We participated in an exhibit called Testify at our church that showed this morning.
Our story and the image they used are below.
Delighted laughter and the thumping of dancing bare feet sound from of our backyard deck. Our eyes meet and the familiar twinkle says what we don’t have to: we love our kids. Praise God, for life is good.
If feels good to say this now, especially since our road has not always been so joyful. Three years ago, a long period of infertility ended with the elation of expectancy…only to be followed by the devastating news that our baby would have Down syndrome. We were shocked and afraid of our future.
What!? Why would God allow this? How in the world is this a good thing? Is this really part of His plan (it surely wasn’t part of ours)?
Dreams of what life would be were suddenly altered. This seemed like a mistake, an oversight, or worse, a punishment. A flurry of thoughts and tears accompanied the gap between “The News” and Whitney’s arrival. At some point the Bible passage of the man born blind came to mind (John 9). People wanted to know if it was the man’s fault or his parents’ that he was born blind. What Jesus says is amazing: it’s neither. It’s not about blame and punishment, “this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” Our thinking changed. We started thinking less about whether Whitney’s genetics are good or bad, and more about ways God was using our circumstance to make Himself known.
His revelation to us became clearer as we experienced new levels of love, acceptance, and faith. The fear that engrossed the pregnancy gave way to delight when we held our Whitney. Preconceived notions about our family had to surrender to what was real and present. God’s ideas are better than our ideas. He, not us, not society, authors what is good.
The past two and a half years with Whitney, and now her brother Dylan, have been filled with so much good. Whitney has played an integral role in our spiritual growth, and we find that our fear continues to transform into freedom. We were afraid our family would drown in a sea of medical and developmental requirements. Instead we found ourselves motivated to make big schedule and career changes to preserve our much valued family time. We sense a freedom from parental expectations and comparisons with other children. We had fears of awkwardness and isolation, but instead our families and friendships walked with us through the most vulnerable times and as a result have been knit closer together. And we have even been welcomed into new communities of people we previously thought we had little in common with.
We will never be the same, and yesterday is not our legacy. We realize more clearly now that a life well lived is not weighed by accolades and trophies, but built from the interactions of love and service.
Whitney works hard to learn and grow, and she is as inseparable from little brother Dylan as we are from both of them. Life is good. Our daughter’s life is good. May we never lose sight of God’s goodness and the surprising ways He is displaying His imprint in the world.
The finished product: