I didn’t choose this

March 20th, 2010

This week, I took a break from Down syndrome.

After all the hours of phone calling about the fetal echo last weekend, and other researching and reading, by Monday I was tired of the whole scene.  When I realized how tired of it I really was, I decided to take a break.

If someone brought it up, I went into cruise control and gave them answers I had already thought through so I didn’t have to engage any brains in it.

I read about Other Things, including catching up on the pile of WORLD magazines.  Wore myself out helping clean up the property for springtime, but love how it looks now.  Collected a few new recipes to try.  Pushed little ones on the swings.  Started walking with a neighbor friend who is also pregnant.   Enjoyed several challenging discussions with Joe and the older boys.  (And those discussions had nothing to do with Down syndrome.)  Assessed my stash of summer maternity clothes and found that there is room for improvement there.  Found some short sleeves for the boys, but did not look for sandals!  (“I promise you will not die from the heat because of wearing boots in 72 degree weather.”) After Stephen finally came through his sickness, I began putting him in the boys’ bunk room for his afternoon nap.   He looks so cute in that huge bed.  Tried him on the potty and saw a little success there (yay!).  Snuggled up with the four little boys and read to them.  Saw Jane make good progress in her schoolwork.  Took tons of Vitamin C in various forms and watched that bad cold go right past without stopping to visit me.

It was a lovely week, overall.

Toward the end of the week, I began to feel a bit guilty.  I won’t be able to take a break from it after she is born, right?  Am I just pretending this isn’t real?  Do I still believe deep down that this is a bad thing?  What a hypocrite, after saying all those positive things about Down syndrome.

But I was tired of it, I tell you.  I didn’t want to think about it.   Why couldn’t I stay where I was?  Back there where I knew the ropes?  Where I knew what questions I’d get and how to answer them?  Where I didn’t have to analyze whether, when or how to “tell people.”  Can’t I go back to where I am comfortable?  I didn’t choose to join this club.

Aha.

This is really the same old struggle, isn’t it?  The struggle to choose to want what God gives me.  The struggle for peace, contentment, acceptance.  The struggle to learn to live joyfully within the limitations that God places around my life.  To embrace them as signs of His love toward me, rather than rejecting them as unwanted restrictions.

For years, I’ve thought of this as being my life theme.  “You have hedged me in behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me.”   I have struggled to accept how God made me.  I have struggled to accept the limitations of living in a house with poor layout and miniscule counter space.  (Perhaps a pathetic little list?  But honest, nonetheless.)

And I desire not just passive acceptance, but JOYFUL acceptance.  I believe this is God’s will for me and that He can work it in my heart.  I have seen Him do it in other areas, and I know He can produce it in me again, here, at this new place where He has set my feet, with His limitations hemming me in behind and before and with His hand upon me.

In Acceptance Lieth Peace
by Amy Carmichael
He said, “I will forget the dying faces;
The empty places,
They shall be filled again.
O voices moaning deep within me, cease.”
But vain the word; vain, vain:
Not in forgetting lieth peace.

He said, “I will crowd action upon action,
The strife of faction
Shall stir me and sustain;
O tears that drown the fire of manhood, cease.”
But vain the word; vain, vain:
Not in endeavor lieth peace.

He said, “I will withdraw me and be quiet,
Why meddle in life’s riot?
Shut be my door to pain.
Desire, thou dost befool me, thou shalt cease.”
But vain the word; vain, vain:
Not in aloofness lieth peace.

He said, “I will submit; I am defeated.
God hath depleted
My life of its rich gain.
O futile murmurings, why will ye not cease?”
But vain the word; vain, vain:
Not in submission lieth peace.

He said, “I will accept the breaking sorrow
Which God tomorrow
Will to His son explain.”
Then did the turmoil deep within him cease.
Not vain the word, not vain;
For in acceptance lieth peace.

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5 Responses to “I didn’t choose this”

  1. Joy Horton says:

    Oh, Susanna!

    Once again, you have cut me to the quick! I was having a not-so-joyful day today myself and you’re right – it is about the SAME old thing, joyfully accepting where God has put us. Your words were EXACTLY what I needed to read today!

    I love you!

  2. Tami Swaim says:

    That’s neat. I had that poem in my head as I was reading your post and there it was at the bottom! I was actually reading it first in the email so the poem was hidden. I knew the poem from Elizabeth Elliot. I love another one of hers, “Do the Next Thing”….

    Many a doubt hath its quieting here. Moment by moment, let down from heaven, time, opportunity, guidance are given. Fear not tomorrow, child of the King, trust that with Jesus, do the next thing.

    Do it immediately, do it with prayer, do it reliantly, casting all care. Do it with reverence, tracing His hand, who placed it before thee with earnest command. Stayed on omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing, leave all resultings, do the next thing.

    Looking to Jesus, ever serener, working or suffering be thy demeanor, in His dear presence, the rest of His calm, the light of His countenance, be thy psalm. Do the next thing.

  3. Susanna says:

    That’s great, Tami, thank you for posting it!

    (Looking forward to seeing you guys next week! :-) )

  4. Erin says:

    I took a break too, I called it my December Hiatus! Sometimes the lingo, jargo, books and articles on Down Syndrome will consume the mind. Sometimes when I spent too much time with the literature the devil would creep its way into my life, instilling fear and heartbreak. I knew I had to take a break. I knew it was time to enjoy being pregnant. The more I was able to let go of control and start trusting in HIM, the easier I got and let me tell you… easier yes, but I fought the battle and still do… I daily remind myself and all is well.

  5. Anna says:

    Yes, it’s OK to take a break and not be all-consumed. The lists are just that lists and may, or, may not be your Verity! My sweet Jacob is now 4 months old and it’s nice to take a break, smell his sweet baby smell and look at his adorable content face after nursing, ahhh….yes, he is 1st my baby boy and also “has” Down Syndrome ; > !! I had a few key verses that were mine when I was pregnant (you’ll have your own), but, one that I’ve always loved is Philippians 4:13 and also knowing and claiming that God has a plan for all of our lives. Our minister and wife visited this week and he told me a story of how when he was younger and in a praise and worship position, his pianist was brought to Christ by her brother who has Down Syndrome. He brought tears to my eyes, as I thought and sitll do think, “What really matters in life?” My answer, that you know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior and what you do with your life (allow Christ to do with your life) after you have made Him your Lord and Savior : ) !!

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