Hello, guys and gals! What a week it’s been! I have been so challenged and encouraged and blessed by what’s been shared. I am {thank}ful! I have some great news to share before today’s guest post — we have a bonus day of thanks happening tomorrow! One more beautiful post is headed your way to close out our {Thanks}giving Week, so please come back!

Today’s guest post is by an old friend of mine who is an encouragement and inspiration to me for so many reasons. Annie Beth Donahue is a woman of great faith. Inside a tiny frame, she is a woman of boldness who lives out an authentic life for Jesus that is a beauty to see. Her post verbalizes some things on my heart that I struggle to express even after researching in this subject area for a year and a half at PhD level. I hope it provokes you to thankfulness, and thoughtfulness.


Hello Readers!  I’m a mom of 4 that grew up in Washington, North Carolina and now lives in Charlotte.  I already have many stories I could share from our relatively short journey as a family.  My children are 6, 5, 3, and 2.  Two children were adopted and two are biological- and they all have some kind of health problem, running the gamut from spina bifida, to food allergies, to sensory processing disorder.

We knew our child with spina bifida had this particular birth defect before adopting- but the rest of our children’s challenges showed up after birth.  Through my connection with such a wide range of health care professionals, this summer God led me to start Signposts Ministries.  Signposts Ministries is a religious and charitable organization designed to minister to the whole person.  We meet the needs of families that have children with chronic health problems in a variety of ways- physical, emotional, financial, and spiritual.  We want to provide free devotions and Bible studies online for both parents and children, and we hope to continue meeting physical needs both here in the U.S. and internationally.  Check us out at: www.signpostsministries.org

Unconditional Thanks

I have several friends who are pregnant right now.  I remember being pregnant.  It was both enjoyable and loathsome at the same time.  But then again, I had terrible morning (all day) sickness.  That was actually the only loathsome part.  Overall, it was pretty fun.  I really enjoyed getting to the point where I was showing.  I didn’t mind people asking me about my pregnancy.  I was kind of hoping they would notice, because I was pretty excited, and I wanted everyone else to be just as excited as I was.

There are recurring themes in people’s conversations with parents-to-be.  When are you due?  Is this your first?  How do you feel?  Do you know if it’s a boy or a girl?

Usually, if the parent does not know the baby’s sex, they will answer, “We don’t care if it’s a boy or a girl- as long as it’s healthy!” *Big smile*

That sounds nice.  To the average person.

I’m not sure when this phrase started bothering me.  I think it was when I first became a mom, way before I knew what our journey would be like in a few years.  Don’t throw tomatoes yet.  I understand the sentiment behind the words.  We hope our children are healthy.  For that matter, I hope I’ remain healthy, and that we all live to a ripe old age, doing God’s kingdom work to our fullest, until we peacefully pass away in our sleep with our grandchildren gathered round.  Every single one of us.  I even wish that for you, dear reader, whom I may not even know in real life.

“As long as it’s healthy.”  I want to ask, “And if it’s not?”  Then what?

For some people, the answer to that question is abortion.  Children like my daughter are aborted by the thousands every year.  But even strong, pro-life Christians can be found spouting the phrase, “as long as it’s healthy.”  So, it *kind of* sounds like we’re saying, “God, I’m letting you pick the gender as long as you don’t give me a child with a disability.”  I wasn’t aware that God was making deals like that.  Personally, I think he’s most capable of picking the gender and the physical and mental condition of our children.  As Job  asked his wife, “should we accept good from God and not evil (trouble)?”

I could never make those words come out of my mouth.  My pregnancies and adoptions were totally surrendered to God.  We wanted him to pick the way things turned out.  We wanted him to be totally in charge.  Because if there is one thing we know about God, it’s that he is trustworthy.  He loves our children more than we do (can you imagine)!  No matter what their physical or mental condition, your children contain a precious soul that is worth more to God that anything else on this earth.  He wants you to cherish your child, no matter what packaging they come in.  Knowing this, I can thank God in advance for what he is going to give me, before I even know the outcome.  I can thank him for his goodness and kindness and omnipotence.  At church, we often do a call and response of, “God is good all the time, and all the time, God is good.”

Sin, disease and sickness are not things God intended.  We live in a fallen world.  I’m sure that if it weren’t for his divine intervention, we would see much more deformity in the earth around us.  Any good health you or your children have is a gift.  For my children that gift has been temporarily withheld on this earth, and God has not intervened in every situation to make things the way they “should” be.  However, I have found that sometimes God takes things that Satan means for evil against us, and he works and uses that very same thing to produce a harvest of righteousness.  It almost makes me laugh aloud sometimes to see situations in which I’m sure Satan thinks he has control, only to realize that God is miraculously aligning the universe to turn that evil into a blessing.

So, I’m not going to judge people who say, “as long as it’s healthy.”  I just think that it goes without saying that we wish the best for our children, and that maybe we should examine our words.  The next person you say that to in the grocery store may have a child at home that is twisted by cerebral palsy or who is severely mentally retarded or who lives in constant danger of dying from a peanut allergy.  The words “as long as” kind of sting a little because they seem conditional.  It’s not that I don’t desire heath for the child, it’s that I don’t want the child without health to be undesired.  There’s a difference.


Thank you so much for sharing those challenging words with us today, Annie Beth. I found myself starting to say “even if it’s not healthy” in response to that phrase a few weeks ago. I hope your thoughts will provoke thoughtfulness, and even conversation in the days ahead. I am even more excited, being reminded that the omnipotent and good and kind God of the universe has plans for the little one He’s forming in me right now!