Here we are in our 5th year of life with our 3rd little miracle, KC. This is also our 5th year celebrating Down Syndrome Awareness month. Wow are we blessed!
I was trying to decided what to write about this month and after a little bit of a weird school week for KC I wound up googling what the Bible has to say about disability. I came across several pages that cited specific verses about “disabilities” but most of them included accounts of healing which indicates to me many people view illness and disability the same. This told me some of the answers I find may be skewed. Honestly, I may have thought of the two as the same before having a daughter with an extra chromosome but I now know that they are two very separate matters.
I also came across many sites that said disability exists because of sin.
This logic made me feel both sad and confused. On the one hand I’ve read so many times that we are knit together by our Creator in the womb and we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139). I easily accepted that KC was created in his image from very early in her diagnoses. (Gen 1:27) So much good and so much beauty has come directly from her existence. Sure there have been and will continue to be plenty of dark days and hard times but that’s life with imperfect people in an imperfect world.
So how now do I process the belief that just one of my fearfully made gifts is a result of sin? I feel like I’m beginning to understand why this community often feels so excluded from the church. I continued to search for more answers and I eventually came across a very specific blog. I felt drawn to this one and wasn’t sure why. As I skimmed the page I noticed that the publish date was 10/2/12, the day KC was born! Next I was excited that author first sited on of my favorites, John 9:1-3. “As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
She was reiterating a truth I clearly needed to be reminded of that completely debunks the idea that disability is a result of sin. We are ALL created with a purpose. KC’s diagnosis was NOT a mistake and not result of something gone wrong. It was the result of a Savior that chose to display his good works in and through her. Here is the blog if you’d like to read more: http://www.shannondingle.com/blog//2012/10/my-8-favorite-bible-verses-for-special.html
I love how perfect his power is made in our weakness (2 Cor 12:9). I went to sleep wrestling with all of the thoughts going on in my mind about disability. The next morning one of my best friends sent me a photo of she and I at KC’s baby shower. My mind immediately remembered how difficult that shower was. At the time, the last statistic we’d been given on her survival was just 2%. I only invited very close friends and family in case it was too difficult. I didn’t remove the tags from any of the gifts. I brought them home, set them on her bedroom floor and shut the door. I was busy building my protective heart wall in case we never got to bring her home. My heart was renewed that morning after seeing that photo thinking about how far she’d come as I drove her to her preschool class.
When we got to school I realized the date was Sept 29th. This was the very day 5 years ago that we checked into the hospital because I was in labor, just 32 weeks along and terrified.
Now I was laughing at myself, I spent the night before worried and wrestling with thoughts about reasons and causes for disabilities and God was reminding me of what actually mattered. It matters that she was His masterpiece (Eph 2:10). It matters that she was made to love and be loved, both of which she does so well. It matters that we do our best to raise our girls with the understanding that the way that they love others will sometimes be the only thing that sets them apart from the rest of the world (John 13:35). It matters that we show this love by learning to celebrate our differences and fighting for inclusion for all. I love this quote from Audre Lorde, “It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.”
I love that my reminders didn’t end there. I was on my way out of school when we randomly ran into Roger. He was the one that showed up the day KC was born and asked if he could’ve pray for her. We expected words of encouragement
from him that day but instead he only spoke of healing. He pleaded for healing on our behalf just moments before KC entered the world. She ran up to tell him, “hi.” She ran, she spoke, and she smiled at the one who believed with and for us.
Thank you, God, for the last 5 years with this gift. Thank you for entrusting us with three beautifully different children to share your love with. Thank you for KC’s life and the many good things that are a direct result of her uniqueness. Happy 5th birthday baby girl and happy Down syndrome awareness month. Oh how we love celebrating you!