Each weekday, I have the privilege of walking into a “holy-chaos” full of glue, crayons, toys, bubbles and a lively group preschoolers. To some, this may not seem like a privilege, but to me it is a blessing. Every wide-eyed, cookie crumbed face is proof that God is faithful, and every crayon-masterpiece is a reminder that it has been God’s hand behind it all.
Child-like faith begins by realizing that we are children – we cannot do-it-ourselves, we need someone bigger – and that we are children of an amazing God who delights in doing incredible things through those who are simply willing to trust Him. This is different from a childish faith that tells God what we want Him to do for us.
This year Thrive Day School and Thrive Home will enjoy opening its doors to over 60children among our three Christ Lutheran locations. Thrive Day School and Thrive Home are both ministries of Christ Lutheran Church that focus on educating and developing social skills for special needs children. This will be a busy and exciting year for our school.
Thrive was not always the bustling school that it is now. The first year of Thrive was a huge leap of faith. God provided a dance studio space, lovingly donated by a Christ South church member, that could be transformed into a large classroom for our preschool-aged friends. Finding teachers and staff who had a passion for students with special needs would be our next challenge, but God provided loving teachers just when we needed them. Funding for toys, furniture, classroom supplies, and sensory equipment was provided through grants from the ELCA and donations from the church benevolence fund.
We had the space, teachers, and all of the classroom supplies we needed. The next test of our faith was finding students. We opened our doors with just one student and poured all of our love and passion into this child. Even in the first few months, we were able to see the firsthand transformation as one of our non-verbal three-year students began to say his first words. God was definitely at work.
In 2019, with the purchase of the property for Christ South, we were blessed to renovate the first house on the property and add more students and amazing staff. We learned to trust God for strength each day, and we were richly rewarded by seeing the transformation in the lives of students and families.
In the fall of 2020, God again stretched our faith and led us forward through a burden to reach elementary and middle school students for diverse learners. God placed that desire in the heart of one of our teachers, Jessica Bunting, and together we launched Thrive Home, a home school co-op for both typical and exceptional children from Kindergarten to the 8th grade. This ministry has grown significantly and moving to the Providence campus this year.
At just the right time, God provided needed staff support in the form of PhD intern, Caroline Targonski. Beginning this fall, Caroline will be overseeing the program as we expand to the community of Concord. Thrive will have operations at three locations in the Charlotte area – reaching more children and their families. I am eternally grateful for the many individuals and organizations that support Thrive, and I am constantly blessed by the amazing children whose lives we get to be a part of.
It took faith, a child-like faith. God calls us to have a child-like faith. A faith that believes that if He calls you to do something, He will make a way. It may not be a logical path or a path that has been taken before. Instead, God gives us a direction and tells us to “GO”. It may just be a small spark or a passion to reach people in your community, but if you place it in God’s hands and obey His calling, it can become so much more!
“By faith, Abraham … obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” Heb 11:8