Three years ago, my life changed. Not in a little way, but a big life-altering way. If I was still in school and I had to do a timeline project, this event would be on there. Not only is 2009 the year that I gave birth to my first daughter, Alyssa, but it was the year that I changed.
I am a Christian. I have been since 2000. But before 2009, I was unfortunately a Christian that didn't act like Christ. I was wordly, hypocritical and lukewarm. I was the Christian who went to church on Sundays (sometimes) and then left, forgetting everything once again. I wanted to know Christ, but I was too lazy to do anything about it. I wanted the benefits of being a Christian without losing anything. I was unwilling to compromise or give up anything I deemed more important than living a life that I should.
And then everything changed.
I found I was pregnant with Alyssa in early 2009. It was perfection at first - no morning sickness, great appointments. Then I found out that Alyssa had Down Syndrome. I remember falling apart and feeling hopeless when I got the confirmation. I blogged about it and then all these wonderful ladies reached out to me. Assuring me, encouraging me. I was reminded that everything was possible with God and I made a decision to rely on Him.
Then we found out that Alyssa was not doing well and had a 10% chance of survival. I can still remember that day and the long drive home. I remember how my husband, a man who I never saw cry, sobbed. I remember crying together. I also remember praying together, for the first time. I remember feeling strength. I knew that God was with us and that with Him, a 10% chance was 100%.
Many of you know our story. Alyssa was born at 29 weeks and lived for 11 days. Yes, we lost Alyssa but we gained so much more. Because of everything we went through, I am not the Christian I was. I am not saying I am perfect. I mess up daily, hourly. But I know now that I desire a life with Christ rather than a life without. Instead of living life on my demands and my timetable, I want to live the life He has planned for me. Instead of wanting to be blessed, I want to be a blessing to others.
Jesus said that the peace he gives is not as the world gives. And I firmly believe it 100%. Because I chose to have a relationship with Him, I have peace, even though my heart still grieves for my baby girl. I have joy because I know she is home and one day I will be there as well. Even in my moments of sadness (especially around this time of year) there is always joy.
People always tell me that I am strong. But I am not strong on my own accord. I have strength because I rely on Christ. People say that they don't think they could ever go through what we went through. But I say if you have a relationship with Christ, you can. I don't have peace or joy because of myself. I have it because of Him.
I don't think I would be the person I am today without our trials with Alyssa. I learned to rely on Him for strength and peace. I learned to make my relationship with Him a priority and to stop worrying about my own wants or needs (which is something I still struggle with). But most of all I learned that my God is truly everything.
August 30 will be Alyssa's third birthday. I praise God and thank Him for blessing us with her. I thank Him for being everything that I need in every moment. I thank Him for being my savior, counselor, and friend. I thank Him for changing my life and making it so much more than I thought it could ever be.
For those of you who are not Christians, I just have to say this. God
loves you and desires a relationship with you. Following Christ is not
easy and I say this not to discourage you. There will be trials and
rough patches. But having God on your side is infinitely better than
If you want to know more information or talk about anything that I have posted please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.