We recently recognized March 21, (3/21), because it is World Down Syndrome Day. March 21, was chosen as the day to honor and recognize those with Down Syndrome because it is symbolic of the third copy of the 21st chromosome, which characterizes Down syndrome. This condition causes cognitive delays, as well as physical and mental delays making it a challenge for those who have Down syndrome to keep up with their “typical” peers.
Down syndrome is not a disease or an “affliction”, in other words, people with Down syndrome do not “suffer from it”. It is a condition they “have” or a syndrome. However, this condition predisposes them to a number of possible medical issues, as well as the delays mentioned.
My youngest daughter, Olivia, was born with Down syndrome. The things that I took for granted with my three older children became something that Olivia had to work very hard to do, such as learning to roll over, crawl, and walk, picking up an object with her thumb and index finger, verbal communication, and on and on I could go. So many little things that required a great deal of therapy from a physical therapist, occupational therapist, a speech pathologist and a child developmental specialist.
Before Olivia even had the chance to begin learning all of this, she underwent open heart surgery due to a severe heart defect that almost took her life. She has had four other surgeries, one of which caused her to lose her beautiful hair. I could go on with a list of several other medical conditions that Olivia has faced, but it would take a while and this post would be far too long.
Olivia has overcome so much in the short time that she has been on this earth. She is always striving to do more and learn more, however, slow this may be compared to her “typical” peers. Her future, from the beginning, has always been something that I have pondered.
I’m writing this post because of a revelation about those who have overcome difficulties in this life. Interestingly enough, my revelation came from a verse in the Bible, Revelation 3:21…
“To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” Revelation 3:21
There isn’t much that Olivia and others with Down syndrome haven’t had to overcome and continue to overcome throughout their life, including the misconceptions that others sometimes have about this condition and the labels they place on them. How awesome to know that they will sit down with Jesus on His throne! What a revelation! It brings me great joy because if anyone deserves to sit with Jesus on His throne, it’s Olivia and those like her, who have overcome so much in this life. She is much like a child in many ways, an innocence that she will carry throughout her life.
“Jesus said, ‘Suffer the little children and forbid them not to come unto Me, for of such is the kingdom of God.'” Matthew 19:14 & Mark 10:14