By Jan Null
Most blogs on the Living Hope site impact us with words of hope and Biblical instruction from the Word that encourage us to walk strong and live in the light. This one has a slightly “out of the box” message from experience. You see, October marks Down’s Syndrome Awareness month. And this is a bit of how my life changed since David was born thirty years ago.
David arrived in March 1990. He was right on time! Because of tests beforehand, there was a risk of Down’s Syndrome. Those words from the doctor planted me in Psalm 139 as we waited. Yes, my baby was fearfully and wonderfully made. His frame was not hidden from God. All of his days were ordained before he took his first breath. God’s thoughts toward him were precious. So when David arrived on March 25, I saw the tiny ears, felt the weak body tone, and noticed the spacing between fingers and toes. I knew full well, this little guy had an extra chromosome. And do you know something? God planned it just that way! David’s arrival was met with some guarded celebration and a few sympathy cards, and the journey began.
In John 9, when Jesus encountered a man born blind, the disciples asked who had sinned -the parents or the man? Jesus quickly responded that this man’s life would show the glory of God. Those words encouraged me immensely. Thirty years later, I see the fruit in David’s life reverberating God’s greatness.
My David reminds me of the David of the Bible, a man after God’s own heart. The music that echoes from his bedroom is a nightly reminder that he is in worship mode. Every week his journal pens the Sunday Scriptures that were used in the sermon. He prays faithfully for those in his path and for every anonymous person who has ever been in an ambulance once David hears the siren. His heart of giving is admirable. He wants to help whenever a need arises. Much to my husband’s chagrin, he loves to stand on the deck with his Bible and preach a sermon to those who walk and bike on the Rail Trail. David loves his Jesus and makes no qualms about it!
Some people expected David’s life to impact mine in a negative way. I knew it would change my world but I had no idea how significantly. God pulled me to himself and stretched my faith to walk ahead in raising a child that would have multiple challenges. What I didn’t realize was all the joy that was ahead. David’s laugh keeps me smiling. His hugs make my day. I learned quite early what it meant to advocate for a special needs child. I was the best at standing on my head at IEP meetings until David received the support that he needed. I was determined that he would be as independent as possible. He celebrated his thirtieth birthday this year… and he is doing all of those things! This young man has touched my life as well as the lives of others. Much of that has to do with his trusting, childlike faith.
David’s arrival seemed like an unexpected path at the beginning. It was a road I had never walked. At this time, maybe God’s plans seem like a detour. They are not. That sickness, the unexpected bill, the broken relationship, the loss of a job, you name the setback and know that God will walk you through it. In Genesis 12, Abram came home to share with Sarai that they were moving and she needed to pack up all of their possessions. They knew the promises of God and they started on the journey. When God starts us on a path that is uncertain, HE is the certainty. He walks beside us and will give us whatever is needed for the journey. Sometimes, that’s the seatbelt for your roller coaster. I can attest to that! He will bring his plan to fruition and over time (sometimes years!), we can see how good and perfect it is.
Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope.”
Here are just a few of the lessons I have learned on my David journey.
- You can trust the character of God who loves you with an overwhelming, unending love. He has your best interest at heart.
- God’s intent for you is always to lean into a loving and supportive church family to walk beside you. God has placed you in the Body for just that purpose. Stop thinking you are alone. You aren’t.
- God’s perspective is greater than ours. He is more knowledgeable than we are. He sees beyond today and even tomorrow. Rest in that.
- Remembering his faithfulness in the past will help you in this current situation. Journaling those moments when God showed up can be a wonderful reminder to bolster your faith.
- Our value is not based on our abilities; our value is centered on “whose” we are (or who we belong to).
Yes, David has an extra chromosome, but he also has other extras. Extra love, extra sensitivity, extra heart. As he continues to grow, embrace truth, slay his giants and serve where he can at Living Hope Church, thank you for being a part of his story.