Loving the Different with Guest Rachel Wojnarowski

NOTE: I know many of you are still waiting on back-ordered books. So sorry. Keep joining us and you can catch up on the reading as you able. I’m trying not to make assumptions when posting that you’ve read the week’s material. And I know many who have the book still haven’t had time! We’re busy. Let’s just keep learning from our awesome guests. We’ll get the reading buttoned up & the study complete when we can, ok?

This week in our study of A Life That Says Welcome, we are covering the chapters that have to do with preparation: cooking, cleaning, decorating, utilizing our space well.

Our preparations, however, need to be done with our particular guests in mind. Is there a gluten intolerance? Might not be best to make homemade bread. A baby who will need a place to nap during your visit but you don’t have a crib? Maybe you’ll need to borrow a portable one from a friend.

Our guest today knows about those with special needs; ones even more pressing that a food allergy. Her name is Rachel Wojnarowski.

Rachel is a new cyber friend of mine and, I have to say, the most clever “tweeter” ever! Her tweets always make my heart smile.

She is originally a small town country girl who converted to a suburban mother of seven by way of life happening.    She and her husband, Matt, enjoy caring for their busy family, whose ages span 11 months to 21 years and includes a special needs daughter.

Rachel leads community ladies’ Bible studies in central Ohio and serves as an event planner and speaker for special needs parenting groups.

She is a member of the Ohio Writers’ Guild and the National MPS Society; and loves to inspire others through her blog by sharing faith, family, and fun.   Wife, mom, reader, writer, speaker and dreamer, you can find Rachel on Twitter and Facebook.

Now, from Rachel:

10 Ways to Love on Families with Special Needs Children

Sometimes showing the love of Jesus to people who are different than we are takes creative forethought.  Families who have special needs children often find themselves on the outskirt of community and this can be discouraging for them.

Being accepted and included even though you are different is a vital principle of thriving communities.   Here are 10 easy ideas to assist you in showing hospitality to families who have special needs children.

1. Simply ask to spend time with their family.   With the invitation, extend understanding that you would like to meet them in whatever location works best for their needs.  This could be a park, restaurant, or maybe the mall.

2. Allow for extra time to accomplish logistics.   For example, moving a wheelchair from one place to another requires a few more minutes than without.

3.  Offer to bring the meal to their home and eat together there.  Perhaps they would love the company, but find it difficult to manage the entire burden of hosting.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about what works well.  Is it easier to take a wheelchair through a different entry other than the front door?  Maybe just having another adult to lift the child from the vehicle to inside the home would be so very helpful.

5.  A “Thinking of you” card is always simple and appropriate!

6. Introductions can be tough over an entire meal.  Shoot for having a dessert night together after each family has accomplished dinner on their own for the first time spent in one another’s company.

7. If hosting the family in your home, prepare in advance to understand the specific needs of the family and their child.

8. Think about ways to communicate and include the special needs child in your entertainment.

9. Display an interest in getting to know the family with special needs children the same as you would those without.  Use social media, call, email, or whatever method you typically would choose to show concern for someone you love.

10. Pray with them. I know, I know. That’s a given, right? No, I don’t mean tell them you will pray for them and then forget. I don’t mean tell them you will pray for them and then go home, write it in your journal and follow through. Though that would be awesome! I mean, pray with them, right there on the spot. Ask them if you can pray with them and do it through the prompting and power of the Holy Spirit.

Families with special needs children come in all shapes and sizes.    It might be a surprise to you how much you will be blessed by the Lord for showing care in this manner; He delights in those who care for the weak!

“And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ ” Matthew 25:40

And now for the fun giveaway!

My awesome friends at The Olive Tee have fab tees that express this post in six words:

 What a great reminder of the lessons learned through doing this study!

Now, two winners will receive a soft tee that looks like this:

And my readers have been given 20% off any order at Olive Tee by using the coupon code: weartheword20  

Head over and check out their great stuff and save!

But before you do, leave a comment to be entered in today’s giveaway. Tell us, have you ever reached out to someone with special needs? If not, have you wanted to but been afraid or unsure?

Or tell us a simple idea to reach someone who is different, lonely or often left out.

REMEMBER:  For this coming Friday’s idea swap and share, be thinking of your best decorating idea, tip, object, theme, centerpiece or DIY project. Bloggers, get a post ready. Others, you can leave yours in the comment section with a description or a link to what it is you like so we all can see. :-)

Finally, we are also interacting over at Karen Ehman’s Book Studies on Facebook. Click here to “like” the page & join us.

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  • I blog frequently and I seriously thank you for your information.

    Your article has truly peaked my interest. I’m going to book mark your website and keep checking for new details about once per week.
    I subscribed to your Feed as well.

  • There is a girl at church who I’ve prayed for off and on, but have never officially met her or anyone in her family. The next time I see her, I want to tell her that I have been praying for her. I don’t think she can speak, but after reading a comment above, I think it would brighten her day to know a stranger is bringing her before the Lord.

  • My good friend has a 3-year-old son who is behind developmentally. He has not been diagnosed with anything, just a little behind other kids his age. I have a son who is 7 months older than hers, and we have known each other since we were both pregnant with our boys. We are both SAHMs and we attend the same Bible Study each week, same library story hour each week, and eat lunch together every Friday. We’ve watched our boys grow up and go through a lot of the same stages, but have also noticed major differences in development. I know my friend was embarrassed for a while, but the way I reached out was to just act normal. I still brag about my son (like any mother does) without directly comparing our boys. I treat our boys the same. And most of all, I just listen. I don’t pretend to be an expert and offer her unwanted advice. I listen and encourage and again, just act normal. So she can act normal and feel comfortable.

  • My 12 year old son has been friends with two boys from school since kindergarten. One has Autism and the other, Juvenile Diabetes.. Each child has special needs when they come over to play. By tending to those needs, I know that we are showing the light of Jesus.

  • I am a school nurse and know the various and many issues that can affect someone, but I have to admit that as I sit here and think about it – I honestly don’t know that I’ve ever invited someone over that has special needs?? Something that I’ll try and do!!! The web and sites such as these are a tremendous resource – so thank you and God bless!!

  • As the mother of a child diagnosed with an autism-type disorder I often found it difficult to go out as the judgement and fierce stares of others hurt so deeply. Once I realized that this was true for other moms of special needs children I began to phone them and offer to pray with them. The phone calls helped to decrease the isolation we moms often experience and together we have been able to encourage one another in Christ.

  • I actually just met a woman about a week or so ago that has a special needs daughter. I took my daughters to play at McDonalds and a woman walked in with two girls. She sat next to me and we started talking. Apparently, her special needs daughter has appointments with different doctors five days a week and the McDonalds is close to the doctors so she takes her afterwards as a reward. They live 2 hours from the McDonalds. She was looking to move closer so that she would not have to spend so much on gas money. I told her about some great places to live and about places around for special needs children. I gave her my number and told her that if she needed anything to call me and that I would babysit her other kids for free while she took her daughter to her dr appts. It’s so sad to see a single mother of 4 struggle and no one help her. I feel that not reaching out is the easiest thing but its also the most damaging to us. If we do not put ourselves out there for those in need, then we miss important messages from God.
    The message on that shirt is VERY true.

  • Meeting for just dessert is a wonderful idea when you have a child who has a struck schedule dealing with medicines and food.

  • I liked the idea of trying dessert instead of a meal. Our daughter had a strict medicine with food schedule for a few years. Meeting for just dessert would have helped a lot.