This is the second in my series of HopeKids Family Photo sessions this year. Family photography can be such a lesson in life. I am privileged to spend a precious moment with families who have so much to share regarding their experiences. I learn something each time that I am able to apply to my own life. From this family, I was reminded of some very simple truths that are so easily forgotten by most of us: Appreciate each day with those you love. Live each day to the fullest. Treasures the memories that are before you in the simple things.
Chad and Danielle are the proud parents of three amazing boys and one precious baby girl. Their oldest boy is nine years old. He is an observer who loves to read and play video games. He doesn't like to be the center of attention, but is gentle and kind and has eyes that are filled with wisdom and kindness. When he was 4 years old they noticed that he was struggling to keep up with his 2 year old brother. After several tests, he was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. DMD is a degenerative muscle disease in which most children transition to a wheelchair between ages 9-12. Heartbroken with this news Chad and Danielle surrendered everything to God and made a conscious choice to appreciate each day that he was still able to be physically strong and active.
During their third pregnancy they discovered that Danielle was actually a carrier of DMD. When their new baby boy was two months old, he was diagnosed with DMD. He is now 4 years old and full of mischief, wiggles, and giggles like every four year old boy! Having two boys with the same degenerative disease and one who is healthy and strong poses many challenges. It is something that requires the oldest brother to remain positive. He has learned to view his muscles as just "special," but never a barrier to enjoying the beauty of the world around him or the family that loves him and makes him laugh. For the middle brother it is difficult because, being that he faces no physical limitations, more may be expected of him - more patience, more understanding, more sacrifice. However, his energy and joy are a light that shines within him and he shares that with his brothers. For the youngest brother frustration may arise as he struggles to keep up with his older brothers and wants to be just like them. However, he has a spark and passion within him that is contagious and his older brothers seem to feed off of that.
Three boys. Each with their challenges, yet, each filled with life, energy, and love. They simply live with no thought for what may lie ahead. They run in the strength that they individually possess without dwelling on what limits them. They experience what is before them, in that moment, without being hindered by worries about what the future may bring. They live in the joy of the Lord which is available to each of us today, in this very moment, in the smallest of details. Whether in the laughter of their father who holds them with strong arms, whether in the cold lake water that tickled their toes, or the feeling of the wet sand beneath their fingertips, or in the joyous smile of - their baby sister! God was blessing them in these moments.
God blesses us in the tiny details of life. We simply must open our eyes to them. One year ago this family was blessed with a beautiful, healthy baby girl. DMD is passed down from mothers who carry the gene to sons, but not to daughters. She smiles at everyone around her! She loves everything around her. She ran to put her little feet in that cold lake and just beamed with joy. She is calm and beautiful and is a gentle and amazing presence in the midst of her rambunctious brothers.
This family is living life in the blessed moments that God has given them - today. Not in the fear of what may lie ahead. They do not let the future spoil the joy that God has blessed them with today. That is the way we are all to live - with Hope. With Hope that He has tomorrow covered and is already there with open arms with blessings we can't even imagine.