On behalf of the Board and staff of Key Ministry, I’d like to be the first to extend to our followers best wishes for a Happy and Joyous New Year. May you experience more of God’s blessing and presence in 2016!
As we embark upon a new ministry year, I’m especially enthused about the relationship we’re building with Sandra Peoples and her team of writers at Not Alone, the special needs parenting website launched in 2013 by our friend and former colleague Mike Woods. The site that Mike created and Sandra cultivated is literally a treasure trove of content for parents raising kids with disabilities. Followers of Key Ministry will recognize a number of familiar faces among the contributors to Not Alone, including Kathy Bolduc, Emily Colson, Jeff Davidson, Shannon Dingle, Barb Dittrich, Cindy Ferrini, Gillian Marchenko, Jolene Philo and Ellen Stumbo. You’ll also be introduced to some fabulous leaders from the disability ministry movement who haven’t yet written for us or presented for one of our events… Sarah Broady, Kara Dedert, Mike George, Kelly Langston, Patty Myers, Sarah Parshall Perry and Laurie Wallin.
Sandra has officially joined our team as our Social Community and Family Support Manager. In her new position, Sandra will be responsible for assembling much of the content we’ll be offering families, coordinating the online groups we’ll be launching over the coming months and building the connector we’ll be launching to help families of kids with disabilities experience the ability to worship in the physical presence of other Christ-followers in a church near where they live. She’ll be working with a team of consultants to ensure that as many church leaders and families as possible discover the resources our crew at Key is developing to help connect churches and families of kids with disabilities.
Head on over to check out what the folks at Not Alone have been doing…we think you’ll discover inspiration, encouragement and support for the new year ahead! Here’s a sneak preview from our friend, Emily Colson…
Press on Toward the Goal
My dad would often tell me that when Billy Graham was asked what surprised him most about life, he answered, “the brevity of it all.” It’s true—all of a sudden it’s 2016 and my son Max has just turned 25. Along with brevity, this new year’s day reminds me of several other startling truths:
1) It is becoming less plausible that I’m carrying postpartum baby weight.
2) Max has grown a beard, which means he looks far more sophisticated when he carries a teddy bear.
3) We have survived a quarter-century of life with autism.
But something happened 10 years ago that has made me acutely aware of the brevity of life, and gave me just the push I needed.
Max was 15 at the time. Even thought he was in a wonderful school, my legs were like rubber as I walked into our team meeting. A dozen well-dressed individuals were seated around the long conference room table. As I thanked the staff for their hard work with Max, I could hear my own heart pounding as if the base were turned up too loud on a radio.
We discussed Max’s progress, and challenges, and the goals for the next year. It was going well, until we came to the parent vision statement, a section on his Education Plan giving parents an undisputed voice to share their hopes and dreams for their child’s future. The teacher read through the words from last year’s education plan, a vision I had worked so hard to write.
“How does it sound? Is this still your vision for Max’s future?” the teacher asked, as she sat behind her laptop and looked up at the screen.
My head went light and I could barely read the words on the screen.
“It’s fine,” I mumbled weakly. But it wasn’t fine. I was doe-eyed from the phone call with my surgeon, which had taken place just minutes before this team meeting had begun. I had been sitting in the school parking lot, phone pressed up against my ear, sucked back against the front seat of my car as if my body had been glued there by centrifugal force. The doctor gave me the surgical choices I would have to make to treat the rare form of melanoma that was once just a small dark ink-drop on my thigh. And then he gave me my odds of survival.
As I sat beneath the bright florescent lights in the conference room, surrounded by Max’s team, one thought began pounding in my head like a sledgehammer.
What if I’m not here next year to sit in another team meeting?
What if this is my last chance to speak up?
As if propelled by force, my words burst out. “I’d like to add something to my vision statement,” I said.
“OK,” the teacher said as she held her fingers to the keys, waiting.
All of my splintered thoughts collected into one, and in that moment I spoke with complete clarity.
For the remainder of Emily’s post, click here…
Many of our 8,000+ friends who access this blog through the Key Ministry Facebook page see a small percentage of the content we post. In the event you missed something that was quite popular among your fellow readers, check out our ten most popular blog posts of 2015. Adoption, trauma and ADHD were quite the hot topics this past year!
Our team at Key Ministry looks forward to serving you, your church and your family in 2016!