Easter, to many it means baskets and candy and grass and the Easter bunny. Often times you will hear children say, "I didn't want this." There may be looks of disappointment on child's face when the Easter bunny left something that they did not want. There may be many disappointed children who got something that they never asked for.
I have been thinking about what the Cross means to me and what Jesus did for me up there. While Jesus prayed in Gethsemane, right before He was crucified, He said "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." Matthew 26:39. And a little later Jesus once again prayed, "My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done." Matthew 26: 42. And He went away one more time and prayed the same thing.
My heart aches because He knew what He was going to do. He was going to die a horrific death. I am sure that is something that He did not want and it was certainly was something that He did not deserve. And the most amazing part of this incredible love story is that He did it for me (and you), and we are nothing more than dust. He loves us that much. His Father sacrificed His ONLY SON for me and you. It brings me to my knees, it is the ultimate picture of love. These verses in Matthew display the emotion of this moment. It is so intimate and personal and just speaks to me in such a profound way.
And yet I still complain about getting something that I did not want. Often times I hear myself saying over and over that I don't want to travel this medical journey anymore. It is too hard. However, emotionally it is very exhausting, yes, but it is nothing in comparison to what Jesus had to endure. AND, the best part is, I have the Holy Spirit, I have Him by my side all of the time giving me the strength and what I need.
I think back to hearing about Lydia and all of the things associated with her. I prayed for a healthy child, I prayed for a child like my other children (just being completely honest), I never prayed for this. I never expected that I would have a child with Down syndrome, yet alone all of the medical issues. I never wanted this, my life did not have room for it. However, I never knew that I needed what I did not want. I am finding that the best blessings come in the most unusual form.
I would not associate that the best picture of love would be hanging on the cross, and yet it is. That is what saved me. That is what has given me purpose and meaning in my life. The picture of the cross is the most amazing love story I know of, it has the most meaning and purpose for my life. Yet, it is not a warm fuzzy that most people associate with love (Remember love is a choice, love is not a feeling. Love is a sacrifice and love puts someone else first before myself.) I would not associate the cross with a love story, yet it is the ultimate one. It brings me to my knees to think about what Jesus did for me...how amazing and awesome that is.
And there was a time in life when I thought that Down syndrome was not something for me. Little did I know how much I needed Down syndrome in my life. See, it has opened me to a whole new person. In many ways Lydia saved me. She saved me from a life that was going in the wrong direction. Material things were quickly making their appearance at the top of my most meaningful list in life. Worldly things were interrupting my time with God and the purpose He had for my life. Lydia allowed my life to slow down and re-examine what was really important. Lydia was able to show me life through a whole new lens and that is exactly what I needed.
I could say the same thing for the medical journey. I did not want to spend months in a hospital watching my daughter fight for her life. I did not want to spend every last resource that our family had to pay for my daughter's health. I did not want my other girls to have to sacrifice their life for their sister. I did not want to spend precious time away from my girls, missing things of theirs that I never thought I would have to. I did not want to spend my life taking care of someone, rushing to doctor appointments, juggling therapy schedules, and stressing myself out over eating and food. I did not want any of it.
However, I never knew that what I didn't want was exactly what I needed. I guess I didn't know that because I don't know my life quite like my Father does. He knows exactly what I need when I need it. I still have trouble with that and I still fight Him on that. However, He is patient with me and He quietly waits while I learn this (even if He has to show me time and time again!). He loves me so much and He wants me, all of me.
And yesterday morning was a perfect example of getting something that I didn't want. I have journaled and blogged and written about our feeding journey. It has been one that I never wanted. But yesterday, God showed me something. We have been battling all kinds of things lately. I have been praying and pleading to just let her eat. It is hard, I have NO CONTROL over it and I desperately seek to have control over it. I want it to go the way I want it to go (remember, I got something that I did not want).
Yesterday, we did the same old routine. I fought the inevitable. I did not want to feed her but I had to. What was I going to feed her this morning? I made a plate up of cheese, Cheetos, and leftovers from the night before that she seemed to enjoy. All of the girls sat down for breakfast. I prayed just as I do every single morning. Allison bit into her bagel. She set it on the table. Lydia decided to grab it and take a bite. When Allison asked for it back she would not give her control of it. I told Allison that if Lydia continued to eat it I would make her a new one. Yep, that's right, Lydia ate an entire bagel. I ended up making a new one for Allison. I wept and I sobbed and so did Ellen and Allison. In that moment, we all understood that God gave us what we prayed for even though it did not look quite like what we expected. We just witnessed one of God's many miracles!
It was in that moment that I still cannot quite describe. All of the silly games and stress and tears, all of the begging and pleading flashed before my eyes. I understood something that I still can't quite understand. I know makes no sense, but there was a peace. I felt God telling me, see, in My timing I would make it all worth it. And yes, in His timing she ate, I did not have to play silly games and stress (for that meal anyways!). The eating is still up and down and very hard, but even though I got something that I did not want, I have been blessed beyond measure. Even though I got something that I did not want, I understand so much better that my Father knows exactly what I need, when I need it. I am changed, I have grown, my faith is strengthened all because I was given something I did not want. See, that is the best gift, that is something that is so amazing.
Just like the child who receives something that he does not want, give it time and eventually he will play with it, he will like it, and it might even become his favorite toy. Isn't it funny how we fight and kick and scream when we get something we don't want, but in time, it usually becomes something that we can't live without. I may be stretching my analogies a little bit in this post, but I hope you get my point. I would have never chose to have my Father sacrifice His Son for me, but I am so glad that He did. I could have come up with so many other "better solutions" but in the end, I am so glad that He did the way He did. It is a picture that will never leave my mind, it is a picture of love, the ultimate sacrifice that has change me. I don't think that I would have ever chose a child who had Down syndrome for me, but now I wish I was in a place that I could care for a whole army of children with Down syndrome. I would never give her up and I would never look at it as something that I did not want. I need her, she makes me a better person. I also know that I would have never chosen a child with many medical issues, but now I know I am capable of a love that would never say no.