Get Me Out of the House

  • Oct. 11, 2017
  • #9248

Retreats give families with special-needs kids a great way to get out of the house.

Family Retreat

Hi, I’m Joni and I sure do love getting people out of the house.

I better explain what I mean by that. You see this past summer, I was at our Joni and Friends Family Retreat in Alabama, and I always love talking with the special-needs mothers and fathers. One night, right before dinner, a young single mom named Christie was sharing what Family Retreat meant to her. She’s got two boys: the 15-year-old, Beau, has ADHD, and Drake, her 9-year-old, has autism. Drake often has meltdowns. I mean really bad meltdowns. Loud noises can set him off and so Christie does not take her boys out to restaurants or to movies, the park or even on family vacations. Basically, they go to school and come home. Christie shared that being out in public with Drake is just too hard. It’s so embarrassing. For years, she actually felt confined to the house. And so did her sons.

Well, two years ago, a friend encouraged Christie to bring her boys to Family Retreat. And yes, they came, but she was sure that she and her boys would be sent back home, especially after Drake went ballistic in the dining room at the very first meal time of Family Retreat. He let out a blood-curdling scream when he heard dishes clattering, but Christie was so amazed that nobody turned around to give her weird looks. Instead, the two volunteers, two young college guys who were assigned to her sons, they just chipped right in and started walking Drake to calm him down. It wasn’t long before those three became great friends. It was life-changing for the whole family. And Drake, get this, even started praying, “Jesus, help me not to be angry.” Wow! And last summer at Family Retreat, Drake was a different child. He was even helping to console other kids with autism who struggled with outbursts. He understood them and he wanted them to know they weren’t alone. Drake wanted to do everything he could to get other kids out of their meltdowns. And Christie, she was amazed.

And so, standing in line before dinner, this young single mother said to me, “Joni, I want to thank you. I’m so glad that Family Retreat got me out of the house. I really see God’s care and compassion at Retreat and the other special-needs mothers here have become my family.” Oh my goodness, Christie’s words reminded me so much of the way the Body of Christ should work when there’s weakness and fear, embarrassment and disability. Even Drake is able to be strong for other kids with autism who get blindsided by meltdowns.

So friend, if you know a mother like Christie and her boys, tell them to come to Family Retreat next summer. Then get all the details and watch thrilling Family Retreat videos at And while they are visiting, they can click on my radio page and ask for our booklet “The Way out of Depression,” it highlights powerful Scripture verses that really do point the way to hope and emotional healing. And if you’re like Christie, it might even get you out of the house. Again, you can learn more about our Joni and Friends Family Retreats and pick up the booklet on depression just by visiting

Finally, I share Christie’s story today because I want you to know there is hope. You do not have to feel confined; be encouraged, for you there is a way out. Jesus says, “I am the way.” He is the Lord of hope. And if He can touch the life of someone like little Drake, He can make a difference in your life, as well.

When you have a chance today, drop by

© Joni and Friends


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