Nason Family Story: Joy in the Journey
In 2005, Jon and Erin Nason arrived at North Metro Church. As newlyweds, they found a Community Group and a place to get involved through serving.
Five years later, in March of 2010, they welcomed a baby boy to their family, Braeden.
When Braeden was five months old he went to the neurologist for genetic testing. It wasn’t until he was nine months old that Jon and Erin were told Braeden had a chromosomal abnormality.
Erin recalls, “We had to wait months to find out what that diagnosis meant, he was already a one year old when we found out what the abnormality was, and we still didn’t know how that was going to affect his development.”
As brand-new parents, they didn’t know exactly what child development milestones looked like but Jon knew they had to advocate on behalf of their child. “It’s an awkward question to ask, ‘Is my child typical?’ but you have to ask it. Braeden is unique in the needs he has, and it’s not satisfied by seeing one specialist.”
For two years, the Nason’s were in a whirlwind of appointments. Their group continued to cover them in prayers and they continued to see God working through their lives; taking things off their plates where needed, and building relationships that would prove beneficial down the road.
Throughout the last ten years, they’ve learned a lot about themselves, and God. Jon says, “At an early stage, I was able to say ‘This is who Braeden is.’ God continues to teach me patience through him, reminding me that things don’t always happen at my speed. God is there behind it all, saying ‘He may have special needs but he’s your child and My child. That doesn’t stop you from living the life I’ve laid out for you.’ The lessons He teaches you through a child with special needs are things you can apply elsewhere.”
When Braeden was an infant, they were easily able to integrate him into the Children’s Ministry so they could get back to attending Sunday morning services. He did stay in the early walker’s classroom for about a year, but they always felt comfortable and welcome.
As Braeden got older, Erin’s desire to see the special needs ministry grew as well. “In 2017, I kept emailing Rebecca [NMC’s Next Generation Pastor] about expanding the special needs program at NMC. As an infant and toddler things worked for Braeden in the Children’s Ministry but I knew that as he got older if we didn’t have something more for him here, we’d have to change churches and I didn’t want to change churches.”
Rebecca invited Erin to a local conference for special needs in ministry, and it wasn’t long after, that Erin was brought on the NMC staff to make her dream a reality. “We’ve evolved from offering Sunday programming for all students to creating community among the families. There are multiple families here who wouldn’t be able to attend church if it wasn’t for the special needs care we offer. Regardless of how we’re serving their child, they trust us that they can go sit in service and their child is going to be cared for and loved on.”
One of the great things about NMC’s special needs offerings is that there’s no one-size-fits-all model, the goal is to do what’s best for each child. “I know how it feels to have to show up somewhere and explain all these things to someone and have them say ‘We’re not equipped for that.’ We try to do whatever it is we need to do to equip ourselves so that all children and parents can be included.”
Braeden’s joy and attitude about life are so contagious. For Erin, “It’s so much fun to see how he views things; the ambassador that he is without even knowing it for the special needs community.”
Despite what others may perceive as a challenge, Jon and Erin carry an infectious joy, “Chromosomal abnormalities usually end in miscarriage. But I look at Braeden and say ‘I’m so glad we got to keep you.’”
Interested in learning more about NMC's special needs program?
Erin would be happy to answer any questions you may have about this program. Interested in serving in our special needs program? We can provide next steps for that too!