My two-year-old lay still upon the hospital bed. His white-blonde curls fell onto the pillow and, eyes open, he smiled at me. The doctor was quiet, preparing. Machine on. Instrument in hand. Gel on my boy. His echo-cardiogram began.
As the images moved on the screen nearby, my son and I watched. Only one of us knew that this moment had the power to change everything. This test could decide if my son would grow up strong, if he could participate in sports, if he would be as healthy as we once thought he was.Time went by. The doctor stopped. He gently wiped the gel from my boy and quietly left the room. When he returned, he had papers to share and news to give and all of it happened so quickly, it was hard to hear his words. “Your son has a hole in his heart.”
Over a decade has passed since that day, and while the doctor’s simple statement did greatly affect our lives, we have learned much about powerful moments since then. The papers we were given did not describe our child, they did not define him or control him or make him anything he was not. Because even though his heart is imperfect, he was created for more than a life of limits. We learned, joyfully, that those moments in the doctor’s office had no true power at all. Power is found in trusting God with our children. Power is found when we revel in our created nature. Power is found in resting with the One who begins all things, dreams all things, and can see what we cannot.
God does not call us to be people who dwell in fear, but rather to trust that he is in control. Joshua 1:9 says, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Yes, my son has a hole in his heart. But that does not stop him from loving to run, and to run fast! This child, who was characterized as sickly, has always been moving, playing, zooming from place to place. This child, who was supposed to be pale and wan, has always been rosy-cheeked and energetic and full of life.
Yes, my son has a hole in his heart. But that has never stopped him from embracing life with both arms, loving deeply, laughing wildly and connecting to all of creation with a passion that wears me out. God called on us to trust while he worked miracles in the life of my son.
And through my boy, I have learned that parenting is a bumpy road, and we cannot always guess what is next. We can pray for children to be healthy and whole and yet still find ourselves knocked right out of our comfort zones with news we never imagined. And I have learned that no kid is “typical,” that everyone struggles with something, and that no one can tell me who my child will be. As we pray we release our worry to God and allow him to hold the weight of our burdens, trusting that he loves our children dearly.
These children we love and enfold, they have callings to grow into, and no limitation can change that truth. The God who created them will see them through, and his dream for them reaches far beyond what we can see. His power is not trapped by defects or disorders, by anemia or autism. No, his power is perfected in love. It is greater than what we see and it will carry them through. And as parents, we get to watch that miracle unfold.
Rev. Dr. Rob Toornstra
Rev. Deb Koster