“What’s Santa going to bring you this year?”
My son turned sharply to the acquaintance who asked the question. Then he firmly said, “There’s no Santa.”
“Yes, there is. You have to believe,” the person tried to persuade my son with no success.
Believing is important, but not in the Santa scenario as my son so accurately saw. As I observed the interaction, I thought back to my early life as a parent. For a time, I believed something totally wrong.
In my early days as a mother, I believed a big lie. The lie whispered in my ear when my daughter’s doctors informed me that she had Down syndrome and a heart defect when she was born. The lie screamed at me when I watched my child struggle, deal with in-home therapies, take medications, and use home medical equipment. The lie seemed verified when someone stared at my child, made a crack using the r-word, or joked about something being “special.”
The lie seemed right as it told me: My life is so different as my daughter’s parent; it won’t be good.
I believed this lie for longer than I want to admit. I had the impression that people parenting children with disabilities and medical needs were stressed, struggled in their marriages, or weren’t overly happy. I looked for evidence to support or refute the idea that my life in this world of special and medical needs would be good. I found many reasons to think it would be hard. I found a few circumstances where people seemed joyful, but I wondered if these people were outliers. Eventually though, I saw the lie for what it was.
My life is good despite its differences. That’s the truth.
I am happy with my life. I have an assurance that it is good. This may seem like nothing to some of you, but there was a time when I didn’t know this because of the things I heard or felt.
In the Bible, God asked Adam and Eve, “Who told you that you were naked?” Similarly, I sensed God was asking me, “Who told you this life wouldn’t be good?”
Who did tell me that?
Doctors? Society? Television? Politicians?
Certainly, it wasn’t God. He never said my child’s diagnoses and problems would bring me a life filled with adversity and disparity. He never told me I would live in despair and in jealousy of others. He promised peace in the midst of everything. He also promised that life in His son would be good.
When I took hold of that truth, I realized my life was good. Even in less than ideal circumstances, such as an Intensive Care Unit with my sick child, I find that life can be good even when it’s challenging. It’s good because God is good. It’s good because my perspective doesn’t have to be swayed by fleeting circumstances in this life. It’s good because God’s love for me is just as strong as my love for my precious child.
It’s good because I believe it’s good. That’s a powerful concept! Christmas is the season of believing, so I ask you one thing. What do you believe?
Evana is a wife and mother of two children. Since becoming a parent, Evana has spent many hours driving to specialty appointments, praying beside a hospital bed, and learning about her children’s diagnoses. Evana is also a pediatric speech-language pathologist and serves children with autism, feeding disorders, and other developmental delays. You can connect with Evana on Twitter, Facebook, and her blog, A Special Purposed Life. You can also read more about her family’s story in her book, Badges of Motherhood: One Mother’s Story about Family, Down syndrome, Hospitals, and Faith.