Former MLB pitcher Nate Robertson and his wife, Kristin, still remember the day when he was first called up to the major leagues.
“We stopped the car, got out, and just started jumping up and down,” Nate recalls. “Sharing that moment with my family, who have invested so much into my life, was really cool.”
Nate went on to have a successful career as an MLB pitcher, spanning 16 years and eight teams, during which he started Game 3 of the 2006 World Series with the Detroit Tigers.
But in many ways, the Robertsons’ journey was just beginning. After experiencing the pain of a miscarriage, their prayers were answered in 2013 when God blessed them with a second child.
“When we got the test results, we were surprised because the first test we took was negative,” Kristin says. “We sat there together, embracing the moment and really praising God.”
Their 6-year-old son, Wyatt, would soon have a younger sister. Nate and Kristin welcomed their newborn daughter, Shealyn, into the world with much celebration, but only 20 minutes after the delivery, the pediatrician came back into the room with some unexpected news.
“The nurse called her and said, ‘We think this baby has Down syndrome,’” Nate remembers. “That’s one of those moments that you’re not really prepared for.”
The Robertsons were overcome with surprise, fear and confusion at this news.
“I felt ashamed at my first reactions,” Kristin admits. “It was never that I didn’t want or didn’t love my child, it was just that I didn’t want her to have such a disadvantage in life … It just hurt.”
As Nate was walking down to the main hospital, looking down at his daughter, he cried out to God.
“I said, ‘Jesus, I want to love You now more than I ever have in my life. God, I want to trust You now more than I ever have in my life.’ That’s all that came to me because that’s all I could do,” he said.
Over the next few days, Shealyn went through many tests to make sure her heart was healthy, but the official results to confirm if she had Down syndrome would not come for two more weeks. When that day finally came, the results were positive.
“There wasn’t frustration,” Nate says, “there wasn’t anger, there wasn’t disbelief. I just had peace. There isn’t a day that goes by when Shealyn doesn’t make someone smile.”
“She’s not going to see the world in the same way we do,” says Kristin with wonder. “She’s not going to see the ugliness in things, she’s only going to see joy. I believe God doesn’t always give us what we want but He gives us what we need. I believe that Shealyn is what I need. I believe she’s what the world needs.”
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” — John 14:27
The Increase, part of the Sports Spectrum Network, is a community of Christian pro athletes sharing their personal stories of the decrease of self and the increase of Christ (John 3:30). Visit TheIncrease.com for more stories and videos.