Today’s guest blogger is Stacie Gibson. She is a certified biblical counselor with ACBC and serves alongside her husband, who is also certified through ACBC. 



I
don’t think any really thinks that someday they will have a child with special
needs.  You see other families with children
that have various disabilities; you feel for them, and thank God that you have
healthy kids. That was my thinking 9 years ago.
In
January of 2005, my husband and I gave birth to our third child, a little girl named
Madalyn Rose. Madalyn was born with Down Syndrome ( Trisomy 21) which is a genetic disorder caused by the presence of all or part of a third
copy of chromosome 21.  Normally, a person has 46 chromosomes
but a person with Down Syndrome will have 47 chromosomes. 
Having
extra chromosomes changes the way the brain and body develop so there are numerous
health issues that go along with DS.  A
child born with DS can have congenital heart defects (which our daughter was
diagnosed with), high risks of cancer, thyroid problems, gastrointestinal
complications, visual and hearing impairments and many other issues. Our
daughter also has many developmental delays, such as physical abilities, communication,
and eating issues.
When
I gave birth to Madalyn, (aka Maddie), I thought I was giving birth to a
healthy, baby girl. She came into my arms with a full head of dark hair and looked
just like her older brother and sister.   After my husband and I spent some time with
her, the nurse took her away to be examined by the pedestrian, which is
routine. About an hour later, my obstetrician, the pediatrician and a few other
doctors came into my room to speak to my husband and I.  The details of that morning were very fuzzy as
I was still coming off anesthesia from having a C-section, but the news we were
about to receive was shocking none the less. 
The group of doctors surrounded my bedside and gave us the news that
they were pretty certain our little Maddie had Down Syndrome. They told us that
she had all the same characteristics as a child with DS, but a genetic test was
being ordered to be sure.  I never really
freaked out or cried, but just said “OK, thank you,” to the doctor and closed
my eyes. I had a ton of different emotions swirling through my head, mostly fear,
uncertainty and numbness.  I was a fairly
new Christian at this point in my life, so I did not have a good understanding
of God’s Sovereignty, so I told myself that day that Maddie’s diagnosis was a
genetic “mistake” and that God had nothing to do with this.
I
was in the hospital 5 days recovering and also staying with Maddie, who was
placed in the NICU for observation. She was diagnosed with a heart defect very
soon after birth and the cardiologist wanted to have her stay a few extra days.
In the meantime, our previous pastor gave me a copy of R.C. Sproul’s book “The
Invisible Hand,” to read during my hospital stay. The book was loaded with rich
Scriptures and writings on the providence of God and the question “Do all
things really work for good?”  This book
started me on a journey towards growing to understand and love dearly the
doctrine of God’s sovereignty and that He is always in control, even in
disabilities.
During
the years of having Maddie, our family went to many doctor appointments,
experienced open heart surgery on our newborn baby, other hospitalizations, and
lots of different therapy. What helped me get through these trials were the
truths of God’s omniscient and omnipresence found in Psalm 139.   Maddie’s
extra chromosome was formed and her heart defect was knitted together in my
womb. Her small frame was not hidden from the Lord, when she was made in secret.
 We praise You for Maddie is fearfully
and wonderfully made to have slow speech. Maddie’s weak eyes and stomach
complications were intricately woven in the depths of the earth. God’s eyes saw
Maddie’s physical inabilities and flat feet.  In His book were written, every one of them in
days that were formed for Maddie with Down Syndrome, when as yet there was none
of them. [1]
What
a blessing our little girl has been to our family over the past 9 years!  I now believe wholeheartedly that for those
who love God ALL things work together for good. 
Day by day the hard trials of having a child with special needs has
conformed my husband and I in ways we would have never imagined. My old thoughts
of Maddie being a genetic “mistake” were very wrong indeed, but God in His
goodness has shown me that He is the One responsible for giving our family a
child with disabilities. Our great God made our special needs child and
fashioned her in the womb (Job 31:15) and the reason, right from the words of
Christ Himself, “that the works of God might be displayed in Madalyn.” (John
9:3, emphasis added).
Stacie
Gibson is a wife to her husband Matt of almost 20 years. Together they have
four children, including a daughter with special needs who is blessing to all
who meet her. They serve together
at Grace Baptist Church in Dansville, NY and are involved with the church’s
counseling ministry.  Stacie is a keeper
of her home and loves to read, share God’s word with women, and spend time with
her family.


[1]
Idea taken from John Knight at Desiring God blog “Is God Sovereign Over Human
Disability?”