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Faithfulness, Part Three

Friday, November 12th, 2010

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I began the “what ifs?” What if it was a girl… what if it was a girl with Down syndrome? What if it was a girl with another type of disability? What if it was a boy – another boy with fragile X? If I was disappointed with any of these results of our step of faith, what would that say about my heart?

As the questions grew and fear threatened to overwhelm and mute me, I realized the faithfulness of God was the only thing I could count on – and can ever count on as I journey through life in a fallen world.

And so I began pouring out my heart into a melody that expressed both my fear and my faith [in the song “Your Faithfulness”]. As I was honest with my fears, God made His presence known to me and filled me with trust – not that everything was guaranteed to work out the way that I wanted, but that He would faithfully remain with us every step of our journey. I likened this experience to stepping under some clouds filled with rain. Would the heavens open up and pour down blessings… or would they rain down pain and wash away our dreams of having a son who could carry on our family name? I know that we are often tempted not to take any risks, but as a wise preacher once said, “The only totally risk-free place on earth is the grave.”

And so, as I write this now in my home, I hear my son Isaiah crying and making moaning noises in the background. He’s now reached the end of his first decade, and he has yet to speak his first words, other than “Noooo” and “Mama”. He’s still not toilet trained… though we are working on it! [ADDENDUM: We are happy to report that Isaiah is toilet trained as of this post more than a year after the writing of Brian’s book!]

The first year of Isaiah’s life seemed completely normal (as it usually does with fragile X). We were simply basking in the goodness of God, and I spent many hours holding Isaiah, rocking him to sleep and singing over him a lullaby that I had written for him.

Then on a warm British Columbia summer day in 2000, we got the test results back: Isaiah was full-mutation fragile X. I stumbled around on our property for a couple of hours weeping… confused, heartbroken, and feeling incredibly guilty that I was confused and heartbroken. At one point I lifted my voice to heaven and handed in my resignation: “God, I am through being a worship leader and songwriter who goes out and shares Your heart with the church. If after all the people praying for my son, and all our years of obedience, You can’t come through and save my son from fragile X, then I am going to have to let go of my ministry dreams as well. I am going to simply keep my head down and provide, and maybe I can learn how to be a superdad for boys with fragile X – but I don’t think I can do ministry and care for my family!”

My sense was that God was near, listening to my anguished prayer… but also listening to my pain-filled heart. Sometime later, when I was able to be quiet enough to hear, I sensed God holding out His hand and inviting me: “Will you still walk with Me? Will you still trust Me? Will you go on even with your broken heart and share My heart with My people – for who will relate to My people who are heartbroken if not those like you who are acquainted with disappointment?”

Excerpted from Make Love, Make War, by Brian Doerksen (A Survivor book from David C. Cook, 2009).

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