Jul 06

Extending your love and prayers to our parents

Prayer ShawlsAt our most recent Parent Training event, called “L.I.F.E. Day” (Learning through Integrated Family Engagement), I took the opportunity to extend your love and prayers to the parents that had gathered. The whole day was amazing, seeing parents and children connecting with one another, forming bonds not only within families, but among the families gathered. These relationships are vital, as parenting even in the best of circumstances is trying business. But, when parenting a child with special emotional needs, you need as big a network of support as you can get.

So, when I mentioned early on in the training that there were some prayer shawl packets I had prepared from those donated by our supporting churches, I thought maybe one or two would be picked up. Imagine my surprise when all seven packets I had set out were claimed by lunch! I had to set out the remaining three for the afternoon session, just to make sure no one who wanted one was left out. I was also able to add a wonderful devotional book written by my friend and colleague in ministry, Barb Boswell. Here is an excerpt from the laminated card I put in each packet with the book and the prayer shawl:

You’ve entrusted your child to us—to care for, to treat therapeutically, and to love unconditionally. We take this responsibility very seriously and by the end of your time working with Intermountain, we know there will be more than a few tears, triumphs, ups and downs. Part of what enables us to do the work we have been called to do, for you and your family, is our belief in something bigger than ourselves. The faith-based supporters believe, as we do, that relationships are at the heart of what it means to be human. God cares about our relationships, and when they are in need of help and healing, we believe prayer makes a difference.

This prayer shawl is a tangible expression of the prayers said for you, for your child, and for your family. Those who have knit them together prayed as they started the work, prayed for the work of healing and restoration of your child as they knit, and then prayed once again as they completed the shawl and sent it to me to pass on to you.

May this shawl warm you when you are weary.

May it surround you with comfort to ease your pain and grief.

May it encircle you with caring when you are hurting… questioning… wondering.

Wear this prayer shawl when you feel the need to connect with God and be renewed in your faith that something better awaits those who seek God.

Thank you for extending your thoughts, prayers, and well-wishes to our families. And, though we have plenty of prayer shawls in stock right now, you can be sure I’ll let you know when our supply runs low!

In prayer and with thankfulness,

Chaplain Chris Haughee