My good friend Rod MacArthur, an excellent Bible student as well as writer, sent the following short article to me. I am more than happy to share with our visitors.
Down Syndrome for Inspiration
“… as he thinks within himself, so is he …” (Prov. 23:7).
How many families do you know that have children with Down syndrome? I have been blessed to know two personally and intimately. In both cases I saw the positive impact on parents as well as on the children. The parents were imbued with unshakeable love and deep patience. The children became fiercely independent. Let me tell about each.
First, though, let me mention the interaction that sparked this. As we were returning from our evening walk, Linda and I encountered a neighbor. She and her son Alexander were moving the trash cans onto the street for pick up. Alexander has Down syndrome.
I thought to myself, when the boy was born what expectations did mom and dad have for their child’s future. But as it became apparent that Alexander had Down syndrome, how those expectations must have changed. I don’t know them, i’m just speculating. This is not the son they eagerly expected at birth and this is not the life that they had envisioned. But, it is their reality. I noticed an attentiveness in the mother as she coached Alexander on how to move the trash can. She was patient, she was kind, but she was firm. That started me thinking about the two families that I know well.
I’ll not mention names, the names are not important to the story (though they are to me). I met the first family when I was preaching in Moscow ID. They were a newly married couple and had moved to town so he could take classes at the University of Idaho. She was a shy woman who seemed to lack self-confidence. As their family started, they had two sons, then they had a daughter.
This daughter was born with Down syndrome. Her father is a man of great kindness and patience who always supported and encouraged his wife. I knew that this little girl was in good hands, daddy would take care of her. What I didn’t know is how the challenge of raising a Down syndrome daughter lit a light in mama. It changed her for the better. It gave her a deeper sense of purpose and of confidence. The daughter has been a continual blessing to them; Not a burden, but a blessing.
Years later I met another couple. Their family is well established. Most of their children are married and gone. However, one adult daughter has Down syndrome and lives with them. She is a handful. Her limited ability to comprehend makes her high maintenance. But I wish you could see the tenderness, the patience, and the love in the eyes of her parents when they deal with her or when they talk about her.
It’s not the life they imagined for their daughter nor is it the life they imagined for themselves. But they have unwrapped a blessing in the character it has developed and fine-tuned in them.
You see, the patience, the love, and the understanding which has been finely honed in both couples through raising their daughters, are also poured out on everyone they encounter. What a blessing these two Down syndrome babies have been in the lives of the unexpecting parents. God is good!
Always look for the blessings!