Emily wasn’t born perfect – so one might think. She was born with Down Syndrome and many would jump to the conclusion that she would have very little hope for a life with any significance. Two years later came the diagnosis of leukemia. What little hope remaining turned to no hope whatsoever – or so one might think. This short story tells how the life of one little girl, with all its perceived imperfections, had great meaning. Her loving nature and courage touched the hearts of everyone she met. She also taught them how to value their own lives – even with their many “imperfections.” –From My Emily, by Matt Patterson.
Matt Patterson, the author of My Emily, is a writer who decided to finally share the story of his daughter with hopes to raise funds for those who are raising children with special needs and fighting cancer. My Emily is indeed a testament of a father’s love for his daughter. More importantly, it is a heartwarming memoir of how in just a short time here on this earth, a young daughter transformed the life of her father, and all those who came in contact with her.
In this month when FemmeFuel is contemplating the ideas of luck vs. faith, we interview Matt Patterson, who on the surface may seem “unlucky” when his daughter Emily is born with Down Syndrome, and later diagnosed with leukemia. However, as Matt shares, it was he who was blessed by God in the call to serve as Emily’s father.
What scriptures, poems, songs or books helped you along your journey with Emily?
I’m one who loves to find words – whether they’re from scripture, songs, books – to gain a greater sense of comfort or understanding of a personal situation.
Among scriptures, I find – Philippians 4:6-7: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Also, 1 Peter 5:7 – Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 – Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
And in regard to serving others, Romans 8:28 strikes me: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
There are also lyrics I share in the book of a lullaby titled, “Goodnight Emily” that bring me back to the nights I would rock Emily to sleep. It was our time together each and every night.
Goodnight Emily, sleep tight Emily,
Jesus keep your dreams.
The God above is a God of love
so, little girl sleep in peace.
Currently, there are numerous Christian Contemporary songs and groups that bring me closer to God, inspiring me in moments of stress or times where I just need to take a breather. I can only say that the work of these artists have brought such a calmness in my life when I’ve needed it the most. I really love finding lyrics that touch me with regard to what I have endured in the past or what I’m currently experiencing.
In the past, I was previously a U2 and Bruce Springsteen fanatic. Now, I only listen to artists and groups such as The Robbie Seay Band, Sanctus Real, Matthew West, Casting Crowns, and the Michael Gungor Band. I’m a better person by making this subtle change in my life.
Stay tuned tomorrow for more of Matt Patterson‘s interview with FemmeFuel…