That first night in Florida I woke up in the middle of the night. I can't remember if I had a dream, but I do remember having an overwhelming sense that Nichole was going to have Down syndrome. My heart felt heavy and I remember thinking, “Not Down syndrome Lord, it is okay for our friends, but not for us.” Some of our closest friends have a two year old with Down syndrome, and I love Jennifer almost like a daughter. I got to watch her last year while her mommy worked part time at church, and I have never seen her as a child with a disability.
At Council, we prayed for healing for Nichole's little heart and the fluid to be gone. I really believed that God was going to heal her heart, and as we prayed, God very tenderly reminded me that He does not make mistakes, and I felt His peace in my heart.
The last day at council, the Alliance Missionaries had a parade, the new workers were introduced, and the ones that were retiring were recognized. We were very moved and emotional. I felt like we were being called to go into missions, and specifically, to go to the places where we would find the “unlovable ones,” those that by our world's standard are less, and have little to give. So we came home ready to start the process of pursuing missions, and asking God for confirmation.
When we went to have the level 2 ultrasound, Nichole's heart fluid was gone. Praise the Lord! We felt in our hearts that everything was okay. The doctor said not to worry, our baby girl was perfectly healthy. I walked away happy, and even then I asked Andy as we left the ultrasound room, “So does that mean she really does not have Downs?”
Two weeks after that we went to my regular checkup. My midwife came in and asked Andy and I how we were feeling about the ultrasound.
A few weeks later I spent some time in prayer and journaling. I was thinking about the unlovables, “Lord, is that really where you want to take us?” In my journal on June 3rd I wrote:
“It seems to be a time of questioning.....questioning the purpose of these seemingly “complications” during my pregnancy with Nichole. Questioning God's plan and direction for our family. I am wondering if God is asking me, “Do you trust me?” and my first response is, “Of course I trust you Lord.” Maybe He smiles and says, “I will teach you how to trust me.” I know it is not easy to trust God, at least not with.....the trust that requires giving ourselves, yes, our lives, our possessions, our children, our spouse! “Do you trust me” He asks, “Oh Lord I do, but honestly I am so scared, and the truth is, I want to have a perfect life. But more than that, I want to do what you want me to do, and it starts by trusting you, because you are good, and you love me, and true happiness and fulfillment in life come from you alone.”
On October 2nd Nichole was born. Two weeks early, I can't complain! The labor and delivery went almost as smooth and quickly as possible. And yes, Nichole was born with Down syndrome. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord.”
All along we were thinking missions, and God had little Nichole in mind. “Will you go to those that the world sees as less? the “unlovable” ones? Will you love them?” “Yes Lord,” I said. “Do you trust me,” He asked, “Oh Lord I do, but honestly I am so scared.”
My “life verse” has always been Psalm 139. I prayed it many times while I was pregnant with Nichole. Today there is even more meaning to these verses than ever before.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you
because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How wonderful are your thoughts for me Oh Lord
How vast is the sum of them.
Were I to count them
They would outnumber the grains of the sand.
It has been an emotional journey. I have cried more tears than ever before and prayed for this all to be a mistake. It is not a mistake, this is the exact place and the exact road that God has chosen for us.