The sermon focused on "defects": things in our lives we see as bad, faulty, flaws, or challenges with how we were created. The pastor posed this question: "what if we stopped viewing our defects as bad, and instead as a uniqueness that helps us reach a different group of people for the Kingdom?"
This is precisely how Ronnie and I feel about his CF, and it's why I've never prayed for a cure.
Now, let me explicitly say that I'm not saying praying for a cure is bad. And I'm not saying a cure wouldn't be nice.
But I am saying that we feel that God has used CF to make Ronnie the man that he is, and Ronnie is reaching people for Christ that he never would have reached if he didn't have CF. We feel that God has placed Ronnie in the CF community. We believe that he has been uniquely gifted by CF. We know that people in the community and people who suffer from chronic illnesses will likely hear Ronnie's testimony differently than if he didn't have CF. We wouldn't know a fraction of the people we know if Ronnie didn't have CF. We wouldn't have some of the dearest friends that we have. Ronnie wouldn't be the laid back and appreciative guy that he is. He wouldn't have the perspective he has.
So then I sat there thinking. What if all he ever heard was that CF was bad. That his genes were defective. That he was flawed. That he needed to be cured. It made me sad. Really, really sad. What a terrible feeling that would have been. What a missed opportunity. What a tragedy to have a uniqueness that God could have used, buried in shame, guilt and fear. To go through life feeling like people wanted you fixed. And not that you were a flawless creation, intricately made by our creator so that you could serve Him in a way no one else could.
Fellow mommies, please hear my heart on this one. I want a cure for your kiddos. I want a cure for your kids more than for my own husband. And it's not because I love kids and hate my husband ;-) You lay awake at night fearing the unknown. But I get to sit seeing the other side. I get to see your future: the adult thriving and living precisely in God's will...working in a field, in a community, and in a job that he would never be in without CF. I know the man that is happy and confident in who he is. We have an incredible life...because of CF, not in spite of it.
But I am a mom. I know if Mckenna had any sort of health issues, I would want to "fix" them. I would want to take away any hardship she would be facing, now or in the future. That is what we do as moms. There is nothing wrong with hoping for and working towards a cure. But please fellow mommies, remember what your kids are hearing, and not hearing, a majority of the time. Remember that there is a God that wants to use your child, exactly as they are today. Remember that your family has been given a gift. He has given you the ability to reach people for the kingdom that you may not otherwise have been able to reach. Our job as Christ-followers is to know and love Jesus and to bring others to know and love Jesus. Our children will always face challenges. We all have unique challenges facing us and our families. Use yours. Cherish yours.
Teach your child that he/she is wonderfully made. They are not defective. They are created perfectly in His sight. They have been given a gift to do their job in this world uniquely; to do their job well. They are made exactly right. Tell them that. Tell them that even on days you hate CF. Tell them that when they lay in a hospital bed getting IVs. Tell them that when they miss out on things they want to do. Tell them that when they succeed beyond your wildest dreams. Tell them that on days you believe it whole-heartedly. And tell them that when you can barely muster the words because it feels like a lie. I get to share my life with a man who's mom told him that. A man who is able to do 3-4 hours of treatments a day and still be proud of who he is and how he spends his time. A man who misses birthdays and anniversaries because he's in the hospital, but still thanks God for CF. A man who feels blessed by CF, despite knowing he may never walk his daughter down the aisle because of it. A man that serves our Jesus better than anyone I have ever known. A man who can serve God better because of his CF.