Church today was amazing. I truly feel like it was a service meant for me.
Pastor was asking about attitude vs ability. He asked people to shout out the characteristics of people they admired. People said integrity, honesty, patience, compassion, etc... Pastor wrote the on a huge tablet of paper for everyone to see.
Then he went down the line and asked if the characteristics were attitude or ability. Every single one was attitude.
He talked about "fake it 'till you make it" and how it really doesn't work. You can't fight something that is real with something that isn't.
Then he interviewed a woman who faced challenges that nobody should have to face. Her son had a terminal illness (a form of muscular dystrophy) and passed away at 26. It was heartbreaking to hear her talk about that sorrow. I knew her son and I know her daughter who has the same condition. Her daughter is seriously AMAZING and is a major advocate for people with physical disabilities. And she has a great personality! I've always really admired her because even as middle schoolers she is who she is and she owns it. I would love to be that comfortable in my own skin.
Hearing the pastor talk about how she continued to exude joy and faithfulness even through the darkest hour. She said she takes each day at a time. It really hit home for me. She is a joyful person. I don't know if it was a combination of knowing both of this woman's children or relating to the feelings of complete and utter despair I felt when Lauren was so sick. Probably both. But it really spoke to me.
It probably seems that I'm "faking it 'till I make it" sometimes with my attitude towards Down syndrome and how it affects and will affect Lauren's life. But the joy I feel in my heart is real. I worried that my joy would diminish once Lauren was born. During my pregnancy I mostly just concentrated on the fact that I was getting a daughter, glossing over the fact that we would have some hard times ahead of us. And I don't think ignoring our challenges and sorrows are the way to go. But I felt like I had so much joy in my hear that there wasn't much room for anything else. This is a controversial topic among the Down syndrome community, but Greg and I really and truly feel that Lauren was chosen for us. We were chosen for her. We feel honored to share the task of raising her and loving her. We honestly wouldn't change her at all.
Choosing joy for my life has been liberating in a way I can't explain. I have two amazing children. Both have different needs but I don't think either of them are more challenging. They are both pretty special. I am happy and feel a calm in my soul that words couldn't explain.
Hearing this amazing woman speak about struggle and sorrow while still feeling joy was absolutely amazing. It made me feel so incredibly blessed. Knowing that she could experience what no parent should have to and still feel joy reminded me of all the things I have to be joyful about.
I am very grateful that I was sitting with a good friend who hugged me as I cried. (Thanks Debi!!)
After the message there were beautiful instruments and singing. The song that was played was It Is Well With My Soul. Perfect song choice for that talk and perfect song for my heart.
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
As I listened to the words wash over me I kissed Lauren's scar and thanked God for my circumstances. I reflected on how far we've come as a family and how much I've grown as a wife, a mother and a person. And I felt joy.
Who could ever look at this face and not feel joy?