The Smileys have been friends for many years and inspirations to our entire LA community. This precious family of six will always hold a special place in our hearts as their brave walk through suffering has encouraged us to persevere in our own walk down that same road. Their humble dependence on God amidst every parent's greatest fear continues to be a testament to the unexpected joy and peace that can be mined in the depths of pain.

This is their story of suffering and their story of hope. What's yours?

{HILLARY} When I was 29 weeks pregnant with our third child, I was unexpectedly admitted into the hospital for early labor. I spent six weeks on hospital bedrest, leaving my 3 ½ year old and 21 month baby at home. The doctors concluded that something was different about this pregnancy and about this baby but they didn’t know what. Luke came five weeks early... arriving on my birthday. He was born with chromosomal and brain abnormalities and the rarest form of a rare syndrome, which only 30 people in the world have. Our geneticist actually printed googled information out for us because there’s just not much known about his syndrome. At 18 months, he was diagnosed with epilepsy.

When Luke’s journey began in my womb, my world shifted completely and everything I once knew as true wasn’t anymore. Life changed dramatically and continued to as the Lord drew me closer to Him than I had ever been before. The things I held onto so dearly in this life became fuzzy and dim and I realized that the truths I was believing were empty and were fading away with each passing breath of the ventilator that Luke was initially on.

He’s almost 6 years old now, is delayed in many areas, he cannot yet walk on his own and has difficulty speaking. His name means “bringer of light,” and that’s exactly what he does. He brings Christ’s light to this dark and shadowy world.

Initially, doctors prepared us for the fact that Luke would never see or hear or smile or laugh. They promised us all sorts of things. The future that they painted was dark and dismal and without hope. Today, Luke can see, hear smile and laugh. We have gotten to experience that God’s promises for us are so much greater than the world's. He has promised never to leave us and He reassures us that His grace is always, always enough. Now, doctors do not pretend to have any idea how Luke is going to be. It’s a giant question mark and that is okay.

 {READ THE SMILEYS INSIGHTS ON SUFFERING, HERE}

* For the latest updates from the Smiley Family, check out Hillary's blog, "Capturing Motherhood"