A reminder of brokenness — Guest post by Gillian Marchenko (and book giveaway!)

I’m delighted to welcome Gillian Marchenko as a guest blogger today!

Whether your life has been touched by a child with special needs or whether you’re simply struggling to accept the gift of brokenness God has given you, you will be blessed and moved by Gillian’s memoir.

Enter to win a copy of Sun Shine Down, the story of Gillian’s daughter Polly, by doing any of the following, then leaving a comment to let me know what you did:

  1. Like Gillian’s facebook page.
  2. Subscribe to Gillian’s blog.
  3. Like my facebook page.
  4. Subscribe to my blog (click “follow” to the right).
  5. Leave a word of encouragement for Gillian below.
  6. (Less conventional, more helpful) Stop for a second and pray for Gillian and her family as she has three speaking engagements this week, including the National MOPS convention this weekend.

The winner’s name will be randomly drawn and announced tomorrow morning.

Now join me as Gillian remembers the importance of brokenness in her life…


It’s supposed to rain later today.

My left arm aches.

I broke it in two places, two different times in my childhood, and now sometimes when the weather changes it aches, either up near my shoulder or in my wrist; the places it broke.

The aches remind me of those times; the agony and pain, the fear of being in an emergency room as a child, spending the night for the first time in a hospital, getting attention from classmates and extended family, people signing my cast, ‘Get well soon!’. Me trying to itch the inside of my cast with a hanger, not being able to swim for half of a summer because I couldn’t get my arm wet. Being a bit doped up on the medication to ease the hurt.

My broken arm became my whole world. How could it not be when the pain was great, instant, and overwhelming?

At the time there was no way of knowing that the pain wasn’t going to be my new normal.

For all I knew I could be in that kind of fear and pain for the rest of my life.

I went to the hospital and got help. The excruciating pain eventually turned into a dull ache and then only, a flimsy itch.

Life went back to normal. I was found splashing around in the kiddie pool within eight weeks.

But a dull ache returns now and then.

And I am reminded that at times in my life, I’ve been broken.

Recently I went to four parent-teacher conferences for my kids in two different schools.

I was prepared to discuss each kid, I thought. But when I sat down with Polly’s teacher (who has Down syndrome and stars in my recently published memoir, Sun Shine Down), I was surprised to read that she hadn’t met her goals. After a whole year at school Polly still couldn’t figure out classroom procedures. She struggled with transitions every day.

Polly was cute and everyone loved her, but basically she was still just walking around making messes in class.

And the dull ache, the fact that I had a child with a disability started up again.

Polly’s birth shattered me. I teamed up with Jesus and my husband Sergei to put myself back together, but much like that pesky jigsaw puzzle you’ve almost completed, a few pieces were lost in the mix, and now I walk around with empty spaces.

Most of the time the spaces are used for good.

I have more compassion for others.

I understand grace better.

I relate to others through my brokenness.

And sometimes it feels right.

But there are other times when it still breaks my heart that Polly is behind her peers.

I am OK with Down syndrome.

But there will always be days in my life where the rain will come.

And because I’ve been broken, I will ache sometimes.

It doesn’t mean I love my kids less or that I wish my life was different.

It just aches.

And that’s OK, I think.

Gillian Marchenko is an author and national speaker who lives in Chicago with her husband Sergei and four daughters. Her book, Sun Shine Down, a memoir, published with T. S. Poetry Press in the fall of 2013. She writes and speaks about parenting kids with Down syndrome, faith, depression, imperfection, and adoption. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Chicago Parent, Thriving Family, Gifted for Leadership, Literary Mama, Today’s Christian Woman, MomSense Magazine, Charlottesville Family, EFCA Today, and the Tri-City Record. Gillian says the world is full of people who seem to have it all together. She speaks for the rest of us.

Buy Sun Shine Down on Amazon, Kindle, or Nook

Follow Gillian and her family at www.gillianmarchenko.com, on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest


Tagged: , , , ,

6 thoughts on “A reminder of brokenness — Guest post by Gillian Marchenko (and book giveaway!)

  1. Amy Sterk October 14, 2013 at 8:40 am Reply

    Gillian, I will pray for you this week, as you have 3 speaking engagements. Surely speaking “stirs up” the ache…and may bring sadness amidst your blessings. I pray for Jesus be a balm on that ache this week.

  2. Hannah October 14, 2013 at 9:41 am Reply

    I subscribed to Gillian’s blog, and prayed for her and her speaking engagements this week. Thankful for both of you ladies and your willingness to share your lives. You are a big encouragement to me.

  3. Michele October 14, 2013 at 11:08 am Reply

    I have liked both your pages!
    I have subscribed to both your blogs!
    Thank you, Gillian for opening your heart in such a vulnerable way! It speaks to so many of us. Father, please bless Giliian with your supernatural strength for the challenges that come her way. Please bless her with wisdom in all the events she speaks at so that all would hear YOU, the WORD, and hope in what she says. And please bless her family as they shine Your Light in the roles you have placed them. Amen.

  4. Amber Beery October 14, 2013 at 12:10 pm Reply

    I have been wanting to read this book ever since I heard about it on Gillian’s blog…so I’d love to win! Will also be praying for the speaking engagements, especially the MOPS convention. Several of our MOPS leaders are attending, and I’m so happy they will get to hear Gillian. My only sadness is that I don’t get to attend and hear her in person. Praying for Gillian as she speaks and the moms’ hearts as they listen!

  5. Carmen October 14, 2013 at 8:57 pm Reply

    I liked her Facebook page too- thanks for the introduction, I really appreciated her post and would love to read the book!

  6. Jennifer Ebenhack October 15, 2013 at 6:55 am Reply

    Thank you so much, friends, for your comments, encouragement for Gillian, and your prayers! I wish I could send you each a book… 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: