disabilities. Kelley has five sons. Two of her children have CHARGE Syndrome, a micro deletion affecting a multiple body systems and organs. Both boys are deaf-blind and on the Autism spectrum. Kelley and her husband Chris have been married over 26 years and live in Texas with their two youngest boys.

Kelley’s husband, Chris, shares a Community Story celebrating life, faith and fellowship.

When God Calls Us Back To Something Forgotten

Inspiration often comes from unexpected places. Sometimes it comes through friends, family or even strangers. Other times it comes straight from God Himself. That’s the lesson guest-blogger Maureen Pranghofer is sharing on our blog today.

Have you ever created something and then totally forgotten about it? Well, what causes that? It might be that someone destroyed the masterpiece you’ve just painted, written or baked. It might be that there was a pandemic which interrupted everything. And it might be that the thing you created wasn’t born out of your ideas but someone else’s.

That’s what happened to me about 7 years ago. My totally well-meaning step mom kept saying, “You should write a book.” She wouldn’t stop. For some reason she thought growing up legally blind and with a bone disease would make a good story.

Paul, Maureen and Walter Pranghofer celebrating Christmas 2020 in their home.

Finally, I’d had enough. To get her off my back, I wrote an autobiography of my childhood called Driving in Squares. My step mom and dad made sure that the formatting looked okay, made a cover for it, and coil bound it. When I visited them in Tucson, we gave about 10 copies away to people they both knew.

I said when I got home. “That episode in my life story is done.”

Sometimes, though, when we think we’re done with something God has other ideas.

I recently asked my friend Elizabeth to come over and help clean off some shelves. We sorted through things and threw piles of junk away. She was picking up each book and CD and telling me what it was. As I responded to her descriptions, off each item went into the “keep” or “toss” bin.

“Driving in Squares” she said.

“What?” I asked. I didn’t remember ever buying a book called that. Then I remembered what it was and told Elizabeth I was surprised I had a copy of the book.

“Can I read it?” she asked. “Sure” I said.

When she brought it back six months later I held it and wondered if I should toss it. Then I set it down by my computer.

Six weeks later I got an email from my father who said, “Just to relax, I like reading your book. I’ve read it about four times. When are you going to write the next one?”

“The next one”, I thought. I haven’t ever done anything with this one!

My dad reminded me that at the end of the Driving in Squares book I’d said there would be a sequel.

And somehow, that’s how I’ve found myself in this New Year, consumed with thoughts about writing.     

Isn’t it amazing how from just mundane chores like cleaning off a shelf you can find yourself with desires that are new and changed? My writing only because I was bothered by what I perceived as nagging by my stepmom is evolving into something beautiful. And God is the only One who can bring about those surprising events that turn us around to where we find ourselves moving forward.

In 2021, we can be picking up what we had once forgotten. It may take us to new and fresh places we never imagined!

If you’d like to read my little book Driving in Squares, email me at maureensmusic@comcast.net. Let me know the name and address where you’d like it shipped. Also let me know if you’d like it in a hard copy or pdf file. Happy New Year!


Maureen was born legally blind and with a rare bone disease. Neither has ever slowed her down. She is a songwriter, author, speaker, music therapist and brailleist who also tests websites for accessibility. Since the mid 90’s, Maureen has run her own business called Braille It where she produces material in Braille for a variety of customers.

Maureen holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music Therapy and has worked as a therapist with terminally ill children, the elderly and those dealing with addiction. She has also done intake work at a rehabilitation center.

Pranghofer’s children’s book, Ally’s Busy Day: The Story of a Service Dog, is available on Amazon along with her music which includes numerous recordings. You’ll find her blogs The Walter Report and Maureen’s Musings at Maureen’s Facebook page.

Maureen lives with her husband Paul and service dog Walter in Golden Valley MN.

How Is the Atmosphere of Your Heart?

Isaiah 60:19
“No longer will you need the sun to shine by day, nor the moon to give its light by night, for the LORD your God will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.

When we put up our tree and decorations earlier this month, I went to bed thinking about how much I love light! The next morning, I opened my devotional and was immediately pointed to this verse. It got me thinking about why I pay so much attention to lighting.

As the seasons change in our home, I often adjust the lights. Candles get changed to seasonal colors, floor lamps move to a different corner, lower wattage bulbs are put in strategic places, the fireplace and fire pit get used. Even motion-sensitive night lights find special spots.

I’ve been known to follow my husband around turning lights off before he’s ready to be done with them too. As you might imagine, he doesn’t always appreciate that! I’m learning.

I’m frequently thinking about optimizing the function of each light source. But I’m particularly passionate about establishing atmosphere. My moods are often influenced by things like the colors, orderliness (or lack thereof) and lighting around me.

I just love creating atmosphere!

I love to see people enjoying a beautiful atmosphere too. Atmosphere helps to shape moods, flavors conversations and guides our point of focus. I always like to put a small battery-operated candle in the stable of our manger scene to draw attention to the display in our hallway at Christmastime.

So, as I carefully set lights in their places for Christmas this year and then read this verse a few hours later, I got to thinking about how the light of God’s presence changes the atmosphere of my heart and life!

Unfortunately, things in my heart and mind are not always light and bright during the holidays. Caregiver fatigue is among the things that I let influence my mood.

I want to be more dependent on God to define and refine the atmosphere of my heart and life. I want to be so filled by and reflective of His light, character, presence and peace in me that I don’t rely so much on things or people in this world to keep me out of heavy moods and the darkness of sin.

Jesus came to light up our world, after all!

“He is a light to reveal God to the nations!”

Luke‬ ‭2:32

God is everything we need. We won’t always have a friend or a spouse, a parent or that favorite self-care option. Apparently, we won’t even have the sun or the moon forever. But we will, always and forever, have Jesus to keep the atmosphere of our hearts and lives lit. 

Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

John 8:12

Holy Spirit, I need nothing but YOU to establish or shift atmosphere in my life. Emmanuel, please light up my heart in an increasingly personal and intimate relationship between us. Help me carry the glow of Your presence and power within me into the people and spaces around me this week and in the coming year. Thank you for pouring light, love, joy, peace and hope into the atmosphere of our lives!


Lisa Jamieson

LISA JAMIESON is a special needs family advocate and co-founder of Walk Right In Ministries where she serves as a caregiver coach and pastoral counsellor. Lisa and her husband, Larry, live in Minnesota with the youngest of their three grown daughters, Carly, who has Angelman Syndrome. Lisa’s books and Bible studies include Finding Glory in the Thorns and the picture book Jesus, Let’s Talk.

Summer Contest Winners Announced!

Back in May, I thought the summer of 2020 could benefit from an injection of fun — and prayer. It was pandemic season, after all, and people all over the world were still hunkered down amidst activity limitations and social restrictions. I found myself whispering exasperated questions to God at all hours of the day. And I wondered if others were doing this too. I wanted to know more about how others pray — people of all ages, abilities, nations and circumstances — especially when we are unable to gather in man of our usual ways.

So, I checked in with team members at Walk Right In Ministries about the idea of a summer contest about prayer. It was thought that my book Jesus, Let’s Talk could give some inspiration. Everyone agreed a contest could spur some sharing and be a fun way to create a sense of community. It would be something absolutely anyone could do and it would be as simple as a short post on social media.

We invited people to write to us, draw a picture or record a short video explaining how you like to experience prayer. Some were sent directly to my email and others posted directly on social media using the hashtag #JesusLetsTalkContest.

Responses came from people of all generations and diverse experiences.

One mom wrote, “We’ve tried to teach our kids to start every prayer with the many things they’re grateful for. Hopefully, it puts the rest of the prayer into perspective.”

An older gentleman isolated in an assisted living facility did a crossword puzzle this summer revealing a family around a campfire. It reminded him of a story to share about his own experience with prayer. He wrote, “When I was young, I learned about Jesus. When I got bigger and went to church in Sioux Falls years ago, I went to a group that would meet after church and have campfires. When I sit around the campfire, I think about what Jesus went through. When I am lonesome, I think about God or Christ. It’s a different world since the Covid. Praying at the campfire reminds me that (Jesus understands what I’m going through too).”

I was inspired and I hope these highlights encourage you too.

We have selected three stories from June, July and August and each of those featured friends is receiving a gift card from Walk Right In Ministries. It has been a fun and simple way for us to thank people for encouraging others with their own experiences.

We want to thank everyone who took time to share a story. It was very encouraging to me reading about how you talk to Jesus. I had fun reading comments on social media too. When one of our winners posted her video, friends encouraged her saying things like, “You are such a good friend! (I’m) praying for you too.”

I know the Bible tells us that prayer is sometimes supposed to be private. But it is also shows that prayers is to be shared sometimes too.

All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
Acts 1:14

“Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
Matthew 18:19-20

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

With so few opportunities for worship together in our churches these days, this summer’s prayer sharing felt to us like fellowship and a community of worship among friends here at Walk Right In Ministries. We are so thankful for that.

And now, introducing our three summer winners!

Peyton Libby posted a video.
Shareen Rademacher wrote:

“I am glad I can pray whenever I want. I am home all day alone but NEVER really alone. I have someone to talk to all day. I pray my gratefulness when I look outside and see birds and clouds. I pray a lot about our world when I am holding my cross at night. Every morning I kiss my cross and thank Jesus for another day. It is a gift to me. When I listen to my Christian music, I pray out loud.

When my tears flow, I look up at the clouds and know I must persevere as I know pain and suffering will end in heaven. Sometimes all I can do is say, ‘I love you’ and ‘thank you for memories of beautiful moments.’ Saying ‘I love you, God’ is a simple prayer but, oh, how he loves to hear this!

It is easier to pray when things are good and I know how difficult it can be to pray when you are suffering. We need to love others and be grateful.”

Judy Markson posted a photo with her granddaughters.

Jesus, Let’s Talk was in a stack of books I read when June and Esme were over last Tuesday. They knew a couple of the signs already and we had a sweet conversation about the kids in the pictures.”


Congratulations to our winners and thanks to all who participated!