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Strength to Care

Lessons from Matthew & Isaac – Our CHARGE Syndrome Journey

It is what you make it…

It is the middle of February, just two weeks removed from a record-setting snow storm that dumped 16 inches of snow in our corner of the world in West Michigan. Today we are experiencing unseasonable warm temperatures in the 50’s. For some, you would think that it is in the 80’s and time for a beach run. It is amazing how a little sunshine and a swing of nearly 40 degrees can change an attitude.

“A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.”  Hugh Downs

I have to admit that sometimes I envy Matthew’s ability to be happy. He makes the best of most situations and improvises when needed. The photo at the left is Matthew trying to ride his Pretty Pony after some therapeutic horse back riding. He does have bad days but usually a bad day is an indicator of a physical problem, not a reflection of what is happening around him. He really does not have the ability to understand rejection, people staring at him or ridicule. He has no self-image issues and could really care less about what people think about him. Why is it so hard for us? Why do we get so caught up in how other people view us? I have seen this broken down into two areas…reputation – how others view us and character – how we really are.

“Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”  Abraham Lincoln

As God led Samuel on his task of anointing a new king he cautioned Samuel on appearances as the sons of Jesse stood before him. As he came upon Eliab and Samuel looked him up and down, God had this to say:

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look a the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  1 Samuel 16:7

They passed seven men in front of Samuel and each were not up to par. The chosen one, the youngest, scrawny shepherd boy who was not even invited to the line-up.

Back to the attitude part…it doesn’t matter what others see. Our attitude and character should be shaped by who we are and the in the image of who created us. God sees us bigger, more powerful, more creative, more talented and more beautiful than we could ever imagine ourselves.

I will close this thought with the following quote made by the daughter of a family friend while baking:

“I love powdered sugar. It’s like eating sweet flour.” Savannah

Thank you, Matthew for showing us how to love ourselves and be happy…Thank you, Savannah for reminding us that life really is what you make it. Thank you, Lord for loving me and seeing me like David…as a warrior king, not just a shepherd boy.


  1. Jodie

    I’ll be praying for Matthew to come through surgery well! Nolan had his Jan. 28th – 8 hours on his palate with more to come in August. Email & we’ll fill each other in.

  2. Joel Shank

    That picture is one in a million!

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