On the first morning of Hope Heals camp, the woman beside me said, “I can’t really believe I’m walking next to you right now. I follow you on Instagram, and I prayed that you would be here.” Her name was Anne, and she and her family live in France. They have a daughter with Down syndrome who is six years old.
A few days later, she came to a presentation that Penny and I did together where Penny talked about planning for her future and becoming more and more independent. Anne left the room in tears.
We walked to dinner together, and she explained. “When our daughter was born, I googled ‘Down syndrome Christianity book.’ The book that came up was A Good and Perfect Gift. So that’s what I read the whole time she was in the NICU. Sitting in that room and hearing Penny talk about her future was just too much for me. But in a beautiful way.”
She wrote to me a few weeks after camp:
“I’m also more than ever convinced of the power of words and of sharing what the Lord does in our lives! Your book was instrumental to starting my journey as a parent of a little girl with Down Syndrome…one day I hope my story will be an equal encouragement to another parent, God willing.”
We won’t all get to write books about our journeys from grief to joy, but we do all receive an invitation to share the stories we have lived. If you are in a place of pain, perhaps there is someone out there who can offer a story that doesn’t ignore or deny your pain but that offers you hope in the midst of it. If you are in a place to tell a story of hope, here’s an invitation to do so with gentleness and faithfulness and courage. And if someone else’s story has been a blessing to you, let them know.
More with Amy Julia:
- Book: A Good and Perfect Gift: Faith, Expectations, and a Little Girl Named Penny
- Free Resource: Missing Out on Beautiful: Growing Up With a Child With Down Syndrome
- Hope Heals and Hope Heals Camp
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