University Blog

Unbuttoned and Indispensable

Posted by Heather Sheese-Rubio on

Church Family,

Many of us go through life trying to look like we have it all together, including myself. As a mother of a child with complex needs, I often face situations where it’s obvious I don’t have it altogether or look unbuttoned while constantly parenting in the deep end of the pool. For example, I look unbuttoned when I chase my child in a broken flip-flop after he stole someone’s water bottle on the playground, during COVID. Or calling the manager of a restaurant to come cut my “too big” child out of a high chair and then having to explain why you put him in there in the first placeAfterwards these are humorous to recount, but during I am embarrassed and even feel some shame.

Recently I saw a situation with a prominent San Antonio family, that is also impacted by disabilitythat made me chuckleThis family while in a public situation, trying to look all together for the cameras and public eye, the child with a disability unexpectedly shoved her parent. This brought a smile to my face and my heart leaped with a strange joy. It was the feeling of knowing others are also trying to look together but then a child with behavior challenges humbles your ego. Parenting a child with a disability is a fast course in accepting that your child might not always make you look great.

But there is another aspect to this trying to look all together when you parent a child with a disability. It’s not only that I want to preserve some sense of control, but I also don’t want people to look upon my child merely as a problem and with deficitsbut as someone who has giftings, strengths, and purpose he blesses my family and faith community withThere is a tension of being transparent with the challenges but wanting others to know my son’s presence is beneficial and indispensable to our family, church, and community

One of the things I appreciate about the Special Needs Ministries, as a support ministry to Kids and Studentsis there is space to be unbuttoned in my parenting and at the same time a place where my child is greeted by name and with a smile. He belongs and is welcomed. The Special Need Ministry seeks to be a bridge to include all individuals with disabilities, elevate their strengths, giftings and find creative ways to integrate them with their peers. For example, in the Kids ministry, hand ribbons are offered during worship for a child that can’t singseating choices and movements breaks are given, along with activities that meet unique needs.

If you are parenting at the deep end of the pool, know you’re not alone not having it all togetherwhile at the same time your child is loved, belongs, and is indispensable to this church.

“…on the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable.” 1 Cor. 12:22

Yours on the Journey,
Heather Rubio


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