Drink Offering

  • July 15, 2011
  • #7620
Drink Offering

Wow, our Family Retreats are in full swing this week and next!

And soon Ken and I will be packing up and heading out to a couple of our retreats – can’t think of anything more fun than to connect with families like ours… so we can help each other get a fresh perspective on our disabilities. And, boy, it’s needed, because sometimes a disability can spell disaster! 

Take what happened when Tom and Patty brought their 10-year-old son, Quinn, who is severely affected by autism. I mean, Tom and Patty are great parents; they maintain good discipline; but you try wrapping your hands around a 10-year-old whose autism has him groping and grabbing here, there and everywhere… constant motion… constant energy… non-stop. It can tire out the best of parents. It’s why Tom and Patty arrived late at our Family Retreat. They came exhausted; because of the long drive in the car, Quinn, who was sitting in the back seat, he had a meltdown the last couple of miles. He went ballistic and kept trying to kick out the back window of the car. They arrived worn out. That night, the Family Retreat got started with an evening of worship – Tom and Patty were so looking forward to some relaxing time, singing and connecting with other families. We had assigned a volunteer to Quinn that night, but the volunteer was still new to the high energy level of this kid. Somehow, during worship, just when the volunteer had turned his back for an instant, Quinn jumped up, bounced out of his chair on the front row, found a water bottle by the song leader’s music stand right within reach, and proceeded to pour out the water onto the song leader’s notes. In an instant, our volunteers were on that kid…

But Tom and Patty sitting near the back, they were horrified. They both thought, That’s it! They’re going to send us home. This retreat can’t be for families with kids like ours. But they were wrong. The worship leader simply shook the water off his notes, and described it as a “drink offering to the Lord.” Everybody burst out laughing – and Tom and Patty looked around in amazement and breathed a sigh of huge relief. Later that week, Patty in one of the woman-to-woman sessions described how Quinn came about. It seems that she and her husband were both infertile and the very day she went to test for her eligibility for invitro-fertilization, she was told by the doctor that it was a no go because Patty was already pregnant. Oh my goodness, what a shock that was! So when Quinn was born, they knew, they considered him, their only child, to be a gift from God. Little did they know at that point that Quinn, their infant son, would be diagnosed as one out of 110 births nationwide every year who have autism. And a pretty significant degree of autism, as well.

God bless parents like Tom and Patty. Raising a son like Quinn is a big challenge. That’s why the ministry of our Family Retreats is so powerful – nowhere else would a family like Quinn’s receive such acceptance and support. You want to see it for yourself? Then visit my radio page today at joniandfriends.org because I’ve posted some really awesome photos of our Family Retreats and you’ve just got to see the smiles for yourself. Again, that’s joniandfriends.org. Oh, and one more thing: I want you to know that after that little incident with Quinn and the water bottle, we assigned two big strong volunteers. Hey, it happens – we’ve had some teenagers with autism be assigned four or five strong young college-age volunteers! At Joni and Friends, we don’t mind going the extra mile for families like Tom and Patty’s. Because they are right: Quinn and kids like him are a gift from God.

© Joni and Friends

 

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