Thursday, December 11, 2008

...Is That Love?

There was recently a show on TV that showed a segment on Down syndrome. Dr. Sears, and Dr. Sear Jr. were invited to be a part of the show (I believe Dr. Sears Jr. might be one of the hosts.) What many people do not know, is that Dr. Sears has an adult son with Down syndrome. Which in turn means Dr. Sears Jr. has a brother with Down syndrome. I did not watch the show, but read through the reviews and the comments.

Two things struck me. First, and on a positive note, they did a very good job at talking about the beauty of Down syndrome. They spoke not only from a doctor's perspective, but from a father's perspective, and a sibling's perspective. I read even one of the doctor's mention the devastating statistic that 9 out of 10 babies diagnosed before birth is aborted. To this a female doctor replied that not all women can handle it and they have a choice. This is what I would like to say to that...

Oh really? And what makes you an expert on that? Because believe me, I never thought I could handle it, and neither did any other mom that received the surprise, yet, we have handled it, and discovered along the way how wrong our thinking was, and how wonderful these children are! That, and not to mention that abortion is wrong. Psalm 139 talks about God knitting us together in our mother's womb. God does not make mistakes, not the Lord I serve.

Second, I started reading through some parent comments. As you can imagine, most were from parents that have children with Down syndrome. But there was one that really caught my attention.

This comment was written by a loving parent. They talked about God not making mistakes, how precious their daughter was, but then it said, that unlike other parents, they still prayed that the Lord will take it away, and they believed He will! They said that they prayed that God will make their daughter normal!

It broke my heart! If God does not make mistakes, then why would He change what He has created? For what purpose? I looked at it this way, I could pray very hard that the Lord will change my big ears, I can pray and pray and hope that one morning I will wake up and realize my ears are smaller, beautiful, and proportioned to my face. Could God do that? Of course He can! Will He do it? Probably not. My ears are a genetic condition, just as much as having an extra chromosome is a genetic condition. Their daughter is not sick with Down syndrome. Down syndrome is not a disease. Down syndrome is the way that God specifically, and lovingly, created her.

It broke my heart that even though they wanted to believe so hard that God does not make mistakes, maybe they do. Because I cannot imagine any other reason they would pray for God to change the gift that He has given to them. God's own daughter that He entrusted to them.

Which brings me to realize something.
If I say I love someone,
but wish they were different,
pray they were different,
is that love?
is that unconditional love?


It is selfishness.

Love is patient and kind
Love does not demand its own way
Love rejoices whenever the truth wins out
Love never gives up
Love never looses faith
Love is always hopeful
Love endures through every circumstance

Is this how I love?
Is this how I love Nichole?
I hope so.
At least, I am learning to.

But one thing I do know. She does love this way. I know much of what she has taught me about, is love, unconditional love, God's love. She gets it! I don't. Sure, she is only a baby, but she has already taught me this much. Wow, I have so much more to learn as she grows up!

I would not change anything about her. She might seem broken to some, less than perfect. But in the matters of the heart, in the things eternal, she is hole, and I am not. It turns out, I am much more broken than her, I need more fixing. It turns out, that if God needs to take something away from one of us, it would be me, my selfishness.

If I prayed for Nichole to be different because she seems broken, would that be true love?
I really don't think so.

I love her, completely. With everything in me. Just the way she is.


  1. Ellen,
    I enjoy reading your thoughts. There are many of us who know the right words to say and know what the Bible teaches but that doesn't mean that we don't have our doubts. And that is part of the way that I see John - the Lord asking me if I believe what He says. I like to think that I do but to be honest, sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. Your absolutely right when you say that our children with Ds get it. They are closer to God's economy than we are.

  2. U know Ellen, i really like the way you think. And it is sad to know that some parents pray for God to make their child with DS "normal". What exactly is "normal" anyways? Its just like you said. Nichole is whole in the matters of the heart. thats pretty normal to me. I can see that she's teaching you a lot about love. She is blessed to have great parents like you and andy.

  3. I have written a few posts on this subject, whether or not my daughter needs to be healed. I don't think that she does, but some people do and have asked if they can pray for her healing. My thoughts are that my daughter will know God better than I every will because the world will not get in her way. That is a gift that she has and I don't want to pray for that to be taken from her. I loved your thoughts on this. Very honest and Christ centered.

  4. I've said exactly the same words: God doesn't make mistakes. I accept my little gift with open arms and sometimes fear, but mostly with love. Before he was born, I prayed for humility and I think John Michael is my gift to help me in that area. Our priest says that children with Down syndrome are like little saints on earth -- so much love and goodness. THanks for the beautiful thoughts.

  5. I think you are being too hard on yourself. I don't think you are selfish at all. You are human.

    God may not make mistakes, but people do, and we are raising our children in a world full of imperfect people. I think the desire by some to have the Ds go away stems from the worry of raising our sweet, loving children in a world that does not seem to be welcoming them with open arms. We need the world to change, not our kids.

  6. Yes, yes, yes!! I couldn't agree more and Ellen, you DO get of the family blessings that come with T21 :). I love your post. Kris (Erin's mom)

  7. Ellen- I just read this post tonight. Beautifully stated. I feel the exact same way, you just say the words so much more eloquently than I ever could have. We had a prenatal diagnosis and had to convince Christian people not to pray for Lila's healing. My dadis a pastor and he dedicated Lila. At her dedication he said the world calls it Down Syndrome, David described it in Psalms as "fearfully and wonderfully made." From the day we got the diagnosis I have known that this is exactly what God planned. He doesn't make mistakes and our little angel is perfect in His eyes.


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