Yesterday I had an epiphany...
Daddy ministered during our morning church service on pain and suffering, and how they are both inescapable in this journey we call life. He talked about how God is not the author of tragedy~ but that He uses it to bring us closer to Him and to minister comfort to others.
During the sermon my mind kept going to the children we know, who are experiencing pain and suffering so horrible we can't even imagine it. Olga and Kareen and Peter are never far from our minds. We live each day with the hope and prayer that soon they'll be rescued and placed in loving families...and that the nightmare that was their life for so long becomes a distant or forgotten memory.
So while I was thinking about these children, who have become so dear to my heart they feel like my children, I kept coming back to your diagnosis.
Sometimes I go through incredible mental gymnastics, trying to make sense of it all, Lily.
I've said it before~ I prayed for you to be born without Down syndrome. I prayed for so long during my pregnancy, and poured my heart out to God, asking Him to do a miracle inside my womb...if you did indeed have that extra chromosome. I prayed long before you were conceived for you to be healthy and "whole"..and I specifically prayed for you to not have Down syndrome.
And for those who would say that your diagnosis came as a lack of faith...I had all the faith in the world that God would answer my prayer. I had prayed the same for 9 other babies before you..none of whom surprised us with a little something extra like you did.
So here's how my mental gymnastics go...I prayed for something specific, and God gave me you.
I felt God speak to my heart during my pregnancy, "If you ask me for bread, will I give you a stone?" At some point during my pregnancy- I could not pray anymore that God would "heal" you. I would get to that part of my conversation with the Lord...and just feel this huge check in my spirit. It was as if I knew I was having a girl, but I was praying for a boy. That's how strongly I felt~ that if I were going to pray against something, and ask God to take something away from you...I would literally be asking God to give me another child.
I'm not saying I would ever tell a pregnant mama to stop praying for her child to be born without Down syndrome. I'm saying I hit a point in my pregnancy when I personally could not bring myself to pray that prayer anymore ~ and feel right about it.
So yesterday while I was listening to your Daddy's sermon, and contemplating suffering, and Olga and Kareen and Peter, and Down syndrome, and life...
..it just really became clear to me.
You are not suffering.
You have a wonderful life, a family who loves you, a safe warm home, all the medical help you need, you are treasured and valued and accepted...and the worst that could happen to you, as far as having a diagnosis of Down syndrome, here in America...
...is that you be called a name. Or made fun of. Or rejected. Or stared at.
And while those things are not pleasant, and I do hope with all my heart that our culture changes, and that people really do become aware of the fact that a life lived with Down syndrome is not a death sentence or a tragedy...
...while I advocate and educate and write and speak and do all I can to bring awareness to the fact that a child or an adult with Down syndrome is a gift and a treasure, and yes, even a blessing...
There is so much more to be aware of.
There is true suffering in the world, the kind that moves the heart of God, the kind that hurts to look at or read about, the kind that deserves our attention and prayers and action.
And while I applaud every effort of those who would rally around the cause of awareness, and who hope to create a culture where you and children and adults like you have every opportunity to "realize their life aspirations and become valued members of welcoming communities"...
...we are not suffering.
You and I have a lifetime of blessing ahead of us, dearest Lily.
A life that Olga and Kareen and Peter and others like them will never know, without our help.
Forget acceptance and opportunity and aspirations- right now these children don't even have a shot at LIFE.
And yesterday I determined that I don't care how unpopular heralding a sad story might be...
These children need us.
They have no voice.
They are helpless to speak for themselves, to alert the world of their plight.
They have no mommies or daddies to advocate for them or defend them or teach them that they are of value, they don't even know what it is to be loved, let alone "accepted".
And so, dear Lily, once again I am thanking God for giving me you.
For in that gift, I have also been given perspective.
Life is not wrapped up in what I can gain, or what I can accomplish...or even in what my children can accomplish.
Life is about loving God with all my heart and mind and soul and strength, and loving others more than myself.
Thankfully and lovingly yours,