Have you ever had something that you knew you had to say but couldn’t quite find the words? Courtney Baker had dealt that problem since long before her daughter, Emersyn Faith, was even born. You see, Emmy had been diagnosed with Down syndrome while still in the womb, and Courtney’s doctor suggested that she terminate the pregnancy. And, as she told ABC’s Genevieve Shaw Brown, the pressure from her doctor to abort continued well after the initial diagnosis.
So when Courtney finally found the words and courage to write her letter, it seemed only fitting that Emmy, now fifteen months old, help her drop it in the mailbox. As she described, “Every action, from opening and closing the mailbox to raising the red flag, was closure for me . . . I have no idea how the doctor might have reacted to my letter, but I do have faith that God can work any miracle and change any heart.”
It’s unknown how the doctor responded, but the letter, which she also posted on the Parker Miles Facebook page, has since gone viral and is impacting hearts to a degree far beyond what Courtney could have initially hoped for. It’s well worth reading in its entirety and I hope that you will. Her final words, however, are what stuck with me the most.
After describing how the dominant emotion she felt towards the doctor was not anger or bitterness, but rather sadness at his inability to appreciate the beauty and perfection of the child he saw on that sonogram, she went on to say, “My prayer is that no other mommy will have to go through what I did. My prayer is that you, too, will now see true beauty and pure love with every sonogram. And my prayer is when you see that next baby with Down syndrome lovingly tucked in her mother’s womb, you will look at that mommy and see me then tell her the truth: ‘Your child is perfect.'”
Whether the doctor delivers that message or not, Courtney has. God can now use her pain to help heal the brokenness and allay the fears in the hearts of countless mothers and fathers in a similar position. Often times, the primary way that God redeems our trials is by using them to help others (2 Corinthians 1:4). While that is not always the redemption we might hope for, it is often far more powerful than anything else he could have done.
Jim Denison often says that God redeems all that he allows (Romans 8:28). While I believe that’s true, God usually leaves it up to us to determine whether or not we will experience that redemption. If we choose not to take part in his plan to bring healing from our pain and good from our trials, then those struggles will often result in bitterness rather than joy, and anger rather than peace.
Fortunately, Courtney has embraced that redemption and, by following God’s direction in writing the letter, she can help guide others in a similar position to do the same. As A. B. Simpson once said, “You will have no test of faith that will not fit you to be a blessing if you are obedient to the Lord. I never had a trial but when I got out of the deep river I found some poor pilgrim on the bank that I was able to help by that very experience.”
So what deep rivers have you crossed recently? Which ones are you currently swimming through? Whatever they may be, never doubt that God has a plan to bring some measure of good from those trials and know that part of that plan will often involve using you to help others who are going through something similar. That doesn’t mean you will understand their circumstances or completely know their pain—and it would be a mistake to think otherwise—but, if you’ll let him, God can shape the trials of your past to help others find hope for their future. Will you be a part of that redemption today?