The charming and beautiful Susan and I did something for the first time this weekend that we haven't done in years. We sat in church together. Since we've had Allie, her severe disabilities and care that accompanies have kept us from attending worship services together. Our service at church has not been non-existent. It occurs individually. We've had to be creative and very understanding of each other. Until very recently going to church has been pretty close to impossible.
It's been about three weeks since we learned that Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale has a ministry that serves kids with disabilities. We met with Pastor Joel Shonnenberg and were given an orientation of the ministry. We've become high maintenance parents now that we have a handicapped child, but Joel with expert pastoral finesse put us at ease.
The real test came three weeks later when we actually brought Allie to church. Between illnesses and prior commitments (and various other reasons for putting off starting a challenging beneficial, new habit), yesterday we finally took the plunge and drove down to Fort Lauderdale to attend worship service.
Pastor Joel, his wife Maria, team of volunteers stayed one step ahead of us as they prepped the classroom and took Allie off our hands. They prepared Allie's environment for maximum ministry and comfort. They reported that Allie cried for a few minutes put they were able to calm her which is a huge accomplishment since once Allie gets wound up, it's incredibly difficult to bring her back down. But obviously Allie trusted them and sensed their love for her.
We went upstairs to collect Allie as the service concluded. She was happy and we were super relieved. This definitely the beginning of a new chapter in our lives.