The Courage to Change the Things I Can


Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.
– Maya Angelou

Picking up the phone, I heard Michael’s voice on the other end, “I got an interesting call,” he said. “I just got off the phone with your doctor.”

That was odd since I had just been to their office that afternoon. Did they forget to tell me something? Did I leave something behind?

“Uh huh?” I replied. “What did they want?”

“They said that they spoke with you this afternoon, and the doctor didn’t feel like you had a grasp on the situation. They thought that perhaps you didn’t realize the gravity of your condition.”

The heat rose in my face as I listened to his words. Clearly Michael agreed with the choices I had made, so why couldn’t they?

“Your baby,” the doctor said, “if he makes it to term–will likely have Down’s Syndrome.”

I was okay with that. But by the time I talked to Michael, Spina Bifida had also been discussed as a strong possibility.

“Spina Bifida?” I gasped with one hand over my mouth. I wasn’t prepared for that. Life hadn’t prepared me for any of this…

Even so, the choices were clear-cut for us. Children are a blessing from God. Period.

And so we refused to entertain the idea of termination. And we refused to undergo any further testing that could potentially harm our child.

This boy was a gift from the Lord and was to be treated as one.

Several months later Graham was born, kicking and screaming his way into this world. Sure he had his fair share of health problems, but nothing compared to what could have been. In fact other than an allergy to nuts every health problem he had is behind us.

Life doesn’t prepare us for moments like that, which is why we must prepare ourselves for the journey. Courage is born to those who exercise it through faith.

It starts with seeking God’s will for our lives and is exercised through the choices we make.

As parents, we’re constantly faced with choices that call us to exercise courage. We started homeschooling when it wasn’t so cool to do so. It was the early nineties, which brought one of two responses from people. Either they were absolutely confused by the notion and suggested we were breaking the law, or they assumed we were religious fanatics out of touch with reality.

The words of Reinhold Niebuhr come to mind where they nest in my soul:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

Courage is the backbone of  faith. Without it we can’t be a light on a hill that shines through the darkness. With it we step out alone serving unpopular truth in a world that can’t grasp who we are.

Back in the day my dad often sang the popular hymn to us, “Tho none go with me still I will follow. No turning back, no turning back…”

And by his example we learned that being different is a natural part of who we are in Christ.

We’re not called peculiar people because we wear distinctive clothing or keep our hair a certain way. We’re different because we don’t conform to pop culture that stands in the way of our faith.

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; – 1 Peter 2:9

If it hasn’t happened already, the day will come when you and your husband have strong choices to make. When your only options are to either stand true to your faith or to give in to opinions around you.

Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. – Joshua 1:9

Stand strong in your faith and get ready to take on the world!

You are loved by an almighty God,

Darlene Schacht




  • Lori Alexander

    At church today my sister shared with me a time when her faith pulled her through. She was riding in an ambulance with her 17 year old son who at that time was paralyzed from his neck down and she overwhelmingly felt His peace that passes all understanding. Her faith in God gave her the courage to face the “impossible” just as it did in your case. He does promise us that we can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens us!

    • Darlene Schacht

      Lori, I can’t even imagine what was going through her mind at the time. It’s an incredible gift to be able to find peace in the storm. I pray that he’s doing better today.

  • Connie Moreno

    Thanks for the encouragement and Thank you for sharing. Looking forward to reading more of your posts. It’s awesome that we serve a Mighty God. I am fairly new to reading your posts and love what I have seen so far. I am going to use your cleaning schedule as a guideline to create one that fits my schedule. Thank you again for sharing your heart. I came to your site by “IntentionalByGrace”

  • Katie

    Hi Darlene, I enjoyed this thoughtful post. I had an almost identical experience to the one you describe in your article. I’ve often wondered about it but it must have been to prepare and shape me. Stepping out in courage can feel like walking on a tightrope. Thank you for your honesty!

  • Heather P

    15 years ago, I became pregnant and during the first trimester had to be put on bedrest. When given the option of testing for Down Syndrome, we refused saying we would love whatever God gave us. When Carol was born in December with Down Syndrome, my mom and I both cried at the same time. It has been a 14 year learning adventure. With different health issues to tackle each year, I am learning to trust God even more on a daily basis. Just this morning, my little joy took my phone when I was not looking and made it to school with the phone. My mom in Illinois called me and let me know and I was at school very quickly to retrieve my phone. Oh the joys of my child! 🙂

  • hvn

    So encouraging! My husband and I are coming up on 10 years of marriage , expecting our 3rd baby, and are now facing a possible early separation from the military. The military my husband has been in for 13 years, just reenlisted for another 7, and had planned to be in for 20-25 years. The only adult life he has ever known and the only life our marriage has ever known. In our 9 years together God has carried us through my 4 year ongoing battle with thyroid cancer, overseas moves, high risk pregnancies, surgeries, radiation, and we topped all of that off with deployments and numerous temporary duty assignments all around the world. lol. I know that God will carry us through this possible job loss/change/ and move. I know that in my head but my heart is fearful at times, thank you for the encouraging word. It’s just what I needed to read today.

  • Robyn

    I love your beautiful story. And it inspired me to share mine with you. I was a young single mom 21 years old. My daughter and i didnt have much except each other and our faith. I never once questioned when or how we would make it i knew God was with us. When my darling girl was diagnosed with leukemia at 18 months old, i put all of my worries into Gods hands and trusted that it would all work out according to His plan for us. Doing this enabled me to care for her and focus only on her comfort and health during her illness. She taught me so many lessons during that time and i am so grateful for all the little blessings we had. Our Father called her home when he saw the pain had become too much for her little body to bear. She was 2 an a half years old. Many people have commented on how i was so strong. Well, i certainly didnt feel strong at all i just kept breathing is all i could do. I was questioned on my faith, alot. People asked why i didnt get angry with God how could he take my baby etc. well i didnt. I knew this was what was meant for her life and mine. Of course i fought for her, of course i miss her every day. But, i know that she is still with me and so is He. Now it is 13 years later and i have been blessed with an amazing husband and two beautiful boys i keep her memory alive and they know they have an angel sister as well as The Lord keeping them safe in this world. Sometimes it really isn’t easy to accept the lessons and plans He has for our lives, but that acceptance and knowledge is what sees me through an always has. I know this is a sad story and may be hard for some, but, i shared it in hopes that maybe someone out there might gain a bit of comfort and strength from it. God bless. Xo

  • Ruth Najera

    Thank you so much for sharing this and for every one that has shared too.I work with special needs children and I know that God sends me certain families to share my faith with. I also teach a special needs class at my church and God uses me there too. Its an honor to be able to pray for all the children and their families as well as teach them about Gods love for them.

  • Coral

    Thank you for sharing your story. It encourages me to do the right thing in any kind of circumstance: to choose Christ’s advice. Thank you.