Roo is almost 18 months old now. 18 months! 18 months since I met the boy who would change my life. 18 months that I have experienced joy and sorrow in ways more intense than I had ever imagined. 18 months of a spiritual journey that I wouldn't have believed God had in store for me.
I was so angry when we found out that Down syndrome had entered our lives. While we waited for the test results, I pleaded with God to "make" them negative. Please, Lord, let the doctors be wrong. But He said no. The tests were positive. Our lives had changed.
I began a new plea. Please, Lord, take it away. I didn't know what that would "look" like exactly--Down's isn't a disease, so it's not like he could recover... but we're talking about GOD here--He can do ANYTHING. Right? Prove it, God. Take it away. But He said no. Roo's Down syndrome was here to stay.
As I started to reach out to local organizations for help getting set up with therapies and doctor's appointments, everyone was full of encouraging words. Children who had almost no delays, who walked and talked at the same time as "typical" children, who read at age 3,who do amazingly well in school. Please, Lord, let that be us. Surely that will be us. Make him as typical as possible. But so far... He has said no. Roo is lagging, even behind other kids I know with Down's. It brings tears to my eyes to even type it out.
Three pleas. Three "no's."
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” --II Corinthians 12:8-9
The apostle Paul pleaded three times for the Lord to take away the thorn in his flesh. God said no--but not just "no"--He said, "My grace is sufficient for you."
Please, Lord, let the doctors be wrong. No, but I'll give you the strength to hear the words, even though they aren't what you want to hear. I'll give you the courage to get out of bed tomorrow, even if you are sad and lonely and angry. My grace is sufficient for you.
Please, Lord, take it away. No, but I'll help him to grow stronger each day. And I'll help you to get through your own pain a little more each day. I'll give you support and help and wisdom. My grace is sufficient for you.
Please, Lord, make him as typical as possible. No, but I'll make him a blessing. I will use him to draw you--and others--to me. And he will bring you unbelievable joy in the journey. My grace is sufficient for you.
Sufficient? The more I reflect on that passage, the more I think God must have smiled when Paul penned those words to the Corinthians. God's grace is beyond sufficient. It's abundant. It is not always what we want--but it's more than we could ever hope for. His grace is enough--and more.
Honestly, the roller coaster of emotions I have experienced over the last 18 months has evened out quite a bit. Seeing Roo around kids his age is more interesting than heart-breaking. Telling people at the church nursery--or the grocery store--that he has Down's is just conversation, not cause for tears. Life is good--and even better, it's just life. Not "life after Down's" or "life now"--it's just life.
But some days are still hard. I had the chance today to see an adorable little boy who just turned 1. He's not "Roo's age"--he's a full 5 months younger, maybe a little more. And when I talked to him, he looked right at me and said, "Yeah." One little word. It was adorable. And it literally made my heart hurt.
For hours I focused on the things that Roo can't do. He has no words. He can't walk. He can't use a spoon. He can only put things down by throwing them--he can't figure out how to gently let go. He can't... well, the list goes on.
Please, Lord, just one word. I want to hear my baby boy say "mama." Just one word. Please, God, give me something.
No, now isn't the time for him to speak. It will happen, but not now. My grace is sufficient for you.
And then I walked into Roo's room to get him up from his nap, and he put his hands on the rail of his crib... and pulled himself up to standing!!!
I was BEYOND THRILLED. For a few weeks now, he'd put his hands up and get up tall on his knees, but he has always needed help to get his feet under him--even just this morning when our physical therapist was over. But not this time--he did it completely on his own!
And I didn't think, "I wish he had done this six months ago." And I didn't think, "Well, great, but I wish he would walk." Nope, I thought, "Oh my gosh--this is AMAZING! Thank you, Lord!"
It wasn't a word. It wasn't what I had asked for. But it was sufficient--and beyond. It was more than enough.