Saturday, November 5, 2011

She Is My Own

Every morning, as Andy left home for work, I knew he felt relieved. Relieved that he could spend some time away from me. Sadness, worry, and anger had overtaken my being. I had little patience, the smiles were few, and I cried constantly. I did not like who I had become.  I did not even know if I loved my baby. And I blamed it all on Down syndrome.

I needed to talk to my husband. I wanted to make things right, yet, I did not know how. What I did know, was that talking to him always made things better. One night, as we lay in bed, we began talking.

“The Bible says that God does not give us more than we can handle, right?” I asked him. 

He looked at me, silent for a while.

“That verse from the Bible is often taken out of context.” He said. “That verse refers to temptation. God will not give us more temptation than we can handle.”

“Well what about this. What about us?” I asked, “Does God give us more than we can handle when it comes to…life?”

My husband, knowing what was in my heart, gently said, “Yes honey, I think so. I think often in life we are given more than we can handle. If we could handle it, we would not need God. But when we are given more than we can handle, it is then, and only then, that we realize how much we need Him. We need Him to take over, to lead us, and take control of our lives.”

“I think this is more than I can handle,” I said with tears in my eyes.

“I know,” he said as he reached his hand to hold mine.

“And I need Him to step in, or I am going to lose it.” I continued.

We were silent for a moment, then Andy spoke once more.

“I want to share something with you. Something that God spoke to me about Nichole. I was reading some hymns the other day, this one “I Come To The Garden Alone,” says…

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.”

“This is what the Lord said to me…” Andy swallowed, controlling his emotions for a moment, “God said to me, “Nichole is my own, and I am sharing her with you.  Will you love her? The joy that you will share, because of her, none other has ever known.”

We looked at each other for a while.

“Nichole is not ours honey” Andy continued, “She is God’s precious child and He has entrusted her to us. I will love her, and I am confident we will experience great joy because of her.”

“Maybe we need her.” I said.

“Yes, maybe we need her. And maybe she needs us too. Maybe we need each other.”

As we went to bed, I continued to think about Andy’s words. I imagined God, holding Nichole lovingly in His arms, smiling down at her. Looking at Andy and I, extending His arms to hand her to us and saying, “This is my precious child, Nichole. I love her. She is precious to me. And I have chosen you, of all people. Will you love her? Will you love her like I do?

I was broken, broken in so many places. Yet the Lord still loved me. It did not matter that I was broken, it did not matter that I did not know how to love. His love was unconditional. It was His love that mattered. I depended on His love, because I needed it, I needed Him.
This is more than I can handle Lord. I need you to step in. 

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  1. This was such a beautiful, heartfelt post, Ellen. It brought me to tears! Thank you so much for sharing this journey with me and all of us who follow your blog! Reading your story has taught me so much. God bless <3

  2. Beautiful. I really like what your husband said about God giving us more than we can handle so that we will need him.

  3. Okay, you owe me a box of Kleenex. This post is so lovely. God is so good. I am so glad God brought you and Andy to Orchard View and then lead us there too. You and your family are such a blessing to me.

  4. This is a beautiful story to follow, thank you so much for taking the time to write it out for us!

    Do you think you felt overwhelmed and saddened by DS b/c you felt it was something that "happened" to your daughter, not part of who she is? Our culture unfortunately looks at children that divert from the 'normal' path as 'broken', but our brokenness is what turns us to God completely, just like your husband said. (not that I think of children with DS as broken, my cousin Jillian is the absolutely happiest, carefree, loving, and most wonderful young woman you could ever meet!) Forgive me for stating the obvious if so, it was a thought that popped up suddenly :) God bless you guys!

  5. You know Jamie, you ask a great question! No, I did not feel it was something that had happened to Nichole. I knew well that this was part of who Nichole was. I think this is why I was having a hard time. I knew God did not make mistakes and Nichole having Down syndrome was always part of the plan. I just did not like it at the time. I wasted so much time being sad, and there was so much to celebrate. it just took me a while to get there!

  6. I'm with Kathy...You owe me Kleenex, too. I really believe you should get this series published.

  7. I so agree with your husband. I get rather annoyed when people say "God doesn't give you more than you can handle." He absolutely does. And when He does, you get to choose. You choose whether to be defeated by yourself. Or whether you draw closer to Him who allowed (whatever you believe to be the challenge in your life) to give Him glory. And I'm so thankful that you guys give Him the glory.

  8. Beautiful post, Ellen. So often people look at my family and tell us that we must be "STRONG" since "God doesn't give us more than we can handle." I completely agree with your husband's interpretation of this scripture -- God absolutely gives us more than we can handle in our own is only through OUR weakness that HIS glory is revealed. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Anonymous4:51 PM

    I have read this, and it brought tears to my eyes. I'm Blessed that I have met you Ellin, and I know God has plans for everyone. i love you sister.


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