As I type this it is Sukkot, the wonderful feast of booths, the ingathering…the WEEK OF JOY! And so bundling all that Joy and Octobers Down syndrome awareness month together I give you a wee tribute to my own little joy…
Thaniel has been the bringer of many things, he is an incredible teacher, a wonderful illuminator, and above all a preacher. You don’t get that straight off. When first meeting him you get that he’s cute and funny and has a crooked smile that lets him get away with all manner of nonsense. But living with Thaniel is a different story altogether.
The way he lives is like a textbook of how to do life.
I now believe more than ever that God sent Thaniel for me so that I could work some stuff out and become a better me. Things like trust and joy and honesty and vulnerability and inclusion are opening up to me like never before.
For instance, take the scripture ” Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS and again I tell you rejoice” (Philippians 4:4)
This command, meant for us to obey , has often seemed impossible. How can we rejoice ALWAYS?
1 Thessalonians says ” Rejoice ALWAYS, pray continually , give thanks in ALL circumstances…”
No one is happy all the time!!!
But then along comes Thaney ( and I bet he isn’t much different from your own child in this) I’m picking him up from daycare and I can hear him crying just inside the door, and then I open it and he sees me and his little face lights up. I get a big excited ” Mama!” And his wee feet fly toward me and his tiny arms wrap around my neck and all is right with the world.
His joy isn’t found in his circumstances, it’s found in his relationship with me. He’s rejoicing in me. ( right back atcha pal )
” Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus ”
Be anxious for NOTHING!? Like at all??? Are you kidding!! Believe me I get the pray about it part, but peace? Peace that apparently is just supposed to show up and I won’t worry anymore? Didn’t God take into account that moment your 17 day old baby is wheeled into an operating room and you feel like a part of your soul has been ripped from you? Or when you are thinking of your eight children at home who essentially have one parent as your doctor says the words ‘ leukaemia ‘ to you…You bet I’m going to pray!!! But leave it? Just ask God, THANK HIM and chill? Impossible.
Except that’s just what Thaney does!! He points at the thing he wants, says the brilliantly clear word ” some?” And often times he will hold out his hand waiting. Not concerned in the least that I won’t get it and give it. He knows I love him and I will move heaven and earth to get him what he wants and needs. End of story. I gotta be more like that.
Thaniel has friends who look different , sound different and act different and he likes them all equally and without reservation. That’s a God type thing.
Thaniel doesn’t remember yesterday’s issues, he wakes up like the slate is clean.
Thaniel is determined to find a way to get into the cookie cabinet…. well that might just be a kid thing.
Thaniel doesn’t death grip me when I carry him, like he’s afraid I’m going to drop him. He trusts me. Fully.
Thaniel tries my patience and when I keep my cool and rise to the challenge he rewards my efforts with giggles and kisses.
He forgives me over and over when I have to hold him down for tests and such. Even though it breaks his heart, he cuddles with me after.
Thaniel has taught me what real strength is and where it’s found as he leans into the people he loves when he is sick and needy, he doesn’t try to go it alone.
Thaniel has taught me what real expectation is. He doesn’t ‘hope’ for something. He waits on it like it’s a sure thing. ( oh Lord, may my soul wait only upon you)
Thaniel can show me faster than anything where I’m coming up short, and typically the quickest way to improve is to spend more time with him.
I’m telling you, it’s been like ” better human 101″ around here since he came into my life. I wanna be more like Thaniel.
In honour of Down syndrome awareness month
Currently there are tests and screening processes in place to help people determine earlier and earlier whether or not the child you are carrying has Down syndrome. In some countries the advent of these tests (non-evasive prenatal tests available since Oct 2011) has resulted in a 100% abortion rate for positive results, in others it’s pretty close, China boasts large billboards urging women to ” say no to Down Syndrome!”
And I’m just gunna say right out, I shudder to imagine a world without this gift in it. What will we be left with? And who’s next?
Who would I be without Thaniel? Would I be able to find joy in the darkness without this little boys resilience? Could I say beyond a shadow of a doubt that I trust the Most High to act in my best interests and provide for me all that I need? Would I know the peace of self acceptance that’s rooted in knowing God accepts even me just as I am? God provided Thaniel for me, Thaniel and his Down syndrome ( insert thanks to Stephanie Doggart for your words this morning, preach it!)
Because God didn’t reject me when it was glaringly clear that I wasn’t perfect and never would be. He didn’t discount me when it was obvious I’d never come close to His holiness. He enfolded me with His love and planned good things for me. How could I do any less for Thaney bear?
At the moment Thaniel is educating me in the finer points of reading the same book over and over and over again… I wonder what Godly principle that will teach me?