Heart for the Disabled – John and Tracy Connelly
Welcome to the last and best day of our “Heart for the Disabled” week.
Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and all this week I’ve been telling stories about families with special needs (big needs) so that you could write notes of encouragement and Valentine cards. And, boy, are you responding — so many of you have already sent in your cards and letters. But I’ve got one more family to tell you about.
John and Tracy are parents to a couple of teenage boys who are on the autism spectrum. Their oldest son, 16-year-old Aiden, is pretty high functioning, but he often struggles to fit in with kids around him in high school and that’s not easy when you have autism. And Aiden so longs to be part of the gang in school. Often, though, he’s left out of the action. Miles, who is 12 years old, is not as high functioning as his older brother. He is unable to communicate verbally with people around him, and he’s often frustrated by his inability to connect with the family and with what few friends he has at school. Both kids do their best in and out of the home, and that really pleases John and Tracy, their dad and mom. Life at home is not easy for these parents, what with disability routines, medical bills and challenges at school, and just, well… trying to live a normal life. This little family had a wonderful time at Family Retreat, the year before, back in 2017. But in early 2018 when they planned to register for last summer’s Family Retreat, they were stopped in their tracks.
At the beginning of last year, Tracy learned that she had breast cancer. They had to cancel their Family Retreat application in the wake of this terrible news and, a short time later, Tracy had to have a double mastectomy. This brave woman faced it with courage, though – she had served in the military and understood what it was like to stand strong in a battle. Still though, Tracy is continuing to go through chemotherapy as her husband, John, carries on the heavy job of keeping up the house and caring for their two disabled sons, Aiden and Miles, who have autism. And sometimes, John and Tracy wonder how much more they can take.
Well, I want you to remind them that the grace of our Lord Jesus really is sufficient. Yes, even for these new challenges in the family. So take a moment to jot a note or a card to John and Tracy, as well as Aiden and Miles. Let them know you are praying for them. Include a favorite scripture or, as I shared earlier this week, tuck in a copy of an inspirational poem or the words to a hymn that you love. I know they’d be blessed to hear that you are cheering them on. And if you really want to be creative, tuck in your envelope a small gift card to Starbucks or whatever. I know Ken and I will be doing that for this family, but the important thing is your words and your prayers, and the references from God’s Word that you include.
Make sure you get your card to John and Tracy, and their sons Aiden and Miles. Then mail it in care of Joni and Friends, P.O. Box 3333, Agoura Hills, California 91376. If you don’t have a pencil to write down the address or if you have missed any details, please visit joniradio.org for all the info. Thanks for caring, friend! I’m so grateful for your help this week – God bless you for having a heart for the disabled and a heart for John, Tracy, Aiden and Miles. If you need any details get the whole scoop at joniradio.org. Thanks for having a heart for the disabled. God bless you today, and thanks for listening to Joni and Friends.