Over the past few months, I’ve heard from a few of my hometown friends and family that our family, more specifically, my 9-year-old son, David, has been a topic of conversation among their church congregations.
Apparently, some conversations haven’t been so nice though. They’ve started with words like, “I don’t know why she posts pictures of David- he looks high all the time!” Of course this is just hearsay, but given that I grew up in the midst of this small town’s gossip, it’s highly likely.
I’ll be the first to tell you that my son looks high, because he IS high. He is on high doses of 5 anticonvulsants, which totals to 17 pills a day plus liquid medication- all to keep him alive. But every time I post a picture of David, he is less high than he was the time before. God is healing David. The fact is that my son is alive, when he shouldn’t be. So yes, I am going to continue posting pictures of him, high or not, because I love him and am thankful that he has made it this far. When you go through what we have, almost losing our child, you are thankful for every moment you have with them.
Am I upset that my family is a topic of conversation among church congregations in my small hometown? No. Absolutely not. The very fact that people are talking about my son means that I am doing my job as his advocate- and at being an advocate for other children with this disease. I want people to talk about FIRES. I want to spread awareness, because this disease is so under-researched. I want to help families going through similar situations and give them hope. And I’d LOVE if I could play a small part in making sure no family has to go through the heartache of this disease ever again.
I have to say though, that I am a little disappointed.
You see, if my family is a topic of conversation at your church, then you should be taking it a step further. As a Christian, your job is to reach out. To ask how you can pray, and to encourage us as we go through this. Not to simply gossip about it. It’s what I would do if you were a topic of conversation at my church. It’s the right thing to do.
But this isn’t just about my family. There are many families out there who struggle, and become a topic of church conversation. Maybe there is someone in your church who is going through a divorce. Perhaps someone who just got out of jail. Maybe someone’s child has a drug addiction. Don’t simply gossip about these families- go be the church! Be who Christ has mandated you to be! Reach out and stand with these families. Ask them how you can better support and pray for them.
There is something so significant about standing with, supporting, and praying for families in the midst of a struggle, and sharing in the joy of their progress. That is how relationships are built in the body of Christ. We are meant to be a community bearing one another’s burdens. Without truly investing in prayer for these people, you cannot experience the true joy of community.
So, I encourage you all to be who Christ has called you to be. Reach out to those going through pain. Pray for them, help them, and love them.
***Just a quick note- During our son’s onset the church we attended lavished us with support and love, and we are forever grateful to them. The small town I’m referring to is where I grew up, and I haven’t lived there in over ten years.