A Test of Faith

WheI heard that my daughter Micaela had Down’s Syndrome just minutes after her being born, my whole world came crashing down. Sitting in that hospital bed, looking at my husband’s downcast face when only moments earlier he had shed tears of joy, I felt like we had been robbed. One moment he was holding our beautiful second daughter in his arms, the next he was looking lost and confused just trying to make sense of things just like I was. A thousand thoughts went through my head: how could God let this happen/surely this was a dream/ it had to be a mistake!

The week that followed in hospital waiting for the confirmation/negation of this “terrible” diagnosis was one of the longest weeks of my life. It felt like the balance of my life was hanging by a thread, which at any moment might break. During this time, I went through a series of mixed emotions: joy at holding Micaela in my arms and being able to breast-feed her, hope everything would return to “normal”, delight that Micaela was healthy and strong, pain at my husband’s reaction, comfort that in my heart of hearts I would have had her regardless and she was my baby no matter what, thankfulness for all the friends who came to see me daily and prayed with me, fear and constant questioning as to what this would all mean.

I don’t think I have ever cried so much in my entire life or prayed so desperately to God, that he would somehow make things alright. Then, in one of my darkest moments, God spoke to me very clearly. I came to the sudden realisation that just as we don’t have all the answers in our faith, I didn’t have all the answers here and this is where I just had to let go and trust in God. The all too familiar lines echoed in my head: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can’t change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference”. I knew this was something I couldn’t change, although sometimes I had to strongly resist the urge to rebel against it.

By the end of that week in hospital, I had reached a stage of ‘almost’ acceptance: somewhere which only a few days prior would have been impossible. With God’s help, I was prepared to hear what the paediatricians had to tell me and to deal with my husband’s reaction, which had placed an enormous barrier between us. In that moment, I surrendered everything to God and knew a burden had been lifted. I held tight to the promise in Romans 12: “If God is for us who can be against us?” and I knew he hadn’t abandoned me…he had opened my eyes!

 Once back home things were a little tricky for a while but every time my husband Craig said: “God has abandoned us” he said it with less conviction, until with time he stopped saying it altogether. A real answer to prayer was my 15-year-old stepdaughter’s reaction when she heard the news, she said: “So what – she’s my sister…I love her”. This clearly spoke to Craig and has stuck with him. My daughter Julia (nearly two at the time), just welcomed Micaela as her sister with open arms and took on the older sister role wanting to help. This was quite moving to see.

Several years later and things are much easier. I still find it hard at times and find myself worrying about Micaela’s future and what will happen. Then God reminds me this is not my future to worry about anyway and that everything is in his hands. He tells me he has great things planned for Micaela and to trust him. In those moments, I just have to see how her smiling face lights up the room to know what a true blessing she is to us and how I wouldn’t change a single thing! Even though this “trial” seemed to pull us apart, with time it has made my relationship with Craig even stronger and now he often admits how he couldn’t imagine our life without her. His initial fear has been replaced by so much love – I thank God every day for this.

This is and has been a true test of faith for me, but with God’s help, I have come out the other side. I know I would never be able to manage on my own, but in his strength everything is possible. I have learned to take things one day at a time and just marvel at every step Micaela takes. Everything is a little miracle: every smile, attempt to crawl or stand, her constant babbling, her determination, her contentment, her ability to walk and run and even do gymnastics in the last few years, the excellent progress she is making as well as her constant affection and tenderness. Every single moment is precious and with tears streaming down my cheeks I am just so grateful to God. I can’t believe I was so blind before: now I get it – I can see!!!


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As of 31st March 2022, Shades of Different is now officially registered as a charity incorporated organisation (charity no: 1198481). We aim to raise funds to provide vital therapies and promote better inclusion for differently able children, initially in Dorset and hopefully spreading to other parts of the UK in the future. Please donate as little or as much as you can, knowing that this will really make a difference to these children who really deserve it and can help to make our world a better place.

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