In July of 2013 I became a grandmother for the tenth time with the arrival of Kendall Grace. Even though I’d been down the becoming-Gramma road a few times before, Kendall Grace’s arrival was every bit as joyous as the first one had been. Shortly after our little darling’s entry into the world, however, we learned things were very different than her cousins’ entries, which put a damper on the rush of joy. You see, Kendall Grace was born with a variety of challenges that confounded doctors and opened the floodgates of confusion and pain.
When a child is born, hopes and dreams are born with him. When the child has disabilities, one wonders how many of those hopes and dreams must be set aside. Doctors’ predictions for Kendall Grace were discouraging—she might never walk, she might need a shunt, she might be developmentally delayed... There were no certainties, only a list of “what might be” and none of them were positive. It seemed every visit with a specialist led to another possible problem, and after a while I wanted to plug my ears and not listen anymore.
Funny how a deeply seated hurt can bring you to a fork in the road. You can either go on the path of bitterness and anger or you can take the road toward acceptance and determination. Little Kendall Grace chose our pathway for us.
This baby girl came into the world with some wonderful God-planted gifts: An innate joy, a fierce determination, and a family who refuses to give up on her.
Even though she is constant pain due to pressure in her head from fluid, digestive issues, and abnormally fitting joints, this baby never stops smiling. She melts the heart of ever doctor and nurse she encounters and has a cheerleading team made of hundred of prayer warriors.
She is also the most determined little person I’ve ever met. When she wants to conquer something, she works and grunts and strains until she finds success. Due to her desire to succeed, she has learned to sit up, crawl, and even walk with the help of implements!
WaterBrook Press, 2015
Finally, God chose the perfect family for Kendall Grace. Her mommy already had the skills and experience for Kendall’s intensive therapy regime. Her daddy is one who unconditionally loves, and he adores his baby girl. Her big sister loves her to pieces and challenges her to keep up. Kendall also has a host of aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and great-grandparents who pray for her daily. She landed in good hands all the way around.
Kendall Grace has undergone a lot in her short life—major surgeries, countless medical exams and tests, daily therapy... And she’s handled all of it with strength and grace. Not even two years old yet, but she has taught me so much about trusting God to know what doctors don’t. She’s showed me how joy can wash away pain. This little girl has a smile who could melt the Abominable Snowman, and I cannot wait to watch her grow and develop into the person God designed her to be. Our Kendall Grace is a precious gift. Even though the past months have been laden with angst and questions, we wouldn’t change her one bit even if we could. We are ever grateful she belongs to us.
Kim Vogel Sawyer
Kim Vogel Sawyer is a best-selling, award-winning author with more than one million copies of her books currently in print. Her latest release, When Grace Sings, released in March from WaterBrook Press. Awards include the ACFW Carol Award, the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Sawyer lives in central Kansas, where she and her retired military husband, Don, run a bed-and-breakfast inn with the help of their feline companions. She savors time with her daughters and grandchildren.