That video was shot exactly one year ago today. New Years Eve 2010. Wow. What a year this has been…!
As I type this, there’s only 30 minutes left of 2011 and I’ve been thinking about this last blog post of the year all week. There’s a million things I want to say, but I’m having a difficult time trying to put them all into words. I want to publish one last post in 2011 so I’m going to postpone the other ideas I had for this post (for now) and just try to sum up how I feel tonight; exactly one year from when I recorded the video above.
Edit: This post ends up being really long. I didn’t mean for it to, but it did. If you don’t have time to read this entire post, let me just it all up for you:
I’m in awe of God’s grace and kindness towards our family this year. In complete awe.
Ok, feel free to go and eat some blacked eyed peas now if you’d like. 🙂
This Time Last Year, Part 1: The Surprise Of Our Life
On Dec 31, 2010 my wife and I just celebrated Noah’s 2 week birthday. It was a wonderful, joyful day…but we were more scared than we had every been about anything in our life. Ever. Let me explain.
We learned that our son was born with Down syndrome four hours after he was born. We never saw it coming. We were completely blindsided. A few days after Noah’s birth my wife and I walked back into the through the same door we had walked out of just a few days previous as we headed to the hospital to welcome Noah into the world. Never in a million years would we have thought we’d be walking back into our home with our new son…..who also happened to be born with Down syndrome. Talk about the surprise of your life. 🙂But it was ok. We loved Noah with every once of our being. We were excited. We were nervous. We were scared. We were confused. We were hurting. We were joyful. It was as if we were injected with every single emotion a person could feel (and some I didn’t even know existed.) It was a very odd feeling. But out of all the emotions we were experiencing, there were two that always rose to the top: love and pride.
We loved Noah. And we were proud of him.
This Time Last Year, Part 2: The Scariest Day Of My Life
About a week after coming home from the hospital with Noah, and as we started to catch our breath, we received a call from Noah’s pediatrician. She said we needed to come to her office right away to discuss something that had come back on Noah’s newborn screen. As we rushed out the door my wife, a pediatrician, assured me it was no big deal, and it was probably just an issue with his thyroid. When we arrive at the pediatrician’s office we’re told that Noah’s newborn screen had come back positive for Glutaric acidemia, type 1 (GA-1) a rare genetic disorder that has nothing to do with Down syndrome and can be deadly! (In fact we were told that if Noah had both Down syndrome, and GA-1 that he would likely be the first child ever to have both. Just great.)
We were told it would take about 90 days to know for sure, and during that time they would need to run a series of tests on our son….one of which being a DNA sequence. (You can read more about everything on my personal blog.) My wife made me promise not to google GA-1, and I didn’t. I was to scared (and I had no idea how to spell it!) But later that night she sat me and my in-laws down and gave us a packet of information…..and it was scary. Very scary. (At the time I didn’t have this blog, but wrote about it on my personal blog.) As you can imagine we were overwhelmed. First Down syndrome,and now this. Talk about kicking a guy while he’d down (pun intended!) 🙂
We wept that night. That week. That month. We were scared for our son. We just had our first Christmas with our first child, and we were about to have our first New Years Eve celebration with him…this was supposed to be a time of great joy in our life, and it was…but boy was there also a lot of pain as well. The doctor told us to “try not to worry about this” and to “just try to relax until we get all the tests back…”
Easier said than done.
A Father’s Prayer
On December 27, 2010 (the night we found out about all of this) at 12:59 a.m. I sat alone in Noah’s nursery weeping. I was afraid. I was scared. I felt helpless (I was.) I felt like no one in the world could relate to what I was going through. As I wept, I wrote the following words (which I’ve never shared with anyone, until now) in my journal (yes, I keep a journal, so what…) 🙂
…I’m more scared than I’ve ever been. I am nervous, anxious, and many more things. I want to know my son. I want to teach him about God. I wonder if I’ll ever get to do that now. I’m scared of Noah dying. GA-1 looks very scary. What will we do if he has this? Will there ever be happy days again? Will worry overcome me? Will life ever be normal again? Will my wife be sad forever? Will I? I feel so alone. So worried. The only thing I know to do is pray. I believe God is on His throne watching everything. This is no shock to Him, or to Noah. Today I am fasting. I’m not even sure why. I just want God to know I’m serious. Reggie, his wife, and Brandon are fasting with me. We are begging God for a false positive for the GA-1 test. We will praise God either way, but a false positive sure would be nice. I love Noah more than I every thought you could love someone. I feel like my heart is going to explode it is so full. I’m also in deep pain because I can’t “fix” my son. I can do nothing but pray, which is actually the best thing to do. Father, give me peace. Have mercy on Noah, and to us. Please give us a long time to enjoy Noah. He is my son. As a Father your understand the pain of loosing a son. But Father would you spare us that pain! I know we don’t “deserve” that are son get better any more more than any other parents praying this same prayer tonight, but Lord I beg you. I feel like if he has this, my heart will be sad forever. I feel like I’ll worry forever. Although I know you can, and do, give peace to us when we go through something difficult, I don’t want it to be this way. Please God, answer our prayer. Please give Noah a false positive for this test. Either way Lord, please give us peace to walk through this. We are your children, and we are afraid. Please God show your glory through this (which you will do no matter what the outcome.) Lord give me the strength to say ‘thy will be done,’ and the strength to commit my son to you. He is yours, but Lord we love him. Thank you for all of our blessings, and please give us peace and rest.
Wow. Just typing that out brought back a rush of emotions. I remember weeping so hard as I penned those words that I had to stop writing a few times. I remember never being more scared about anything in my life before. I remember never crying so hard about anything in my life before. I also remember never praying so hard about anything in my life before. I remember just being honest to God about how I felt, and pleading with Him of behalf of my little 2 week old son. If Noah did have GA-1 I knew that God was the only One in the world capable of healing him, and the only thing I knew to do was pray…..ask every other Christian I knew to pray with me as well. And we prayed hard. Every single day.
A Prayer I Never Thought I Would Pray
I believe in the power of prayer. I believe prayer changes things. I remember constantly begging God to answer one prayer for me. It was a prayer I never dreamed in a million years I’d be praying. I prayed
“Dear God please just let my son have Down syndrome…please.”
I never thought in a million years I’d be begging God to just let my son have Down syndrome. But I was.
I was scared. GA-1 can be deadly. Down syndrome isn’t. GA-1 is a big deal. Down syndrome isn’t. And every night I would asked God to, “please just let Noah have Down syndrome.” This time last year this is what I did: I prayed. And waited. And I waited. Prayed. Wept. Hugged my wife. Played with Noah. Wept. Laughed. Hugged Noah. Prayed. Worried. Prayed. Worried. Prayed. Held Noah. And waited……
And that is what was gong on in our life this time last year. Heavy stuff huh? In fact we were at the hospital on New Years Eve last year as we watched our 2 week old baby scream as lab technicians stuck him with needles over and over again while they tried to find a tiny, new born vein on him that big enough to allow them to draw blood. After the tests were finished we came home, and I recorded the video I posted above. And we went to sleep scared. Anxious. Worried, and madly in love with a two week old boy. We would just hold him tight and wish that our little boy would just have Down syndrome.
And that’s what was going on in our life one year ago today. Pretty crazy way to ring in the New Year, huh?
Wanna know what happened? Well…after running all of the tests (including a DNA sequence) we received the results early. And guess what….
…it turned out Noah didn’t have GA-1, and the original test was a false positive! (At least that’s what the Doctor’s say…..me on the other hand….? I think God answered my prayer request that my son would just have Down syndrome. 🙂 Guess I’ll have to wait to find out if I was right.
A Different New Years Eve
Today I’m almost in tears as I write again. But this time the tears are tears of joy. Pure joy. Tonight I held my healthy,1 year old son as he fell asleep (actually he isn’t 100% healthy tonight…he has a little cold.) As I held him I thanked God for the faithfulness, grace, and love He demonstrated toward our family his past year. He gave us peace when no one else could. This time last year when we were hurting people brought us gifts, movies, food, you name it….but none of it gave us true peace. Only God could do that. And He did. He gave us peace in the middle of our darkest days.
I could tell you so many stories about how God worked in our lives during that time, but I’ll just say this. We prayed every night for God to give us peace and joy in the middle of all that we were going through, even when it didn’t seem possible to have peace…..and guess what. He did!
A few weeks after I wrote that entry in my journal my wife and I begin to ask each other, “Today was a good day for me, what about you? Did you cry today” and eventually one of us answered back, “Actually no..I didn’t! Wow!” And we realized that God has transformed our hearts. Our fear had 100% been replaced with joy. In fact by the time we received the news that Noah didn’t have GA-1 we were 100% prepared (and ok) with whatever results we got. It sounds crazy. Impossible even. But it’s true.
What Is Your ‘it’….?
I can honestly say that I now know, first hand, that in our time of need God will supply us with everything we need to get through it. You’ll never think you’ll be able to get through it before you are in it. In fact you may even say (as I did the night before Noah was born) that you don’t think you can “handle” (fill in the blank with your it.) But guess what…when that it comes, you realize that God is bigger than your it.
And He will amaze you. And He will cause you to fall in love with Him even more. And you’ll come out of you it saying that it was the best thing that ever happened to you because now your faith is a million times stronger. And the next time something difficult (another it) comes your way you’ll be less worried because you’ll be able to remember the time God brought you through your it.
The one tough thing about all of this is that you have to go through your it. There’s no growth, like the growth you experience during hard times. Until you go through something really difficult; I mean something so difficult you’re praying prayers like: “God, I’m scared my son is going to die,” you’ll never fully understand the extent of the growth I’m talking about. It’s when you find yourself at a point of desperation and have no choice but to trust God, it’s there, in that scary place, where the greatest growth and deepest understanding of God’s provision and care for you occur.
God Is Still In The Business Of Meeting Needs (And Your Its.)
It’s been a year since that all of that happened and here I am on the other side of it; alive and more grateful than ever. This has been the very best year of my life. Without a doubt. I want you to know that no matter what you are going through, in good times and bad, God cares about you. He truly does. It’s more than just a cliché. More than just a saying. It’s the truth. God not only cares about what you are going through, He is productive. He doesn’t just sit there. He can really give you a peace and joy in the middle of what you going though. Trust me, I know. This time last year all I wanted to do was weep. He turned my weeping into joy. And He can do the same for you.
He wants to give you a joy and peace so deep that everyone else in your life looks at you and wonders, “How could they be smiling at a time like this?” Of course, it doesn’t always mean things will turn out the way you want them to. Sometimes we don’t understand the story God is in the middle of telling. And that’s ok because no matter how scary things get, you can always trust in the One that still holds the whole world in His hands. And you can go to sleep at night trusting in the fact that your it is fully, 100% in His hands. That you can cast your cares and burdens onto Him, and He will give you rest. And man….that rest is sweet; trust me.
Wow! it’s almost 5:30 in the morning now, which means it’s 2012. Since it’s the start of a New Year how about I offer you this simple, yet life changing, New Year’s Resolution for 2012: Trust God. That’s it. Instead of worrying night after night about all the “what if’s” and it’s in your life…what would your life be like if you (and I) just start trusting God more. Can you imagine how different your life would be if you and I truly lived our life trusting in the fact that God still holds the whole world in the palm of His hand? Can you imagine how great 2012 could be if we lived each and every day as if that was true? The good news is…it is true!
Let’s start this year off right by committing to trust God in everything this year….even the really scary stuff. Are you willing?
It won’t be easy. But it’ll be worth it.
“When his people pray for help, He listens and rescues them from their troubles. The LORD is there to rescue all who are discouraged and have given up hope. The LORD’s people may suffer a lot, but he will always bring them safely through.”
– Psalm 34: 17-19
How about taking a few minutes to pause, and ask God to help you commit all of your worries, fears, and anxieties to Him this year.
Are you up to the challenge? Be sure to let me know in the comments! Here’s to a great 2012!