Hello Friends, Readers, and New Visitors,
It’s not everyday I get invited to be a guest writer on many websites. But my friends at “My Big Jesus” have given me a platform, and invitation to share about my new book and advocate a little about
Down Syndrome from a personal and family perspective of raising a child with downs, and to share hope with other families doing so as well. So I thought I would also share it here on my blog with all of you, my friends and supporters.
I want to thank the good people at, My Big Jesus for this wonderful opportunity to do so. Please go by and give their website a visit here: http://www.mybigjesus.com/, as I know you will be inspired after you have. Here is a little about them.
My Big Jesus:
Your Jesus is too small. The idea that Jesus is King has cosmic implications for the way those who follow him see the world. Jesus not only wants to reconcile all people, created in his image, to himself; but he is also at work in and through his image bearers reconciling all things to himself. Meaning, Jesus redeems both people and all of culture: film, parenting, marriage, education, justice and mercy efforts, intellection endeavors, academics, finances, vocation, Christian identity, friendship, leisure – every area of life and culture. MyBigJesus.com will be a landing-place to find the voices that reflect this truth.
Founder of MyBigJesus.com, husband to Merri, father to Adam, Ellie, and Zachary, disdainer of Lucy (the dog), and executive pastor @reynoldachurch. Lives to make Jesus famous. He enjoys watching the Atlanta Braves and UNC basketball, as well as demeaning and insulting whatever sports teams you root for. He knows a disturbing amount about television and movies.
My Guest Article on My Big Jesus
by Jack Barr
“The day my daughter Marley was born, I went straight to the nursery and held her for well over two hours. I just held her and cried because I had never experienced such a love for anyone or anything in my life. I think the nurses thought I was crazy because eventually they told me I needed to go be with my wife. Three days later, before we left the hospital, the pediatric doctor told us she thought Marley might have Down syndrome”.
I immediately had a panic attack and was taken to the emergency room. Thoughts were racing through my mind: How could my perfect daughter have Down syndrome? How could they not know for sure? How could the general ultrasound, which said we had a 1-in-18,000 chance of having a child with Down syndrome, be wrong? Why was God punishing me? How could I live with a daughter that was going to be rejected by everyone … including myself?
I entered into a deep depression for the first year of Marley’s life. My wife became concerned about me, so I started taking antidepressants and seeing a counselor. I contemplated leaving my wife and suicide. I would lie awake at night thinking about my future, and searching for a reason to live. I believed all the negative things the world told me about Down syndrome, and viewed it as a curse on my family. The entire time, I couldn’t stop thinking about how this would change my life! Finally, one Saturday morning, when Marley was about 2 months old, I got up and told my wife I was going for a walk. I had no intention of coming back.
After I left, I started having second thoughts, and that’s when I remembered that my wife had signed up for an online support group. I opened an email and phoned a father in India that I had never met. He had a 2-year-old son with Down syndrome and we talked for hours. He was the first person since Marley’s birth that spoke truth into my life about Down syndrome. After that conversation I had the strength to go home and face another day.
Year ago, my father said to me, “If you want to fix a problem, then do something about it”.
I followed his advice. First, I tried to gain as much knowledge as I could about raising a child with Down syndrome. Next, I started calling every family I could find that had a child with Down syndrome. I also started interacting with my daughter. She was desperate for me to start loving her, and she continued loving me until I broke down and did the same. I was scared to accept my daughter because that would mean accepting her disability. But the reality was the only thing keeping me from loving my daughter was my own ignorance. I slowly began to see the beautiful girl that would change my life forever.
And finally, for the first time since my conversion in college, I talked to God. I talked to Him just like He was sitting in a chair beside me because that was the true barrier in my life. I was honest with God throughout the entire process, and that is when I started finding peace. Healing was a slow process and a long journey, but I am thankful for the life-changing transformation Marley brought to my faith.
It is true, there are difficult times having a daughter with Down syndrome. But it also true that she is very much like any other child. Marley smiles, laughs, plays, makes mistakes, and, most importantly, completes our family. The medical community focuses on so many of the challenges associated with Down syndrome that we develop an unnecessary fear — but these are only differences. The truth is I am a better person today because of my daughter, my daughter who has Down syndrome. I am grateful for a wife that was willing to push me to change, and support me when I struggled.
I am still saddened that Marley has Down syndrome, but I am beginning to realize that God can bless us regardless of our circumstances. I will never be able to fully understand why Marley has Down syndrome, but I do know she has made a difference in my life, my wife’s life, and in the lives of so many in our community.
May God Bless You and Yours,
Jack Barr, Author