A few nights ago Cash woke up in the middle of the night which is a rare occasion. He often sleeps through the night and usually only wakes up when he's not feeling well. Half asleep, I picked him up, nestled him close to my chest, fixed him a bottle and took him back with me to bed. As I studied his almond eyes, listened to his deep breaths, I realized it was probably the first time that I had sat in silence for many days. There wasn't a toddler, or should I say Power Ranger, running through the house, a roar of chatty teenagers at school, or a ding of the phone. Just the silence of the night and the breath of my husband next to me. And out of that silence, when I finally allowed Him to be heard, God spoke to my heart the clearest I've heard in months. "There's your biggest fear." At first I was unsure of what he meant. My biggest fear?
But I looked at my son and remembered a day not long ago when the possibility of my son having Down Syndrome was my biggest fear, the worst thing that could crowd my very comfortable life. When the mere poosibility sent me to the floor in tears. I was fearful of the life we would have, the hurdles he would be faced with, and the affect it would have on our Parker. Would my husband and I spend the rest of our days changing diapers and taking care of our son? So much fear. So much sorrow, anger, and bitterness.
I've spent many of my days the past 8 months trying not to listen to God but also in great desperation for Him to notice my conflicted, heavy heart and heal it. For so long, I have wanted to hear what He has to say because my mind didn't truly believe that He loves me. My heart knows full well that He does but my mind is a battleground of emotions where the casualties on any given day, even any given moment, range from many to few.
When God spoke those words I knew He was using them to remind me of how far we have come in our youngest son's short life so far. We have experienced the deepest of sorrow but the most beautiful joy. We have battled, fallen, and retreated. We have conquered, laughed, and rejoiced. He reminded me that I have faced what was once my biggest fear. My son has Down Syndrome but his future is much, much brighter than I once dreamed.
I have new fears now. Fears of losing loved ones. Fear of the future. Fear of disease and pain in my family. We will have to face many of those fears in the days that make up our short life. But what I do know is that God will still push us forward, regardless of whether we see His goodness in the midst of our sorrow. He will still save us each day when fear cripples our hearts.
And with each fear we overcome, God leads us to be more like Him. He doesn't mind a scarred and, sometimes, bruised heart. He doesn't mind a little anger, brokenness, and all the emotions that a crisis often brings. It is those hearts that He can change to fight. To be mighty.
I had the sweet opportunity to spend some much needed time with some of my oldest friends the other night. As I looked around at each familiar face, I rememered all that I have seen each of them overcome. All the battles they, too, have fought and God reminded me that I wasn't alone.
We have all had battles. And we have overcome. We will continue to overcome. And it is on those dark days that I hope you'll remember that hidden deep within our deepest fear can also be a breath of new life laced with joy, strength, and beautiful perspective.
"You're a good, good father. It's who You are. It's who You are."