Lacey Buchanan doesn't believe God makes mistakes.
"God's promises are true even when things don't turn out the way we think they should," she told The Gospel Herald. "God has a plan that is so much bigger than we can ever see in our limited scope and vision. God is trustworthy and He is good on His promises. God is good, and He takes care of His children."
Lacey speaks from experience. At just 23 years old, the Tennessee native was enjoying her second year of marriage to her highschool sweetheart, anticipating her first year of law school, and pregnant with her first child. However, what should have been the happiest time of her life suddenly took a turn.
At the 18-week ultrasound, Lacey and her husband, Chris, were told their unborn baby, Christian, had a birth defect - but doctors weren't sure just how severe it would be.
"We went into that appointment very happy and excited to find out that we were having a boy, and within just a few days, our whole world came crashing down around us," Lacey recalled. "We were devastated to learn his diagnosis. It was a hard blow for us."
On Feb. 18, 2011, Christian was born with a rare syndrome known as Tessier cleft lip and palate, leaving him with a severely cleft palate and missing eyes. While they were overcome with love the moment they laid eyes on him, Lacey and Chris were also heartbroken for their son.
"Our faith was definitely challenged," Lacey said. "We asked all the questions that anybody would ask in that situation; we asked, 'why isn't God fixing it the way we think He should?"
For the first month of his life, Christian remained in the neonatal intensive care unit. When he was finally able to come home, the physical, financial, and emotional challenges Lacey and Chris were met with took a toll on their marriage. During this time, the couple prayed tirelessly over their little boy.
"There were times when I thought the promises of God just weren't meant for us," Lacey admitted. "But, looking back, I see how God walked with us the whole way and how He was fulfilling His promises for us and for Christian. They didn't always look like I wanted them to look; I would have chosen a totally different path for Christian."
Only making matters worse were the horrible comments people would make to Lacey via social media. "When Christian was three months old, I had an acquaintance private message me on social media, and she told me I should have aborted Christian and that it would have been the compassionate thing to do, because he'd have a miserable and pathetic life. She went on and on about how selfish I was for not aborting him," Lacey said.
She added, "I didn't realize that people would look at my child and make a snap judgement that he should be dead because of his birth defect. I knew the truth about the beauty of his soul despite how he looked."
That particular comment stirred something in Lacey and prompted her to make a video in which she describes the joy Christian brings her, the love she and Chris have for their little boy, and the triumph she feels when he giggles in the face of unfriendly glances from strangers.
"I just wanted to share who Christian really is and my heart for my child," she said of the 7-minute video.
Lacey posted the video to social media, and within a short period of time, it had racked up millions of views. Instantly, hundreds of people began messaging her on Facebook, thanking her for sharing her story: "I never expected the video to go viral," she said. "God took that and did something amazing with it."
Her video resonated with so many people, Lacey said, because it's about love.
"It's about the love of a mother and a child, but it's so much more than that," she told GH. "It's about the love of the Father for His children. We're all sinful, but God sees His children because of Jesus and I feel like people resonate with that real, true, love. I think the world is hungry for love, and they were able to see that in that video for just a few minutes."
Thanks to the work of skilled doctors and surgeons, Christian is today a thriving little boy of 6. He takes karate, thrives at the Tennessee School for the Blind, and inspires all who meet him. Lacey, now a mother of two little boys, documents her story of faith and resilience in the face of tremendous odds in a new book titled "Through the Eyes of Hope".
"In the book, I share about Christian and our journey, but also about our God and how good He is," she said. "I would tell others who find themselves in a similar situation, that the journey that you are embarking on, you're probably scared and unsure and wondering if you are going to be able to handle it. You can handle it, and you will handle it, and we don't have to be strong in ourselves, because God makes us strong in our weakness. It was Christ in me that made me strong."
She added, "It's not a journey anybody chooses, but it's amazing nonetheless. You will learn and grow and be so thankful that you were on it."