As we left Swedish that afternoon, feeling elated and blessed, we decided we needed to celebrate the incredible news. We decided as we drove home, to stop at Carter’s at one of the outlet malls to purchase an outfit; an outfit what we would save, and remind us of the day we learned we were having a little girl, and that her heart condition was not fatal. We stopped at Carter’s, and Aaron just beamed as we walked through the store looking at baby girl outfits; his face lit up when he told the store clerk we just learned we were having a girl. We left the store unable to purchase only one outfit to commemorate this day, instead we left with four!
Over the course of the next few weeks our house and hearts were filled with joy and thankfulness. The kids were excited to know they were getting a sister, and we all were thankful to know Arrow’s heart condition was not terminal. In fact, at first, learning that the journey of her heart condition was not as severe as what we had thought possible entering into the fetal echocardiogram, we no longer felt such a hard emotional response to her Down Syndrome diagnosis. Instead we felt more confident and for a while no fear, no worry, no negative thoughts. We were excited, we were thankful and focused on the gift we had been given.
Unfortunately, the confidence only lasted for a while for me and then the hard emotional response soon crept back up on me. While I had much to be thankful for, while I had teams of people praying for Arrow, for my family and for me, I begun to feel extremely alone and full of fear. Rather than continuing to reach out to my close friends, I isolated myself to process my emotions. Rather than spending time in prayer, I shut off, after all, in some ways I felt angry at God for this journey. I began to worry how Arrow having Down Syndrome would affect my other kids, what it meant for her life, for me, for Aaron, for Aaron and me together and for Tucker. I felt fear of raising two “special needs” kids, as Tucker has a diagnosis of Autism.
Usually in seasons of my life of uncertainty, or hardship, I sought God. I would sit in prayer, I would journal, I would pour into my bible study and remember who God is and who He says I am. I couldn’t do that this time. Instead, when I felt the moments that I “wanted” to journal, or listen to worship music I would instead feel angry and just say “why? Why is this what I get?” I knew I should be thankful for answered prayers about Arrow’s heart; I knew I should just sit back and allow Him to carry my burdens, my hurt, my worries, my fears but instead I felt like He forsaken me… rather than my faith increasing, I could feel my faith wavering.
Wavering faith… not a good place to be when my goal has been to lead my kids with strong faith. Not a good place to be when I have kids looking to me for how to walk through this, looking to me for strength, courage and positivity. Instead of hiding my questioning, I became candid with them. I was honest - that’s how my relationship with my kids has always been; it had always been just the four of us, and we have walked every journey with authenticity and honesty no matter how difficult that was. I opened my heart to the kids, I shared I was scared, I shared the ugly truth that I worried that Arrow would be ugly, that I worried if I would / could love her, I worried what it meant for their lives, I worried what this meant for a future with Aaron and I, I worried if I was strong enough for this journey ahead, if maybe the horrible items a woman I worked with who was strong in her faith said were true.
It was in one conversation in particular, with my son Zion, that I shared the words a co-worker had spoken to me a year ago that kept running through my head now. I was sharing with my co-worker, Sue (name changed to be respectful), about Tucker, about his Autism and what the journey had been like this far. In the conversation she turned to me and said “He can be healed from his Autism. God didn’t make him that way. He is that way due to the sins of his parents; God doesn’t create people less than perfect.” I didn’t like the statement when she said it to me, I don’t like it now, it didn’t and doesn’t line up with my faith or the God I have learned of. It was as I said this outloud to Zion, that I realized for some strange reason, this was the core of my fear though. What if I am wrong? What if she is correct? What if Arrow has Down Syndrome because of me? Because of all my mistakes in life? After all, Arrow is my third baby outside of marriage. Aaron and I are not leading a good example for the kids as we are unmarried, having a baby and now living together - opposite of what I have spoken to my kids about. I already felt my body failed me, but now what if that statement was true, that it wasn’t simply my body, but it was me in entirety.
As I spoke this outloud to Zion, he just looked at me and told me “Stop. Be quiet. Shut up actually. We both know that is not true. Yes you’ve not walked the perfect walk, who has, and you are a great mom. You know truth and this isn’t it. Arrow will be beautiful and who she is will be because of you… just like who we are is because of you… in all the best of ways mom.”
I am not well versed in theology, my faith has grown through my journey; through the love and forgiveness I have experienced through the years. My faith is from watching Him work in the heart of my kids, in my heart, the miracles He has provided in my family and friends. My faith is from experiencing the fact that even when I have felt I had been forsaken and forgotten, that I hadn’t, that He has made beauty from ashes, that He has made good with what was intended for bad. He has walked alongside me as I have raised three kids, three kids who LOVE the Lord, who are strong in their faith, who have had their own journeys and have learned who He is. He has made good from poor choices I made in my past and He is making good in Arrow.
As I fell asleep that evening, the scripture Jeremiah 1:5 ran through my head "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;” This is God’s truth for Arrow...
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!