Past into Purpose Series, Post #6: This series is intended to introduce you to the women on the Your Life Still Counts Contributor Team whose inspiring stories of pain into purpose were selected for inclusion in the book. To read the full story of each contributor, click here to purchase your copy of Your Life Still Counts and be inspired to allow God to turn your past into your purpose too.
Becky and her husband Jeff live in Cookeville, Tennessee, and started a ministry for parents of special-needs children called Rising Above Ministries, as a result of having a special needs child themselves and seeing God work through their parenting challenges. They now offer hope and encouragement to parents of special-needs children through Bible studies, conferences, worship services, and ministerial support activities that are specifically geared toward their unique spiritual needs. More information about their ministry can be found at www.risingaboveministries.org.
My Interview With Becky
Thank you so much for sharing your power story of how God used the experience of having an autistic child to equip you for a ministry you would have never imagined. And your story is so inspiring, to read Has God ever taken something difficult in your life and used it for something good. What are your thoughts about that?
Becky: I never dreamed I would be the mom of a child with profound special needs. It was not a part of MY plans but God had different and better plans for us. God has taken our experiences and used them to reveal his presence, character, and the essence of the gospel in our lives. Through those experiences we felt called to share that hope with other special-needs families and started Rising Above Ministries in 2005.
I so admire your strength, your faith to see God at work in the midst of hardship, and your willingness to follow God’s call about starting your amazing ministry. Just wondering, do you have one example of how God has used your personal story recently to impact someone’s heart or life, and how He equipped you in a special way as a result of your experiences?
Becky: There are many, but just a few weeks ago I was able to share my story with other special-needs moms at our Brookside Conference in Atlanta to give them encouragement, hope, and teach them about the amazing blessing of raising a child with special needs. Only another parent of a child with special- needs can truly grasp what it is like to raise a child with special needs and the stresses that are involved. God has broken my own heart for the broken-hearted and I truly understand, through being a mom of a child with special-needs, that grace, unconditional love, and the complete dependence on God is what sustains me. I want to share that with others.
Becky, your sharing might be exactly the hope and encouragement that another mom of a special needs child needs to hear. Your story might just be what helps a hope-less, broken hearted mom get through one more difficult day. So what you are most passionate about right now and why?
Becky: Right now I am most passionate about bringing God’s hope to families of children with special needs to strengthen their marriages, relationships, and family units. So often we see the fathers of children with special needs leave the family within 2-3 years of a diagnosis. We are now seeing moms leave as well and children now being raised by grandparents. It is our heart for parents to see that their child is a blessing and not a burden and to stay committed to their family. We also want to help churches learn how to better serve special-needs families. 90% of special-needs families are un-churched making them one of the largest unreached people groups. We want to change that and help every family have a place to belong.
That is a shocking statistic – 90% of special needs families are unchurched? I never knew that. That makes what God has called you and your husband to do even more incredible, and there must be thousands of special needs parents out there desperate for hope, and Jesus, even if they don’t realize it. So do you have anything special you are working on right now?
Becky: Yes! My husband just released a book about our journey to bring hope, inspiration, and the love of Christ to other special-need families, and to anyone struggling through painful circumstances and searching to find God. It’s called, No More Peanut Butter Sandwiches ; a father, a son with special needs and their journey with God. We hope it reaches families like ours and helps them on this journey of parenting special needs children. We also plan to write a book together for special needs parents about marriage to help combat the incredibly high divorce rate in the special needs community.
If you had to name one thing that you are most thankful to God for, what would it be?
Becky: When I was younger, and pregnant, I had prayed and prayed for God to give me a perfectly healthy, typical boy. I thought that would be God’s best for my family. Over the years I have learned so much, and now I am so thankful that God instead told me, “I have something better for you” and He gave us our amazing son.
I never imagined God would call me into ministry and to speak to women’s groups about the very thing that I had prayed not to be a part of my life. I went to school to become a teacher and taught school for several years before the birth of our son. Starting Rising Above Ministries with my husband was God calling us out of our comfort zone to do what He called us to do.
You are such a shining example of living in the faith zone, instead of our comfort zone, and of allowing God to take what you thought was a terrible circumstance and turn it into a divine calling. Thank you so much for having the courage and faith to step out in faith so that other special needs parents can have hope and be positive about what they’re going through, and about the future. How might people pray for you at this time in your life with regards to Rising Above Ministries, and life in general?
Becky: Please pray for God to open doors for us to reach the special-need families who are struggling, searching for understanding and hope, and trying to find God in their circumstances. We want to continue to allow our story to be a part of God’s bigger story. Our goal is for more and more families to realize that God has a plan and a purpose for them and their special child.
I am so in awe of how God has walked Jeff and Becky through great adversity in raising their precious special needs son Jon Alex, and given them courageous faith and a passion to help other parents of special needs children know there is hope. If you are the mom or dad of a special needs child, and struggle with feeling discouraged, exhausted, frustrated, and maybe even hopeless, I want to encourage you to check out Rising Above Ministries.
Up for grabs are two free copies of Jeff Davidson’s new book, No More Peanut Butter Sandwiches!! Below is the description and a phenomenal review by a precious name I know you’ll recognize. 🙂 To enter to win, leave a comment on my blog about how this book might encourage you or someone you care about in the journey of parenting a special needs child. (emailed comments and replies will not be entered into the drawing)
What if the challenges, struggles, and trials in your life turned out to be God’s stage for the biggest blessing of your life? What if the circumstances that bewildered and frustrated you the most brought you the closest you had ever been to God? When Jeff Davidson became the father of a child with special needs, he thought God had wrecked his life. He would discover though that God had given him an amazing gift. God had, in fact, given him a masterpiece. As the author states, “God sent a broken child into a broken world, to a broken father, so that together they would find God in their brokenness. The world sees a little boy who cannot walk or talk, and requires 24/7 care with his every need. I see God painting his story of unconditional love, grace, and beauty on a human canvas.”
“Jeff gives us a rare and honest look into the heart of a father trying to come to grips with his son’s special-needs…and I’m grateful for the many other dads who will be helped by his satisfying insights.” – Joni Eareckson Tada, Founder/CEO, Joni and Friends International Disability Center
For more information about Rising Above Ministries, please CLICK HERE. They have so much to offer and I know you will be blessed and encouraged!