We watched a movie the other night called “Miracles From Heaven”. It was one of the best movies I’ve seen, but it was emotionally taxing to watch. So much of their journey reminded me of my own. I didn’t expect the memories or the pain to come back so quickly or so easily. In a room full of people, I found myself holding back the tears until I just couldn’t.
Like Emmy, the mother’s daughter is faced with a life and death struggle. And like me, the mother had to deal with doctors and desperately seek appointments, only to be turned down again and again. She had to fight and advocate for her child, she faced church-goers who blamed the disease on her sin, she had to hide choke back her sobs when she answered the phone, and deal with a depression knowing that her life as she knew it had ended. Like that mommy, I witnessed a miracle and even dealt with the press on a controversial subject. All of a sudden I found myself facing the raw pain of a wound that will never fully heal, and I discovered that I desperately need that gash to my heart to remain opened so that I can remember. I must always remember.
While there were many similarities, the difference between that little girl’s mommy and Emmy’s mommy is that I never lost faith. I never thought for one minute that God didn’t hear me. I never felt like His will was faulty or imperfect. Yet I continued to pray that He’d take away her Down syndrome. I still hoped the tests were wrong. I still wanted a typical baby with typical abilities. I prayed knowing that he would answer, and He did. He said ‘no’.
I was never angry with God. I didn’t understand, but I knew that He kept His promises and that He had a plan and a purpose. And when I prayed all these months that He would use her to bring Him glory and fame and lead others to the foot of His throne, I never doubted that He would answer. And He did answer. He said ‘yes’.
Last night, just like every night, her sisters and her daddy gave her kisses, and Emmy waved her good-night. Just like every other night, I carried her up the stairs and kissed her face. And just like every other night, her arms wrapped around my neck, I felt her smile on my cheek, and I prayed to Jesus. But last night, instead of putting her down immediately, I cried.
Maybe it was the movie, maybe it was God’s gift of taking me back to the pain, or maybe it was my overwhelming love for her in her footy pajamas, smelling like baby shampoo, and giving me a mostly toothless smile while babbling her night-nights. But in that moment, all I felt was an immense gratitude. And all I could do was cry out my thanks for His denial. I thanked Him for knowing more than I do, for knowing better than I do, and for loving me so much that He would give her to me. And I thanked Him for the ability to change my heart so that I don’t want to change her. She was born exactly as He had designed, and He’s going to grow her into who she’s supposed to be. There is no greater gift for a mommy.
In the movie, the mother said that we can either live our lives as if nothing is a miracle, or we can live our lives as if everything is a miracle. For this mommy, the choice will always be easy.