Last month our son, Wyatt, was recognized as an Albion College Presidential Scholar recipient. It was a powerful testimony of how God has moved strongly in our lives, especially during the past eleven years. The special ceremony recognized the top 10% of the college’s admissions and the appointment of these students to the Prentiss M. Brown Honors Program. To most, this may sound like the typical result of a hard-working student.
To us, it is a reality we once thought unimaginable.
In the Fall of 2011, I wrote an essay titled, “Sweet Success,” for the Albion College Alumni magazine. I explained how my definition of success and beauty was completely transformed through the process of raising a child who is differently abled. I shared, “Life is like a game of cards. The hand you are dealt is determinism; the way you play it is free will.”
Looking back, I never imagined that Wyatt could smash the chains of Autism and learning delays to attend my alma mater. At that point in time, Wyatt was eight years old. I believed he would be with my husband and me forever.
I was grateful that the Lord blessed us with a sweet boy who was a gift to our marriage and family. It’s important to note, that during the 16th week of my pregnancy, doctors recommended terminating Wyatt’s life. The fear was that I would bring a child into the world with little to no cognitive abilities.
From the very beginning, I believed fully that the Lord had a powerful plan for Wyatt. Wyatt’s difficult birth, amputation of his right arm, and multiple learning delays were God’s way of showing me that impossible is His starting point.
My faith has been renewed repeatedly through the process of raising Wyatt.
Wyatt was non-verbal until the age of seven and I worried he would not know the Lord. I was raised in a church of very conservative people. You did not talk about how the Lord moved powerfully in your life and you certainly did not dance, sing loudly or raise your arms in praise.
Three things impacted my faith and the process of teaching Wyatt about the richness of a life in Jesus: I joined an intergenerational women’s bible study, I found St. Paul’s Church in Vero Beach and I continued to bring our son into a community of those who knew the riches of claiming Christ as King.
The beauty of immersing myself in faith allows me to recognize the great works the Lord continues to do in my life. I share this process with Wyatt, to bring him into the fold of the freedom of worship, the joy that comes from immersing yourself completely in Jesus.
As I think about Wyatt heading out of state for college, I am grounded in the belief that imparting the gift of faith is priceless. Worship will be his weapon and Jesus will be his compass.
We have come full circle through faith.
Cynthia Falardeau is a member of St. Paul’s Church of Vero Beach where she serves as the Senior Warden and Eucharistic Minister. She is the Senior Director of Membership for the Women Corporate Director’s Education and Development Foundation. She lives in Vero Beach with her husband, Jim, and their son, Wyatt. Wyatt will graduate from Vero Beach High School this May.