One of my best friends – Cameron Doolittle – is President and CEO of a ministry called Jill’s House, a ministry in the DC area (I’ve had the fortune to visit) which gives extended, overnight care to children with special needs so that the parents of those children, parents who are often enormously over-taxed, can have some time to rest and regather their strength. Even under the best of circumstances, marriage and child-rearing are difficult. Doing so with children who have special needs, especially when those special needs are extreme, produces extraordinary pressures, anxieties and relational tensions.
Cameron wrote a guest post at Amy Julia Becker’s blog, explaining the ministry and how it came about. Jill’s House grew out of McLean Bible Church and the experience of the pastor Lon Solomon and his family with their special-needs daughter, Jill, whose persistent seizures caused irreversible neurological damage. At one point, Lon’s wife Brenda prayed, “I just ask one thing. Please use Jill’s life in a mighty way, because what we are living through is too painful to waste.” Their life began to turn around when friends organized periodic breaks for the family, and the Solomons wanted to organize a ministry that did the same for other families with similar challenges.
One of my favorite Jill’s House stories is of a little boy whose first stay transformed his everyday life. Because of anxiety and the need to be comforted, this child had slept with his dad every night for eight years. But after a night at Jill’s House, this sweet child went back to his own home and was able to sleep in his own bed by himself for the very first time. That is a dad whose life has been transformed by God’s work through Jill’s House! The children we serve are able to develop increased independence and confidence that is transferable in their lives beyond our walls.
Cameron was a groomsman in my wedding, and I was the same in his. I’m proud of him and hope this ministry can be replicated around the country. The need is dire.
People often ask how they can help. First, you could bring a team from your church or community to serve with us for a weekend. You will go away changed! Second, our safety and miraculous growth can only be attributed to God responding to prayer, so please do pray for our safety. Third, the biggest constraint we have is financial. I oversee an operating budget of $5 million and yet there are hundreds of families on our waiting list. If you have a heart to help with this work, please let us know. Finally, if your church wants to join us in providing these kinds of breaks, we are eager to see God replicate the miracle of Jill’s House elsewhere. God has been faithful to make this possible through people like you. Now, we trust Him to help Jill’s House to grow and serve more hurting, desperate families, and we invite you to be a part of this incredible story.
The prophet Samuel said, “The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). This godly principle is at the center of what we do at Jill’s House.
Here, we are not concerned in the least with appearances or abilities. Instead, we truly respect and cherish each child and family we are privileged to serve. People of all stations are hungry for that acceptance. God is writing an amazing story at Jill’s House and we welcome you to connect with us to see how He wants to affect your story.
If you want to contact Jill’s House, visit jillshouse.org or call 703.639.5660.