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.

Parents Make Hard Decisions for Their Kids

We live in a post Easter world. What mercy! I don’t want to imagine being Carly’s mom — being any kind of person, in any kind of role — in a world without Jesus, the cross, the empty tomb.

I know that you know what I’m talking about. You don’t have to be the parent of someone who is suffering to appreciate the magnitude of what Jesus has done and how desperately we rely on capturing the vision He had in order to endure. And even endure toward JOY.

Hebrews 12:1-3
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses (see Hebrews 11 for an historic list), let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

I need that absolute assurance of God’s power and love. You see, things like pain, confusion, and fatigue recur frequently in our home. I am utterly reliant on God for help, healing, hope, wisdom, peace — for literally everything. This past week was another good example.

But the examples go way back. Thankfully, the roots of my faith are growing deeper with practice. As I’ve heard so many older parents of children with special needs say, I’ve learned what it takes to be more resilient than I used to be. I just wish I could grow like this without so many “practice” drills.

There was a time many years ago when we were implementing a new physical therapy with Carly. She didn’t like it. No doubt, she was confused by why she was being moved in uncomfortable positions. We had more than a few conversations about whether the payoff would outweigh potential psychological damage we might inadvertently do by pushing through her resistance. We certainly didn’t want to traumatize her.

In the end, it seemed we needed to trust God to help us in two ways. We asked God to cause the therapy to accomplish everything it was intended to do and also protect her from any and all potential negative side effects. We aimed to trust Him for that, and we were really intentional about trying to build Carly’s trust in our love for her, even though it might have seemed to her, at times, like we were being cruel.

A loving parent does that all the time. We do hard things for the good of our children. We know it could be years, or never, before they understand why we did what we did.

This last week, Carly underwent extensive medical testing for chronic and escalating gastric motility problems. For any average person, the tests would not have been difficult. But for Carly, they were nearly impossible. Getting her through the tests, in some ways, carried high risks (e.g., seizures, bowel blockage, emotional trauma). Given the risks, you might wonder why we pursued the testing at all.

Parenting involves making hard choices on behalf of our child. Sometimes our decisions even cause the child pain. At some point, a parent determines the potential benefits outweigh the potential negative consequences.


Seeing one’s child in pain is heartbreaking for a parent. It doesn’t matter whether their pain is physical or emotional. Few things are as painful for a parent as seeing their child hurting or threatened and not be able to fix it for them. It’s a unique kind of pain when you fear you actually contributed to it.

What kind of pain does God feel when He sees His own children suffering, knowing He can stop it. He is well aware of His intention to allow it. Yet He never allows our pain without great purpose.

In the middle of another sleepless night this week, I was second-guessing a couple of our decisions. One test required us to pause her daily bowel regimen for a week. Surely, she would develop a blockage. We could only pray that it would clear quickly once the testing was done. Another of the tests Carly was having required that we pause all of her critical seizure, sleep and anxiety medications for a full 48 hours. The risks involved in doing that were obviously high. Even as I typed this, Carly had only slept during four of the last eighty hours. (She’s back on all of her meds now but it’s taking considerable time for her system to reset.)

So, while I was praying through another wits end moment at 3 am on Good Friday morning, I realized that part of my stress and sorrow was coming from the sense of pressure and responsibility I was feeling for what was happening. I had put a lot of energy — or shall we say thought, effort, and emotion — into getting the best possible information and outcomes with the least amount of pain for Carly. And for us. It’s a natural response.

I needed a supernatural response.

In that dark bedroom, I searched my memories for any scripture that might comfort and reassure me.

2 Corinthians 10:3-4
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

How many of us are well acquainted with fighting with spiritual weaponry. Yet we fail to credit God with power to absolutely demolish strongholds with His wholeness! We need breakthroughs in areas of health, unbelief, false mindsets, health, development, and so much more.

Somewhere between my knowing I’m reliant on God for everything in this messy life and trusting Him implicitly, I still gravitate toward feeling responsible for fixing things — for making the breakthrough happen.

You might say that comes with being a mom. Or you might say that is a lack of trust in God. In my heart, I know that I tend to usurp His authority. And that is sin. Yet He loves me without condemnation (Romans 8:1) and patiently trains me up in the way I should go (Proverbs 22:6).

Sometimes the rough stuff comes because of someone’s weakness or sin. Other times, life is troubling and it’s just nobody’s fault at all. Either way, God uses those things to grow us up in everything from character to perseverance and faith (Romans 5:1-8). If we let Him.

I get a little off sometimes. I put my focus on the discipline rather than on my Father. The resurrected Jesus. He is where the strength is. He is where the peace comes from. Friends, He is why, no matter what, there is joy set before us!

Our circumstances are often a training ground of sorts. Our Almighty Trainer and Coach leads us with authority, wisdom, and exceeding concern for our ultimate wellbeing.

I am thankful God never puts the pressure on me to carry the authority. I am thankful that, no matter what, there is joy. Even at the cross, there was joy!

Some lessons need to be learned, and learned again.

Thank you, Jesus, that You died, and You rose. You did it once. And that was enough. (Romans 6:9-10)

I’ll keep coming back to that.

Hebrews 12:7-13
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us, and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 

11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.


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.

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.


The Power of Love: A Caregiver’s Anchor Point

I remember a time when our family was getting ready to leave the house on vacation. I was the rather typical mom hurrying to finish all the packing which included my personal things, helping each of the kids make sure they had critical items, gathering all the many things Carly would need, and filling a cooler with food.

Even though there were added complexities and stresses from trying to make sure I was not forgetting anything (doing it perfectly and avoiding every potential pitfall of traveling with Carly’s complex needs), I believe the scenario was playing out quite like it would in any household when a family is getting ready to be gone for a stretch. So, it was quite a shocking wake-up call when one of our daughters reacted to my stress by screaming, “why do we have to be such a high-maintenance family?”

In that moment, it became clear to me that disability issues were starting to take over how our children saw themselves and their family. I think we were all letting Carly’s needs take over who we viewed ourselves to be.

We thrive when our personal and family identities are centered on being children of God.

Your circumstances and life experiences are shaping and influencing you. Those things may consume you, but they don’t define you. Disability is affecting your children’s experiences in a big way. It is influencing their character and perspectives. But it doesn’t define them as people.

Siblings of sisters and brothers with extra needs will grow up with unique and highly purposed perspectives. But no person’s greatest burden or virtue is being part of a family impacted by disability or even by parenting a child with special needs.

The source of your importance and value comes from your Creator who designed you with a unique personhood.

Is your identity anchored in being a child of God or being a caregiver?

If you have received the gift of salvation from your sins, then you are a child of God (John 1:12-13). That is the ultimate beginning, middle, and end of who you are. Society doesn’t tell you who you are. Your career or role in life doesn’t tell you who you are. Some disease or condition is part of you but not your ultimate defining reality.

God’s vision always goes beyond ours. We are often pursuing the renewal of our circumstances, but God is pursuing the renewal of our entire identity.

— David Lomas, The Truest Thing About You

If you rely on what you do or how you feel for a sense of value and importance, you will never know the fullness of life God offers or His peace that surpasses all understanding. Your fullness and peace will be limited to your circumstances or something you feel you’ve earned.

You are valuable simply because God says so. He calls you His masterpiece, not because of anything you’ve done to earn that favor — even how much you might have succeeded or failed at caregiving and parenting (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Peaceful and satisfied caregivers resist giving disability all the power over their mind, emotions and responses.

We are all powerless over certain areas of life and we need God’s help.

God redeems our weakness and sin. We can rely on His perfection and authority. We get to feel angry and intensely disappointed. But our emotions and how we respond to them fall under the care and direction of the One who designed us and authorized our circumstances.

God has the final say about where our power comes from.

The truest thing about you is that you are designed by God for relationship with Him. He made that possible at great cost. 

Jesus lived, died and rose to eternal life to set you free from being enslaved by your challenges.

Jesus didn’t promise a life without trouble.

He promised peace to your soul, fullness of life on earth, and eternal life with Him in heaven.

We need to be well fed and well led ourselves in order to feed and lead our families well.

Caregiver, pay close attention to keeping yourself spiritually fit. J.R. Miller said, “The true goal of life is not to be great, or to do great things, but to be just what God meant us to be.”

The focus of our respite strategy should be clinging to the Vine. Drink deeply of any scripture, worship song, friendship, prayer and other reminder that you are cherished by God. Then reassure your spouse and children that loving the One who is love is the single greatest thing any of you will ever do.

Have you wondered who you were meant to be or what your purpose is? Don’t let the enemy bully you into thinking that you are disabled from fulfilling your purpose because of disability. Don’t let society shame you because you’re not producing something that looks like what others are doing.

You are caring for a complex family. And you are shining the Light of Jesus into that situation with every loving breath you take of the Holy Spirit. Nothing you do is insignificant. Your days may feel tedious and mundane, but it all matters in this unexpected mission into which you’ve been called.

Ginny Owens, an award-winning songwriter and friend of this ministry, writes in her book Singing in the Dark, “The goal is not for us to got out and make sure that the whole world know 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.”

Caregiver, you and I are in a life-long process of learning. We are learning to love and serve in incredibly stretching circumstances. Have compassion for yourself and your own limits. Trust your Heavenly Father who offers a profound love. The world offers nothing to compare with it.

Receive that love.

Rest in it.

Then follow Jesus into the world with it.

John 15:9-17
“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me.
Remain in my love.
When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love,
just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 
I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy.
Yes, your joy will overflow! 
This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.
There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 
You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. 
You didn’t choose me. I chose you.
I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. 
This is my command: Love each other.”


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.

Tips for Caregivers: Feeling Valued and Competent

This is the third article in a series exploring what puts family caregivers in their “sweet spots” when supporting a family member with special needs. Today’s focus is on how caregivers experience refreshment through affirmation, appreciation, respect and a sense of competence.

If you are a caregiver in a family impacted by special needs, you have a full plate! My hunch is that you feel a lot of pressure to juggle quite a few plates, in fact. Some of that pressure comes from the circumstances themselves. And sometimes there is pressure from others. Very often, caregivers experience an inner tension from their own expectations too.

I want to encourage you to have compassion on yourself (1 John 2:1-2). You don’t need to carry the whole load and you don’t need to carry it all perfectly. Sometimes you’ll long for things from others that you legitimately need but they are not capable of providing. You won’t always feel the things you should. Your responses aren’t always healthy or helpful either. You are human. You have weaknesses and you will fall short of God’s standard. That’s why you need Him! In fact, if you do your job too well, your spouse, your children and others may quit looking to Almighty God for their help too. After all, if their needs are getting perfectly met, they won’t think they need anyone else!

Whether or not the people in your world effectively tell you so, you are highly valued. You are an “essential worker.” I recently learned to use that phrase in referring to myself. I am a full-time home care provider for Carly who has Angelman Syndrome. She requires round-the-clock attention that includes developmental support and medical care. In the phases for implementing the Covid-19 vaccinations in my state of Minnesota, I am considered an “essential healthcare provider.” It may seem trivial, but it felt very validating to see myself and my husband acknowledged in that very first category.

Personally, I appreciate knowing my efforts are valued and that my sacrifices are respected. Since Carly is non-verbal, I’m delighted by her hugs and smiles. On some rare occasions, she will even clap in appreciation for a meal I prepared or because she likes how I brushed her teeth. Most of the time, however, the burden for keeping me bolstered with encouragement falls on other family members. For example, Carly has a sleep disorder that is tremendously complicated and resistant to medications. When I’ve been awake throughout a long night with her, it is very helpful to begin the day with affection from my family. I feel so valued when my husband greets me at breakfast with a long, empathetic hug and a simple word of appreciation for the rest I’ve relinquished. It also encourages me when one of my daughters simply asks, “how much sleep did you get last night, mom?” and then responds with “I’m sorry” when she hears it was a long night.

These kinds of things move me toward my “sweet spot” and help me get through an exhausting day.

We may not like to admit how important things like validation, encouragement and feeling appreciated are to us. It doesn’t seem very Christ-like to depend on the affections of others to keep our spirits boosted. But let’s be honest, we all have some degree of need to feel known, understood, respected, affirmed and reassured of our worth.

Our needs are not necessarily unbiblical. God wonderfully and uniquely created each of us with a body, mind and spirit (Psalm 139:13-14). Each of us has strengths (1 Corinthians 12:4) and weaknesses (Romans 3:23). Both are necessary. Our strengths are a gift to others. Our weaknesses keep us humble and dependent on God. They are a way for God to put His own perfection on display (Isaiah 40:29, 2 Corinthians 5:17, 2 Corinthians 12:9, Hebrews 11:34, ).

It is not weakness to need affection. God made us relational beings. The exchange of affection is essential for maintaining satisfactory relationships. The Apostle Paul found great encouragement from others. In Romans 1:12, he wrote, When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours. Strong emotional ties are accomplished by sharing feelings of love, appreciation and affirmation. We can learn from the example in the New Testament letters. These apostles not only prayed for God’s people but also told them so through encouraging words (Ephesians 1:15–23, Philippians 1:3–11, 1 Thessalonians 1:3, 2 Timothy 1:3, Philemon 1:4–7, 3 John 2).

What is weakness is relying too heavily on others to keep us feeling affirmed. That weakness can lead us into sin if we start trying to get the need met in ungodly or unhealthy ways. God insists on being our first love. But He doesn’t deny us the exchange of love with others. In fact, he insists on it.

Matthew 22:37-38
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. 
A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

You don’t need to apologize for needing encouragement. In fact, sometimes you’ll need to be direct with others and ask for it. Don’t expect people to read your mind and intuitively know what bolsters you. Educate your community about what encourages you then leave it to God to shape and refine them. Have compassion when people are slow learners!

The world will always fall short of meeting our needs to feel valued and protected. Loving relationships are a gift from God but they will always leave us incompletely satisfied. Only intimacy with God is completely satisfying. Only Jesus completely understands our longings and will interpret them for us (Romans 8:26-27).

Friend, God’s advocacy for you is without fail (John 14:15-21).

TAP YOUR CAREGIVING STRENGTHS BY KNOWING YOUR TRUE VALUE COMES FROM BEING A CHILD OF THE ONE TRUE GOD

If you’re fueled by receiving affirmation, appreciation and affection

  • Explain your need for more positive feedback to those you are close to
  • Spend time with people who are expressive and encourage you toward a godly life
  • Acknowledge expressions of love and appreciation from others with words of gratitude
  • Remember you are valued by the loved one(s) you serve (even if they don’t express it well)
  • Learn not to be jealous of time and attention your deep relationships spend with others
  • Recognize when you are feeling rejected and renew your mind with truth about your value as God’s son/daughter
  • Cultivate intimacy with Jesus to meet your deepest needs for love and security


Some people are more sensitive than others to feeling like they are being criticized or if their competence feels questioned. Most people will be more sensitive to feeling inadequate or rejected when they are stressed or exhausted too. And since many caregivers experience significant fatigue and pressure, is it any wonder that we can be vulnerable to perceiving disappointment from others even when it isn’t really there?

Here are some tips for those times when you may feel inadequate, incompetent or criticized

  • Get clear information about what is needed and expected of you
  • Focus your responsibilities in areas where you feel familiar or confident
  • Establish respectful boundaries where you feel pressure to perform outside of your capabilities (consider delegating, ask for time to grow and then learn something new about the care responsibilities)
  • Find areas where there is freedom to work at your own pace
  • Learn to be more direct in expressing your needs
  • Learn to deal constructively with anger
  • Develop trust in the Holy Spirit to equip you for every good work and be perfect in your weaknesses
  • Learn to trust God with your life and your future to reduce fears of unknown


The Bible offers an abundance of encouragement and reassurance for caregivers. Here are some examples I hope will be of help to you:

Romans 12:10
Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.

Hebrews 10:24-25
Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

Colossians 3:23
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.

Psalm 94:19
When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.

Ephesians 3:18-19
May you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Lord Jesus, I confess that I am hungry to feel loved. I need reassurances that I am seen, known and valued. Forgive me when I misplace my focus on worldly things and expect too much from others. Above all, I am Your beloved child. I need reminding how much You love me. Thank you for loving me unconditionally to the point of death. I also want to thank you for the gift of my community and loved ones. Help us to love each other well. Show me how to be an encourager and teach me how to humbly receive what others have to offer me. Most of all, I am refreshed and energized to persevere in caring for my loved ones when I trust Your unfailing love for me. Amen

Tell us in the comments what works for you and your family!


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. Lisa is the primary contributor on the www.WalkRightIn.org blog sharing practical and spiritual encouragement for parents and other family members caring for children with health and developmental challenges. She also serves on the Key Ministry writing team where she contributes monthly articles for special needs parents and church leaders. Her personal blog www.lisajamieson.org also provides encouragement for people who find themselves in challenging places.

Join us for Reach Night and learn more about resources for families with special needs!

God’s Words: Rich with Meaning and History for Us

Psalm 16:11
You will show me the way of life,
granting me the joy of your presence
and the pleasures of living with you forever.

I have history with this verse.

My first recall of resonating with Psalm 16:11 goes back to 2009 when I was writing curriculum for a women’s conference where I was to speak four times throughout the weekend. The Lord used my circumstances at that time and my posture with Him during that season to ripen my heart to hear something deeply personal in the promise of Psalm 16:11. Then God grew fruit out of that for the benefit of about 130 other women as we explored the presence and voice of God for two days together. Ever since that time, there has been a spiritual “nostalgia” wrapped into that particular passage for me.

Several scriptures have developed relevance for me in specific seasons of relationships and circumstances throughout my life. 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.

I know this is true for many of us. In the ministry work I do, I have had the privilege of hearing hundreds of stories from people around the world about how different scriptures have been personal and powerful for them. It’s common for people of faith to identify with certain verses at memorable moments for poignant reasons that only God could have stirred. After all, scripture is “alive and active” according to Hebrews 4:12.

God will never stop speaking to us through His Word.

John 1:1-5
In the beginning the Word already existed.
    The Word was with God,
    and the Word was God.
He existed in the beginning with God.
God created everything through him,
    and nothing was created except through him.
The Word gave life to everything that was created,
    and his life brought light to everyone.
The light shines in the darkness,
    and the darkness can never extinguish it.

Considering how much personal history can be packed in certain scriptures, that got me reflecting on this year. After all, 2020 was a remarkable year. And there are a handful of scriptures that stand out to me as having met me in remarkable ways this year. In some cases, God just kept threading themes into my conversations with others that would lead me back to related passages. In other times, God’s words came to me in big moments — moments packed with meaning, deep thoughts or large emotions. The intensity of 2020 and the nature of feeling sort of stalled out in time, tended to keep me circling my faith wagons around scriptural places of resonance, insight, comfort, anchoring truth and hope.

Creating an annual highlights list of scriptures can be an encouraging and
meaningful way to reflect on our personal history and faith stories.

These verses reflect recurring landing points or pivotal moments in my life and faith during 2020:

1 Peter 5:9
Stand firm against him, 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.

Psalm 139:23-24
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

2 Cor 1:8-11
We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us. And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety.

Proverbs 14:10
Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can fully share its joy.

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.

Joshua 5 & 6 (especially 5:15)
The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” 

Note: I found a model in Joshua for an important reset in my life this year. If you’re interested, you can read that story here.

Luke 1:39-42
Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed.

I now have a “history” with these verses that I will carry with me for my lifetime. They reflect intimate lessons God has poured into me. They represent a sort of private dialogue I feel I’ve had with Him during 2020.

I love that about the scriptures! As in any relationship, there are moments shared in a conversation that stick out in our minds and stay treasured in our memories. I’m so grateful to have the kind of relationship with Jesus that produces these kinds of memories and keeps influencing me as a disciple of Christ throughout my life!  

I have found it remarkably encouraging, inspiring and forward-pointing for me to reflect on these verses that have marked 2020 for me. The process itself was a powerful reassurance to me of God’s intimate presence, power and goodness in my life, particularly during some dark or complicated days.

I’m excited! I see a new and meaningful tradition starting here. I plan to spend some time every December from here on, asking God to show me those scriptures that defined, repositioned or grew my faith that year.

What scriptures are part of your faith history? What are some intimately memorable ways God has spoken into your life through His words this past year?

I would love to hear how you will remember hearing God speak to you in 2020. Please share in the comments or contact me through Walk Right In Ministries.


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.

A Picture of Easter

Our friend Joel Warne of Wellspring Life Resources is sharing an Easter reflection here today. Larry and I have been grateful beneficiaries of and ministry partners with Wellspring Life Resources for over twenty years. When I was a young wife and mom, Joel’s book Soul Craving was a most influential resource in helping me know Jesus more intimately and tangibly. Wellspring offers a range of spiritual renewal services for both leaders and lay people across the country including live events, small group resources and counseling. Their ministry calls our hungry hearts toward a more rich and transforming daily experience of God.  We’re very thankful Joel shared this poignant and true message of hope with our readers for Easter 2020.


The comedian George Carlin once quipped that he was so shocked by what he found the day he entered this world that he couldn’t speak for two years!

Ha! It is a shocking world, especially during these remarkable days when ominous forces seem active overtime to rock things precious to us.

Ancient faiths around the world right now are urging hope, optimism and courage to act toward a positive future as the most healing and authentic responses to the uncertainties we all face.

At this Easter time of year Christian churches view this hope through the lens of Jesus of Nazareth’s story. It embodies the cyclical human journey from happiness and plenty, through unexpected loss and despair, toward the possibility of new and surprising resurrections.

May I offer a picture of Easter?

Our granddaughter was born at home by way of a pool birth. Our daughter and son-in-law are modern parents so invited their other girls, ages six and eight, to be in on the experience. The 8-year old reflected and concluded, “No, I’ll listen at the door.” The six-year old, who wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up and loves all things biological declared, “I’m there!”

Everything went great. Downstairs we got word after the birth that both baby and mom were healthy and happy. We were still congratulating ourselves when an alarm came from the room—the baby’s breathing rate had suddenly soared dangerously high. After laying peacefully with our daughter in the warm birthing pool our new granddaughter had been given into the arms of an assistant while her mother transferred to a bed. Separated from mom, the baby’s breathing rate rocketed into hazardous territory.

An anxious half hour later came relieving news that the baby was ok. The midwife had done something wise and beautiful. To bring our new granddaughter’s breathing back to a safe level she placed her naked body skin-to-skin on her mom’s chest. Slowly, the baby’s breathing entered the rhythm of her loving mother. Lying there, in intimate caring contact with her mom, our granddaughter relaxed into a serene calm.

Let me offer you that picture—the image of the threatened, vulnerable child held skin-to-skin at the breast of the loving parent. The protective embrace, the child snuggling into its natural home, the restoring shared rhythm.

This is the invitation of Easter.

Lots of us are breathing fast these days. Heart rates are high too. There is a feeling of vulnerability as our ordinary supports and controls prove less and less certain. Easter is about leaning in, skin-to-skin, with a loving Parent. It’s a decision of the will—repeated again and again—to entrust things into a caring embrace.

What can we entrust?

  • Our fears and uncertainties: Fear is a failure of imagination. It chases itself in a closed loop, a hamster wheel circle. Easter-trust releases our fears and uncertainties into the reality of a bigger story and opens our world to an invasion of help and provision from the outside.
  • Our preferences and fantasies: An ancient wisdom wisely counsels, “Be with God in what is.” That is, make peace with your real life with all its pluses and minuses. Stop kicking against it. Relax trustingly into your real situation today. This makes space for Easter’s renewing force to surprise you with unanticipated solutions.
  • Our losses: physical and financial, plans and dreams, even precious lost loved ones. At the heart of Easter is the idea of Resurrection, the conviction that in each painful dying is buried a hidden kernel of life ready to unexpectedly grow up again, often in new forms more profound and fruitful than the original. It’s hard to release our painful losses, yet we are not releasing them into a dark abyss, but into loving and powerful Hands that return them to us in a new form—as personal healing and rich new possibilities.

Certain narratives have been given us to provide our hearts and minds a framework that resonates and works in a world like ours, in times like these.

The Easter story is a narrative supreme.

Easter is about leaning in, skin-to-skin, with a loving Parent. It’s a decision of the will—repeated again and again—to entrust things into a caring embrace.

If we can find courage to relax our losses, fears and preferences into a caring Hand more capable than ours we discover the Easter surprise—new life invades tombs! Into every painful death, collapse, calamity or puzzling defeat, God has preceded us with an Easter resurrection, poised and ready, full of relief, keen to be born.

Copyright 2020, Joel Warne, WellSpring Life Resources
Permission to forward, post or reprint is given by the author.
WellRefreshed.com


For more than 35 years Joel has led leader and lay retreats, workshops, and groups around the theme of ordinary people moving toward a more intimate daily experience of God. As a spiritual director and co-founder of WellSpring Life Resources, Joel has written and published spiritual formation curricula used across the country.

Joel is a graduate of Bethel Theological Seminary in St. Paul, MN. His special love for Christian ministry leaders is expressed through pastor and leader retreats that both comfort and challenge leaders in their call. His many years in the corporate world before co-founding WellSpring in 1999 with his wife, Gerri, a Temperament Therapist, give him lots of insight into the challenges and joys of ordinary people in their journey with God.

Remembering Well: Good Friday 2020

You can watch Lisa’s Real Talk livestream above. The article below highlights the spirit of her message on caring for each other by remembering well.


National leaders have been talking a lot about caring for each other these days.We’ve talked about things we can do to help protect each other during the coronavirus pandemic:

Wash hands
Cover your mouth
Keep physical distance
Stay home

Today I was listening to the news and hearing compassionate guidance for families grieving the death of loved ones during this time exceptional time of loss. My own aunt passed away last weekend. My heart aches for her siblings (including my dad), my uncle and cousins who couldn’t be present with each other through her last weeks and hours. Nor can they say remember her within the fellowship of loving community the way people typically grieve (at least for now). My cousin’s wife is a funeral director. Like so many working in funeral homes, she is wrestling to help families when there are so many new protocols and limitations on our rituals.

It got me thinking about what we’ll remember most about this pandemic thing.

I hope we remember this season in ways that are honorable.

honorable to people who lived through it or died during it

    helpful to those who come after it

         and pleasing to the God who walked through far worse for us.  

How do we do this? How do we honor those who are lost or the ones who are sacrificing so much in during this time?

I think we might best honor this season by how we remember it. And how we remember this time starts with what we do with it now.

What kind of memories are we creating during this shelter-in-place experience? I’ve been thinking about this. I’ve been praying that God would show me how to be attentive to Him in how I spend this opportunity. Yes, something is getting spent here in this surreal way of living. I’m not trying to lay a guilt trip. I’m hoping to cast a vision. Because I’ve caught a vision. I believe God starting planting it in Larry and me years before this isolation season was thrust on the rest of the world. Because, you see, special needs families like ours already know some things about the shelter-in-place lifestyle that the rest of the world is just starting to learn.

We raised our family trying to be intentional about creating good memories. Disability was so consuming of our life. And the risk was great that Carly’s needs would flavor our life in such a significant way. Larry and I didn’t want our challenges with Carly to be what our other children remembered most about growing up a Jamieson. We understood that the challenges would bring them some helpful lessons and memories too. We just didn’t want those challenges to have inappropriate or disproportional weight or influence. So, now and then we tried to dream up some remarkable things that would stand out in their memories alongside the blessings and challenges of being a special needs family. For example, our vacations opportunities were rare and challenging but we did what we could to make some happen. Sometimes that even meant planning an epic staycation. But we also tried to make special things out of everday stuff. The phrase “power fold” is packed with nostalgic meaning for our family. That story is for another day.

In a similar way, I think we have a need and opportunity to be intentional about creating memories of this time too. I’m been thinking: how can we honor and care for each other beyond the handwashing and social distancing — especially to honor those who will live on and those who gave everything for us?

We can work with great intention NOW to make sure that the lasting message of this season — the legacy of this time — is a helpful one. We can do this for the sake of those who gave so much, for the sake of our children and for the sake of future generations. We can work with intention to care well for each other — not just in protecting each other’s physical bodies from harm of the virus but also by caring for each other’s souls (our minds and spirits). We can remember God. We can share hope. We can lead in faith. As special needs parents, we can feed our own souls and find others who will lead us well so that we can, in turn, lead our families well.

I’m been thinking: how can we honor and care for each other beyond the handwashing and social distancing — especially to honor those who will live on and those who gave everything for us?

God has been telling us to “remember well” since the earliest days of mankind. He showed us how to throw feasts and gave specific instructions about what to celebrate at those feasts. God knows our need to focus our minds rightly. The Old Testament feasts helped our ancestors do that. Practicing things like communion and Christian holiday worship services help us remember and enjoy God’s presence and power among us. When people looked back on their memories with a focus on regret or longing for the former times, God warned them. He said there was a better way.

God knows our need to focus our minds rightly.

At Walk Right In Ministries, one of our favorite examples of God showing his people how to remember well happened at the Jordan River at the brink of the Promised Land. The story is told in Joshua, chapters 3 and 4. That experience inspired the name of this ministry. You can read about it here.

Now, because it is Good Friday, I got thinking about Jesus’ sacrifice and how we remember that. Do you see the “rabbit trail” I’m on here?

What does it look like for me to remember and honor Jesus’ sacrifice well?

  • Today especially, I want to acknowledge my depravity and self-centeredness
  • I’m trying to express deeper and more frequent gratitude for what He gave up for me
  • I want to own my faith story and live it well so that others will see that God is faithful

1 Peter 3:15
Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.

So what do you think the legacy of this pandemic will be? There are a lot of people speculating about that.

  • Today, I want to suggest that we NOT PASSIVELY WONDER.
  • I want to suggest that we start today BEING INTENTIONAL about creating memories.

We can work with intention to care well for each other — not just in protecting each other’s physical bodies from harm of the virus but also by caring for each other’s souls (our minds and spirits).

This doesn’t need to be a big or complicated master plan. I think the power lies in a combination of two things:

  • Being attentive to God’s prompting in simple moments during the day or week.
  • Thinking creatively about a few grand gestures.

Some of my most treasured simple moments so far have been learning how to sign the message of “Happy Easter” with Carly, baking cookies six times more often than usual, playing Family Farkle on Zoom with extended family, sharing goofy Marco Polo chats with our daughter across the country and having daily conversations with my husband about our fears, frustrations or hopes. When it comes to the grander gestures that will likely flavor the way we remember this time, a couple of things that come to my mind are two birthdays we celebrated during the pandemic, the tremendous sacrifice Carly’s caregivers made to help us through (and that are allowing me to share with you like this right now) and a special Easter egg hunt we created for a couple of neighbor kids.

What I want to help others remember most about this pandemic experience is three things:

  • This was a time when we learned to enjoy each other much more meaningfully.
  • This was a time when we learned to experience God more intimately.
  • This was a time when we learned to share God’s love with others in ways that were both profoundly satisfying for their souls and highly honoring to God.

Joshua 4:21-22, 24
Then Joshua said to the Israelites, “in the future, your children will ask, “What do these stones mean?” Then you can tell them…”He did this so that all the nations of the earth might know the power of the Lord, and that you might fear the Lord your God forever.”

Psalm 27:13-14
Yet I am confident that I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.
Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

John 14: 12
“I (Jesus) tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.”


Would you like to connect in a private small group setting to dig deeper into God’s word and grow with others who are caring for a loved one with disabilities?

I’m so excited to invite you to join me and other special needs family members for a new weekly Zoom video conference called Real Talk Multiply! We love shared stories at Walk Right In Ministries — especially when they bring encouragement and/or Christ-pointing insight within community.

Here’s the link but you’ll need to write to us at info@walkrightin.org to officially register and get the Meeting Password.
“Real Talk Multiply” Virtual Gathering on Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/918676626

Real Talk Multiply also offers a private Facebook group for ongoing discussion outside of the video conference gatherings. We simply ask that you keep those conversations confidential, respectful and spam free.

The Real Talk Multiply community begins April 14th, 2020 and will continue every Tuesday from 2:00 pm until 3:00 pm (Central). Holiday and vacation exceptions will be announced in the private “Real Talk Multiply” Facebook group.

Join us whenever you can!


Lisa Jamieson is an international speaker, author, caregiver advocate and pastoral counsellor. Her passion is spurring special needs families toward growing intimacy with Jesus and thriving relationships with each other. She is co-founder and executive director of Walk Right In Ministries and leads the Minnesota Disability Ministry Connection. Lisa is a member of the Sarasota Academy of Christian Counseling certified in Christian temperament therapy. Her books and Bible studies include Jesus, Let’s Talk which was inspired by her daughter, Carly, who has Angelman Syndrome. Lisa and her husband, Larry, have been married for 31 years and have three grown daughters.

Cooperative Cocooning

This pandemic season is creating a unique opportunity for intimate bonding with those we are closest to in life. Sure, it doesn’t always look or feel like creating sweet memories together. Bonding doesn’t always come easily in our home, that’s for sure! But our family is benefiting from learning to prioritize encouragement and cooperation. And I think — I pray — that a lot of us will look back and see that something very special happened in the grand scheme of this season.

Last week, we took some time out of quarantine tedium to play with friends on Facebook. Carly and Claire joined me for a Real Talk livestream we called “Pandemic Edition #1.” We sure had fun making some trail mix, playing a couple of online games with viewers and exploring what it looks like to “cocoon” well. The following notes share highlights from that conversation.


Thriving families have compassion for each other’s unique needs and they learn to cultivate a cooperative environment in their home.

  • Stress, anxiety, fear, fatigue, burnout and breakdown are minimized when we pay attention to each other’s unique needs for casual relationships, emotional connectedness, task orientation, control and decision-making. (For us, this includes paying attention to the family’s needs but also care support staff with Carly as well.)
  • Not everyone expresses their needs as openly or clearly as others. That doesn’t mean the needs don’t exist. The ways and degrees in which we express our needs to others can be influenced by our own natural inclinations but also by how we were raised, how safe we feel to speak up or whether we’re trying to protect others from others from more demands. Some of us simply aren’t that self-aware. And children are often not mature enough to know how to articulate what they are feeling or needing. In a cooperative environment, we are attentive to one another and help each other recognize and meet needs in healthy, God-honoring ways.
  • It’s not all about bonding and attachment to each other though. For many living in close confinement, there will be a need to learn/teach healthy detachment too. It’s okay for someone to take a break and go shut a door for a little while.

There are tremendous benefits in being intentional about caring for the soul needs of each person in your pandemic season cocoon. Why am I using the term “cocoon?” Cocooning is a term often used by adopting families for a period of seclusion they hold after an adoption. It allows for bonding while also protecting the immune system of an international child who isn’t yet vaccinated and wasn’t necessarily born to a mom with immunities to the various things someone might be exposed to in our country.

Cocooning is a term often used by adopting families for a period of seclusion they hold after an adoption. It allows for bonding while also protecting the immune system.

We all have our own unique soul needs. I used to read Psalm 139 with the focus of my attention on the way God had woven my body in a physical way. But God’s words took on deeper meaning when I considered that my “delicate” or “inward” parts included the way I think, how deeply I feel things, the way I express myself, the degrees to which I find fulfillment in tasks — all the complexities of my soul.

13 For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
    Try me and know my thoughts!
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting!

When God calls us His masterpieces (Ephesians 2:10), He means every detail about who we are is His handiwork. That includes our physical anatomy as well as our soul. Our soul craves communion with Him yet we chase things of the world to fill our needs. In quarantine season, in caregiving season, in any season when the needs of our soul are strained, we need Jesus most of all. But Jesus has compassion for us and gives us gifts out of the world to reveal His intimate understanding and value of us too.

These are some general areas where we each have our own unique degrees of need:

  • SOCIALIZATION or how we are satisfied in relationships includes two very different layers of social-emotional need.
    • Inclusion — a sense of casual association and connectedness
    • Affection — a sense of emotional connection within deeper relationships that is expressed through words (e.g., appreciation, affirmation) physical touch (e.g., hugs, snuggling, holding hands), gifts, acts of service and more
  • TASK ORIENTATION is not everybody’s genius. Staying focused or disciplined with accountability or inspiration can be tremendously challenging for some. For others (and I’m talking about me here), the “almighty task rules!” One inclination is not better than the other, just different.
    • A few people are appreciating that there are fewer distractions so they can tackle their lists and even catch up on some things around the house. (Take advantage of your natural household project managers and use this time to develop administrative skills in younger children.)
    • It will help some people to alternate between tasks and social activities, avoiding a focus on one or the other for long periods of time.
    • Some will find it helpful to complete tasks when they are connected with some social component.
  • CONTROL & DECISION-MAKING responsibilities may be shifting considerably during this quarantine season.
    • Logistics (groceries, healthcare, germ management, household clutter) must be managed differently for now.
    • Circumstances out of control may incline some people to overcompensate with substitutes. For example, a tidy house can create an illusion of control when everything else feels like chaos. A purged closet may refresh and energize the person whose heart is heavy with worry.
    • Pacing time in new ways will be energizing for some and exhausting for others. A slower pace can be very satisfying or will trigger anxiety in those who enjoy being busy.
    • Changing your environment can be a way to lift spirits. For example, rearrange the family room furniture, let the kids change around their bedrooms, use special plates for dinner, have a crazy hair day or purge some toys and clothing into “junk” and “share” boxes.
    • Giving each other plenty of choices. (For our daughter with special needs, this means pulling out neglected laminated photos, objects and iPad apps like GoTalk Now.) This can feel freeing and empowering when so many of our circumstances feel out of control. But some people feel overwhelmed by needing to make decisions. Perhaps you are someone who likes to share decision-making responsibilities. Doing so alone triggers anxiety or frustration. Collaborate on decisions as spouses or family whenever you can.

Just like having physical needs (body), God created us with mental and intellectual capacities (mind), and also emotional and spiritual needs (spirit). None of these needs is bad or wrong. But if our needs don’t get met, we tend to sink into our weaknesses and experience things like anxiety, depression, exhaustion and even sin.

We thrive when we learn to let Jesus fulfill the desires of our hearts more than anything or anyone else. As our Creator, He knows us intimately and He only gives good gifts to His children. After that, we can enjoy His generous gifts from the world in healthy, godly ways. And that includes living in cooperative and complementary ways with others.

Psalm 38:9
You know what I long for, Lord;
    you hear my every sigh.

Matthew 6:33
Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, 
and all these things will be added to you.

Around here, we’re trying to be attentive to what each other needs and have each other’s backs. That starts with praying for each other and then includes examples like these:

  • Giving each other permission to express and satisfy soul needs (harder for kids and some temperaments)
  • Inviting each other to rest or take personal time (private places, dedicated time)
  • Leaving a bedroom or office door open or shut (or putting a sign on the doorknob) showing kids/others when interruptions are welcome and when they are not
  • Defining or redefining roles and responsibilities according to how each person is most energized
  • Making our home a safe space to process things like grief and disappointment
  • Trying to call out the positives at least four times as often as we correct/coach/redirect
  • Learning cooperation and teamwork but relying on Jesus first and foremost (which also prevents us from putting unreasonable demands on each other)

In a cooperative environment, we are attentive to one another and help each other recognize and meet needs in healthy, God-honoring ways. #CooperativeCocooning

These verses have been so helpful to me in the last several days:

Psalm 94:19
When the cares of my heart are many,
    your consolations cheer my soul.

Psalm 139:23-24
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

Here are some more specific things that are working for me and my family:

  • Keeping track of my own thinking patterns and paying attention to shifts in my mood so I can take my thoughts captive to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5)
  • Listening to LIVE broadcasts that keep me feeling connected in the world
  • Having LIVE conversations that connect me emotionally to those I care deeply about (Note: turn-taking chat apps meet a different need than live conversations on the phone, FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, etc.)
  • Finding a person who gives me energy and spending a few minutes chatting
  • Texting in group chats with extended family who are geographically separated
  • Pacing my breaks (and what I do with those breaks)
  • Baking with Carly or playing a game
  • Going for a drive (sometimes getting gas or car wash)
  • Taking a prolonged shower or bath
  • Rearranging furniture or moving to a different room from time to time (change of environment)
  • Putting out some decorations for Easter or spring (you could make some new ones too!)
  • Building a fort
  • Getting off the couch and having a dance party
  • Spring cleaning
  • Playing favorite games (egg hunt)
  • Planning and doing a special project (We’re hoping to surprise our neighbors’ kids with an Easter Egg Hunt blessing. Hopefully, they won’t read this blog until Easter Monday!)

We thrive when we learn to let Jesus fulfill the desires of our souls more than anything or anyone else. After that, we can enjoy His generous gifts from the world in healthy, godly ways. And that includes living in cooperative and complementary ways with others.

What’s working for you?

Tell us in the comments of this post about how your family is trying to make the best of this highly remarkable experience of life.

During this season of social distancing, we can learn rest in Jesus most of all but also meet each other’s soul needs in ways that are complementary and cooperative too.


You can watch Pandemic Edition #1 of REAL TALK livestream here.

Lisa Jamieson is an international speaker, author, caregiver advocate and pastoral counsellor. Her passion is spurring special needs families toward growing intimacy with Jesus and thriving relationships with each other. She is co-founder and executive director of Walk Right In Ministries and leads the Minnesota Disability Ministry Connection. Lisa is a member of the Sarasota Academy of Christian Counseling certified in Christian temperament therapy. Her books and Bible studies include Jesus, Let’s Talk which was inspired by her daughter, Carly, who has Angelman Syndrome. Lisa and her husband, Larry, have been married for 31 years and have three grown daughters.