I sat in church yesterday, not my own home church, but one about 15 minutes away from our town. I was there to pray with and for a fellow family with a Down syndrome baby. We had never met before yesterday, except online through our local Ds chapter, but I had felt the pull to join this sweet family this day and lock-step in prayer over their baby.
Little Stella is only 7 months younger than Anna and is scheduled for heart surgery this coming Friday. We have been blessed in that Anna only had minor heart issues, which God healed over time, and she hasn't had to go through any major surgeries or procedures. And yet, my momma-heart very much feels for those with little ones that do have to endure these medical procedures. I can imagine only too well the fear, anxiety, and worry that permeates for many of their days. For this reason I wanted to reach out in a very small way and join them before our Great Father.
At the end of the worship time, the leader led a beautiful rendition of Great Is Thy Faithfulness which commenced in the congregation singing Jesus Loves Me in acapella. It was the most powerful time I've ever experienced with this song. I think the difference was the position of me, the singer. For the hundreds of times (perhaps thousands?) that I've sung this song... from my own childhood to now over my children... I've always remained singing it as a child (of God) would. Yesterday for some reason, I sang it as a mother. It was gut-wrenchingly raw and honest for me; as a mother of a special needs baby, joining another mother with a baby getting ready to have major surgery... well, this song transformed into a prayer. A mother's prayer of acknowledgment and hope, fear and faith.
Man these sweet words hit me so hard. I was a sobbing mess by the end and I literally couldn't finish singing. (I'm sure those around me thought something was seriously wrong with the stranger holding the baby blubbering to Jesus Loves me in their midst.) "Little ones to HIM belong, (though) they are weak, BUT HE IS STRONG!" Wow. What a simple but powerful message for parents. We only get the honor of shepherding them for a time. Our children are not our own, they are His. They were His long before we ever got custody, and they will be His long after we are gone. We need to not only accept this fact, but rest and find peace in it! And let us take it a step further- we can REJOICE in it!
When our children are weak- weak eyes, weak limbs, weak ears, weak tummies, weak hearts... then He is strong for them. What a comforting thought. Many of our most extra precious children's bodies are 'weak' in multiple ways. Their bodies do not work as strongly as they should... but in that God's work is being done and He is being glorified in those weak areas even now. Praise the Lord.
I will probably never sing Jesus Loves Me the same way again. It's meaning and impact is forever changed in my mind- and my mother's heart cherishes that. When I fear, when I worry over my kids, when the anxiety about catastrophe hits too close to home... I will sing this child's song... I will pray this mother's prayer-