I have to back up.
Almost 6 years ago...Azlan Honor was born. It was the most painful birth ever. He was posterior and had a huge square head...and I opted to go without meds. I really thought I was going to die that night. And then...
I will never forget seeing the most beautiful face I had ever seen. The doctor kept checking to see if I was ok with what we were seeing. I was...in love. Something special had struck me that while each of our children were hand-crafted by God...there was something very special about this beautiful child. No we didn't know about Goldenhar Syndrome...or deafness or anything else. We knew only what we could see.
I'll back up 20 weeks earlier ...
It was my level 2 ultrasound. I had opted to go alone so we didn't have to hire a babysitter while Tirzah and Zion napped. (we were poor...) I will never forget...when I laid down on that bed I heard an audible voice say "your baby has a cleft". I popped up and whipped my head around and said "who said that??" the tech looked at me funny ... she kept asking if I was ok. Yah. I was ok. Who had just spoken to me...? My baby has a what...?
20 minutes later when my OB walked into the room...he placed one hand on my shoulder and bent low and whispered, "everything is ok...I'm here b/c it looks like your baby may have a cleft lip" I again whipped my head around and said "I KNEW THAT!" I told him the story and he said "I have chills".
So this was God's graciousness to me. He gave me a little peek into His view. He already knew. He formed him. I always held that memory close to my heart...as I knew God spoke to me that day.
One day I poured out my heart to an individual...someone we respect in the highest regard. I will never forget something he said that day...he said "God doesn't make deformities. God allows it...it's His permissive will. He doesn't make anything defected. I know this is hard to hear but it's true". That day I cried and cried. I felt like my whole theology shifted. If what he said was true...then He just 'let' Azlan have a severe cleft lip and palate. He didn't mold and form each part of him that way with His hands. The image I had in my mind was God's assembly line. One of the workers shouts out "um...got a problem over here...this one ... come take a look!" God peaks over his shoulder and says..."you know...it's ok. I can make that work. It's ok. It will turn out for the best this way". Permissive. Versus God bending down with his fingers in the sand. With all the time in the world...with the most beautiful serene smile on his face and a twinkle in His eye...He takes His time and molds and forms each part. When He gets to his mouth he purposefully takes His finger, He licks it to keep the dirt wet...and He pulls his lip up to his nose. There. He stands back and says "yes...that's what I had in mind. Perfect. A work of art. Beautiful. Complete".Yes knowing he would be operated on...knowing it wouldn't be good to live that way his whole life...but fully, intentionally formed...on purpose.
Last week Dean and I watched a podcast by James MacDonald. He's doing a series on "I AM". Finding your identity in God. Powerful. One message was on insecurity. He handled that topic better than I have ever heard.
He spoke of Moses.
10 But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” 11 Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man's mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.”
You just don't know the effect that had on me. Deep inside my spirit. He did make him that way. He chose to. He didn't 'allow' it ... it wasn't His permissive will. He formed him. He did it.
Then my mind went to Taizi and Zihao. God did it. God knew, God formed, God has a plan. God loves using our 'weakness'. We can't say "we did it!" when it's so very obvious that "he did it!" when there's victory in our lives...despite our obvious 'defect' or 'disability'.
Maybe it's easy to miss the 'moments' to celebrate in our healthy children's lives. When Azlan says 'f' sound or 'g', 'l', 'n', 't', 'p', ...(can only dream of the day when he says 's')...it's a full on party in our house. Why...? Because he has a huge disadvantage. Isn't it the same to our Father...? When we get down on our knees to pray and thank Him for what He has given us...the good and the bad...in the middle of the trial...I just wonder...does He feel the way I feel when I see that concentrated look on my son's face to say a sound he can hardly form his mouth to say...? When things seem to be going far from the way we anticipated...and we pour our hearts out to our God and say "...but yet I trust You". When we are tested in ways that seem humanly beyond what we can endure...and we make a choice to submit to "not my will...but Yours"...
He gets the glory. In our weakness...in our inabilities...in our imperfections...His strength is made perfect.
You did make Azlan's mouth. You did make him deaf. You did make him with a huge disadvantage to communicate. Because You have a plan to use his weakness...Your strength...in his weakness...
With all the news about Taizi's health, that first smile will be celebrated in our house...like a 4.0 grade point average in another house. Expectations change. Hearts change. You pause and celebrate each triumph. Each victory is bigger...because of the weakness. It's beautiful.
He did it.