Dr. Betse Gage is a pediatrician, and has been at her current practice for over 28 years. She’s a Kansas City native who chose her profession because she was so inspired by the pediatrician who cared for her when she was young. She has been involved in medical mission work in Honduras, other countries and locally–and, as her testimony shows, has a profound personal connection with Resurrection’s Matthew’s Ministry.
This is not my story but our son Craig’s story. Craig was a healthy 2 1/2 year old little bundle of joy when he went to bed healthy one night. The next morning we found him seizing and unresponsive. After one month in the hospital he was discharged to our home, blind and unable to even roll over. He had lost over half his brain to the seizures and a massive stroke.
Thus began a new life for our family. With two other small boys we struggled to just make it through each day. We had a strong faith and were involved in another church where I had attended all my life. When we were finally able to get Craig out again in his new wheelchair, we decided to attend Easter service as a family. We were so proud of how far he had come even though he could not walk or talk or see half of his surroundings. We wanted to celebrate God’s grace and mercy in saving our precious son. Dressed up in our Easter finery we went to the service. I wanted others in the congregation who had supported us to see how far he had come. Unfortunately, my overwhelming memory of that day is that Craig made some noises, vocalizations since he had no words, and we were met with frowns of disapproval and annoyance from members of the congregation. We left, devastated and alone. The church, our anchor, was rejecting our precious son and thus our family. At least that is how we felt on that Easter day so many years ago.
Then we heard about Matthew’s Ministry at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection. My husband Bill had grown up Methodist. We had friends who had been attending Resurrection. It seemed God was opening a door for us, for Craig. We found a welcoming and caring church family willing to embrace us and support us during the most difficult time in our lives. There have been so many wonderful moments for our family at Resurrection, but one story says it all.
When Craig was at the age to go through confirmation I worried about whether he should participate, but wanted him to be with his peers and continue to learn about God and faith. I enrolled him in confirmation classes. The instructors were caring and patient and tried to adapt the curriculum to his level, but I was concerned that he would not understand what he was committing to when the time came for confirmation. Craig had been attending Sunday School for years, and services with us for a while. It was obvious he loved God, and praise music (for sure)–but did he really get it? One morning I was trying desperately to hurry Craig out the door for school. I was frustrated and worn out to say the least. Craig said “No, no. Wait, Mom. I have to put the sun on me.” I was wondering what he was talking about when he went over to the bathroom sink, turned on the water, put his hand under the water then spread the water across his forehead. “See, Mom? I am putting the Son on me.” At that moment amidst the tears and joy I realized Craig “got it” more clearly and purely than I could ever have imagined. My doubts vanished. God answered my prayers.
From then on Craig has reflected the face of God to me everyday with a pure, innocent, joyful faith. His faith keeps me centered and brings joy to all those who know him. What a blessing he is! Matthew’s Ministry at Resurrection welcomed a grieving, struggling family, renewed our faith and helped give us the courage to share Craig with the world.
Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.