I have spent the last 18 months of Arrow’s life questioning my faith. I stood strong during my pregnancy. I trusted God for His faithfulness, even if that meant Arrow didn’t make it to term, or if it meant Arrow had to have have heart surgery following birth. I trusted Him even more when she was delivered healthy and alive; I trusted Him even more as we walked the NICU journey and she grew stronger every day; and I believed Him for miracles as I continued to pray for her heart to be healed, as I prayed with our church pastor who visited us at Swedish regarding her heart. I believed in miracles when we left the NICU with no heart surgery and being told her heart had healed itself. It’s amazing to me how I can see the miracles He provided in her life immediately, but I still spent the 18 months questioning Him and my faith. I spent 18 months wondering why she was born with Down Syndrome? Why does she have to live a life where she has to work harder to achieve the same milestones as others? Why does she have to live a life where others will judge her, dislike her and mistreat her because of her 47th chromosome? Why did she get healed and avoid heart surgery but other babies don’t? Why do other babies with Down Syndrome, or even other birth anomalies, suffer, have multiple surgeries and some don’t even survive? I questioned why Aaron and I couldn’t have a neuro-typical baby; why I couldn’t give him one? Why my body failed me? And as these questions filled my days, my guilt and shame increased. How could I have all these questions? If I shared them people would think I don’t love my daughter. If I shared them people would doubt my faith, and while I may be doubting mine I don’t want to others to. I often thought of reaching out to someone, of asking my questions, of having a person strong in faith guide me, point me in the direction of some truth. Instead, I sat in fear. Fear of what others would think of me if the knew all they questions of why I constantly had running through my head.
One evening while I was cooking dinner and talking with my oldest son Zion, an unexpected answer to my whys was provided to me. Our conversation was about simple, benign topics that moms and sons usually speak of, but for some reason, our conversation took a more serious turn as I told him with tears streaming down my face, that I am struggling. I decided to open up, to share with him that I am questioning my faith, that I don’t understand why God gave me Arrow, why she was born with Down Syndrome, why she has been healthy but others suffer. As I listed off my why’s, with tears streaming down my face, Zion stood and listened. He didn’t tell me to stop being stupid, he didn’t tell me I was being irrational; he simply listened. As I finished sharing my feelings that I had been keeping hidden for 18 months, he smiled at me and responded with love, compassion and wisdom by telling me,
“At Ekklesia just recently our pastor spoke about this very thing. How we often ask why? How we seek to know why situations are happening, but instead we should be asking God a different question. We should be asking God What? What am I supposed to learn from this? What do you want me to do through this? The question should never be why but instead what?”
I have spent much time since this conversation with Zion marinating on the statement of asking God what instead of why. The healing has been great as I have begun to change my mindset and begin asking God what. I struggled with why because there would never be answers, I would never know nor understand but with what I can grow, I can change, and I can find purpose through the journey. As I have asked Him what I am to be learning, what is the purpose of this journey for me I have begun to see the questioning of my faith lessen and the strength of my faith begin to grow again. Asking what has helped me to look at the last 18 months differently and come to positive conclusions. I am learning that I can sit silently and simply raise my daughter, speaking up for her when necessary through school and other situations or I can be bold. I can allow my great love for her, my questions of why she has to live a life where people with judge, dislike and ridicule her because of her 47th chromosome, partnered with my faith to help be speak up, to advocate and to educate. My life isn’t about why anymore, instead it’s about what. What am I going to do to make a difference? What am I going to do to make the world better for kids like Arrow? What am I going to do to educate people about Down Syndrome? What am I going to do to educate medical professional on how to deliver Down Syndrome diagnosis with compassion rather than dread? What am I going to do to love on other moms who walk similar paths? What am I going to do to make a change, to be bold, to act in love and in faith?
Those what’s are big questions, but I know there are big answers! I know I will be stepping so far out of my comfort zone as I move forward because my faith in God and love for Arrow is greater than Fear. I know I will never be the same person I was before I had her; for the person I am becoming will be a world changer. I have prayed daily for my kids to be world changers, and now it’s my turn to be one, my time to show them what being bold in your faith means. I know I will be putting one foot in front of the other to where I am being lead; I know I may not always know how advocating for my daughter, how being bold and educating others, or loving other moms through their journeys will look like, but I know this: I will follow where I am called, I will continue to ask what and no longer ask why.
I'm a single mom of four radiant kids who believes in relationship with Jesus over religion. I'm trying not to battle with fear anymore - instead I am choosing to follow what God has called me to do. With that you'll find me here, trying to be brave, with the goal of being authentic and honest about God, single parenting and the beauty in the mess of my joyful chaos. It's sure to be a journey... and I am blessed to share it with you!