Three practical ways to help families with disabled children

As believers, we should be the first to come alongside parents of disabled children. Yet, the truth is that it is easy to shy away out of fear, lack of understanding, or even apathy. Certa author Shelly Roberts has years of experience fostering and loving kids of different abilities and she has put together a very practical list of ways that we can support parents like her and show them the love of Christ.

Here is an excerpt from her blog post, What your friends {with children affected by disability} need:

Sometimes we struggle to reach out, not because we don’t want to, but rather because we’re just not sure what would be helpful. After having been on the disability journey for several years, I’ve found there are three main things that can make a world of difference to families.

SHOW UP. It’s ok if you don’t know what to say. Chances are you can’t really change your friend’s circumstances. Just being reminded that they aren’t facing them alone will mean so much. Showing up might be an actual in-person visit during a long hospital stay. A bonus is walking in with their favorite treat they can’t buy at the building they currently reside in. It might also be a text with something funny or a scripture to cling to. The reality is that a life affected by disability can feel really lonely. You can be that reminder they aren’t alone.

SEND HELP. No doubt your friend faces exhaustion daily. While there are many things you probably can’t do for them, there are so very many that you can. Receiving a gift card in the mail for pizza will mean they can focus on their family that evening instead of juggling one more thing. Taking care of a tank or two of gas for them can be a huge load-lifter when they put on so many miles for appointments. Offering to be taxi for another family member can be one of the best practical helps there is, especially if they can’t leave the house with a fragile child. Hint: if you ask them what they need, they will likely struggle to tell you. Offering specific things is so helpful. One of my favorites is when a friend will offer to get what I need at the store.

STAY CONNECTED. It might have to look a little different in various seasons. As their children age it might take some creativity, especially if it’s difficult for them to come visit you in your home that has stairs to enter. You might notice their church attendance is slim during flu season. Don’t forget them. Send a text and ask how their week is going. See about stopping in for a quick visit over coffee {and take some chocolate!}. Ask them how you can pray for them. I guarantee you, they will be deeply encouraged by your efforts.

Get creative. Don’t wait for the perfect opportunity to present itself. Keep it simple. Your friend doesn’t need your extravagance. They need your sincerity. Jesus modeled to us so beautifully how to be a friend and meet the needs of others.

John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this; to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”


Over the years, as Shelly has walked with countless adoptive families, she has heard their hearts. 

In this book, Shelly sheds light on the abounding HOPE available to these moms, their families and the children to whom they said YES.  Nugget by nugget, you will be drawn to the source of all HOPE.  You will come away deeply encouraged and better equipped to care for the needs of your family.  You will be reminded that you do not walk this journey alone.

142 pages | $14.99

Shelly is a dedicated wife and mother of five blessings from around the globe. She is known for being an encourager, prayer warrior and advocate for the fatherless. While serving with the ABBA Fund, Shelly strives not only to see children be placed in families, but for those families to thrive. She blogs at reachingheartswithhope.com and is also a women’s speaker and enjoys traveling all over the US, bringing inspiring insight to impact and encourage all who hear. 

Successful servanthood

We love that our authors are always doing what they do best… writing! Here is a fantastic example by Bruce Lengeman, author and marriage counselor. His recent blog post 10 Principles of Successful Servanthood offers some wonderful counsel for those under authority. We think this would be an excellent list to share with a teenager who is learning to work diligently. But the truth is that we can all improve in this area!

The following points are to help you become responsible, efficient, diligent, and trustworthy, thus helping you to be successful in every arena of life. Learn this and you will bless your children with the same.

1. DO NOT DELAY your work assignment. When given an assignment, the servant is responsible for following through on that assignment either at the time designated, or the first available opportunity.

When you delay, you may find yourself being distracted later and then say, “I couldn’t perform the command, for it rained.” I will answer you, “You were not diligent when the job could have been done, before the rain.” Remember, “Slow obedience is no obedience.” A task is to be completed ON TIME. If you are told to be home in an hour, do not come home in an hour and one minute. If you are told to do this by Thursday, don’t do it on Friday. Every morning does not mean every afternoon.


2. NEVER SAY, I forgot, rather say, your command was not important enough to remember.

In life, forgetting duties is always irresponsible. Should you have a problem remembering, write yourself a note.


3. PERFORM the assignment as instructed. Listen closely to each instruction and detail as it is given. Ask questions if in doubt, for the job is not to be done according to your way, but according to the way of the one who assigned the job.

Do each assignment according to the heart of your authority, and not according to the technicality of the words. Again, if in doubt, ask questions.


4. DO YOUR BEST to overcome all obstacles that hinder completion of the job you are assigned.

If a tool breaks, fix it if you can. If another need beckons, return as soon as possible to finish the job. If the paint runs out, find, borrow, or buy more. Try diligently to resolve problems—not weak, half-hearted attempts. You will learn the most when you apply wisdom and determination to overcome a difficulty.


5. A CHORE is not completed until every last detail of the job is done.

If cleaning dishes, clean out the sink before you quit. If fixing something, put away all the tools where and how they belong. Never do a chore 99%, but 100%.


6. CERTAIN RESPONSIBILITIES are permanent and need not to be re-assigned.

When I say, keep your room clean, I will also say, this is for all times, forever, never to change. Or I will say, Do not EVER let your possessions lay around the house after you are finished using them, for it is never your mother’s or father’s duty to pick up after you. Do not think that because a regular responsibility is not checked upon or inspected that you have been freed from that responsibility, such as, Keep your dresser drawers neat–at all times.


7. A TASK IS NOT acceptably completed unless it is performed well.

Synonyms for well are neat, clean, good, best, thorough, exact, wholehearted, excellent, proper. Silly excuses for poor work will be disregarded.


8. DON’T QUIT a task before you complete it because of an “acceptable obstacle” without telling your authority for permission.

Perhaps your authority may be able to help you find more time to assist you in finishing the task.


9. BE BRISK with your work; do not be sluggish.

The diligent man does in one hour what a sloth does in four. Overview your work at the beginning and organize it to be executed in the most efficient way possible. Do not take unnecessary breaks or be distracted foolishly.


10. BE A WORTHY servant. A worthy servant is twofold, doing more than what was instructed, and going the extra mile to do what you were not asked to do.

Do not expect extra privileges for obedience but earn privileges by being a worthy servant. Develop a lifestyle of going the extra mile to serve, help, and labor.


Bruce Lengeman has been in Christian ministry since 1976. He and his wife Ruthie have been actively teaching a variety of life-building seminars and classes, including marriage conferences, inner healing conferences, leadership courses, and more.Bruce’s recent emphasis is challenging men to be all they can be and to walk in sexual wholeness. He was a professional counselor for several years and pastored in a variety of ways in several churches. 

Bruce has authored several books, including Come Alive to her Her Heart. This book is practical, filled with the author’s personal testimonials of how he learned, through failure and experience, to nurture a happy, healthy partner for life. Written for husbands but wives will benefit, too!

4 Words That Can Transform Your Parenting

Certa blog -Ellen Martin

There are plenty of lofty parenting theories, well-meaning books, and platitudes from empty-nesters. But sometimes what parents need are practical tools for the nitty-gritty of raising kids. Ideas for the tantrums, fights, and messes. And who better to give us advice than Certa author Ellen Martin, mother of 5?

Her book, A Life Shared, discusses four words that have transformed her parenting and today she is expounding on that idea for our benefit. Enjoy!

Years ago, I heard a mom say, “Time to empty out.” Her son went to the bathroom without event.

Those four-words ended the battle of “Go to the bathroom.” “But I don’t have to.”

I explained the phrase one time, “Your bladder can hold A LOT of pee, it’s time to empty out.” Soon the older kids were teaching the younger ones.

“Different families, different rules,” are four words that have changed our family life. With five kids, I say “no” a lot. Our kindergartener will still fall-out on the floor in full-body tantrum some days. And have you ever seen a middle-school tantrum? It’s not pretty.

“No” can make me the bad-guy. I can handle that, when necessary, but it’s not always necessary. The answer “no” can often be replaced with a simple explanation: “Different families, different rules.”

Parents and kids know families live differently. The movies we watch, the places we go, the way we parent, the things we buy. “Different families, different rules” ends the whole discussion of “Why do they get to, but we don’t?”

Some families drink soda daily. We drink it with pizza, when we go out-to-eat once a month, and at parties. We have friends who don’t drink soda at all.

Why? That’s their family practice.

“Different families, different rules.”

No one is the bad guy. Not you. Not the other family. The practice is just the practice.

“Different families, different rules,” does two powerful things.

One, kids and parents often unknowingly elevate their family’s practices over another family. “Different families, different rules” encourages us to honor our own family’s practices and other families at the same time.

Two, it makes us, the parents and the kids, a team. Rather than pitting us against our kids, “different families, different rules” encourages our kids to embrace our family practices for themselves.

Just yesterday, the boys wanted a kid to play with them. He wasn’t allowed to leave the bleachers,

“Different families, different rules. Go play,” I said.

“What did you say?” an older child asked.

I repeated myself.

She smiled a big smile, “I’ve never heard that.”

“You like it?” I asked.

“Yeah,” she said and looked at her mom.

It made so much sense to her without any explanation. That’s what makes those four-words powerful. Kids understand them and will embrace them.

“Different families, different rules.” Try it. I’d love to hear how it works for you.

So simple, yet so brilliant, right? We encourage you go pick up a copy of Ellen’s book, A Life Shared, which is an excellent resource for parents in search of practical wisdom.

Ellen Martin, mother of five, lives in Wilmore, Kentucky with her husband Andrew. With a Masters of Arts in Christian Education and Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary, her days are filled with her workshop “THE TALK: Embrace the Sacred Gift,” writing, and life with family and friends. She writes at her blog, A Life Shared with Kids.

Parents want to share life with their kids, but it is not easy with hectic schedules and life’s demands.  A Life Shared offers vision and insight on how to have meaningful conversations through the busyness of life, questions for transformation, suggestions for action, and grace for every parent.