The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. … If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be… As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable.
I Corinthians 12:12:22 (abridged)
My wife, Amy, and I seek to run our family the same way. Our sixth child, Daniel, has Down Syndrome. Last week, we celebrated two milestones with Daniel: He went off to kindergarten and he participated in his first soccer practice. Those precious events reminded us that Daniel “seems to be weaker”, but also affirmed that he is an indispensable part of our body, our family. Here is how we put it when we announced his birth via email over six years ago:
From: Greg and Amy DiDio
Sent: Friday, May 13, 2005 9:09 AM
Subject: The Birth of Daniel Gregory DiDio
Please celebrate with us as we rejoice in the birth of our son Daniel Gregory!
Daniel entered this world last night at 6:13 PM weighing 5 pounds, 15 ounces and he was 19 inches long. He has blonde hair and a handsome DiDio profile. Daniel has other attributes that may point to Down Syndrome. A definitive diagnosis will take one to two weeks. As we have had several months to ponder this possibility (and now another couple weeks), we have realized that if it comes to pass, it would be part of God’s perfect plan for our family.
As our family has grown and we have observed the challenges our children have faced, we have wondered:
- How do we teach our kids that they can experience joy without always coming in first place?
- How do we encourage them to appreciate the gifts they have instead of cursing their weaknesses?
- How do we teach them to rely on God’s provision rather than on their own abilities?
- How do we show them that their value is based on being children of God, not on any fleeting human accomplishments?
- How do we provide them a forum for serving others without any expectation that they will ever be repaid?
Well last night, God may have provided His answer – in the form of a little boy who has entered our family to help teach us all these lessons and a lot more.
Make no mistake, we would welcome your prayers and support. If Daniel has Down Syndrome, then he carries a higher risk of several physical maladies and will require more extensive care than most “normal” children for his entire life. But we won’t need your sympathy. We are convinced that there was a “Daniel-shaped” void in our family that at long last has been filled, regardless of any diagnosis.
We wait with joyful anticipation for the amazing things that God will do through his life.
Greg & Amy
As I look back on the huge impact and the amazing blessing of Daniel’s life, I am as convinced as ever that every word was true. Daniel is fulfilling his special role in our family and the Body of Christ. YES! – God gifts every believer for the benefit of all of us.