Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Great Things

During my 10 month cancer treatment and several years after, people would say, "God has great things planned for your little girl.  She's such a miracle."  My parents would smile and nod while I looked up at the stranger with wide eyes that confirmed their words.  Yes, I would be great.  Maybe I would be the first woman president.  Maybe I would be the most intelligent woman in my graduating class.  Maybe I would be the doctor who discovers the cure for cancer.  Perhaps I would be a great evangelist, using my story to share Christ to thousands.  Whatever I was going to do, I was going to be GREAT.

It's no surprise that I've done none of those things.  I'm just an average girl who has lived a fairly average life.  I worked hard in school and made good grades, but I didn't graduate valedictorian.  I haven't had the opportunity to change thousands of lives with my story.  I grew up and enjoyed life as I went (and was grateful for it!)

Similarly, since Samuel's birth, people insist that he is meant for great things.  They say it because it speaks to parents who have seen their child struggle through amazingly difficult circumstances - it gives them hope that all of the pain will 'pay-off' in the end.

But what if he isn't meant for something extraordinary?  What if he, like me, will never be 'great' as the world sees it.  He may not be an amazing speaker, the president of the U.S., or the man who finds a way to prevent preterm labor altogether.  What if he is just an average man, just as I am an average woman?

Maybe what makes Samuel great isn't what he WILL do...but what he is doing NOW.  Living.  What more can you ask from a child who had the odds stacked against him?  How much 'greater' can you get than watching God answer prayers? 

Do I hope that his prematurity will set him apart from his peers later in life?  Sure!  But you know, if he never does anything but live an average life, passionately pursuing God, I'd say that's pretty GREAT indeed.


  1. Sarah, I can honestly tell you, you are more than an average woman and Samuel will be more than an average man. What you and Samuel have taught others about faith and trust in the Lord, Jesus Christ is not 'average'. At least not to me. It has all helped me strengthen my testimony in my faith and understand His love a little better. I needed this reminder to know that I'm not alone.

  2. I agree. The term "great" can mean so many things, and what some view as average, is pretty darn amazing (for instance, Samuel surviving and beating the odds). What the world sees as greatness doesn't capture the whole picture of what God views as great.

  3. I agree with Serena - you are so much more than average. I believe in God whole-heartedly; I just don't believe in what I call "God euphemisms" that people like to tell others during hard times like "God doesn't give you more than you can handle" or "It's all part of God's plan", etc. I like to say, "No, God's plan was for babies to develop a full 40 weeks!" I think Samuel is perfectly "great" just as he is without any added pressure of fixing the world's problems. Love this post!

  4. I was moved once again by your post. So deep and thoughtful. I also think it's unfair to have enormous expectations toward the children. And Samuel just growing up, thriving, is so great, and having such a humble Mom is also GREAT.
    You know, I don't even have kids nor I intend to ever but I read you regularly and your previous post about Samuel's big leaps he has taken recently, gave me such joy. Thank you for sharing your story. It's not in the evangelical sense that I can relate to, but I sincerely admire you and all you've been through together with your precious, sweet, unique little boy.

  5. I am happy to have found your blog as you seem to have a wealth of knowledge about extremely premature babies. Thank you for sharing your story. Samuel is beautiful and I agree that he has already done great things. We brought our 24 weeker home from the NICU on Monday.