Today marks the third anniversary of a day that changed my life and the life of my family. Those of you who know my family can easily figure out what it is. Perhaps some of you noticed that one of the primary ways Alicia coped with her sudden paralysis was to reach out to the SCI (Spinal Cord Injury) or disabled world. She learned from them, she shared with them, she befriended them, she reached out to them. In a little while, though she was still learning from them, she loved them and wanted to minister to them. She created aliciareagan.com. She became very active on the Apparelyzed forum and a secret, invitation-only group on Facebook, which are SCI support groups. She made youtube videos to share some of what she learned for those who might be as clueless as she was at the beginning. She began a blog designed help anyone, but could be a special light to those to whom she feels such a special camaraderie. There’s much more, but you get the idea.
What did I do? Well, I let her run with it. I could see how it helped her, and for a long time that’s all I really thought about it. I was a little overwhelmed with how I could continue to be the pastor I should be as well as how was I going to manage my new household responsibilities. When it comes to the male trait of not being too good at housework, I am a man among boys. In other words, I’ll do it, but would hate to endure an inspection. I don’t want to paint this as badly as it might sound, as all the kids jumped in as well. My Briley will have special treasure in Heaven I assure you. My point is that the need of my involvement, and a shift from “Alicia’s Disability Ministry” to “Our Disability Ministry”, has frankly taken longer than it should.
Through a private, unusual set of events, the Lord has made it clear to me that beyond being the best husband to her I can be, I need to be right along side her. A warm change has gone through my heart and I am as on-board as I can be. So much so that in the days ahead aliciareagan.com is going to give way to Enjoying The Ride Ministries. It will be a Reagan family ministry. Where possible, the children will even be involved. This doesn’t mean Alicia will never work on something alone (I will not be speaking at Ladies Meetings with her!) It just means I will be greatly involved in every possible way.
In addition to helping her with everything she already has going, we feel burdened about marriages in disabilities. 80% of them fail. We want to jointly reach out to these couples. She with the one living with an SCI or some other physical disability, and me with the spouse. We are having the most wonderful time throwing out ideas about this and all aspects of OUR disability ministry.
We will have clear priorities. We don’t subscribe to the theory that the Lord asks us to sacrifice our family to do ministry for Him. And when all is said and done, the Lord has called me to be a pastor. Preaching is something I am passionate about. That has always taken the largest part of our ministry effort (Me pastoring and her being a vibrant, active pastor’s wife as well as helping me) and it will as long as the Lord has me in the ministry. But next on our list will be OUR Disability Ministry. In the whole scope of things that will include Alicia speaking at Ladies Meetings, sometimes with me tagging along to preach at the church involved and sometimes her going alone. On occasion Alicia and the children may sing at other churches, but usually the ones closest to us. With these priorities, we will have to balance family needs and the needs of the church I pastor, and evaluate our out-of-town activities accordingly. But I assure you of this–Jimmy will be involved in Our Disability Ministry and the whole Reagan family will be enjoying the ride.