A devastating diagnosis. A broken heart. Hopelessness.
I’ve never been a fan of rollercoasters, but on January 11, 2021, I got on the biggest rollercoaster of my life, called the NICU. It was day 28 of this ride, and it didn’t seem to have any end in sight. I was completely drained, and furious with God. I locked myself in the only private bathroom on our floor, and hysterically cried to the Lord, “Why me?!” With clenched fists of anger, arms piercing to the sky, silently screaming with tears, I ask Him, “Whyyyyy me??! What did I do that was so wrong to deserve my baby boy to be born like this? What am I going to do? What does this mean for him? What does this mean for me? What does this mean for my other children and our family? Why me? Why me? Whyyyyy me?!!!!” I am tearing up right now as I type this, just remembering the desperation I felt that day.
But once I surrendered to God, He changed me forever.
Our son, Gibson, is a testimony of God’s love and faithfulness. He is a miracle that overcame so many obstacles that seemed impossible at the time. He has defeated odds and continues to exceed expectations. Everything that we were told he would not be able to do, he is doing. There are certainly challenges we have that are different than our other children, but I wouldn’t change one thing. That doesn’t mean there aren’t extremely difficult moments that require surrendering over and over.
Fast forward 8 months. I am part of BSF, and each week a different group serves in the Children’s ministry. Last week was our day to serve. Even though Gibson is 8 months old, I have him enrolled in the youngest infant class, as he needs a little extra TLC. My classroom to serve in for that day was with the older infants. I was excited to be with all the babies, but also didn’t realize that it would sting a little bit. Almost every baby in the class was 8 months old, which is Gibson’s age. It was a tough pill to swallow that right in front of me was a reminder of where he developmentally should be at his age, but is not. Gibson was diagnosed with Optic Nerve Hypoplasia, which causes severe visual impairment. It will most likely take years of therapy to teach his brain to send a signal to the eyes, and we won’t know what his vision will be until later in his childhood. Well, the sweet babies in the room could clearly see and would react to my silly faces from across the room. They were pulling up to stand, coming up to a seated position on their own, rolling around, crawling, and feeding themselves snacks that they could obviously see in front of them. These are all milestones that will take Gibson a lot of hard work and time to achieve. I admit that I had a brief moment of a mama pain. You know, the one that twists your gut and hurts your heart because you know the challenges your baby has in front of him. It didn’t last long as I had plenty of distractions crawling all around me.
Well last night I guess you could say it creeped back up on me. Gibson had physical therapy earlier that day and I was telling his therapist all about it. We all know that comparing is never a good idea, but we’re human and it happens. I had made last minute plans with a couple of friends to go to dinner. I started to get ready, but physically and emotionally could not finish. I was sitting in the recliner, half dressed in skinny jeans and a bra. Normally I would get excited to have a reason to do full makeup and hair, but the thought of doing anything at all sounded horrendous. I was just staring at the TV screen that my husband had on the golf channel. I can’t stand watching golf, so you know something is wrong if my eyes are locked on it. Tears were literally falling from my eyes, but I had no expression on my face and no energy to even make my normal “ugly-cry” face. Honestly, at that moment I didn’t even know what the reason was for my tears. I texted my friends that I wasn’t feeling up to it. Of course, they KNEW something was wrong, so instead of trying to sway my decision over the phone, they showed up on my doorstep. Long story short, I have AMAZING friends, and I’m so thankful they dragged me out last night. Just talking about my feelings made me recognize what I already knew.
I. WOULD. NOT. CHANGE. ONE. THING. ABOUT. MY. SON.
If God gave me the choice to go back to Gibson’s birth and change him into what society considers a “normal” baby boy, I would say no. I would not take away his diagnosis. I would not alter this journey. I would not remove my tears. I would not revise any part of our story. Gibson is such a gift and is teaching us all about the fruits of our labor. God is using him to spread the word and bring hope to the hopeless. He is bringing so much light into this world!
So today I ask God the same question. “Why ME?”
But really, “Why ME?! What did I do that was so RIGHT to deserve my baby boy to be born with such a special life? Why was I chosen to have such an incredible job of being the mother of this miracle child? Why have you blessed me THIS much? You must think so highly of me to have entrusted me with YOUR son. Why ME?!” In our bible study of Matthew last week, we went through the genealogy of Jesus. In group, we were talking about Mary and trying to wrap our minds around how she must’ve felt being chosen to carry the son of God. She REALLY must’ve been thinking, “Why ME?!” And truly, we don’t ever have to ask why, just trust His perfect plan for our lives!
Gibson was not given a devastating diagnosis…it’s beautiful. His life hasn’t caused a broken heart…only a full and mended one. There is no hopelessness wrapped around him…it’s ALL hope…lots and lots of hope!
“'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. '” — Jeremiah 29:11