hiatus

Well, here I am…close to two years after we were about to experience the most stressful time of our lives, ready to publish another blog post.

When I read my last blog post, some emotions started to rise up, as I remembered all the good messages God sent my way in the time leading up to heart surgery.  When I look back at photos from that hospital stay, I cannot stop the tears from flowing.

I have always been terrible at keeping a regular diary or journal…I JUST can’t do it…instead, growing up, I had a drawer in my desk where I’d toss inspiring thoughts hastily scribbled on scraps of paper…with the hope someday I’d write them…in another place.  Now, on the rare occasion, I put my snippets on files in my computer…here are some snippets that I saved in a file on Jan. 15, 2015, with some edits too:

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I’ve wanted to write this for a very long time.  After Naomi’s surgery, I felt a burning need to process, but never got around to it.  Maybe finding something else to do.  Maybe avoiding remembering the trauma.  Finally, at the beginning of a new year, taking some time to remember.

Today, the public health nurse (she really is so kind, and this is her job), but she decided to slip in “ye old” post-partum depression questionnaire.  She used this:  http://www.fresno.ucsf.edu/pediatrics/downloads/edinburghscale.pdf  I complied and took the test for the second time since Naomi was born.  Today, the score was like 2 or 3, not a problem.  The last time she gave me the test was back in May–just after Noami’s diagnosis.  The nurse let me know the previous score.  It was a lot higher, back then.  (According to the test, “Mothers who score above 13 are likely to be suffering from a depressive illness of varying severity”).  At the time, I did not like the test, feeling that depression is very different from sadness/grief.  There was a reason for my sadness/grief–we had just found out Naomi has Down syndrome.  Back then, my head felt like it had been replaced by a rock.  Couldn’t sleep, yet so tired.  Often in tears.  In the early days, a friend told me about this song, and I played it on repeat, over and over and over!  Listened to it and cried to it too!

“Overcomer” by Mandisa

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8VoUYtx0kw&feature=kp

Staring at a stop sign

Watching people drive by
T Mac on the radio
Got so much on your mind
Nothing’s really going right
Looking for a ray of hope

Whatever it is you may be going through
I know He’s not gonna let it get the best of you

[Chorus:]
You’re an overcomer
Stay in the fight ‘til the final round
You’re not going under
‘Cause God is holding you right now
You might be down for a moment
Feeling like it’s hopeless
That’s when He reminds You
That you’re an overcomer
You’re an overcomer

Everybody’s been down
Hit the bottom, hit the ground
Ooh, you’re not alone
Just take a breath, don’t forget
Hang on to His promises
He wants You to know

[Chorus]

The same Man, the Great I am
The one who overcame death
He’s living inside of You
So just hold tight, fix your eyes
On the one who holds your life
There’s nothing He can’t do
He’s telling you

(Take a breath, don’t forget
Hang on to His promises)

[Chorus]

You’re an overcomer
You’re an overcomer
You’re an overcomer

So don’t quit, don’t give in, you’re an overcomer
Don’t quit, don’t give in, you’re an overcomer
Don’t quit, don’t give in, you’re an overcomer
You’re an overcomer

But, wow, things have changed.  Today, I couldn’t even look at the options I selected back then on that post-partum depression questionnaire–almost a physical reaction–don’t want to go there back to that sad time.  (It now makes sense to me that soldiers don’t like to talk about war!  Even if there was a victory, it came with much pain.)  It’s so good to process emotions, but looking back can bring up painful memories.  Back then…if I got enough sleep, I could keep things together, a bit better.  If not, it was so easy to dissolve into tears.  Sleep was very important.  (Now, I mostly cry watching Little House on the Prairie with the family!  There are challenges, but overall, life is good.  It is a gift.)

When I was worrying if Naomi had Down syndrome in the early days, my mind started to spin with lots of questions…all kinds of crazy questions…

*what will happen to her when we, as her parents, pass on?  will she live on her own?  or in a home?  (*shudder*) or will her sisters care for her?

*what will people think of us?  will people stare at us when we go out?  (what a dumb thought, I know!)

*what medical issues would she have associated with T21?  (all of them, some of them, high or low functioning?)

*what do we do when she gets her period?  (crazy mind spinning!!!)

*and on, and on, I can’t even remember…

I’m glad I found good first hand perspectives through online blogs and through this book: Babies With Down Syndrome, by Susan J. Skallerup

http://www.amazon.ca/Babies-Down-Syndrome-3rd-Ed/dp/1890627550

It was good to have resources to outline potential medical concerns, but the best part was reading encouraging accounts from parents of children who have Down syndrome.  They gave me reassurance in realizing pretty much all parents of children with Down syndrome had an initial shock/grief stage and then move on to acceptance, and a joyful new perspective on life, and counted their little one as a blessing.

The road is not always easy, but it is good.

John 16:33

33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will[a] have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

And I don’t need to worry, things will be okay.  Life is not about success.  The greatest is LOVE!

I Corinthians 13:8-13 …

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part,10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

And, God will be with me.  This song was also a great encouragement to me.

By Your Side – Tenth Avenue North

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J95rAr0gOFU

Why are you striving these days
Why are you trying to earn grace
Why are you crying
Let me lift up your face
Just don’t turn away

Why are you looking for love
Why are you still searching
As if I’m not enough
To where will you go child
Tell me where will you run
To where will you run

‘Cause I’ll be by your side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Look at these hands at my side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world’s sin
So I could carry you in
And give you life 
I want to give you life

And I’ll be by your side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Here at my side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

‘Cause I, I love you
I want you to know
That I, yeah I’ll love you
I’ll never let you go, no, no

And I’ll be by your side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Here at my side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you 
Here at my side, my hands are holding you
Ohhh…

I believe we are all broken, not just people with disabilities.  I’m starting to understand.  I think it is often people with disabilities who can see God and worship Him in the most pure way.  Last Sunday, I met a young man at church with developmental disabilities.  He was so joyful to know God.  What an inspiration.

Reminds me of this story written by one of my heroes: Corrie ten Boom.  (She and her father and sister hid Jewish people during WWII in the Netherlands.  Her father died in prison and her sister in a concentration camp.  Corrie survived and continued to serve the Lord, presenting His good news of salvation, often in prisons around the world.  She wrote a book called “The Hiding Place“).  Corrie had a ministry to people with disabilities both before and after the war.  On this topic, you can listen to a podcast by Joni Eareckson Tada (has an organization dedicated to Christian ministry in the disability community) about Corrie ten Boom here.  Here’s one interesting quote: “Corrie was working with kids with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities long before churches had established what we now call special-needs ministries.”)  *In the excerpt below, please excuse Corrie’s “mentally handicapped” reference, but let’s keep in mind this was written in a different time, when different language was used.  Nowadays, we use the term intellectual disability.  

“God wants to conquer our largest and smallest difficulties through His love.  Think of the problems in your life at this moment.  Are there problems that you cannot conquer with human love?  Do it from now on with God’s love, God’s “agape”, which never falls short.  “Happy is the man who can draw his love from the heart of his Savior,” Count Zinzendorf once said.

A pastor once spoke of God’s conquering love in Jesus Christ.  A mentally handicapped boy, Toontje, who went to church faithfully but could never understand the sermons, listened this time with great happiness.  The pastor forgot the rest of the congregation and spoke only to Toontje, whose face began to beam more and more.  He understood something of the ocean of God’s love.  The next morning the pastor planned to visit Toontje, but he heard that the boy had died in his sleep.  There was an expression of heavenly joy on the face of the dead boy.  The pastor said: “I believe that Toontje’s heart was broken because he tried to grasp too much of God’s love. “  God, who is so great, loves to give great gifts; but oh, we people have such small hearts.  But the Holy Spirit continually makes our hearts greater and stronger, until we one day see Jesus face-to-face.

When we are on the beach we only see a small part of the ocean.  However, we know that there is much more beyond the horizon.  We only see a small part of God’s great love, a few jewels of His great riches, but we know that there is much more beyond the horizon.  The best is yet to come, when we see Jesus face-to-face.

“Thank You, Lord Jesus, that You poured out God’s love in our hearts through the Holy Spirit.  Thank You, Father, that Your love conquers today’s problems.  Hallelujah.  Amen.””

(p. 21 Messages of God’s Abundance, by Corrie ten Boom)

And, someday, we all have the opportunity for a new body.  No more sorrow or pain.  I thought of that for Naomi.  Maybe her body is a bit more “broken” than most right now, but we will all die someday.  I believe Jesus died for the sins of the world, and He freely gives the gift of eternal life to all who will believe in Him (John 3:16).

1 Corinthians 15:35-58

THE RESURRECTION BODY

35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” 36 How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38 But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. 39 Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. 40 There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. 41 The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.

42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power;44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.

If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”[a]; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven.48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we[b]bear the image of the heavenly man.

50 I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”[c]

55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?”[d]

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Things were pretty scarey at the beginning.  Emotionally, it was like being on a roller coaster.  And yet, God was by our side, during this trial!

“By Your Side” Tenth Avenue North

“”By Your Side”

Why are you striving these days
Why are you trying to earn grace
Why are you crying
Let me lift up your face
Just don’t turn away

Why are you looking for love
Why are you still searching
As if I’m not enough
To where will you go child
Tell me where will you run
To where will you run

‘Cause I’ll be by your side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Look at these hands at my side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world’s sin
So I could carry you in
And give you life
I want to give you life

And I’ll be by your side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Here at my side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

‘Cause I, I love you
I want you to know
That I, yeah I’ll love you
I’ll never let you go, no, no

And I’ll be by your side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Here at my side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you
Here at my side, my hands are holding you
Ohhh…”

 

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