There is a prevalent assumption in our culture that we all have the right to have healthy, happy, perfect babies. Often expectations are the greatest enemy of gratitude.
When Melody was born and we found out she had Trisomy 18, it necessitated a painful surrender of all expectations regarding the future of our baby. We had to surrender the little girl we thought she was. We had to surrender whether our sweet baby would ever eat, walk, talk, etc. In fact, we had to surrender her very life as we did not know how long she would live.
It was excruciatingly painful to surrender the future of our precious daughter. I listened to the song “I Surrender All” innumerable times, shedding countless tears.
That was a heartbreaking experience. Yet the beautiful fruit of surrender is often the freedom to have a heart of gratitude for every blessing that follows. Nothing is a given. We genuinely rejoice in everything Melody does no matter how insignificant it may appear to others. In fact, we count every day of life with her a blessing.
We pray for wisdom, and the Lord keeps giving it in abundance. Our gratitude runs deep for the people who have benefited Melody’s life thus far. We are especially grateful for Sandra Coulson who helped transform Melody’s breathing in a substantial and life changing way. (Details here)
Six weeks ago God directed our steps once again in an extraordinary fashion. We found a remarkable chiropractor, Dr. J. In the short amount of time we have taken Melody there, Dr. J has had a significant impact on her life.
At one time Melody had pronounced scoliosis. Her spine was shaped like an “S”, as you can see from the x-ray taken of Melody prior to going to Dr. J.
Six weeks into Melody’s adjustments her spine is almost straight. This has not been without significant positive effects in other areas of her life. The spine has profound ramifications for the whole body.
When Melody was first able to sit up, we certainly rejoiced. Yet, due to the structure of her spine, her version of sitting up was only for seconds. Then she would topple.
About five weeks before Melody saw Dr. J, she was still only able to sustain sitting for about a minute or less. We did not push the issue as we did not want to unnecessarily strain her already compromised spine.
Within about two weeks of going to Dr. J, Melody was able to sit up for ten minutes. She continues to be able to sit for sustained periods of time, and she is stronger on every front. Her sitting, standing with support, and even her efforts at walking (with our help) have all improved.
Ever since going to Dr. J, Melody is making connections in her brain that were not there before. For example, Melody’s eating abilities have improved. She eats only pureed food. Within a couple of weeks of going to Dr. J she instinctively started chewing her pureed food. That is significant step towards her being able to chew food with texture.
Melody is making new sounds. She does not speak in words yet, but articulating new sounds is a noteworthy development towards forming words. One day she was sitting in her adaptive stroller watching her oldest sister play piano. She burst forth with “la la la”. Up to this point the only consonant she has been able to speak is the “g” sound. Given the history behind her name, we think “la” is a magnificent new sound for her to make. (See Two Melodies) Perhaps she will bypass talking and go straight to singing. 😀
We have hope that amazing things could be on the horizon for Melody. Perhaps Melody will walk someday, and I can assure you that if that happens there will be an abundance of rejoicing in our home. However, we can honestly declare that even if Melody does not walk any time soon, every one of us in our family would certainly be honored to carry our little love wherever she needs to go.
I can imagine that it is inconceivable to some, how a little girl who does not walk or talk could be such a source of joy and delight to a family. It is inexplicable. We certainly could not have fully appreciated this concept prior to experiencing it. We all genuinely deem Melody a gift of immeasurable value.
As Thanksgiving approaches we pause to reflect on the joy and freedom that ensues when we walk surrendered with regards to expectations. God can bring beauty for ashes, and only He can take our brokenness and transform it into blessing beyond measure. We are thankful that God has chosen us to be the ones blessed with this invaluable little treasure of a daughter.
We are thankful beyond words for all that God has done in Melody’s life over the past year. He truly is the source of all wisdom! (Colossians 2:3)
We pray that you have a blessed Thanksgiving that is overflowing with gratitude to the amazing God of the universe who loves and cares for us as a shepherd does his sheep.
“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.” Colossians 3:15
With Thanksgiving upon us, our children wanted to share some of the countless reasons they are grateful for little Melody. See the sweet video below created by Nathan Johnson:
We have come across several resources that have encouraged us immensely since Melody has been born. The brief video below is one of our favorites. It is powerful indeed. It illustrates beautifully the principle of gratitude. It is our understanding that Rafael, the baby in the video, had Trisomy 18.