Our story is different…
It wasn’t during a routine ultrasound when we were told that markers of Down Syndrome were present…
…nor was it in the delivery room when a doctor delivered the news that our daughter had been born with Down Syndrome.
It was at a monthly well-check when the discussion began, and it was at 4.5 months old when we received the results of her blood work.
Sometimes I write about our story: about how God has been so kind and faithful…even in the way the news of her extra chromosome was revealed to us.
I don’t usually share too many details from Aubrey’s perspective, because that’s her story to tell, but I do want to be eager to share the things God continues to teach me through the gift of her life.
Receiving news that something is not going as planned can be scary…terrifying, actually – to the point of knocking you off your feet.
In fact, I’m not sure I’ve had a more life-altering moment than when the doctor told us the results of Aubrey’s lab work. I felt overwhelming sadness, fear, and guilt – all wrapped up into one all-consuming wave of emotion – while also experiencing so clearly the assurance that I was being held by the One who had hand-crafted my daughter inside of me.
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart. – Jeremiah 1:5
You ask me how I know God is real? I can give you all of the right answers about how His Word speaks for itself, etc., but I also KNOW because of how tightly He held me that day. Words will never do it justice, but if you’ve ever experienced this same upholding from the Father, you understand this something that I could never describe.
As our news began to settle in, God asked me to begin grieving my plans, and friends, this was the hardest part of all.
The dreams I had for my daughter…the plans I had made for her…He asked me to release those to Him.
At the time, I thought it was because of her Down Syndrome that He wanted me to let go of all of the big plans I had for her, but in the months ahead, I realized that her diagnosis had nothing to do with why God was asking me to walk through the painful process of releasing.
First up for me? An accurate education regarding Down Syndrome was in order! Up until this point, my experience with individuals with this diagnosis was limited, and my understanding of their abilities was narrow. Not only did I begin to read and understand, but I also began to be inspired by all of the amazing individuals out there who have never allowed their specific special needs to limit them. All of this served to remove much of my fear and replace it with hope and excitement about life with our girl.
Isn’t it amazing how false information and a lack of understanding can fuel our fears?
Next, it was time for the biggest part of the whole lesson.
You see, it was during this time when God spoke to me and said,
I’m not only asking you to release the plans you’ve had for your daughter. I’m asking you to let go of the plans you’ve had for all of your children.
Um, excuse me, God.
They’re going to receive the best education I can provide.
Then they’re going to go to college…
…and then after that, they’re going to earn three or four additional degrees…
…and then they’re going to marry the perfect spouse…
…and they’re going to build a home together – gifting me with at least two dozen grand babies…
…and all of us – the whole family – is going to live in the same town…right next door to me, actually – forever and always.
God’s response to me? Let go.
I wrestled with Him for a little while, but you may not be surprised to hear me say that He always wins the wrestling match.
He assured me that while my heart for my children was overflowing with well-meaning intentions for them, my human perspective on the matter was skewed.
He reminded me that I am flawed…my plans are flawed…
…and that He writes far better stories than I do.
He reminded me that my children are human…they will more than likely stumble at times (as we all do)…the path ahead for them (any of them) may not be as smooth as I have imagined…
…but He will use it all to show His redeeming power.
Isn’t that what He has in mind for each one of us? To take our skewed perspective and our flawed plans (and yes, even those earthly successes that surely do make our mamas happy) and use it all to tell a story about Himself?
So in our journey, He has been teaching me about letting go – and trusting Him, and while I would love to say I had mastered the lesson during His first class, I can’t. This is an area where I am convinced the Great Teacher will be working with me until the day I meet Him face-to-face.
Grieving my plans?
Nothing has ever been harder…but nothing has ever given me more peace.