catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 10, Num 11 :: 2011.06.10 — 2011.06.23


Coming to terms

A few weeks after our daughter was born, a close friend knocked on the door.  He told us he’d waited these six weeks before coming by, what with the baby being so new and all, but now the time had come.  Our child was in need of healing.  This Down syndrome she possessed was in fact possession, and we could start tonight, we could pray it away.  This, it was clear, was not God’s intention for her or our family and he asked us to imagine her healed and walking across the stage receiving her high school diploma eighteen years from now.  He said we’d sit in the bleachers and we’d cry tears of joy and we would say, “God did that!”

I held my baby, not yet two months old, in her blankets.  Life with its white water rapid terrain had left me numb and now this?  Now him in our living room — our brother, our trusted friend — delivering such a word from God?  I’d hoped he would want to hold her, maybe praise her newness, but he hardly looked at her except to see what God wanted to fix.  What I held in my arms now was little more than a thermostat of my faith.

The Christian life has a lot of those: ways that determine how much faith we have, how much we deny or obey God based on what we will or won’t do. 

I’ve taken anti-depressants for one year — another one of those things.  Taking medication for depression seems to me a Christian no-no.  I’ve internalized it and every night for a year, when it comes time to swallow down another tiny orange pill, I believe that I’m doing something wrong.  I believe that I’m less than the one who doesn’t need to do this, less than the super-Christian I used to be.   I believe that I’ve lost my creative edge, since it was the struggle for perspective that helped me see so clear all those years.  I believe that I tell the truth at a slant now.  Everything that I have achieved in the last year is, in part, not valid because I’ve done it while managing depression with a prescription pharmaceutical. 

Is that true?

These two stories share a similar lie that boils down to this: there is a better Christian way of being and it can be achieved in this life.

Is that true?

It is true that some life situations are better than others — managing depression through prayer versus alcoholism, perhaps?  Or having no mental disabilities versus having a cognitive delay?  However, none of these situations is any further away from or closer to God.  We’re all a million miles off the mark and will continue to be so.  We continue on as we began: by grace.

If our daughter were healed of Down syndrome, she’d still be far from realized.  If I stop taking medication and don a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, I’d be no closer to or further from Jesus than I am today.  I am still having trouble believing it is so, but it is.  Grace contends for its way and God decides some people will have Down syndrome.  He also loves people who struggle with depression. 


Grace speaks this word over and over: it’s not about us.  It’s about God and what He does or doesn’t do.  Maybe one day, we’ll all get it right — perfect people with a perfect score.  Oh, for that glorious, extremely boring, day!  Until then I’ll walk down the street having taken my anti-depressant, holding the hand of my daughter with Down syndrome and I will say that I am loved and, by the grace of God, I’m still welcome.

your comments

comments powered by Disqus