As I look ahead to the birth of my son in a couple months, I am excited to finally meet him, to hold him and to love on him. But, if I am honest, I also feel a sense of fear that I will not be ready to handle it. Yes, I have three children already, so I know that I have the parenting things down, like changing diapers, juggling multiple children and chores and dealing with a house full of noise. What I fear though is the unknown….because my unborn son is different…he has Down Syndrome, yes, but how bad is it? What will it mean for our family? Will he be severely disabled? Will he have much of a future? Can I handle it if he is restricted and has a difficult road to walk? All too many times, those thoughts end up in a cry of “I am not ready Lord! I can’t do it!”
But recently, my wife pointed out something that really hit me. She was looking back on our other three children and noticed that their births and early childhoods actually have been preparing us for Timothy! How?
Well, my daughter Abbie was born with a hole in her heart. I remember worrying that it would cause her problems, and might require surgery, but we had to give her to God and trust Him to heal my little girl, which He did.
When my son Zach was born, he had some physical problems that required him to do physical therapy multiple times per week, even as a little baby. Then at six months, he needed a minor surgery on his kidneys that required me to hand him over to a surgeon and trust God for his safety.
Then my son J.T. was born five weeks prematurely and had to spend two weeks in NiCU. While the nurses and doctors cared for him in such amazing ways, I cried almost every day for my little boy. At times, I could not even hold my own son, as he needed the time of isolation and rest to gain strength.
All three of my children have prepared me for the birth of my son Timothy because they each faced what he will be facing. With the hole in his heart, he will face a future surgery as a baby that will require me to give my son to a doctor and trust God to protect his life. His Downs condition will more than likely require him to spend some time in NiCU when he is born, leaving him isolated from us at times, but giving him into the hands of the experts that can help him most. And he will face weeks, months and years of therapies that will test our family and our ability to flex schedules and give up our personal times in order to help our little boy grow.
At the time, I could not understand why The Lord allowed each of my children to face what they did and at times I even got mad at Him and accused Him of being unfair to a little one who had done nothing to deserve it. But now I look back and see that what I saw as God’s “unfairness” was actually a beautiful preparation of a whole family for a beautiful little life that will need us to walk beside him along his journey. And those trials will allow all five of us, to identify with his struggles and love him all the more.
All the way my Savior leads me;
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my Guide?
Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well;
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.
(All The Way My Savior Leads Me, 1875)