Our assignment for the blog carnival is to write about someone who encourages us, specifically someone in Christian ministry. My usual post for the day is a Bible theme related to Special Needs, so let's see if I can make this all come together.
I would like to honor our most recent Pastor at the church we attend. He would die a thousand deaths if he knew I was typing this right now, so I will not mention his name, but many of you know who I'm talking about. I may not have shared as openly before how much he has encouraged me, though. Many of you are already fans, and I hope my own story will make yours that much sweeter.
This Pastor is the one who performed our wedding ceremony, instructing my husband to treat me as fine china in spite of my strong personality and personal achievements. He is the one who encouraged me to pursue every avenue of treatment when my anxiety disorder threatened our first year of marriage, medication and Biblical counseling included. He dedicated our oldest daughter to the Lord in those early days when we thought she was just a feisty and independent little so-and-so. He helped us with remodeling projects. He came over the day that my husband lost his job and brought muffins. He visited me in the hospital when I was on bed rest for six weeks while expecting our twins. He and his wife came over shortly after the twins were born and loved on them while I got dinner ready. When we first started to understand our daughter's challenges more they were there with wisdom, advice, more babysitting, and coming to IEPs. They helped us understand "the system" and what was happening with our daughter. Several months later when I was at my wit's end he sat with me on Christmas Eve, of all days, and gave me several scriptures and lots of advice, and most of all prayer. He joined me in praying that God would provide "a way out" of the anger, frustration, and outright fatigue that I was experiencing. Just a couple of weeks later God did provide the beginning of the way out. In short, at every major turning point for almost ten years now my Pastor has been Jesus with skin on to me.
You may be wondering how a Pastor would know much about IEPs and the school system. He is also the father of a young man who has Fragile X Syndrome and autism. He has allowed God to use his son's challenges to teach him, and our whole church family, so much. He has poured himself out for our church and for his family. A couple of weeks ago he gave his last sermon at our church. The demands of caring for his son have been overwhelming for years now, and he felt God leading him to move out of active ministry and care for himself and his family. I would ask you all to pray for them as they face many changes now and in the near future. Pray God's provision, and that the Church will show up for them as they have so often for others.
One of my favorite scriptures that my Pastor and his wife have both shared with me to encourage me is
Isaiah 40:11 - He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. (NIV)God cares for our little ones so much. They are close to His heart. And He is gently leading us, too. Sometimes He uses someone with skin on to lead us...thanks be to God!