Feathers from Heaven
The first time Denise Briley took her two youngest children to one of the churches in their new town, they were greeted warmly. When the family arrived the next week, this time with eleven-year-old Clayton in his wheelchair, no one even made eye contact with them. Fortunately, the family found another church where all of them felt welcome. Although the church community didn't have experience working with people with disabilities, volunteers came forth to support the Brileys and help Clayton attend Sunday school and church. Born with severe cerebral palsy, Clayton inspired a special-needs ministry that grew to 80–100 participants, including volunteers. Children and their families who had never been able to attend church before found a welcoming community where they no longer felt isolated. This is the story of Denise and her beloved son Clayton, who passed away in 2009 at the age of twenty-five. It is the story of a mother's devotion and of her journey to places she never expected to be, doing God's work in a way she never could have foreseen. Honest and courageous, Denise shares not only her love and grief, but her struggle to find direction after Clayton's death. But whenever she needed a sign of God's presence, he sent her a feather. Feathers from Heaven challenges us to think about how we include people with disabilities in our churches, and to look for signs of God's grace in our own lives.
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