Monday, November 14, 2011

In Everything

Can you guess what demographic of people would respond in a survey this way?

• 99 percent are happy with their lives
• 97 percent like who they are
• 96 percent like how they looked*

Do you think it’s the top 1% most wealthy in America? Is it the top 10% most attractive people? Could it be the most religious people? Is it the top quarter of a percent with an IQ over 140?

Does this describe you?

Let me also say this demographic has very few ‘bad habits.’ In a study of 3,000 people in this group, there were NO drug addicts or gamblers, only two alcoholics and a very small number of smokers.**

Who is it? People with Down syndrome.

When I read that, I’s about like that.

Emme, our daughter with Down syndrome, is likely to fall asleep laughing at her own jokes and wake up singing her own little made-up songs.

When Karl had to take her in for some very painful shots – she screamed so loudly you thought they were cutting off her leg. Karl kept telling her “I’m sorry.” As she balled her eyes out, she kept doing the “I forgive you” sign.

At family gatherings while the other kids are running around, she loves to sit next to the person with the guitar and sing along.

The truth is, I often forget she has Down syndrome. Sure, there are few tell-tale signs...

1. She’s 3 ½ years old and has just started walking. Thank you, sweet Jesus!

2. She likes a small range of foods and will only drink coconut juice (SERIOUSLY!  Coconut juice?!?)

If you give her something she doesn’t like, she seems to say, “Sure mom...go ahead, shove that in my mouth. You think you’re in control here – but I’ll just spit that right out. You can put it my mouth, but you can’t make me swallow it.”

3. She can’t yet tell us about her day at school, if she has a tummy ache or what her favorite color is. Well, Emme may disagree...she probably is telling us – we just aren’t fluent in “Emme-ese.”

4. Once she catches a regular old cold or sickness of any kind – it can takes weeks and weeks to get over it (and many times only with medication).

However – I have to say...I love everything about her. We love...

• How she liberally dishes out “Bye, Bye, Bye...” if she feels your presence is no longer required.

• How she definitely says “All Done” when she’s had enough of the vegetables I keep trying to feed her.

• How she bows her head and prays before a meal (although we can’t understand – we’re sure she’s saying something pretty good to God)...and ends it with "OK!" (Emme-ese for "Amen")

• How she thinks a wedding is actually a party for her (last weekend at a wedding she walked from table to table, greeting nearly everyone and giving out free hugs)

And getting ready to have Baby Girl #3...I am reminded again that life rarely goes as planned.

We have a 1.25% chance of having another baby with a chromosome abnormality. Before we got pregnant again – we had to ask ourselves if we were ready to receive any kind of child God wants to give us.

I’ve changed my statements from “I want a girl” or “I want a boy” or “I want a healthy baby” to “I want the next gift God wants to give.”

Do we want the next gift God has to give? Do we sometimes mistake the gifts – thinking they are curses?

In many areas of my life...from getting in the wrong check-out lane at the grocery store and the price of working with a difficult person or facing yet another disappointment, I say... “No, God, this is NOT the gift I wanted. Take it back – give me something else. Something different – something better.”

I am learning that His gifts are ALWAYS good. It’s up to me to see the gift, unwrap it, and say, “Thank You.” I say I want joy and grace – but see now the joy and grace come AFTER the “Thank You” - never before.

This Thanksgiving (and really every day), I want to be thankful not just for the seemingly good - but for everything...

Thankful for the shirt I shrunk in the drier, burned toast, and broken dishes. Thankful for medical bills. Thankful for Down syndrome.

1 Thessalonians 5:18
In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 5: 19,20
..Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

** National Association for Down Syndrome