I loved this note from Ed Koczan. For several reasons – it’s vulnerability (which I got permission from him to put it here), its message that I believe will connect with a lot of people, a unique picture of life as a parent of a special needs child, and of course…Sunday’s sermon ranked in the top 3 . I think you will be blessed by it!
To understand this note you need to understand a few things about Ed in June of 2009. If you don’t that’s cool, I’ll keep it brief and basic.
You also need to stop right here, and open this link up in a new tab to read before you come back to this:
Anyways, if you are too lazy to read that, its a fantastic read about seeing God at work in a developmental disabilities camp. It reminded me of an experience I wasn’t going to put “out there” but I will.
God spoke to me directly today that He loves me. Admittedly I haven’t been focused on God and believing in him very recently. I haven’t been focused on waiting for his answers, but rather trying to impose my own answers, and even making those up in my head when I don’t find the answer I would like to.
Church today was awesome. A UFC themed, call to action on getting men involved in the church (not specifically MY church.. just THE church. We had Bratwursts served to the dads passed out like it was communion bread. The message is one of the top 3 I have heard. I worked the media for the second service, and I feel privileged to have been there to hear it twice. I can’t say enough about the awesomeness, the uplifting, and the hip factor of the people that I have been blessed to meet through my church.
On the way home, a flood of thoughts invaded my head and as I try to reflect on the day being Father’s Day and not being in any way a celebratory day, I got pretty overwhelmed. I start crying and feeling down on myself for a multitude of reasons.
While doing that, I reach to the backseat of the car and asked Dominic for “a five”. Dominic just earlier this month turned four, and because of his Down Syndrome, his speech is delayed. He’s making some progress, but his words are very few. But we ‘get” each other.
When I reached out, he grabbed my hand instead of fiving me. Grabbed it with both hands, pulled it towards him, lowered his head into my hand, and then kissed my hand. Since I wasn’t looking at him (driving- safety first! Eyes on the road!), I was surprised by the feeling. I looked back and he looks at me, pushed my hand back towards me and he had the biggest smile and a cackling laugh that he reserves for moments of his pure joy.
Which makes me cry harder now.. I know!
I can go into a long missive about Downs and what Jenn and I went through finding out, but its not important now, nor is it the point. Being a special needs parent changes a LOT of things. We are blessed that Dominic has few medical or health problems, just has that one pesky extra chromosome that decided to stick around at the very moment we conceived him. On good days it is a challenge, on bad days, it sucks. No lying there.
But God spoke to me today through Dominic at a moment that I needed to. God loves us. Everyone. Especially the ones who feel unloved by any one. In Luke 15 there is a fantastic parable of the Prodigal Son (you’ve at least heard of that term? Yes? Its from the gospel of Luke). About being lost and coming home. The overwhelming joy of the father receiving his lost son who has returned back home again speaks louder than any excuses for the sons behavior that is outlined. The joy. The mercy. The grace. All of it undeserved by the son.
That outpouring of an unexpected amount of joy, love and grace by the Father came to me in the car this afternoon. In a dark, unappreciated time, my son was used by God to show that through his son Jesus, my son Dominic carries the message in an amazingly simple act.
Pulling me close, kissing me silently saying “its okay dad”, then smiling and laughing in an outpouring of graciousness and joy of his own. I will quote it from the link above: “These things all reminded me of truth God has been speaking through His word: When we approach Jesus, excitement cannot be contained in Him”.
That was reflected back to me through a four year old’s act of reaching out to love his father in the simplest way possible that he can show me. He didn’t make me breakfast. He didn’t give me a card. He didn’t do anything other than reflect back the love and the gift that I have of life in my son. And like the prodigal son, I don’t deserve it. But there is no time to say my prepared speech for Dominic about how he is somehow “different”. Because it doesn’t matter.
God is speaking to every single one of us. Every day. Trying to Encourage. Rebuke. Correct. Reach. Change. Free. Bring back home. Restore. Love.
In our imperfect and self-centered lives we don’t hear his message or listen to what he is telling us. So today in my wading pool of self pity, God spoke to me directly to show me where the love is and where it comes from. And when he spoke to me, Dominic didn’t have to even say a word. He gets it.
And so do I.
People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:15-17