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Challenge: Kids with Special Needs

WHY OUR FAMILY HASN’T BEEN TO CHURCH IN A YEAR

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The modernization of popular worship services in some church congregations has made the music more relevant for a millennial crowd. Our family-a little bit country, a little bit hippie-enjoys the mixture of a welcomed raised hand to praise and a hint of banjo being snuck in here and there.

Enter our now seven-year-old #extremechild.

Y’all our boy loves #music. He just got his very first electric guitar for Christmas. But his diagnoses and sensory needs are many and we have found that the lights, reverb, stacked speakers, and revolving faces at the greeter table have become an #overwhelming sense of #anxiety and #sensory #overload for our boy.

We somehow traded the predictable smiles and the warmth of a grandma whose grin reminds you that, although your kid is climbing over the seats, she gets it and she’s glad you’re here. Instead, we sit impatiently awaiting our child’s number to pop up on the big screen, alerting us that our kid needs to be picked up from children’s church. No doubt, a #meltdown from the number of kids or the #volume level in the room.

All of that said, we adore the church we found near our current #tinyhouse parking place as much as we loved the old country church where I grew up. But neither are a good fit for our family right now.

So, now what?

Well, we haven’t attended a formal #church gathering in nearly a year. We opt for Bible reading and lessons with our kiddos and #streaming church online for my husband and I.

Our church family looks like group chats with friends and fellow believers where we ask questions and #encourage each other. We go there for #prayer requests and text verses of #inspiration.

Though our ‘church’ doesn’t have a name or a regular pastor, walls or an offering bucket, we worship through #kindness, #generosity, and a focus on modeling Christ’s love to our children through our $service of our #community and others. It isn’t traditional. Some may argue it isn’t even biblical, but it is-for our family-what is best for us right now.

We don’t lack for wanting to attend church, but we have instead chosen the peace that comes from our child’s comfort where we know his needs can be met and he can still learn of God’s love for his children-no matter what they look like or how their brains work.

Friends, #extremeparenting doesn’t come with a manual. Instead it is riddled with decisions no parent should have to make, especially in the face of unquestionable #judgment from loved ones and perfect strangers alike.

See, we are just like you-the parent raising a #neurotypical child. We are fumbling our way through jobs and bills, school work and doctor appointments. We are doing our absolute best to create a safe space for our kids to grow up knowing they are fiercely loved.

So, if you don’t see us at church (or the park, or a restaurant, or a party), text us. Check in. Things might be completely fine and we just had to make a decision that was best for our boy. Or things could be complete #chaos. It’s hard to tell.

Don’t be afraid to ask. We welcome questions. We cherish your love of our kiddos. And we covet your prayers.

Sorry we aren’t sharing a pew, but please know we are doing our very best to serve our same loving, and forgiving God. That just looks different for us right now.

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