How to Love a Family in Need
Editor’s note: Melissa called me to ask a question about summary of the teachings of the Heidelberg Catechism presented in simple terms for teaching people with intellectual disabilities. I sent her a link to a fine little publication from Faith Alive called Q&A. That resulted in a delightful exchange of email messages in which she began telling me about the amazing way in which First Christian Reformed Church in Highland, Indiana, has helped her and her husband Nathan with the pregnancy and birth of their first, second, and third children – triplets! At my request, Melissa graciously carved out a few minutes to write up how the church surrounded her family with love. - Mark Stephenson
by Melissa Brouwer
Both before and after our boys were born, Nathan and I felt an overwhelming sense of love from our congregation. I was on bed rest and spent some time in the hospital before the boys were born. People brought us meals, visited with me, brought me books and little gifts and just stood by for whatever we might need.
People prayed for us from the moment they found out we were expecting triplets. We were so blessed by that. I blogged as often as possible to keep people updated and to give them specifics about what we needed prayer for (which was often prayers for patience in the long weeks of waiting).
After our boys were born we were so blessed by the help of our church. Our boys did not come home with us. We visited them daily at the hospital which was 40 minutes away. We were given meals to take with us, groceries for when we were at home, snacks to keep at the hospital, parking stickers for the parking garage. We even found a gift card for $100 for gas in our mailbox. I cried. It was so expensive to drive back and forth. This was a great surprise! I was given rides to the hospital so that we would only have to park one car in the garage when my husband came after work. Some people rearranged their schedule so they could stay and hold or feed a baby, and keep me company on the long days. Our lawn was mowed, our house was cleaned and so many other seemingly insignificant things were taken care of.
None of it was small to us.
After one of our children suffered a scary medical incident and was rushed back to the hospital someone washed the bottles that were sitting in my kitchen, our dog was taken care of and every other detail was tended to without a single thought. People looked for ways to help. Our privacy was always respected. People understood that we needed a lot of help, but that we also still needed our time and space. Our church family was there to love us through every joy and every difficulty. I always knew that people were just waiting for a phone call. People dropped what they were doing to come over and feed a baby or let me take a long hot shower. I never felt like I had to do it alone. The power of a church family and the power of prayer brought us to where we are today. We have happy, healthy 8-month-old triplet boys. They are so loved and so blessed to be a part of the family of God and the family of First Christian Reformed Church in Highland, Indiana.