By Laura Hurd
Member, Ridgeview Baptist Church, Church Hill
I have a friend who has been a constant voice in my life, never being deterred by my unique circumstance as I care for a child with autism.
My son and I recently had the honor finally to attend a local women’s Bible study group to which she had invited us. No matter how many times I have had to cancel on her or just flat-out turn her down, she has never given up on us.
Anytime we encounter a new opportunity, I have to carefully determine if it will be a good fit for my 5-year-old son that doesn’t cause him anxiety from being stretched outside his comfort zone too far, too fast.
This was the case with this women’s Bible study group. Of course I wanted to go every time we were invited and, all the more, I wanted my son to have a chance to be a part of the children’s class there that would enrich his life through God’s Word — a class led by women willing to come alongside us and help him succeed in spite of the often unfamiliar territory of the autism spectrum.
That same evening, I was at our home church for the Wednesday night service. Our church offers a Mission Friends class during adult Bible study so both children and parents have the chance for fellowship, ministry and learning. Again, this has not always worked well with my son’s schedule and ability, so we haven’t always been able to show up.
Now that he is older and his schedule has changed, the teachers welcome him as though he has been there for every class. Some of the same boys in his Sunday School class are a part of Mission Friends.
They have never treated him any differently. In fact, the teacher sent me a photo of my son and her little boy embraced in a side-hug with smiles across their cheeks.
These are snapshots of our lives that form a bigger picture of the simple act of inclusion.