For the past four years I have been walking around with an extremely heavy weight. I had convinced myself that this was my load to carry therefore my body would naturally adjust and I would get used to carrying around this new-found weight. And you know what, that’s exactly what happened. It would get in the way every once in a while, but for the most part it had become apart of me. I’m not sure I can properly put an exact name on this weight so I’ll just tell you a quick story about it.
If you’re reading this then you probably know that my son and daughter were both born with Sickle Cell Disease. In case you’re not familiar with it, Sickle Cell is a hereditary chronic disease that affects the red blood cells. Sickle Cell can cause a number of problems like strokes, pain crises, acute chest syndrome, organ damage, blindness and a host of other things. But I want to emphasize hereditary because from the moment we found out I felt like it was my fault.
You see growing up my mother had always told me never to be with a man that had Sickle Cell trait because I also had it and in turn that meant my children could possibly be born with the disease. So, when I met my husband in college and he told me he had the trait I had no intention of marrying him. But he wasn’t like anyone I had ever met and I fell madly in love with him (after he asked me out 100 times). So, marry him I did with the utmost confidence that I was marrying the man God made just for me. But a week or so after our son was born, we got a phone call that Tyson had Sickle Cell and all that confidence I had disappeared and transformed into feelings of doubt, stress and so many questions. Why? Why would God tell me to marry this man and give my child Sickle Cell? Seventeen months after Tyson was born I had Jordyn and I received that same phone call from our doctor telling me that Jordyn also had Sickle Cell. My world was crushed! My heart was broken, and I felt incapable of having healthy babies. You see there was only a 25% chance that my kids would be born with Sickle Cell so I figured we were good. I mean we know couples that both have the trait and their kids don’t have the disease so I assumed we’d be fine. No way would we have two kids Sickle Cell.
By that time, I had convinced myself that what was happening to my babies was my fault. All the pain, all the restrictions, all the stress, ALL THE EVERYTHING. Was my fault! If I had only married someone without the trait this wouldn’t be happening. If I had only turned Tyreke down 101 times instead of 100 maybe he would have lost interest in me. If I had done this or that or whatever, this wouldn’t be happening. But I didn’t, so I’ll just live with the weight of this pain.
That was the plan at least, until one night at my small group Bible study the message changed my life forever. This wasn’t the first time I had heard this particular story in the Bible but it was the first time it ever felt relevant to my life. Now stick with me because I’m about to attempt to tell you the message but I’m no preacher nor have I ever been to seminary. Ok here we go, In the book of John chapter nine Jesus was walking with his disciples and they came across a man that had been blind from birth, and one of his disciples asked “Lord who sinned this man or his parents for him to be born this way.” Jesus replied “neither his parents nor he has sinned, this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” Now I know some of you are probably thinking that’s it, that’s all? And the answer is YES. In that moment I heard God clear as day tell me “Shakeira this is not your fault. Your kids having Sickle Cell is not your fault. I’m going to use them to display my glory.” And immediately I felt this pressure lift off my chest and I felt light as a feather. All the pain and guilt of making the wrong decision just went away. All that weight I had gotten used to carrying around with me just vanished. I had forgotten how peaceful and serene my mind and heart used to be. I felt like I could run a marathon without training or anything. Light as a feather, yep that’s exactly how I felt.
I share this experience with you because the man who was preaching that message had a very similar story to mine. Both of his children were born with Autism and he was asking the same questions I had been asking, and he was wondering the same things I was wondering. So, if sharing my story can help someone have a weight lifted off of them then that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I pray that each and every person that is reading this gives his or her weight to God, whatever it may be, because He’s much more equipped to carry it than you are. God Bless.