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It so happens that October is a big “awareness” month.  Great causes like Breast Cancer, Domestic Violence and lets not forget Clergy appreciation! Among the many great causes October is near and dear to my heart…Down syndrome.    My son has more chromosomes than your son!  Cooper now almost 3 years old has Down syndrome, which occurs in one in every 733 live births worldwide. It affects people of all ages, races and economic levels and is the most frequently occurring chromosomal disorder. Down syndromes occurs when there are three, rather than the usual two, copies of chromosome 21 in every cell of the body. Instead of 46 chromosomes, a person with Down syndrome has 47.  Hence my pride in my little genetic overachiever!  There are more than 350,000 people in the United States alone with Downs. Sadly, an estimated 90 percent of unborn children diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted.  I can’t imagine my life apart from Cooper and my heart breaks for a world that eliminates the gift of any child because of a misplaced priority on self.  


I take the chance whenever I get it to tell people about Cooper. Like any parent who gets this sort of news Amanda and I were disappointed and even devastated when Cooper was born.  We like every parent prayed and wanted a perfectly healthy and “normal” child…and we got Cooper.  We instantly became a special needs family.  Fearful thoughts about how difficult life would be gripped us.  We were forced to have to live by what we believe.  I think too often we give lip service to God and casually claim our faith.  We NEED the experiences in life that demand a real faith.  We NEED the experiences that force us out of our comfortable faith and into a daily, desperate dependence on God himself.   


In the midst of my own self-focused naval gaze God’s voice broke through via a helpless little special needs child.  God convicted me that He sees me like I see Cooper.  I have special needs! I have nothing to offer Him.  I cost Him a fortune.  I require His patience. Through my son God changed my life deeper than any other experience in my life.  Each day when I look into the face of my son Cooper I am reminded at the extravagant love of God to call me His son.   

It’s easy to miss how much God truly loves us.  If we aren’t careful we can easily begin to think that due to our success and skill and intellect that we somehow offer God some reason to love us.  Make no mistake – you have special needs. The fact that God loves you speaks ONLY to the extravagant love of God and NEVER to what you offer Him.  I encourage you to confess your special needs to God and thank Him for loving you.  

I praise God for Cooper.  God has knit our hearts together in a remarkable way and now I don’t see a child with special needs I see my son.  Just as God looking upon us, through the sacrifice of Jesus, doesn’t see our “special needs” He sees His sons & daughters and loves us deeply and only wants for us to live in response to His love.  Cooper is not considered “normal” – Praise God!  If he’s not normal – then God forbid I be normal. I would be a better man to be more like Cooper. He lives a life of love and beauty and shows the world the love of the Heavenly Father.  


I pray this not only makes sense; I pray it helps you see clearly the love of our heavenly Father.  When you see someone who appears to have Down syndrome – don’t turn away or be afraid to speak to him or her or their family – they show us what “normal” should be.  


I also encourage you to watch a special video we did called “Cooper’s Story” I believe it will touch you in a special way. It’s available here…

Posted by Andy Savage at 10:13 AM
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