Strength for the Climb

My blog is a personal journey of the blessings I have been entrusted with and the strength I have been given to make the climb. I invite you to follow along as I write about faith, family, and Down syndrome.

I have called you by name; you are Mine.



 I have called you by name; you are Mine.  Isaiah 43:1


As I was rocking Jack to sleep last night, I glanced over at the picture frame that was given to me from a friend that had the above verse written on it.  I came to realize that this was the same exact verse I had read early that afternoon in a devotional.

I have called you by name; you are Mine.

The devotional was emphasizing that each of us were created with a purpose and when we fullfil that purpose we are bringing glory to God.  Reading this verse yesterday afternoon and then again last night while listening to Jack breathe in and out, feeling his chubby cheek against mine, such soft skin, I couldn't help but thank God that Jack is our child and most importantly that God knew his name and who he was before we did.

Jack William Carroll.

I think that naming a child is a very hard task.  It seems especially hard if you are a teacher and a coach.  Many names are off limits as past students or athletes make a name definitely out of the question.  With both of our pregnancies we wanted to see the boys before naming them.  I really didn't know if we would actually name our children because Chris and I couldn't agree on one.  I would write in my journal...what will your name be?  I hope we can come up with one.

I am surprised it wouldn't be easier as I have been writing down names of kids since I started playing the game MASH as a child or when I met Chris.  What name goes well with Carroll? Come on girls, it's not like you haven't thought it.  After putting your own name with his and agreeing it sounds perfect, you move onto...and what kid names would go well once we have a family. :)

We agreed that the middle name of the options that were in the running would be matched with a family name.  Luke's middle name is Henry after my paternal Grandfather.  He was a very special man in my life.  We knew the minute we saw Luke's long fingers and toes that he had displayed the Nieuwboer genes and it reminded me of my Grandpa Henry.

After the emergency delivery and finding out that Jack had Down syndrome, initially we had a hard time naming him.  To be honest, I envisioned that Jack would look more like Luke.  I thought he would have blonde hair like Luke, and he came out with dark hair like Chris.  When I was told that he had Down syndrome based on his physical features, I thought there was no way he could look like our family.  Which made me think the name I thought I was confident in would not be fair to him because that was not the baby I had envisioned.  This name that I was sold on was not fitting for him.  That night we went to sleep and he was Baby Carroll.

Throughout the next morning I would look over at Chris and ask him, "What are we going to name him?" Every time we talked about him, it was Baby boy, or Baby Carroll.  I said to Chris, "We need to name our son, he deserves a name.  I don't think it's fair to him that we don't know his name."  But God knew him by name.

We went through the list of the four we were considering and when I said to him, "Jack William Carroll" it just felt right, just perfect.  William is after Chris' father, a caring, compassionate man.  Jack is a name that I have loved and felt like it also went well with Luke.  Another strong traditional name.  Immediately after naming Jack, I could feel this sense of pride, the stress lifted off of me, and I could look at him with a sense of ownership.  This is my baby, Jack.  You are mine.  You are Mine.

The first Nurse that came into our room that called him by his name I knew that it fit him perfectly.  When we told our parents his name you could see the excitement in the news.  Just a proud moment.  It was so great to see the loving response and tearful expression after Bill heard what Jack's full name was.

I absolutely love his name.  I know that he will be a strong boy that will be caring and compassionate, just like his Grandpa.  But mostly I know that he is mine and more importantly he is God's.

I have only known him for eight weeks and I have loved learning and watching him grow.  This little boy has helped me realize what my purpose is in life and with that, God will be glorified.  What gives me peace is that God knew Jack before he was even thought of, as he was being perfectly knit in my womb, before he was named, and he knows what Jack will do in his life, and in all of our lives.

My heart hurts to know the reality that some babies that are created with Jack's extra special chromosome are not given a chance at life.  There is a startling statistic that 92% of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in utero are terminated.  92%.  Three of my friends were told that they would more than likely deliver a baby with Down syndrome based on measurements, indicators on ultrasounds, and additional tests.  None of those three families delivered babies with Down syndrome. The surprise of Jack having Down syndrome was hard, but just a change of course for us.  It wasn't a surprise to God that Jack had Down syndrome.  A friend of mine shared a devotional she had read when we were going through the emotions and the shock of the news.
The "Trust in Him" thought for the day: What are you afraid of? No matter what you are going through, it's no surprise to God. He's not unsure of what's around the corner or unprepared for whatever you're going through. Put your trust in Him and be confident in His plans for your life.

I know there will be challenges at times but what parent doesn't experience challenges raising children?  I have never questioned God, asking Him, "Why us?"  We have been equipped to give him the best life and we rely on strength and guidance from God daily.  Each day Jack reminds me more and more of what Luke was like as a baby.  Oh how I was so wrong that things would be remarkably different.

I do know that Jack is a gift to me, to our family, and he WILL change the world.  Jack's name means God is gracious.  I am so thankful He has been gracious to us in giving such a blessing in Jack and I can call him mine.

Here is the link for the slideshow of Jack's newborn pictures and our family.

I GET to be the one to raise this sweet baby boy...Jack William Carroll.

http://vimeo.com/66071538



PSALM 139:13-14

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;



your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.