Archive for October, 2005


The Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven

It’s October 9th, 2005. I’m sitting on a recliner early on a Sunday morning at my parent’s home in Somerset, Ohio. A few feet away from me, my baby niece, Skylar, is sleeping peacefully on a pulled out sleeper-sofa. She is such a beautiful baby girl! She has certainly brought me a lot of joy in the last few days. I’m grateful to God for the reconnection that I have with her, since this is only the 2nd time I’ve been blessed to be with her.

As I share these feelings, however, I reflect on what will become of my niece in this world. She is beginning life with some challenges stacked against her. Some things that come naturally to other babies are not natural process for Skylar. Because she never learned to swallow, she is fed through a tube that is attached to her stomach. She suffers from low muscle tone, which has effected her muscular development, which will delay her progress in crawling and eventually, walking. These symptoms are the result of a condition called “Kabuki Syndrome,” which was originally named in Japan. In every case, a child with Kabuki will suffer some form of mental retardation. At this stage we don’t know the severity. Fortunately, early indications appear to doctors that it will be a mild case.

Still, for her parents and her family, so many things are unclear. What role will my niece be able to play in society as she grows older? That’s a scary question because so often we judge a person’s worth on the basis of their contribution to their community. “Do they hold a steady job?” “Are they educated?” “How much are they giving to the church?” These are questions we ask when considering a person’s worth. Baby Skylar may not be able to provide any of these contributions in the future. Only God knows whether she will or not.

There is one thing I do know…that Skylar is going to be LOVED regardless of any contributions she can or can’t make to society. Her value is not going to be measured by performance or popularity or social class. And though she will likely never stand before an audience to teach a class, she will yet teach us every day by the story of her life. In that story, we will learn to love unconditionally, not measuring worth as we used to. In that story, our faith will be challenged and made stronger as we see her persevere and face life’s challenges. In that story, we will be inspired by her fight to swallow food, to take her first steps, and to learn her ABC’s. In that story, we will learn to be thankful for the opportunity to love someone just because they are a creation of God’s. In her story, most importantly, we will begin to see JESUS more and more in ourselves and in the innocent and unknown sacrifices of a struggling-to-grow-little-girl.

I am thankful, dear God, for the gift of GRACE you have given my family in our dear baby Skylar. May you grant her a long life and a bright future. May we never stop learning from her story and the stories of others in our life about what it means to be more like our SAVIOR.

“But Jesus called the children to him…” – Luke 18:16