Monday, October 31, 2016

DW Awareness: What I Know For Sure

First of all, I want to thank everyone for the support and encouragement you've shown us this month. Some posts were so very hard to write, but y'all were so kind. 

I feel like whatever we do: write, preach, teach, sing, minister, work, parent, volunteer, love...we need to remember that while it might affect others, our goal is to please an audience of ONE. I pray God was glorified, because what I need more than anything in this world...is more of Him, and less of me. 

I'm a pretty private person, so sharing such intimate parts of our lives on social media has been a huuuuge stretch for me. But y'all kept me going...and now, on this last day of the month...Mommy needs a nice, long nap. Ha. 

This whole month has been about Down Syndrome awareness...which will hopefully lead to acceptance for individuals who have Down Syndrome, and for the ones who love them. 

I don't know what our lives would look like without Down Syndrome. I can't even imagine. I don't want to imagine. 

For us...for our family...it's brown, almond-shaped eyes and a big grin. It's hair that he flattens down every day but Thursday (he "spikes" on Thursdays). It's singing #onthesamenote in every song. It's hearing "you're pretty," and "you're a good cook," and "my dad is a furious protector..." pretty much every day. 

It's help setting the table and unloading the dishwasher and straightening up around the house. It's him taking my hand, and saying, "let's pray" when he hears of a need. It's sheer determination, day after day, that makes his hand hold a pencil, so he can write letters on a page. It's overcoming a hearing deficit by using intense concentration. It's walking past his room to see him on the floor...in prayer. 

It's strength beyond his physical appearance that enables him to lift a bar and metal discs nearly twice his body weight. It's the way small feet wearing Crocs sound walking across the floor, or going up the stairs. It's the matter-of-fact way he accepts the truths of God in childlike faith. 

I don't pretend to understand the mind of God. All of these kids...these adults...God created them. And "God don't make no junk." He created them just the way they are...or He has allowed their circumstances...for His purpose, and for His glory, and for our good. 

I don't always see it...because with some people? Their lives are HARD and their challenges are great. But sometimes, God peels back a layer and allows me to see a glimpse of His purpose in all of this. 

For sure God has enlarged our territory. 

On March 28, 1986, our lives changed in an instant...and the focus of our family, and our ministry as a family, was made clear. Joshua has opened many doors for us to tell our story...which, really, is not our story at all...but the story God is writing in our lives. 

For sure God has enlarged our hearts. He has shown us more grace than we could have ever imagined. He's given us way more than we deserve. 

"Oh to grace how great a debtor, daily I'm constrained to be..." 

The goodness that has come into our lives because of God...because of Joshua, and the world his life has opened up to us...has enhanced and enriched our lives beyond anything I could have ever dreamed. 

"Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee." 

Fetter: "a chain used to restrain a prisoner." 

YES, Lord. Shackle our hearts to Yours. 

For sure God has opened our eyes. I wonder...if our hearts would've wandered if God hadn't given us Joshua. If pride and the pleasures of this world would've overtaken our lives, and pulled us away from what is truly important. Because, our hearts are weak, y'all. 

"Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love..." 

For sure God has stayed close...and kept us close to Him. 

In God's goodness, He chose Joshua for our family. Or our family for Joshua. And His goodness binds our wandering hearts to Him. 

"Here's my heart, Lord, take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above." 

Joshua Garland, I choose you. Every.single.day. 

“Before I formed you in your mother’s womb I chose you. Before you were born I set you apart. I appointed you to speak to the nations for Me.” Jeremiah 1:5

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