“And I have put MY words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, …” Is. 51:16
We were about 10 years old, and had been planning it for weeks. Her mom finally gave us permission, and nothing on planet earth could contain our excitement. We were going to spend the sleepover in the coveted camper. Just me and the girl who had been my best friend for my entire life. The camper was located approximately 20 feet from the house, therefore making it an entirely separate location. We were grown up in my mind, practically adults, and totally ready to spend the night by ourselves. Armed with snacks and plenty of secrets to unload, and two over active imaginations, we entered the camper for the night. After thoroughly exploring every nook of the camper, and sharing every possible secret we could think of, and giggling til our sides hurt, our eyes began to get a little heavy. As we were starting to drift off, we heard something brushing up against the camper. “Em, did you hear that?!” Beads of sweat ran down my neck as I breathed in what I was sure would be my last gulp of fresh air until the axe murder came to reap his vengeance. “Tiff, do you think we should go inside?” Truly, it took us probably a full 30 minutes to work up the courage to run inside the house. The next morning as we broke the news to her mother that the axe murder of the safest town in America was most definitely lurking outside of the camper last night, she absolutely did not believe us. She took us outside and showed us our ‘axe murderer’. It was a big branch that when the wind blew, brushed up against the camper making it sound (with a little imagination) like someone trying to get inside. The light revealed the truth about the scariness of the dark. In the light, it wasn’t scary at all, there was nothing to be fear.
Here I stand, 22 years later, and still not as far removed from the fearful girl of yesteryear as I would like to project. Monsters still lurk in the darkness of my life, only now, I’ve learned to run to the Light. He writes His words over my fears, redeeming, loving, and guiding. In the darkness of my fear, I met with her. Genetic counsellor was her title, but I am still left wondering how meeting with her helped me, or added to my life at all. She was certainly kind and pleasant as she asked 100 personal and seemingly irrelevant life questions. Her job was to tell me ‘my chances’. Meaningless ratios of potential disasters to come was what I was allowing myself to be told. She stood there with kindness, but she emanated the one emotion I loathe the most…pity. In all of her ratios and worst case scenarios, she failed to mention how awesome my girl was. She neglected to tell me how blessed I was to have her in my life. She never factored in HIM.
“If I had known, I never would have had her, you know? I would have had an abortion.” She confessed. “You don’t mean that.” I whispered back. I had spent so much of my life judging others. Isn’t that what good Baptists do? We judge under the guise of discerning…atleast I did. Somewhere between my first and fourth child, I ran out of stones to throw. I sat with her, listening to her speak, and understanding far more than anything else. I do not and will not condone abortion under any circumstance. But, I understood her guilt. I understood her fear. I understood her pain. In a former part of my life I would have judged her. Today, I hurt for her.
Unless you have held the best part of your life in your arms and listened numb as a dr. gave a diagnosis that you could barely pronounce, much less understand the full ramifications of, you cannot understand. After the diagnosis, they hand you over to the genetic counsellor. If I had it to do all over again, I would NEVER have spoken to the genetic counsellor. She was a very nice woman, who in no way was unkind to me, but I hated how it made me feel. There is guilt, a LOT of guilt when you have a special needs child. It descends upon you mercilessly. It hunts your relentlessly. The chat with the genetic counsellor is the nail on the coffin. You, out of your own selfish desires have created a mistake, is what they seem to say. We live in a world of oxymorons. Our society screams equality, but when a child is born in a fashion that they deem less than perfect, they project that it would have been better if they had never been born. But that is not what HE says. He says they are precious. He writes His words over mine. His presence is greater than my fear
It’s no wonder in this world of cacophony of diagnosing and testing and predicting, that we have drowned HIS voice from our hearts. We seek lies over truth. We pride ourselves on acceptance and tolerance, but who tolerates our little ones born with ‘defects’? They come at us with diagnosis after diagnosis, and send us to the genetic counsellor that assures us the world would be a better place if we had not procreated and we are left with a heart full of sorrow and enough guilt to suffocate us and an innocent baby that bears our name. Flesh of our flesh. It is then that He speaks. He offers the paradigm shift to the morbidity. He Who authored and designed our genetic code reminds us that she is special. Every part of her was created in my inmost being, and He doesn’t make mistakes.
And to our new little boy that we hope to call son. His papers say cognitive delays. It’s okay. That’s not what HE says. He says, He is precious. He is special. He is wanted.
I pray that He would continue to speak His words into my mouth. I pray that I would choose faith over doubt, that when the darkness threatens to conquer me, I would step into His light. When He shines His light on the situation, I realize there is nothing to fear. There are only treasures here.