I contacted K's mom and asked her if we could go on a walk. (K has Down syndrome and I had the pleasure of babysitting her and her sisters in college). K's mom is a go getter type of a person that works hard and I can see it in the fruit that is produced in her and her family's lives. I needed a 'pep talk'. After the walk I wrote her thanking her for letting me talk her ear off and a chance to ask her all of the questions that I have had consume my mind lately. A part of her response was, "Enjoy this day." Such a simple statement.
Enjoy this day.
One of the areas I talked with her about is the fear that Jack won't be able to talk. One of the reasons that this fear came is after having a couple of people come to me and share their personal experiences with people with Downs. They were trying to be comforting sharing their stories but every time it included a part where the person they know can not talk it was like a knife to my heart. Some of these stories came within the first week after Jack's birth, some a month, and one just recently. I know that communication can come in so many forms, but I am fearful that Jack won't be able to communicate verbally. I know that this is NOT the case with all persons with Downs, and that many can speak and some very clearly. It just happened to be the thing that I heard the loudest when listening to these particular stories. Just an FYI, when a new diagnosis has been given to a family, sharing comments about a child not speaking, being completely out of control, defiant, or stubborn, are not always helpful because if they are like me...I am not always pondering the wonderful things my child is going to bring to our life, but more the things that are going to be challenging. Maybe save those things for a little later when they have gotten a chance to understand more about Down syndrome.
A friend of mine shared a sermon by a pastor from Willow Creek church in Chicago. The title of the message was, Being a parent of a special needs child (June 30th). He talked about his journey of having a child with Mosaic Down syndrome. He stated that one of the biggest fears of having a child with special needs is that our child will be invisible to the world. It's true. I have wondered that when Jack gets older, no longer a baby, will the world still accept him? Our society values people on their abilities and my son will have a developmental delay. Being a baby, so cute and cuddly, will others accept him when he is 16 and will need more time to complete simple tasks? Will they slow down to see that he matters to me, to those around him, and especially to God? Will they know he was created in the image of God and brings glory to His kingdom just the way he is?
Enjoy this day.
I just read this yesterday (July 19th) in the Jesus Calling devotional. I will paraphrase the parts that hit home for me.
Bring Me all your feelings, even the ones you wish you didn't have. Fear and anxiety still plague you. Use your shield of faith to extinguish those flaming arrows. Affirm your trust in Me, regardless of how you feel. Do not hide from your fear or pretend it isn't there. Anxiety that you hide in the recesses of your heart will give birth to fear of fear: a monstrous stepchild. Bring your anxieties out in the Light of My Presence, where we can deal with them together. Concentrate on trusting Me, and fearfulness will gradually lose its foothold within you.
I have always trusted God, knowing He has a perfect plan. But this has made me realize how much I let fear seep into my mind and stray me from His path. It has made me try to look ahead to months and years and He reminds me through a simple text message, ENJOY THIS DAY.
K's mom shared with me on that walk that K was chosen to speak at a Young Life golf fundraiser. She prepared her speech and delivered it to a room filled with very wealthy old men. She had 3 main speaking points in the speech which included that Young Life has made a huge impact in the three following ways. 1. She has fun, 2. has met new friends, and 3. learns and talks more about Jesus. She finished the speech sending the grey hairs off to their last 9 holes charging them to...have fun, meet new friends, and learn and talk about Jesus. The room went wild!