Monday, September 26, 2011

A Privilege and a Blessing

Over the weekend, I attended a parenting talk for parents of children with special needs. It was spearheaded by a lady in our sister church who wrote a book about her journey as a mom with a child who has Down Syndrome.  As I went home that afternoon, after listening to a couple of speakers and hearing the testimonies of several parents who have children with special needs, I realized that being a "special" mom was indeed that --- special!

In the first year of Sabina's diagnosis, I will have to admit that there was a part of me that was embarrassed by her condition. I would hastily explain to people who did not know, why she could not respond or sit up like a normal baby her age. As the time went on, it was not so much embarrassment anymore because we learned to adjust and compensate for her disabilities; however I still did not like people seeing what a huge difference there was between Sabina and their normal children.

However, after this weekend, the Lord reminded me what a privilege and a blessing it truly is to have Sabina in my life. Not just because of the many indescribable joys she has given us as our daughter, but truly what the Lord is doing, has been doing and showing in our lives because of her. In Sabina's disabilities, God is able to show me His ABILITIES! His ability to do GREAT things in our lives, our children's lives and in others.

Surely, God doesn't make mistakes. He did not create Sabina and go oops. Sabina is still wonderfully made. God reminded me that He did not make her for me. He made her for Himself; to be used for His purposes and for His glory. So even if I still to this day do not know the whys, I can trust Him with whatever the answer. I may not see it with my limited and finite mind, but the Lord knows the exact purposes for which He has called Sabina and myself.

Have you heard of Nick Vujicic? He is man born without any arms and any legs. And yet, this man is being used mightily by the Lord to bring so many people to Him. When you hear his testimony, you can't help but feel ashamed at how we who have everything, can complain about the littlest things. And yet, here is a man, who did not let his disabilities ruin him and is able to live a full life. Instead of grumbling at what he didn't have, Nick surrendered his life to the Lord and let God use him for big things. In one of his interviews, Nick says that it is not about capabilities. This earth is temporary, and one day all will be gone. In heaven, he will have arms and legs and it will be permanent and forever. For now, he doesn't need the circumstances to change, Nick just lets God take the rest.

Nick reminds me it is the same with Sabina. One day she will be perfect!!!!! and oh, what a day that will be!! In the meantime, I need to see that Sabina and our family have been called by the Lord to achieve something here on earth. It is a calling for others to see that in circumstances like these, God is able to do amazing things!!! It may not always be physical healing. It could be character changes in us to be more like Jesus; or simply living lives that point others to the Lord who sustains us each and every day. Whatever the reason, it is indeed a privilege to be used by the Lord for His glory. So yes I can now say with joy and excitement in my heart, Sabina is a special needs child and I am a special needs mom!! What a BLESSING!!!!

Psalm 127:3-5  Children are a heritage from the LORD,  offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.  Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.

Jer. 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Making Memories

The past month has been a flurry of activities. Aside from the usual routine we go through at home, this August saw exams for my eldest in school, my sister in law and her family were in town for 2 weeks, my tennis team joined a ladies' doubles tournament, I had to write an article for a parenting magazine, it was my mom's birthday, my brother in law's birthday, my father in law's birthday, we attended an out of town wedding, and my eldest just had a swim and slumber party the other day to celebrate her 9th birthday.

August also, being the birth month of Sabina, comes with several doctors check ups and tests. Sabina gets checked and worked up every 6 months. They check for several things in her blood, kidneys and urine. She undergoes ultrasounds for her heart, kidneys, and liver as well. Her metabolic specialist also does a review of all the vitamins and meds Sabina takes, and decides if we need to see her other specialists for other concerns. I like Sabina's metabolic doctor. She is very pleasant and good-natured and has a very positive outlook. This last check up with her, as we were discussing Sabina's everyday routine, she reminded me of 2 things:

1) To not discount that Sabina cannot understand things. Dr. B explained that even tho Sabina cannot talk or express verbally or tell her hands to do things, she said that we do not know for a fact that she does not comprehend what she hears and has learned from us over the last 3 years. Sabina could be a smart child and we just cannot validate it.

This is what Teacher Jing also tells me, because during her therapy sessions, Sabina can follow instructions. Maybe its because of routine, but she is able to cooperate and do what teacher jing asks her to do. We see this also at home sometimes, that Sabina knows certain things. So I figure, if she knows things, then my mother's heart believes that Sabina also feels things. She feels when we are happy and excited. She feels when we are sad, or tense. She feels when there is anger in the room. And I believe Sabina especially feels the love from people who have given her that warm, caressing touch, that sincere look of concern, that gentle voice that has said hello, the warm how are you's with the big smile, and the hugs and carrying on the lap that is not taken forgranted.  

2) Time with Sabina is limited. This we know all too well. But Dr. B put in another perspective which I thank the Lord for. She said, while she understands our need to protect Sabina from viruses and bacteria she may catch from enclosed public places and overcrowded areas, it will still benefit Sabina (and us) to be able to take her places away from the home where she can get fresh air and also see people interact. Dr B. reminded me to make memories with Sabina while she is still able to get around and is relatively healthy and well. Making memories with her will be good for her sister and for us as a family.

And so, I am glad and thankful that we decided to celebrate her 3rd birthday this year with both immediate families, her godparents and our special friends who have been with us since the beginning of Sabina's mito journey. At one point, we did not think Sabina would live past the age of two. But God has been good! And tho this past 5 months of seizures has brought about regression on Sabina, we thank the Lord for the good days, and the memories that we have been able to make with her everyday this last 3 years. I think about the numerous beach trips with her, the walks around the village and to the park, times spent splashing in the pool of our nearby club, and just times we would huddle around the bed with Sabina on our lap trying our darndest to make her laugh or smile and then crying with tears of joy when she does flash that adorable, bright smile. The last 3 years have seen God's goodness, faithfulness, mercy, lovingkindness and numerous amounts of GRACE. Thank you Lord for another year in Sabina's life! We look forward to more special days with her, as we fill our albums, our minds and our hearts with many priceless pictures of Sabina.

Psalm 143:5 "I remember the days of long ago, I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done."