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This Isn't What I Signed Up For! Welcome to Holland

Welcome to Holland! 

Sunday, Oct 16th, 12:30-2:00pm Fellowship Hall
Special Speaker: Ellen Stamps

As family leaders, many of us find ourselves facing challenges we never expected. Parenting is a journey, and sometimes we end up in a place we didn’t anticipate. Our children may be struggling in school ... or maybe we’re concerned about social issues ... maybe there’s a diagnosed condition — or maybe not. Life is good, but times can be tough. If this describes you, you’re not alone at Third Church.

Join us on October 16 for lunch and casual conversation. This will be a family networking opportunity to get encouragement, talk informally, and share resources, inspired by the essay, “Welcome to Holland” by Emily Perl Kingsley (see below). 

Ellen Stamps, former Personal Assistant to Corrie Ten Boom (and native of Holland), will share. Ellen has a real heart for parents and families who find themselves in difficult situations. There will also be small groups where you can chat with parents and professionals about physical issues, emotional issues, and developmental issues your child and family may be facing. We’re not interested in labels. We simply want to come together to offer empathy, support, and practical experience.

The lunch is free to attend, but we do ask you to register. 

By Emily Perl Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.


Earlier Event: October 16
Welcome Coffee: October