Friends, this post is a few years old, but it’s really speaking to my heart these days. I’ve struggled with some discouragement, and I’m reminding myself of hope and grace that exists in this moment. Will you join me?
The other evening, after tucking the boys into bed, Steve came downstairs and said, “I’ve just had the most surreal experience. I told David to lie down and kissed him goodnight, and as I looked at him, I saw a nine-year-old boy — no disability. Just David. It was like our souls had a connection.”
As soon as he described his interaction, the tears began to roll down my cheeks. I knew exactly what he meant — there are times, small moments, when I see beyond David’s disability and into his soul. And I see a little boy stuck in a body that won’t cooperate with him. I see him wanting to speak words and unable to get them out. I see him wanting to tell me something, to ask for something or to describe something, but there is a chasm between us, and it’s too wide to cross.
And sometimes in those moments I let myself dip my toe into the dark, scary pool of “what if?”
What if David hadn’t been born with a disability?
What if he had ten fingers?
What if he could munch on a hamburger and fries at McDonald’s and beg to play just one more game on the iPad?
What if he could imagine stories and tell me all about them and illustrate his ideas on leftover sheets of computer paper?
The truth about “what if?” is, it doesn’t exist.
The truth is, I will never know “what if?”
The truth is, David was born with a disability. He has seven fingers instead of ten, and he can’t speak words or express complex thoughts. He is a soul stuck in a broken body.
And the truth is, time spent thinking about “what if?” is time wasted.
Today I choose to focus on what is. Today is a new day with joy waiting to be discovered. Today is a new day with mercies waiting to be uncovered. Today I am grateful for what is. Grateful for a nine-year-old who is healthy and silly. A little boy who is curious and loves to explore and learn new things. Grateful for my sweet son who loves to cuddle and kiss and be tickled.
What is, is beautiful.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. Great is thy faithfulness, O Lord.Leave a Comment
Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God says
This really touched my heart! Some days I get caught up in the “what ifs” and you are so right…they are a dead end. God, with your graceful nudging, calls me to celebrate what is. As I sip my coffee and read your post there are two (and more) things to be thankful for right there – I have a tongue to taste and eyes to read His word. I am up, alive and breathing and have a whole new day of his mercy to unpack. Thank you so much for the attitude adjustment I needed this morning…
Blessings to you and your beautiful family,
Lisa Leonard says
So much to be thankful for. Hugs to you!
Lisa, thank you for the reminder. I have been working through Ann’s “1,000 Gifts” . When everyone around seems to have a normal life and normal kids doing normal stuff… I have to say “Normal is a setting on a dryer and I don’t have one”. Not complaining, just stating the facts.
At this season of thankfulness in my life, I am praising God – that He didn’t give me normal, He gave me forgiveness and He gave me the ability to rejoice in all things. I love the pictures you post on Facebook and your honesty in sharing what is “your normal”. Merry Christmas. ~Shalom
Lisa Leonard says
Beautiful! Thank you for sharing your insight. xx
Thank you for sharing this again. I did not see it the first time and I REALLY needed this today. What a blessing it is to know and live What Is. God bless you and your beautiful family. David is so blessed to have you for his Mommy. God trusted you with one of his most prized angels and HE is glorified by the job you are doing to honor HIM. Thank you for the reminder and for the blessing of sharing your journey. Merry Christmas to you all. Peace and love to your family.
Lisa Leonard says
Sending peace and love to you. xx
I needed to read this. Thank you.
Lisa,have followed your blog for few years. How much your family has grown,not just your boys in height but your hearts in strength. You have taught your readers,friends and family how to hold in to Gods promises. Thank you. Merry Christmas.
Lisa Leonard says
Wow sarita, such encouraging words. Thank you. xx
Missy Robinson says
Thank you so much for sharing your son with us. I often say to my children, “We’re not going to ‘what if…'” because they conjure all sorts of scenarios, both good and bad. I like rephrasing that as embracing *what is!*
Oh, thank you so much. I think this may have just changed so much about my life. Every time today I stop to be saddened by a past “what if,” or worry about a future “what if,” I will remind myself of what is.
Blessings to you and your beautiful boy.
Thank you for sharing this and reminding how beautiful life is and how wonderful and beautiful God is.
Lisa, you have been gifted with such a special family. Thank-you for sharing such a heartwarming post and for reminding us that time spent on “what ifs” is really time wasted. So moving forward I will try even harder to focus on the “what is”, cherishing the here and now.
You have been gifted with such a special little family and in return you have gifted us the joy of your
Blessings to you and your family for a Merry Christmas….
Whoops sorry I did n’t mean to repeat myself, please ignore lines 6 &7.
oh, those what if’s . . .how they rob us of the blessings of today. thank you for this beautiful reminder to be thankful for today.
Beautiful words from a beautiful woman. Wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas.
You have blessed me today. Thank you for sharing. Merry Christmas!
Lisa Leonard says
Thank you nancy! Blessings to you. xx
Ro elliott says
I am a recovering “what if ” dweller”… Dwelling in the land of what if robs… It robbed me for far too long… Deep joy and abiding will never be found in the what if land…What if…robbed me of drinking deeply with thankfulness for what I did have… What if…breeds discontentment… What is …is beautiful indeed…. Thanks so much for sharing this beautiful story!!!!
mud puddle soup says
::tears:: THIS is so much more than a present under a lit tree. Beautiful and beyond the materialism so prevalent in this season.
Thank you for this morning’s (in)couragement!
Thanks, Lisa–I had the same experience when my now 22-year-old severely disabled daughter was young. I would start down the road of imagining what if–and have to put the brakes on. It is rare that I go there now, and let’s face it–whatever I’m imagining is a fantasy anyway! But there has been so much REAL beauty in her life AS IT iS that I could not have imagined. Mostly that beauty takes the form of relationships we never would have had if not for this previous unknown world in which we now travel–therapists, teachers, doctors, aides, helpers, other parents, and friends in school, church, nonprofit, and medical settings. And then there is my daughter herself–sweet, patient, cheerful, etc., with a smile we cherish. Have a blessed and beautiful Christmas.
I’m reading this while tears are streaming down my face. I get it.
Our oldest child, Joshua, has Down Syndrome. He is 28 years old and lives at home with us. He can talk and walk and he has all 10 fingers. But like so many people who have disabilities, he is, at times, restless in his own body. I can tell. And as much as I’ve come to terms with everything involved in his care, education and plan for the future, HE is not always content with the way things are. He wants what our other 3 kids have…the job, the home, the children, the health, the abilities. He wants to drive a car. He wants to go to college.
I see beauty in my man-child…and I am so thankful for him and for God’s plan and provision for our family. I pray that whatever “loss” or “less than” Joshua feels in this life will be minimal, because he brings so much joy to so many people. Thank you so much for sharing this post. It may be an “oldie,” but it was so good to read today.
Lisa Leonard says
Sending a hug yor way. Thank you for sharing your journey with me! xx
Susan Gruener says
Thank you for opening my eyes today on the ‘special-ness’ of sweet children like your David. I know God has a special place in His heart for those who can’t seem to communicate who God is in their own heart and life. But God knows.
May you all be blessed this Christmas season!
Pamela Howell says
I struggle right now to ser the blessings of what is. I have had a series of big heart losses and struggling as a single mom in my early sixties — sometimes, I know God is live and good but I’m not feeling it. Please pray for me that God will break through t his wall of darkness and I can see His light in my life again. God bless us, everyone.
Beth Williams says
Prayers for God to conquer the darkness and bring oodles and oodles of light into your life and soul! May you feel God daily working in your life and on your behalf. May you sense God giving you a huge hug!
Blessings and Merry Christmas!
Wow. Thank you for sharing your heart. It touched a deep place of gratitude within my heart and came out with an overflow of tears. I appreciate you.
You have written about David before and I am always touched, always blessed, always in awe of your grace, strength and love. You are brave and you are strong, even in when you think you are weak. Your family is an inspiration and a reminder that life is fragile and everyday with those we love is a day to be cherished. Thank you for sharing so openly from the heart. May this holiday season be filled with peace, love and joy for you and those you love! Hugs and His love to all!
I feel like for me it’s not the “what if”, but the “what now”? And, “I wish…” Having a special needs child is so very hard. I am grateful for your openness and transparency. I hope and pray I can find some of your joy soon.
Beth Williams says
I play the “what if” game all the time. It is time to face reality. Be content with what is and how God is shaping my life now.
I have soo much to be thankful for. God has truly blessed me–even in my trials. This year was full of those.
Prayers for you and your family! May you have a blessed Christmas!
Anne Marie says
Such a good reminder to focus on and be grateful for what is. Thank you.
Brooke Burger says
Thank you for this. I too have a son with disabilities. I have watched for almost 26 years now as he exceeds what many thought he could do. Easy, no, it has been a fight. I love him so.
“Thanks for sharing these wonderful points of wisdom-
What if’s don’t exist” and ” Time spent thinking about what if’s is wasted time,”-
Thanks also to the post from Ro Elliott about being a “recovering what if dweller.” I learned a lot about myself from your post.
God bless this wonderful (In) Courage for women website I stumbled upon while looking at the
DaySpring greeting card site. You ladies are just going to have to put up with this 67 year old guy invading your site in 2015. I’m also excited to share your site with my wife, daughter and sister.
Two words …. “beautiful love”