I am so excited because a dear friend and sister in Christ has agreed to guest post today. She has an amazing testimony of what God has done in her life. God has used her to always point me to Christ as I sought to understand what He was doing in my life, especially with regards to Gabriel. I hope you, too, will be greatly encouraged.
Spring of 1998: “Mrs. Tanner, your AFP test came back extremely high. We need you to come in tomorrow for a level 2 ultrasound.” These were the words that led the way to a new and unexpected chapter in my life as well as my husband’s.
Two weeks following “the” call, we found out that our precious baby, whom we knew and still believe is a sweet blessing from the Lord, had a syndrome. This syndrome was so rare that there were only 7-8 known cases worldwide. From various tests performed, we also found out that our baby had multiple birth defects, including a cleft lip and palate, a hole in his heart, poor lungs, an omphalocele (intestines outside of the stomach), and would be moderately to severely mentally challenged.
So, there my husband and I were, in our twenties, seemingly healthy, living a good life; expecting a child whose physical and mental needs would be so severe, we shouldn’t expect him to live. As you might expect, we were a mess. We prayed and questioned God; then, we prayed and questioned God some more. “Is this punishment?” “What did we do wrong?” “Did I do something to cause this?” As we received counsel from our Pastor as well as trusted friends, some of the fears and questions ceased. In fact, by the 7th or 8th month, we were able to live each day with a genuine gladness in our hearts and a smile on our faces.
What got us through? It’s actually Who got us through. It’s Jesus. His promised sustaining grace got us through; remembering His character which is good, perfect, and holy gave us hope. “‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
March 2013: This year, our son will be celebrating his 15th birthday. Yes, many days, my husband and I still have questions, fears, and moments of feeling defeated. In fact, we probably have more fears and questions now because we went on to have more children! Our son is big brother to 3 more blessings.
I wish I could say we lived happily ever after, but the fact remains, days can be hard. Having children who are so called “normal” bring fears and questions. But having a child with disabilities brings with it a set of question marks all its own. But, as I speak for my husband and I, whether it’s a good day or a difficult one, one thing remains constant: our source of strength and joy … Christ.
Note: Names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.