Room at the Table: Encouraging Stories from Special Needs Families released November 1, 2022. This anthology was conceived in my heart unexpectedly one night as I watched an online PJNET.TV interview hosted by Mark Prasek.
While watching author Stephanie Pavlantos share her heartrending story of rearing a child with a disability, I nodded in agreement and swiped tears of my own. As the mother of a daughter with Down syndrome, I connected with Stephanie on so many levels. Afterward, I commented on the PJNET program thread and thanked her for her authenticity and transparency. Within moments, Mark chimed in with, “Maybe one day there will be a book written about this—one that could help others relate and respond to special needs families.”
As Stephanie and I sought God’s will concerning the development of this book, God brought to mind the 2 Samuel 9 account of David and Mephibosheth. King David eagerly searched for someone within the house of Saul to whom he could show God’s kindness. Ziba, a servant of Saul’s household, replied to his plea. “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is lame in both feet.” Later, when Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son, came and bowed before him, King David said, “I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.”
There was room at the king’s table for a man who was far less than perfect. King David’s impartial, loving act of kindness not only reveals the essence of the “man after God’s own heart” but reflects the spirit of a loving Heavenly King, who invites us all, regardless of our “special needs,” to sit with Him at his table.
Once we issued a public call for inspirational stories for Room at the Table: Stories of Encouragement from Special Needs Families, we were delighted by the number that flooded in. Within these pages, you’ll read many of them. These real-life accounts written by family members, guardians, and caregivers who sit at tables daily with their special needs loved ones will warm your hearts. You’ll also read accounts from individuals living with disabilities themselves.
Please don’t breeze past this book’s inspiring Forward written by Stephanie’s son, Matthew, who hasn’t allowed Cerebral palsy to define him, determine his abilities, or dictate his future. Enjoy the renowned poem “Welcome to Holland” written by Emily Perl Kingsley, a writer for Sesame Street for forty-five years and the mother of a son with Down syndrome. Lastly, don’t miss “If Special Needs People Ruled the World,” a light-hearted look at life through the eyes of the special needs individuals within the stories.
Stephanie and I are grateful to every person who welcomed the opportunity to share the depth of their heartache, the height of their joy, and their expressions of gratitude for the God-given gift of caring for and learning from their special needs loved ones.
We pray Room at the Table: Encouraging Stories from Special Needs Families will enlighten, encourage, and equip you to minister to those within your churches and communities. As you close the pages of our book, may you open your hearts and move forward with a greater desire to show the kindness of God to “one of the least of these.” Your compassion will not go unnoticed.
“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me” (Matthew 25:45 NIV).
PLEASE, MEET ME AT THE TABLE
Do you have a special needs child or know someone with special needs? Give the gift of encouragement. Please check out Room at the Table: Encouraging Stories from Special Needs Families on Amazon. Click To Tweet