Every Mom is Chosen
Every mom that I know wants to be the best mom in the world for her child, but sometimes she feels like the worst. Every mom needs a safe place to talk about the real issues she is facing without feeling like she will be judged as a “bad mom.” We need others to come alongside us and cheer us on as moms even when we feel like our parenting skills are lacking and we aren’t going to make it through another Cheerio-filled day.
I want to introduce a new author Jen Forsthoff who has just written Chosen for Charlie: When God Gifts You with a Special Needs Child which is being published by Life Bridge Press just in time for Mother’s Day. It’s a very vulnerable thing to publish your first book and I want to invite you to read Jen’s post and leave her comments of encouragement as she inspires you with her message.
Chosen for Charlie
by Jen Forsthoff
It was love at first sight. After thirty-eight weeks, I finally held my firstborn. My beautiful Charlotte Joy. “Charlie,” as we would call her, lay on my chest and wriggled under the bright hospital room light. Not knowing how to comfort her, I held her the best I could. Her sweet cry was music to my ears; to finally hear her voice and see her face was more than I could bear. Though nurses buzzed about the room, cleaning and prepping for Charlie’s first bath and such things, for those initial moments, the world seemed to shrink to just the three of us.
My husband and I stared at her blinking blue eyes, the tuft of strawberry blonde hair atop her head, her tiny shriveled hands, her precious little body. “We’ve been waiting for you,” I cried. I couldn’t look away from her precious face. “Momma loves you so much.”
As new parents, we knew we had much to learn. But with soring hopes of a bright future, we felt sure that, together, we could conquer whatever might come our way.
Just a few days later we received the phone call that confirmed the doctors’ suspicions: Charlie had Trisomy 21. This genetic abnormality, commonly referred to as Down Syndrome, was something we never imagined for our family. We knew, of course, that parenting would be a challenge. But parenting a special-needs child, who could ever be prepared for that?
That once conquering spirit that welled up inside those first few moments quickly turned. I was soon felt as though I was being conquered- with fears, sadness, unanswered prayers for my baby girl. I was devastated. I ached all over. This feeling of pain and heaviness was never one I imagined with the birth of a child. This is not how a new mother should feel- while friends celebrated the birth of their healthy babies, I was heart-broken. Feeling conflicted within; brokenness was replaced with guilt that I couldn’t celebrate the birth of my baby girl.
Perhaps you have found yourself in a similar situation- receiving difficult news about your child, a family member, a dear friend, or even yourself. Our reactions in those moments can vary, tremendously. We can feel anger, bitterness, deep sadness, pain, even nothing at all. I don’t think there is any right or wrong way to feel in those moments. But I think that what we do in those moments is absolutely defining of what will come next.
Our pain can cause us to push away or pull in close. One yields even more hurt, while the other brings healing. Rather than pushing away, I want to pull in towards my Heavenly Father. And If I do, I will be given beauty for my ashes, joy for my mourning, a spirit of praise for my heaviness- I will be transformed and renewed in His presence (Isaiah 61: 3). As I pull in close, that which seems to be conquering me, will not overcome me. God won’t let it.
If you are like me, your first response is not always to pull in close to God. But I can tell you that amidst my grief, God graciously pulled me close. He took my ashes, my mourning, and my heaviness in exchange for a beautiful perspective on life, an unexplainable joy, and a heart that is full of praise and thanksgiving.
So let me encourage you today, pull in close to God. Give him your heart, your hurt, your heaviness and exchange them for healing from your Heavenly Father.
Click the picture below to download chapter 1 of Chosen for Charlie by Jen Forsthoff.