Why We’ve Been Celebrating

This past weekend we celebrated our son’s 16th birthday. While all of our children’s birthdays are special, his are a yearly reminder of God’s goodness in caring for him when he was a critically ill newborn. Back when he lay in his isolette with tubes taped to him and monitor leads stuck on him, we didn’t know that he would become the healthy, strong and happy young man he is today. So we celebrate!

I wish we could have known back then that he would be ok. I also wish we could have known that having a baby with disabilities is not the trauma it looks like at first.

It was 16 years ago yesterday that a doctor we’d never seen before interrupted our celebratory hospital dinner (champagne, steak, éclairs) to bluntly tell us that our son had suddenly begun having trouble breathing, his heart wasn’t working right, he would have to be transferred to a larger hospital, and oh, by the way, we think he might have Down syndrome.

Great bedside manner, that guy. It was like being hit by a ton of bricks. At first, we chose to deal with the health issues rather than the spare chromosome and what it meant, because the health issues were more pressing. But once our son began to stabilize, we had to face the fact that he was quite different from his siblings in some important and unchangeable ways.

Like most parents with a special needs child, we discovered that there’s a grief process you go through when you have a child with disabilities. You have to accept that he won’t be president, won’t be a scholar, and in the case of Down syndrome, won’t get to raise a child of his own someday.

But once you learn to stop focusing on the things he won’t do, you can begin to celebrate the things he does. You learn about them as they happen. He brings joy to your family, he works hard to master every little step of development, he teaches his siblings about love and sacrifice, and he’s used by God to strengthen your faith. I hope I don’t come across as a goody-two-shoes when I say that he is actually a great blessing. I wish we could have known that when we got his diagnosis, but at least we know it now.

He’s a lot of fun as well as an occasional source of frustration. That makes him just like his siblings. Yes, I worry about his future, especially when I read terrible things like this. But I also worry about our older children: our daughter living alone in a large city, our son traveling all over the country on business (and out of the country on mission trips), and our younger daughter, who is just reaching the age where she must make some important decisions about her future. Parenting has exponentially increased my prayer life!

And that’s a good thing. God uses parenting to grow us and to make us into the people he wants us to become. The tools he uses for this are our children, who happen to be a blessing in their own right.

That’s just one reason why their birthdays are so special. In the case of our youngest, we also celebrate the fact that he’s made it through so many challenges and is still here with us. For that, we are grateful!

Do You Fear the Future?

Every time I click on Drudge these days I see all sorts of headlines about the scary stuff going on in our economy. People are losing their retirement accounts and investments. Other countries are having money issues, too. It’s easy to become frightened.

But blog reader Jan A. emailed me something that is the perfect antidote for those headlines. Thanks, Jan!


God’s Bank Ain’t Busted Yet
By Alice P. Moss

The bank had closed; my earthly store
had vanished from my hand;
I felt that there was no sadder one
than I in all the land.
But my washerwoman, too,
had lost her little mite with mine,
And she was singing as she hung
the clothes upon the line.

“How can you be so gay?” I asked;
“Your loss don’t you regret?”
“Yes, ma’am, but what’s the use to fret?
God’s bank ain’t busted yet!”
I felt my burden lighter grow;
her faith I seemed to share;
In prayer I went to God’s great throne
and laid my troubles there.

The sun burst from behind the clouds,
in golden splendor set;
I thanked God for her simple words:
“God’s bank ain’t busted yet!”
And now I draw rich dividends,
more than my hands can hold
Of faith and love and hope and trust
and peace of mind untold.

I thank the Giver of it all,
but still I can’t forget
My washerwoman’s simple words:
“God’s bank ain’t busted yet!”

Oh, weary ones upon life’s road,
when everything seems drear,
And losses loom on every hand
and skies seem not to clear;
Throw back your shoulders, lift your head,
and cease to chafe and fret.
Your dividends will be declared:
“God’s bank ain’t busted yet!”