I sit here in the quietness of the day. The kids are in the camper playing and tears are streaming down my face. I silently sit and listen to a story that is on my heart as I listen to God. I have come to Him today with a tired heart, with an exhausted body, with a weary soul. I find rest and comfort in Him and His Word. And how can it be that I still cannot completely rest in the comforts of His arms?
I find my thoughts drifting to "Why me?" "Why are we walking down this road yet, again?" "I don't think I can do this anymore." "What do you want to teach me this time, haven't I learned?" "Why my child?" "Why can't she be made whole again?" I pour out my heart and soul to our Maker looking for answers, but secretly I already know the answers; I just don't like them very much.
In trials, I truly believe that is when we find ourselves. I believe that we further become the people God has intended us to be. I heard a great analogy of that this past weekend. I am going to try my best to say it again. An airplane mechanic (not my husband) held up a wrench that was specific to a task that he needed done when fixing an airplane. It was shaved down, fragile, and tattered. It was shaped and molded to be exactly perfect for this one particular task that was very important to this mechanic. He also held up another wrench. This wrench was heavy duty and could get the job of taking off lug nuts from a car among many more. If you used the other wrench for pretty much any other task, it would surly break. We are all like that airplane mechanic's wrench. God has a specific purpose in mind for us. And, in order to accomplish that task, He must grind on us a little, polish us up, break us down so we can be effective and useful in one specific task. Sometimes it hurts us, sometimes it feels as if it would break us, sometimes we wear our battle wounds on the outside of our skin, and sometimes we are only needed at a very certain time.
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, no lacking anything." James 1:2-4
Let me ask myself again these self pity questions that I mentioned above. I was chosen by God to be on this journey, that is why. We are walking down this path again because there is still so much God wants me to learn (maybe I have learned it and I need to test out my skills, or maybe it is just because it is the path that God has chosen and eventually I will find out the bigger picture He has written for my story). Lydia was created perfect in the image of God, so He sees nothing wrong with her. Yes, she has more trials than others, and much larger obstacles, but she is perfect in the image of God. I need to embrace those and give joy as we preserve and develop more faith.
As our surgeon said to us, Lydia was born broken. There is no way to put her back to the typically normal. What they did for her in all of her surgeries, was put her back together the best way that man knows how. She is still perfect in the image of God and it is exactly how God intended her to be. So while she lives on this earth, this fix will have to do. She will still have to continue to walk these medical issues and overcome other hurdles. However, God will not leave or forsake her, nor any of us.
And it is in this brokenness that we find true beauty. I truly believe that. When we are broken we are vulnerable and we grow in our faith (or we should be if we are truly looking to God), we are challenged and we end up changing. In Lydia's brokenness she is made beautiful. I see so much more now than I would have if she were not broken.
This is one reason, I believe, why children with Down syndrome are so beautiful. They are labeled and told what they will accomplish and what they won't accomplish before anyone knows. Parents who get the prenatal diagnosis often sit and wonder why, what will the future hold. Some of that joy of finding out your are expecting a new baby is robbed because of the brokenness that surrounds you. Or, if you just welcomed your baby with no expectation of a diagnosis of Down syndrome, your world seems to crash in around you, sometimes you may even feel that your child is broken just because of this diagnosis.
However, that is where the beauty comes in, God's beauty. When we rest in His arms, allow Him to take control and trust Him, we see that are children can accomplish far more than what we ever expected them to. Maybe it is because our expectations were lowered. However, they should not be, they are not broken, they are your children and they are beautiful; label or no label.
But it is in the brokenness that I understand just how beautiful life is. It is in the brokenness of our medical walk, that I see how beautiful Lydia's scares are, her challenges are. It is in the brokenness that I see beauty and that the impossible becomes possible.
I remind myself of this often. Especially when I long for the day Lydia will be able to eat a meal like very other kid. I bring myself back to reality. There are many kids that are dependent on tubes; just like Lydia once was. There was a point on this journey that Lydia was told she would never eat orally, and yet it has been a year and a half since the tube was pulled out and almost two years without being fed. So if we have problems here and there (or for very long periods of time), there is still great praise to give. And no matter how a child is fed, does not matter. I try to help myself minimize the problem, take my eyes off the circumstance, and fix my eyes upon Jesus.
Today I feel broken and empty and lost. Today I am struggling, yet when I take my eyes off my circumstance, and look to Jesus, things seem so much better. Whatever you are going through today, I pray for you. Whatever your circumstance is, know that God is there and will not forsake you. Even in times of troubles and hard, hard situations; God is there. Remember, God is using you and has a very specific purpose for you. Your purpose may only be for that moment when the perfect tool is needed, but without that tool, the job could not be accomplished. You have more worth that you know and when you fix your eyes upon Him, your circumstances seem to be small too.
Today a friend reached out to me about a family member receiving a diagnosis of Down syndrome. As I hastily started replying, I had to back up and just congratulate them on a perfect blessing. Sometimes that brokenness takes over and we forget to see the beauty. I pray that this family will start to understand the amazing journey they will be on and how wonderful it is. Scary? Yes, but so worth every moment!
And to that lady the other day who commented to me that she was glad she did not have my lot of having a child with Down syndrome...AMEN! I am glad she does not have that "burden" too, because Lydia is no burden to us. She is our child and we love her, just as we love our other children. The journey a little different, but an incredible learning experience! It is life changing and I am sure glad I allowed myself to be vulnerable and let change take place.