jade in the parke

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

For such a time as this

"...And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

We live our lives. The mundane and the drama. But sometimes there are events that draw us out of our world and connect us to the world out there.

This is that time.

The Backstory:
This summer my close friend, Lisa, invited me to check out a local Christian school's marching band for Abby. Her lovely daughters are schoolmates & were part of the program last year. So, she spoke to the Band Director and he wanted to have Abby join the band even though she had very limited musical training. I was hesitant: My husband was going through a very difficult recovery from an infection in a surgical site and I could not even think about how to add anything extra to our schedule. She offered to take her and bring her home everyday. What a true servant-hearted friend! She just knew it would be life changing for Abby. After much discussion, we went on one sunny late afternoon to check it out.

Abby was thrilled. I was impressed. One of the staff members, Mrs. Wenger, sat with her and taught her the music and introduced her to the instruments. What she is playing is called the "Battleship" a nickname given to the percussion rack where the high hat, chimes, gong & bass drum are attached. It is a bit intimidating at first glance. By the end of the first rehearsal, she was smitten. 

Section Leader, "Mini-Cogs"
So we came back. And, back yet again as they met everyday for most of August. Mike Ranelli, the percussion director, said he would like to get her on the timpani. Unfortunately, Abby can't flex and point her foot due to her leg braces that keep her feet in an optimal flatfooted position for walking. So, her percussion leader known as "Mini-Cogs" would come over and tune the timpani for her between musical pieces.

Part of the Dream Team: Teresa Campbell,
Mike Ranelli & Joanne Wenger (LtoR)
Eventually, they were able to buy her timpani that used hand cranks for tuning and built a platform for her wheelchair to reach the timpani. Abby is not even a student at Annapolis Area Christian School, but how they showed such hospitality to her.

Then, came band camp. Sleepaway camp.

This is a touchy subject for this Momma's heart. She already was told directly a couple of summers ago from a Christian camp director that she should try to go to an accessible camp as they weren't able to properly accommodate her. That alone sent me to a dark place where my heart was broken for her. It may be true, but it was hard to see her keep her chin up-away from home and have to navigate that alone.

As a special needs Mom, for better or for worse, my heart is on my sleeve and when people love on my kids and go above and beyond for them, something way deep down inside me is cared for in a way that is just different than a loving act of kindness to one of my other kiddos. All displays of love are cherished, but this is different in a whole hearted healing way.

Mr. Ranelli & Abby getting ready for the family day performance

Okay, back to band camp: Will she be safe? Will it be too much for the staff to balance all of their responsibilities & care for Abby? How accessible is this camp? Band Director, Mike Shaner and his assistant, Rhonda Keagy, assured me by their thoughtful questions about her needs for accessibility that my concerns were slowly being put to rest. The rest of the staff were phenomenal & the campground was amazingly wheelchair accessible to boot! Relief.

Front Ensemble or Pit
The best part of all: Her friends helped her with transfers and anything she needed.They are too wonderful for words.

At the same time in a different place, another girl with Arthrogryposis was making the news on the X-factor. Miss Rion Page, a 13 year old with a dynamite voice to whom Simon Cowell compared to Carrie Underwood, had just made it to through the first round and there was a video that went viral in the days following.
For such a time as this....echoed in my head. Obviously, Mordecai's encouragement to Esther to save her people from annihilation by strapping on courage and using her position for what God has called her to is not the same as being in the pit band nor even being on a singing reality show. However, the truth that God ordains events and people in a way that we don't plan for may be called coincidence, kismet, serendipity, but could it be God's providential work?

These are exciting times. Let's be a part of this, shall we?

So, watch the show or catch it on YouTube if you miss it and then vote THIS WEDNESDAY, 11/27 for this sweetie pie not just because she has Arthrogryposis, but because she is excellent. I do pray that awareness for Arthrogryposis will be sown through these two spunky teen girls. There is just a fraction of research dollars spent compared to some other more well know conditions. Timing is everything.


  1. So fun to get to finally hear the back story, Lita! I am thanking God with you for Annapolis Area Christian School and their kind hearts and willingness to bring Abby fully on board with the band. Way to go Abby!

  2. Loved reading this. The whole thing about not being able to go to camp - and wearing your heart on your sleeve....when someone goes ABOVE and BEYOND to care for one of our babies, it is like nurturing our own heart. I hear ya!

  3. Thank you, ladies, for your kind words! It means a lot. Yay, AACS! What a gift this has been to her!