The impact of Charlie in my life…
We were elated to welcome another Fine boy into our home on September 3rd. It was so wonderful to be changing diapers, making homemade wipes, doing baby laundry and of course savoring baby snuggles again! (Moby slings are my favorite!) Though this had interrupted my plans to leave that morning because I was going to be serving up at our local Father Son Retreat that weekend, I would take a baby any day! Little did I know that in the next 6+ months ahead God had pre-made greater and bigger plans for this little man and our family.
About a week after Charlie came into our home, several things made it clear that he needed to go to the hospital immediately. That first day and the days following required me to TRUST the Lord and acknowledge that HIS ways were BEST. The kids and I often spent time in a little circle or scattered about pleading with the Lord for Charlie’s life to be spared and healing for his little body. (Phil 4:6-7) At first, it was easy to be hopeful and optimistic about our future with Charlie, and to say the least, I was so thankful to even have Charlie with us still after all that had happened. But as time wore on it became more difficult to trust and have faith that the Lord would work a miracle in Charlie or even heal him. I never thought I would struggle with this and had always thought I could trust the Lord no matter the trial. I think the Lord decided to test my faith in Him. Praise the Lord through His love, mercy, and steadfast promises, I never turned my back on God and lost faith in HIS marvelous ways. In fact, I found more comfort in Him as things became difficult. His word is full of hope and promises, and you can be sure I have held on to as many as I could find!
To name a few:
“I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
“No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
I still have doubtful moments, but the Lord never ceases to remind me of His power and ability to do all things, even BIG things! It has been impressed upon me that God can answer our prayers… and exceedingly more.” (Eph. 3:20-21)
When dad told me that Charlie was born with an extra chromosome and the test for Down syndrome was positive, my first response was discouragement. All the visions I had of Charlie growing up, marrying, having children, etc… had shattered.
At once, a memory of a few years back came flashing to my mind…..We were at Cold Stone and I had seen a little down syndrome toddler; he was friendly and we exchanged smiles and waved at each other as we walked out. To tell you the truth, it was “love at first sight”. Upon arriving home and having thought about it, I prayed that the Lord would someday give me a little down syndrome child. I knew that the Lord’s will would be done, but not the way I thought. 😉
God is good…He knew our need; my prayer was His will. This was an answered prayer! Clearly, the Lord had a purpose for Charlie! My discouraged look quickly formed into a smile, then a chuckle. Wow! The Lord has a sense of humor. The Lord has grown my faith, love, trust, and relationship with Him and my abilities at home tremendously in such a short time. After revealing a stronghold of fear in my life, the Lord is graciously using this trial to teach me to kick it out and advance in the confidence of Christ and His blood shed for me on the cross. I have no reason to hold guilt, shame, fear, etc… because Christ forgave it all and I am a new creation. (2 Cor. 5:17) I can move forward in faith knowing that Christ will use hardships in my life to purify me. (1 Peter 1:7) I can overcome obstacles and face trials and hardships because I know that I have victory in Christ. (1 Cor. 15:57) Though I would have never wanted this, I would not trade this for anything.
Rejoice in the Lord
God never moves without purpose or plan
When trying His servant and molding a man.
Give thanks to the LORD though your testing seems long;
In darkness, He giveth a song.
I could not see through the shadows ahead;
So I looked at the cross of my Savior instead.
I bowed to the will of the Master that day;
Then peace came and tears fled away.
Now I can see testing comes from above;
God strengthens His children and purges in love.
My Father knows best, and I trust in His care;
Through purging more fruit I will bear.
O Rejoice in the LORD
He makes no mistake,
He knoweth the end of each path that I take,
For when I am tried
I shall come forth as gold.
By Ron Hamilton
The Lord continues to test me, and though I have struggles and weaknesses, the Lord never fails to see me through. Praise Him!
I look forward with great anticipation to seeing Charlie’s story unfold. I love him so much and could not imagine life without this precious gift! I am literally “in love” with him. And I know that beneath those rolls chub and sweet baby-ness there is a heart like a lion, ready to fight for his King, and his King will see him through each battle to the end!
The Lord has been abundantly merciful, and faithful to us during this new season of our lives. The Church body has demonstrated Christ’s love in such a tremendous way to our family and Charlie. They have been a living example of 1 Corinthians 12. We love them all so dearly and thank the Lord for them!
The piles of Samaritan Ministries support envelopes that come in every day are just a small reminder of how good God is supplying our every need. These cards are filled with scripture, prayers, encouragement, testimonies, love, and sympathy from thousands of Christians all over the U.S. What a blessing! We are truly overwhelmed by all of the love shown to our family and Charlie …..and all we can say is….“Praise the Lord, To Him be the Glory forever!”
With love to all of you!
Romans 5:3 – And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
Photo Credit: Breezy Brookshire