Beautiful Things that Mystery taught us.

by | Jun 6, 2014

Beautiful Mystery

Beautiful Mystery

A few weeks ago one of my facebook friends posted a link onto my wall of a family who have just begun the journey that we started four years ago. They had a little girl with Down Syndrome. They wrote their story here http://gungormusic.com/2014/05/lucette/ The author is singer/song writer Michael Gungor. As I read their story I wished I could reach out somehow to tell them that it is going to be okay, in fact it will be more than okay. Gungor family through cyber space I send you love and my prayers. I remember so well that week in May 2010 when Mystery burst into our lives, it was a week filled with emotions. Joy, pain, rejoicing, mourning sorrow, laughter, pride, shame, anger and gratitude crashed over my wife and I like alternating waves. I didn’t feel like I would make it through the week. We went to the hospital hoping for the joy of a happy healthy child but seemingly received a life sentence. I felt unequipped to deal with caring for a special needs child. I felt totally overwhelmed. As I read the Gungor’s blog so much of what Michael wrote felt familiar. I listened to and then bought on itunes one of Michael’s songs “Beautiful Things”. It perfectly captures our lourney with Mystery. One of the things I am so grateful for now is that when I was in the midst of the pain of that first few days I realized how God had faithfully prepared me to face the pain. He had spoken to me years before and given me truths and tools which I would need in that hour. I couldn’t help but be struck by the fact that Michael’s song so powerfully expresses the truth that out of pain, sorrow and the dust of shattered dreams God makes beautiful things. One of the promises God gave us concerning Mystery was that He was giving us “Treasures Hidden in Darkness”. Now four years down the road I can see many of the treasures that God promised and I expect many more. Here are just some of the “Beautiful things” Mystery has brought us.

1) God makes Beautiful Things out of Our Dust.

When Mystery was born her birth was both a beginning and an ending of a journey. She is our fourth child and represented so much for us. Each of our children is a gift from The Lord, but with Mystery we had to fight for her. After our third child, Jemima, was born Debbie and I both felt that God had one more child for us. Our other children were born almost according to plan, we decided we wanted a child and not long after Debbie fell pregnant. However with Mystery the difficulties seemed huge. Debbie was off contraception for almost 5 years without falling pregnant. All our friends were standing with us knowing that we were trusting God for another baby. We suffered two miscarriages along the way. Many times we thought of just packing up shop and saying Lord we are quite happy with just three children, the problem was that we really felt that we had a promise of another child and so we kept trying, hoping and believing. Each month our hopes climbed and crashed when Debbie’s period came and so we were ecstatic when we saw the lovely line on the home pregnancy kit that prophesied Mystery’s arrival. She was a long awaited promise, a picture of God’s faithfulness after a season of believing in the midst of barrenness. She was conceived in the middle of a miraculous time in our church where we had begun to see healings, signs and wonders on a spectacular scale. We were given so many wonderful prophetic words about her life from before the time she was even concieved so when she arrived with Down’s Syndrome I was knocked for six! It was so difficult to reconcile everything I knew about God, the promises we had been given and this fragile and “broken” baby. It was like being punched in the gut and having all your breath stolen from you. Everything seemed to crumble to dust, sorrow and pain. To quote Michael Gungor’s song “Beautiful Things” All this pain I wonder if I’ll ever find my way I wonder if my life could really change at all All this earth Could all that is lost ever be found Could a garden come up from this ground at all You make beautiful things You make beautiful things out of the dust You make beautiful things You make beautiful things out of us Today our whole family can testify to the beautiful dimension that Mystery has added to our lives. Out of the dust of shattered hopes and broken dreams has grown the garden of delight that is Mystery. Her love, joy, beauty fill our home and our lives with a unique and indefinable wonder.I am deeply grateful for her unique presence in my life. Her gentle loving personality is the source of countless moments of laughter and joy. Even now as I write about her I smile with a warm heart, like a man with a secret, as I try to express the inexpressible gift of Mystery. We all need a little Mystery in our lives.

2) Most things are temporary but the really valuable things are permanent

In that week I was so afraid of the future that hope seemed to flee away from me. I desperately wanted some way out of my current reality, some way to stop the emotional pain and the fear I was experiencing. As I looked ahead it felt like it would never end, that I would always be trapped in this dark place. However the truth is life is seasonal and almost all things have a limited shelf life. Pain and sorrow will pass and Joy will come in the morning. I am an African. Since childhood I have loved to watch the earth come back to life when the first rain falls after a bush fire. The fire sweeps away the dry growth of the previous years in blistering whirls of orange, black and grey. Leaving a scarred blackened moonscape that seems to be dead. Then the rain falls, washing away the heat, the loss and pain. Soon the world comes alive again as shoots of the most vibrant green appear to heal and cover the scars of the fire. In some places certain plants that wait for years, sometimes decades even germinate, grow and flower. When this bush fire swept through our lives it seemed to be so fierce, so loud and so destructive that it was hard to see beyond it. However the fire passed, and life not only continued but was renewed. One of the most treasured memories of that time is the way my older children rallied around my wife and I. They not only accepted but celebrated their new sister with eyes that only saw her beauty and the wonderful gift she was. In them I experienced a something of God’s unconditional love of his children despite our frailties and weaknesses. The hearts of my children were my seeds growing out of ashes. Today Mystery is simply a joyful part of our life. The agony passed. In the same way I am aware that good times pass too. I have so often felt like pushing pause on my life in an idyllic moment, or place. An awareness of the temporary nature of even good times can give us the wisdom to savour the moment, roll it like red wine on your tongue before you swallow. However swallow we must for in letting the seasons pass we open the door for new seasons, new things and new blessings. I know I have wasted a great deal of emotional energy mourning the passing of a loved season, trying to hold on to things that God was bringing to an end and thus instead of living with the joy of expecting something new I lived in the grip of mourning. I behaved like a man dragged early from his bed by the sound of an alarm clock, denying a new day had begun, yearning for a few more moments oblivion blind to the opportunities awaiting. Lamentations teaches us; Lamentations 3:22-24 (NIV1984) Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” However some things are never change. God’s love, his faithfulness, his compassion and his goodness are unchangeable. God himself is waiting for us at the beginning of every day and so we hope. He is there too as dusk falls to bring us though the darkness with the expectation of a new day.

3)The Value of Celebration.

Some people just seem to be a walking party. Mystery is one of them. I have often noticed that there is a tangible sense of Peace around Mystery. A few years ago we took her to the healing rooms at Bethel church in Redding, California. Chuck Parry one of the leaders came over and was immediate conquered by 2 year old Mystery. He picked her up and took her for a little personal tour and then returned her to us saying, there is an open heaven over this child, she sees the Father and angels all the time. We think that is true. We often see her interaction with the unseen realm whether in worship or just going about her day. I ask if that is the reason for her joy, or if her joy is the reason for her peace. I am not sure when it started but at some point Mystery began celebrating the rest of the family in a wonderful way. It began with her big brother Daniel whenever he would walk into the room Mystery would throw her arms into the air and shout “Daniel!!” with joy and enthusiasm. It caught on pretty quick, and now it has become part of our family culture. We will often do the same thing for each other and it never fails so cause smiles, laughter and to brighten our day. 20140619-055344 pm-64424277.jpg I am increasingly convinced that the atmosphere of heaven is one of joy and celebration. We are commanded, encouraged and exhorted to rejoice in the Bible. We are told in Romans that the Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy. In Nehemiah that the joy of The Lord is our strength. In Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in The Lord always. I will say it again Rejoice” This passage ends with the promise ” And the God of Peace will be with you” The God of peace inhabits our praise and celebration his peace then fills our lives and creates a tangible atmosphere around us when we live lives of conscious joy and celebration precisely because when we choose to celebrate, to rejoice and to focus on “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise” we recreate the atmosphere of heaven around our lives.

4) Hugs Can Heal

When Debbie was pregnant with Mystery we received many prophetic words about her life, one of the frequent promises about her was that she was going to have a gift of healing. When Mystery was born it would have been very easy to abandon these promises or to back away from them due to the apparent incongruence of her own need for healing. However, God has already demonstrated that he is faithful to his promises even when we do not understand his ways. We regularly take Mystery for Prayer at our healing rooms to pray for her healing and also for her development. A while ago we saw God totally heal a woman who had come to the heaing rooms suffering from chronic depression and a range of other physical issues.That night Mystery toddled off, climbed onto this lady’s lap, and began to kiss her over and over again. The woman, who was a stranger to us, later testified that she had already made the decision to commit suicide due to the pain of depression which nothing seemed to help. No doctor, counsellor, prayer or medication had helped. So in desperation she came to Healing rooms. We had brought Mystery so that she could recieve prayer for her speech which was somewhat delayed. The woman testified to tangibly sensing the love of God flowing into her as Mystery covered her face with sloppy wet kisses. She told us that Mystery would lean back and look intently into her eyes and told us “When she did that I knew she was telling me that I was loved by God” After a while Mystery hopped off but the sensation of liquid love continued to flow into the lady. After a few moment she stood up and realized the depression which had plagued her for years was gone and every physical symptom was healed too. It would seem that despite Mystery’s delayed speech she could communicate at a level this woman had need ed for years. Not long ago we received another testimony from another young woman who recieved a Mystery hug. We had been on a family walk in the neighbourhood when we stopped to talk to a family who live down the road from us. Mystery hugged a young woman who worked for the family and we walked on. Later the young woman testified, I don’t know what happened but when she hugged me it changed my life! These two stories illustrate a truth that is beginning to shape my thinking. Touch is one of the most powerful experiences any person can share with another. Healing prayer is very often administered through “the laying on of hands” which essentially is touch. The very core of Mystery seems to be love which is always reaching out to tickle, caress, hug or cuddle. Each of these things is a healing moment. The truth is we need to touch and be touched, in fact babies deprived of touch often fail to thrive and mature the way they should even if every other physical need is being met. So I have learnt to reach out, when appropriate, with a touch to connect with the people around me fully trusting that God in me will pour his love through me too, just like my daughter, my teacher.

5)Love is Life’s Great purpose

It is the most normal thing in the world for a father to dream for is children. Many if not most parents begin dreaming of what their children will be or do even before birth. We were no exception, we had dreams about Mystery from before her conception. She was not just desired but for us she represented the fulfillment of a promise and years of longing and so when we first were given the news that we may be having a child with Down’s Syndrome and were advised to “terminate the pregnancy” it was never even a consideration. For a couple of reasons firstly neither Debbie and I believe in abortion and secondly as a afraid as we were we determined to trust God for Mystery’s healing. We prayed in faith asking God for her healing so much so that when she arrived with Down’s we were floored. On that first day I remember alternately sobbing and staring off into space on a bench in a corridor somewhere in the hospital. I remember looking at the happy parents of the “normal” child in the bed next to ours and feeling like my heart was being crushed as I wondered what the future held for my little girl. I wondered will I walk her down the aisle one day into the arms of some good man who will love her like I do. Will anyone love her? Will she have a meaningful career? Will she be able to look after herself. It seemed that all the normal things we expect for our children suddenly became distant and unrealistic hopes for the little girl in my arms,and that broke my heart. However as time has passed by I am struck by the happiness that exudes from Mystery. Not only is she happy but she makes everyone around her happy. She has enriched our family. It may be true that her mental capacities as an individual are not as developed as the rest of us. Some may not see her beauty the way I do at those moments when her joyful soul shines through and I find myself spontaneouslly calling her “My beautiful little girl” Her career choices may be more limited than some but does any of us have the gifts to do everything? Many people have just one thing that they are equipped to do, a purpose, a gift that enriches the world around them. Mystery may never be a scientist, however I see already she is a gift of love to the world . Mystery lives to love. Her head may be weaker but her heart is stronger and in the end what truly counts is who did you love and who loved you. Were you happy and content. I watch Mystery and remind myself that love and connecting with others is what really make life worthwhile.
6) The beauty of weakness

Mystery changed us by showing us our need for her, not just her need. A world without weakness, failure and disability would be a world with little compassion, patience and gentleness. Mystery has slowed us enough to stop and enjoy what was once routine and taken for granted. Weakness failure, disability etc bring something beautiful out of us all. We fear pain, weakness and disability and yet there is a beauty that is only found in ashes. We get to see things we would never experience when we encounter fragility. A mother stooping to comfort a frightened child, a young man putting his strength at his little sister’s disposal to see her smile. Patience with the frailty of an aging parent who once swung us in the air to make us fly but now needs help with the smallest things. In these times in the dust of broken dreams, frustration, pain, fear and sorrow the treasures of love shine through. These very moments of “weakness” and “frailty” remind us of our humanity and mortality but in confronting them we experience the beauty and gift of life. Many People do not realize that we named our baby Mystery before she was born and even before the prenatal tests warned of potential issues with the child we awaited. God whispered her name to my wife one day in prayer during a time when we were both studying the word “Mystery” in the Bible and it’s implications in scripture and in man’s history. Mystery, the wisdom of God, hidden from Kings, but revealed to us. Mystery, the beautiful things which God has hidden for us but which we will miss if we try to see with our natural eyes, or listen with our earth bound ears or comprehend with our finite mind. In living from the reality of the unseen realm, and listening to the voice that whispers in our heart past our need to comprehend the incomprehensible we open our lives to the gift of joy God wants to give us and we allow it to mature in our lives and homes. If you want to know the wonders that God has prepared for you let God reveal to you by his Spirit the “Treasures Hidden in Darkness” and perhaps you too will say every day with me “Thank-you God for Mystery!”

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