Redefining Perfect: Meeting God in the Midst of an Adverse Diagnosis

Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email
Concerned-looking husband and wife looking at each other while being consulted by their doctor
iStockPhoto.com/Katarzyna Bialasiewicz
Ron and Genie’s third pregnancy was something of a surprise, and they chose to recognize it as a blessing. But then the concerns started piling up, including markers for Down syndrome and significant heart defects.

Genie and Ron Marklund were pretty content with their family. They had an outgoing 10-year-old daughter and a sweet 8-year-old son. Ron’s career as a CPA was stable and successful. Genie’s musical talents and love for the Lord had led to a full‐time position at their church.

Thus Genie’s third pregnancy was something of a surprise. While it took both Genie and Ron a while to wrap their minds around this unexpected turn in their lives, they chose to recognize it as a blessing from the Lord.

But then the concerns started piling up. A routine 21-week ultrasound came back with markers for Down syndrome. Then there were the heart problems: two separate defects, both significant. The prognosis was somewhat unknown. The doctor told them that in Illinois they could only have an abortion through the first 24 weeks of pregnancy, so if they wanted to confirm the Down syndrome diagnosis in order to make their decision, they would need to do it soon.

Genie and Ron, however, were firm in their conviction to choose life for their baby. It was hard at first. Genie remembers kneeling at the front of their church and weeping for a long time. She poured out her heart to the Lord. 

I don’t know if I can do this, God. I don’t know if I can do this.

What Does ‘Perfect’ Really Mean?

As Ron considered the way God had diverted him from his stereotypical, accountant‐minded plans for a new house, financial progress and a safe future, he found himself praying a lot. In quiet moments during his work commute, Ron was reminded that God wants us to talk to Him.

“I’ve learned that no matter our circumstances,” Ron says, “we can thrive when we focus on God.”

The Marklunds prepared to welcome their blessing into the world, and they chose the name Samuel Benjamin. But this delivery would be different than their others. The couple toured a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), where Samuel would spend his first days and weeks after birth. They attended appointments with high-risk doctors and cardiologists.

Through it all, they chose to focus on what God was doing in their lives.

“Walking through the NICU for a tour is really hard,” Genie says. “God is there, too. He is with those babies. He is with those parents.”

Genie has seen how often well-wishers describe a newborn as “just perfect,” but she says her belief that all life is sacred has reframed the way she views perfect.

“A good definition of perfect is when something does what it is designed to do,” she says. “My cellphone is perfect because it does exactly what it was created to do. It sends and receives calls and texts and emails. In the same way, Sammy is perfect because he is exactly who God has created him to be and he is going to fulfill God’s purpose in creating him.”

No Less Value or Purpose

Samuel was born with Down syndrome and multiple heart defects. While the heart defects were more extensive than they had anticipated, Samuel was able to have successful open heart surgery when
he was several months old.

“Does he have some problems with his heart and an extra chromosome? Yes, but that does not mean that God created him with any less value or purpose in life,” Genie says. “He will just have a different life than that of my other two kids. I still mourned the loss of my dreams and ideals for my baby, but in their
place God has given me new dreams and visions of what Sammy’s life can and will mean.”

After 23 days in the hospital, Sammy came home to be loved and held by his big sister, big brother and adoring grandparents. As they awaited their baby’s first open-heart surgery, Genie and Ron chose to meditate on the truth of Psalm 91.

“If I live in the shadow of the Most High, then I can find peace and rest no matter what the circumstances are that are taking place around me,” Genie says. “I see in Psalm 91 that there is no guarantee that hard things won’t happen to us. But because of my relationship with Jesus, I don’t need to fear these things.”

While the Marklunds continue to navigate the reality of Samuel’s day-to-day therapies and care – and an unknown future regarding additional surgeries – they walk in the knowledge and hope that an all-knowing, loving God is with them every step of the way.

Dynamic CTA Template Below

Your Teen Needs You Most of All

No parent of teens is perfect and even the best can learn how to better connect with their son or daughter. Get practical action steps to better connect with your teenager in 8 Essential Tips for Parenting Your Teen in this FREE video series!

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.
Emerson-Eggerich4-840w

Understand How to Respect and Love your Son Well

Why doesn’t my son listen to me? Have you ever asked that question? The truth is, how you see your son and talk to him has a significant effect on how he thinks and acts. That’s why we want to help you. In fact, we’ve created a free five-part video series called “Recognizing Your Son’s Need for Respect” that will help you understand how showing respect, rather than shaming and badgering, will serve to motivate and guide your son.

Reconnected: The Digital Experience

Is the love there, but not the spark? Reawaken fun in your marriage and move from roommates to soulmates again with the help of this 7-part online video experience. Learn how to connect emotionally and spiritually as husband and wife using techniques such as dreaming together and establishing deep, heartfelt communication. The Digital Experience includes 7 teaching videos, an online study guide and access to additional tools and resources to help spouses reconnect.

Next Steps: Marriage Assessment

We want your marriage to be thriving and healthy. Take the free Marriage Assessment from Focus on the Family to learn how to strengthen your bond with your spouse and get the tools to help you need to grow closer together. 

Next Steps: Fruit of the Spirit Devotionals for Couples

The Fruit of the Spirit Devotional is a free series of nine short videos to get you into God’s Word and inspire you to seek the Holy Spirit’s help in loving your spouse.

Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

About the Author

Read More About:

You May Also Like

A young woman sits holding a positive pregnancy test, wondering how to go about dealing with unplanned pregnancy.
Pre-Born

Dealing With Unplanned Pregnancy

No matter how you’re feeling, we can assure you that God loves you very much. And regardless of what is going on in this chapter of your life, He knows the larger story He has for you – which includes a bright and beautiful future.

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 5: It’s Going to be Amazing!

After a couple has chosen life, hear the heartwarming stories of children that culture would have cast aside, yet are making tremendous impacts in their communities. Whether the diagnosis was adverse or the circumstances were difficult, these stories will inspire you to come along side of families who have chosen life!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 4: Sometimes the Choice is Hard

Hear real life stories of parents who have made the decision to choose life even though the circumstances were overwhelming. You’ll see why “ALL” life is precious to God and why choosing life is always the right decision!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 6: Families Helping Families!

So, after all you’ve seen through the SeeLife ‘21 Episodic journey; what can you do now? We’ll share how you can partner with some amazing organizations that are making significant impacts in the pro-life movement! You want to Celebrate Life!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 3: The Power of a Picture

Have you ever wondered what a baby looked like in the womb? With today’s technology, Moms and Dads can see the baby’s heartbeat, facial expressions, and movements! You’ll find out why more women choose life once they hear their baby’s heartbeat and realize it’s a real living human!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 2: Heroes Providing Hope

Discover the amazing work our PRC’s Directors, Nurses, and Volunteers are making in their communities! You’ll see firsthand testimonies of a PRC in action, and that there are other options outside of abortions! You’ll also discover how your family can support your local PRC!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 1: The Truth About Life!

In this episode, we will tackle tough questions like, “When does life begin?” and “What does the Bible
say about Life?” You’ll discover and understand the stages of pre-born life and that babies are more than
just a clump of cells!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!