When Thomas lived at home I would bring him to church, I would bring all the kids to church. They were young enough to attend what was called “Kidz church” and it was held in the gym. The staff knew Thomas was special needs and would keep the older 3 together and it was really helpful to me. Samantha would go to a program for 3-4 yr olds. This went on for a couple of years until Thomas was too old to attend that program and he would sit with Tommy and Alyssa and I during the traditional service. He would talk; a lot. And he didn’t use a “church voice.” So most Sunday’s at church were interesting with him in attendance. No one ever commented or said anything to us. My church is pretty accommodating of people with special needs.
After Thomas started attending residential school I continued to attend church with the girls. Thomas, being away at school did not attend church anymore. When him and I were together I would ask him if he believed in Jesus and he would always say yes and smile. I would tell him that Jesus loves him and that he died for him and Thomas wouldn’t say anything but he would smile.
During one home visit Thomas told me he sings about God. I froze and said, “What? What do you mean?” Thomas said that the staff at school puts on music about God and he sings to it. I almost fell over; in a good way. I called the school and asked to speak to a staff member during the evening time. I asked them if they play worship music, that Thomas told me they did. The person on the other end of the phone was very nervous and answered, “Yes, we put music on for the kids…”. I quickly said I know it’s Christian music and it’s ok! That we are Christian and I was glad they were playing worship music with Thomas! God found a way to make His presence known even when I couldn’t be there to take Thomas to church. They were having “church” right there; His presence was right there.
When Thomas first moved to his group home here I took him to church with me. It was a scenario I often daydreamed of when he was away at residential. That when he came to live here we would attend church together every Sunday and we would bond and it would be great. Well it didn’t quite work out that way. Thomas talked during the message even louder than when he was younger. He would also complain loudly that he needed a tissue for his nose. One Sunday when I didn’t have a tissue a woman sitting behind us gently tapped my shoulder; holding a tissue. I wanted to hug her. After a few weeks of this I stopped bringing Thomas to church. I was only getting aggravated. He wasn’t disappointed that I stopped bringing him and even said he didn’t want to go when I asked him.
The other night after dinner, Alyssa and Sam and Samantha and I were playing a game. Thomas was walking around and started singing. It was sweet, he wasn’t saying any particular words just singing to his own tune. Then he put both arms up in the air and we all stopped and said, “What are you doing?” Thomas answered, “Jesus, it’s Jesus!” He was worshipping by himself in my house. How great is that? Thomas then said that one of the staff at his house worships with him. I love this. God finds a way, when you think there isn’t a way he uses people who don’t even realize they’re being used to let His love shine through. Thomas is reminded regularly that he is a child of God, that God is to be worshipped and that we sing praise to him. I know who the staff member is who is guiding my son to God. God makes a way.