His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.
Though I have written honestly about the beginning of this journey (here andhere and here), and though I’m prepared to continue to speak openly about the difficulties of dealing with Down syndrome (particularly the medical struggles that have come with it for us), I also want to be sure to share the wondrous parts: the relieving joy of Amelia making it through surgery, the warm weight of her flexible, snuggly body on my chest in church, the heart-swelling pride each time she reaches much-worked-for milestones (smiling! lifting her legs! finding her toes!).
This little girl is all grace to me. God’s goodness, God’s faithfulness, God’s love, all wrapped up in a tiny, grace-filled package, wrapped with a bow of joy. Never before have I felt such contented comfort in having my sins revealed to me, hot shame giving way to a warm release of forgiveness and freedom. My heart is stretching and growing –little delicate sprouts shooting up in places I didn’t know existed. Tenderness for those with disabilities, sensitivity to those in difficult circumstances – the full benefit of the doubt being given at times when I used to cast judgment. The growth is painful, still, but there is an otherworldly peace and deep satisfaction in knowing that the pruning shears are being wielded by a master; I feel as grateful as an old, wise tree would, knowing that the pruning was for her good growth.
Though I still can’t completely picture what our future looks like with her (when will she have her next surgery? where will she go to school?), I know I cannot picture life without our Amelia Kate! She has stolen our hearts, and we are grateful to have been robbed.
How has she stolen our hearts? Amelia’s soul is kind. She has time for the person holding her. She wants to talk and smile and connect. Even though she will often decline to reach for a toy, Amelia will always reach for hands and arms and pull them close to her, making eye contact the whole time so that you’re sure it’s you she’s after.
This girl. She is everything we never knew we wanted. Showing me with tangible cuddles and kissable cheeks that “the clouds ye so much dread are big with mercy and will break in blessings on your head.”