by Louise Tucker Jones
I was thirty years old when I gave birth to my youngest child. Jay was quickly diagnosed with Down syndrome and congenital heart disease. My little bundle of joy was a very sick baby. His immune system just didn’t kick in.
It was only the beginning of discouraging news. Time after time, year after year, we were given a devastating prognosis for our son. I often feared the worst, having already lost one child to heart disease. But apparently Jay wasn’t listening to all of the “doom and gloom” reports from doctors. He went right on living his life to the fullest.
This year, my son, who was never expected to live into adolescence, celebrated his 43rd birthday. I call that a miracle! God grants them at times, you know. He also granted some wishes and dreams along the way. One took place on Jay’s 30th birthday.
Of course, we planned a huge party for such a milestone in his life. I puzzled over a gift for this momentous occasion. What would be really special? Finally, I did the obvious—asked Jay what he wanted. His answer surprised me. Along with a new necktie for his 200 plus collection (believe me, he is the best-dressed guy at church), Jay wanted a limo ride to Sonic.
Jay’s favorite thing in the world is a Coke from Sonic. We go every single day to fill that order. No hamburger and fries. No ice cream. Just a medium-size Coke. And on his 30th birthday, he wanted a limousine to pick him up and take him to Sonic for that Coke. He got it!
So why am I telling you a story about a young man with Down syndrome and severe, irreparable heart disease who wanted a limo ride to Sonic for his birthday? Because Jay dared to dream during those years that doctors told us he would never live. He made wishes that might seem unusual to some, but he didn’t let that bother him. He never let anyone or anything steal his joy or rob him of his zest for life.
Unlike Jay, I sometimes lose hope. Grief and sadness steal my joy. Maybe you know that feeling. During trying times God often encourages us to revisit past wishes or dust off old dreams. In fact, He may ask us to dream new dreams. Granted, it’s risky. I’m right there with you, trying to build a future in this new life called “widowhood.” I can’t describe how difficult it is. I never expected to be single in this world again.
But I’m trying to fulfill a promise to my late husband, Carl, who upon diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, requested that everything be done for the glory of God, just as we are instructed to do in 1 Corinthians 11:1 (NIV): “…Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
And it is definitely taking me out of my comfort zone.
How about you? Are you in an uncomfortable place? Do you struggle with an unexpected happening or detour in your life? Perhaps you are measuring your performance against others rather than God’s standards. That will definitely rob us of our hopes and dreams. But God knows our heart’s desires and designed dreams especially for each of us.
I love the lyrics to a song in the animated movie, Cinderella. It says, “A dream is a wish your heart makes…” So, how about it? Ready to make a heart-wish? Be like Jay and wish big. And bring that request to God.
Take Carl’s advice and do all things for God’s glory. Don’t allow anyone to steal your hopes or your dreams. And who knows? We just might see you at Sonic in a limo!
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us… Ephesians 3:20 NIV
Louise Tucker Jones is speaker, columnist and award-winning author. Her poignant life stories will touch your heart or tickle your funny bone. Having a son with Down syndrome, Louise writes extensively concerning people with special needs, co-authoring the book, Special Needs—Special Ministry. Married to Carl for 45 years before he relocated to heaven, Louise is a mother, grandmother, professed chocoholic, and founder of the support group, Wives With Heavenly Husbands.
Louise’s book, Extraordinary Kids, is a Gold Medallion award winner. It provides parents with vital information to help celebrate, nurture, and prayerfully champion their special-needs children.
Join the conversation: When is the last time you dreamed big?