I love telling the story of David’s Refuge. It is a story of hope, a story of redemption, a story that reminds all of us that we are not alone and are loved by God. It’s the story of a mom and dad who experienced the greatest fear of any parent, the loss of a child, but decided to not let it destroy them. It’s a story that acknowledges both the beauty and the brokenness of the world we live in. It’s a story that breathes life into moms and dads who simply need to unplug and be restored. And while I admit I am biased, it is a story that is inspiring, motivating, and worthy of being shared.
Over the next several weeks I am going to share bits and pieces of our story of starting David’s Refuge. Yesterday I was talking with a new friend from Milwaukee who wants to donate her services and time to David’s Refuge. As I retold the story, I kept hearing this little voice in my own head that said, “This really is an amazing story!” I don’t say that to boast or to make you think how wonderful Brenda and I are, but to acknowledge how God has taken our story, our dream, and allowed it to grow into something that is absolutely amazing and beautiful. Our staff, our board of directors, our volunteers, and our financial partners have all made our dream a reality. It is a story that reminds me everyday that David’s life counted.
Over the next few weeks I want to conclude each blog with some comments that parents have shared with us after being served and loved on by David’s Refuge. Every time I read them it is a reminder that David’s story, our story, and now your story isn’t over! One family wrote,
David’s Refuge truly holds families together. The mission is “caring for the caregiver” but really you care for the whole family as a unit. Through all the events you build unity and provide respite. It is quite amazing the amount of supports and outlets you provide to create better outcomes for entire family unit.
Through David’s Refuge “typical” siblings are provided self esteem, normative experiences, and connection to other families living similar adversities, reminding us all that we are not alone and that who we are and what we do matters.
David’s Refuge has become a code word in our home for “STOP, BREATHE, LOVE.” At least one goal on almost all paperwork (IFSP, Hab Plan, or IEP) for a child with special needs includes goals for healthy living, having daily needs met, and normative experiences with peers. David’s Refuge reminds us that these should actually be goals for family as well as individual goals.