Heart for the Disabled #3 Doug and Adrian

  • Jan. 11, 2012
  • #7748

Joni shares how you can encourage a family affected by disability during Heart for the Disabled week.

Heart for the Disabled #3 Doug and Adrian

It’s “Heart for the Disabled” week here at Joni and Friends!

That’s right, this is Joni Eareckson Tada and this week I am asking you to help me give real Christian encouragement to disabled people and their families who attended last year’s Family Retreats. Because it’s mid-winter, the skies are gray, and these families are in need of a lift, what with all the disability routines day after day. So I’m asking you (as I’ve been doing all week) to pick up a pen and jot a Valentine’s card or a note, send a poem, a scripture, or just a brief letter telling a special needs family that you’re praying for them. And today I’m thinking of Doug and Adrian, parents to Lane age 10, Luke age 7, and little Lauren who is 4 years old and who has autism. 

Doug and Adrian didn’t have the financial resources to come to Family Retreat last summer, but thankfully, scholarships were available. And, oh, was it a life-changing experience for mom and dad (not to mention the kids). Even though Lauren is only 4 years old, she is unlike typical children her age – autism has turned her into a quiet, inward, solemn little girl, living a life inside a dark, bewildering shell, at a lonely arms-length distance from other kids. Doug and Adrian have felt so helpless these last four years, feeling they are unable to reach in and pull their daughter out of her isolated shell. It seems they never had time to grieve and the ever-increasing cycle of grief has ripped through their marriage, as well as their confidence in God. For many months, Adrian had recurring nightmares of trying to swim out to save her daughter, only to watch her head go under and not be able to get her in time – all without little Lauren making a sound. Indeed, for Adrian and Doug to try to communicate with Lauren is like trying to talk to someone through water. They are at wits end, they don’t know where to turn, but someone told them about our Family Retreat. At camp, Lauren was assigned a volunteer who absolutely showered that kid with love – in no time at all, it was clear that this volunteer was Lauren’s special friend. In fact, Lauren’s very first friend! Doug and Adrian were absolutely amazed as they watched their little girl blossom – all this time they have been trying to get her back, when they realized she had really never left. They discovered that inside that dark little shell, their precious child was there all along. For this family, our Family Retreat really opened up their eyes – and they never would have been able to come on their own, but people they didn’t even know paid for them to have such a life-changing experience!  

I hope you can see that this couple really needs your Christian encouragement. They need to read uplifting scriptures from you – or perhaps you could get your children or Sunday school class to color some cards for their three children, Lane, Luke and, of course, Lauren who has autism. And you don’t have to, but if you really want to go the extra mile, tuck in a Dunkin’ Donuts gift certificate or something small. Believe me, Doug and Adrian and their family will be thrilled to open up their mailbox on Valentine’s Day and see hundreds of cards and letters from listeners like you.

So be sure to jot your note today to Doug and Adrian. Then, send your card to Joni and Friends, P.O. Box 3333, Agoura Hills, California 91376, and we’ll make certain to package it up with all the other notes to this family so they’ll receive it in time for Valentine’s Day. Again, that’s Joni and Friends, P.O. Box 3333, Agoura Hills, California 91376 – and if you need to be reminded of the details I’ve shared today about this family, you can always get the whole scoop on my radio page at Joni and Friends

© Joni and Friends

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