Friday, March 1, 2013

Weekend? What Weekend?

I have no peace or rest—
    only troubles and worries.
~ Job 3:26 ~

TGIF!  How many times have we heard that cheer of relief as the work week comes to a close?  Fridays usually hold the promise of time off from the daily activity of intense labor.  Refreshment is just hours away as the weekend approaches.   That may mean dinner out, a fun activity with the family, relaxing with sports or reading a book.  Sunday offers the spiritual renewal of community worship to fill us up for another week ahead.

Yet, for many parents living with the challenge of raising a child who has special needs, the weekend is stripped of this simple joy.  It may mean upset in the household because of the typical daily routine.  Often, it can mean trying to get our heads above water by catching up on the reams of paperwork that need to be completed for a child or other looming duties we have put off.  At the very least, the weekend means that parents of kids with special needs are required to be more "on duty" and not less.

Sadly, with how many churches are still unaccommodating and unwelcoming, families with a child who has a diagnosis often don't get to fill their spiritual cup on the weekend either, not to mention their precious kids.  Instead, a frightening number of churches remain either condemning or apathetic about inclusion.  This means that these parents at their children never have someone investing in them, pointing their eyes to the Hope that supersedes all of their challenges.

Despite all of these obstacles to enjoying weekends, those of us raising a child with unique abilities can still redeem that time.  How?  We must be intentional.  While it may sound crazy, we know that so many of our children, no matter what their diagnosis, thrive on routine or structure.  Even if you must do so by sitting in a bathroom with pen and paper, carve out a little time to plan ahead as to what a good weekend might look like for your family.  Could you plan something to keep your child busy long enough to give you one extra hour of refreshing sleep?  What about planning a family art project or game night?  Have you searched out available free respite within a given radius of your home that you might be able to use for a few hours on a Saturday or Sunday?  Might you store up some freezer meals that you could pull out on a weekend, so you don't have to be a slave to the kitchen over the weekend?  These are just a few of the ideas you might explore to make your weekend better.

Of course, church attendance is something we need to be intentional about as well.  While it does require some effort on our parts, with all of the ministries and resources now available to help families and local churches, there should be no excuse why a family cannot get connected.  If your church would like to develop a special class to meet kids' cognitive needs, there are several turn-key curricula available in multiple religious denominations to make that a reality.  If your church would like to become more inclusive, there are several excellent ministries that will come and train the church leadership to bring that to fruition.  Churches may simply need the prompting from parents to do such things.  Can't find any church that will cooperate in your area?  There are actually several churches across the nation that do live services on the internet where you can log in and be personally welcomed to the Sunday celebration.  Even more churches have podcasts that can be accessed to observe some family worship time together when live attendance is not an option.    No matter what the choice, being deliberate about seeking out the refreshment of corporate worship is something that God makes a point of elevating in His word:  "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching."  (Hebrews 10:24-25, NIV)  He knows that this weekly pursuit will encourage and refresh us.

Parents, whether you are raising a child with special needs or know someone who is, be mindful of weekends.  When the Creator formed the galaxies, He set us an example by observing a set time of rest.  We are called to do no less, and to assure that others walking this journey have the opportunity to do so as well.

PRAY:  Creator God, I have bought into the lies of today's culture demanding that I do ever more work without stopping.  I see others relax, and I get so jealous.  Remind me to rest, and guide me with creating an intentionally rejuvenating weekend for myself and my family.  We need your restoration.
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1 comment:

  1. great post! a good reminder too. We have the kids friends sleep over, it is more work but all of them have a safe place to just be children. they make movies together using props and itouch. later they use software to paste it all together and add sound tracks.
    i have an immune disorder and have to mask at church.