Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Dimetapp, Robitussin, Church and Grace

"Is that all you have for me?"

20 plus years of parenting knowledge condensed down to two words; Dimetapp and Robitussin. My secret ingredients revealed. I suppose you were expecting church and grace? Sorry to disappoint you, it's Dimetapp and Robitussin.

You see, in my house, if you are sick, it doesn't matter what your symptoms are, I am going to give you Dimetapp and Robitussin. It's my "go-to", my "power suit", my traveling snake oil salesman's "cure-all elixir". Okay, maybe I am getting a little carried away, but you get my point. 

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (2 Corinthians 1: 3-4 NIV)

Praise be to God, I have thanked Him for those two medicines on many occasions when they have helped my sick children. I have also passed the knowledge of their comfort on to others when I have found them searching for medicine, whether they fit the symptoms they were describing or not. I would often laugh and joke that it didn't matter what the symptoms were, just give them Dimetapp and Robitussin...they cover most things.

(Just to be perfectly clear...I am in no way giving you actual medical and/or pharmacological dispensing advice!)

Not too long ago, in the hopes of connecting with other special needs moms and families, I inquired at our church about a special needs Bible study or group of some sort. (It's a large church with multiple campuses. I was open to anything.) They referred me to someone, who referred me to someone, who eventually called me. This person was very nice and truly seemed to be concerned about my family and our need to attend church together. (Even though that wasn't what I asked about.) We spent a great deal of time discussing our church attendance, our son, and his needs. We talked about things that might work for my husband and I to attend church together and a couple of things that they have in the works for newly diagnosed families. (This last thing she was sure I could appreciate the need for and remember what those early days were like, or at least I think that's what she said, my son was screaming for chicken.) I managed to slide in my original Bible study question a couple of times in our conversation, but never quite got the answer I was looking for. (A "We don't but maybe we could see if there is interest" might have been a nice response.)

I have to tell you, I hung up the phone a little grumbly; I felt a little square peg hammered into a round hole. I called my husband, "Apparently we have to attend church together before we can move on to the hallowed ground of Bible studies, small groups and the next level of Godliness."

His response, "Are you surprised?"

I was.

I was surprised.

I was surprised and I was grumbling, murmuring, and complaining.

So my husband listened, I ranted about inclusion and not fitting anywhere and then he said something about grace and we're all sinners and he had to go.

So I sat there, in my grumbling, for a couple of days.

Philippians 2:14 says "Do everything without grumbling and arguing." Different Bible versions use different words; grumbling, murmuring, complaining. Those words are listed first, before the words arguing or disputing, and that's important. They deal with our internal response to situations.

My internal response has been shaped by years of battling for services and inclusion for our son. We have lived through years of insisting he fits and belongs; that he should be included, in school and in the community. I needed grace, and after talking to a good friend who felt sure their heart was in the right place, my heart began to soften a little and remember to extend that same grace to others. 

That is when I realized...I had been Dimetapp and Robitussin-ed.

They responded to my symptoms with what they had and most importantly with what they knew worked. My husband and I know what it means to be able to attend church together during those early days and years of diagnosis. We have experienced a church being The Church and standing in that gap for us when we could not stand for ourselves and our family. It's good medicine, some of the best, and I thank God that our current church is there to dispense it to those in need.

It's just not the only need, and attending church together is not the only medicine. Sometimes it's not the right medicine, and that's ok. It's hard to meet every need and have all the answers; actually, it's impossible. I know that.

I also know that we are many unique members of the same body with our own purpose and needs, and most importantly, we are all under the care of a Creator and Healer who has a far greater repertoire of healing than Dimetapp and Robitussin.

So I will pray:

God our Father and Healer fill us with Your peace, remind us of Your grace and help us to always remember that You will meet every need and every symptom with exactly what is needed. God open our eyes and our hearts to those around us who reach out with needs that can not be met with what we have, expand our healing power beyond what we are familiar with, equip us. I pray that we see and recognize You meeting our needs and bringing healing through frustrating circumstances that so often leave us grumbling. Father help me to replace that grumbling with grace and extend it to others. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.


  1. Excellent post. I know too well how it feels to not be included. And in large churches it's almost worse. Well written and very insightful thoughts. I enjoyed reading!

  2. Thank you so much Karla. I think I may agree with you on the larger churches. I generally think of them as having more options and resources, but it is also easier to fall through the cracks and get lost in the shuffle.