We’re happy to have a guest post by Ashley Blankenship, a wife and mother who has had to underscore her wedding vows in the wake of her son, Peyton, being born with lesions on his brain.
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“The scans show about 8 small lesions on Peyton’s brain. We call them ‘tubers’. They will not grow and we cannot operate. We cannot give you a prognosis. Only time will tell.”
I remember feeling as if I had been punched in the gut as I stood by my husband’s side that day in the Children’s Hospital. The neurologist was a kind man and did his very best to explain to us our 6-month old baby boy’s condition in terminology we would understand. “He may never speak or communicate clearly,” they told us, “His thinking and processing will be affected.”
That was a little over five years ago and it is unbelievable how far we have come. Today, Peyton is a happy, loving, affectionate little boy. He is the joy of our family. He has a natural knack for music (much like his parents) and He enjoys jumping on the trampoline and wrestling on the floor with daddy. His speech and communication have been affected and his processing is below par. Peyton has suffered with a seizure disorder, which has led us to countless physicians and hours of prayer.
Just a few years prior to our son’s diagnosis, my husband and I had made a promise to one another… “In sickness and in health.” People often say these words in their marriage vows believing that it will probably happen to someone else. I never thought it would happen to us, but it did. In our early twenties, at the beginning of our life together, we found ourselves caring for someone with special medical needs.
A strong marriage is important for any family to succeed but without a strong marriage caring for a sick loved one becomes even more stressful. A solid marriage makes for a better support system for the special needs child or any child for that matter! You may not be able to change your circumstances, but you can resolve to make your marriage and your family strong and secure despite the trials of your life.
Attitude is everything. Frustrations will come – ours have come in the form of the 2 AM seizure, appointments with specialists and therapists, disappointment in watching other people’s “perfect” children developing normally, and tension and stress from all of life’s burdens. If you find yourself in a similar situation, take it from me… attitude is everything. Whether you’re caring for an ill child or an aged parent, attitude is everything. We cannot plan for these types of obstacles, but when they appear, we can learn to intentionally look for the blessings. Some days it might be harder to see them, but they are always there.
Psalm 119:71 says, “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn thy statutes.” I intentionally rejoice in our family’s afflictions because they have caused us to sit in “The Classroom of Faith.” Peyton has taught us a lot in his six years on this earth — unconditional love, humility, my need for my husband and his support, our need for our church family, faith in God, trust for the future, and the importance of our marriage vows.
Don’t give up, my friend! You can make it. His mercies are new every morning. Embrace the journey, and hold tightly to one another. If God brought you to it, He will surely bring you through it.