POWELL, Tenn. — Parents often consider their children to be gifts from God. A mother who lives in Powell counts her youngest daughter to be a specially wrapped gift.
That inspired her to write a book about children with special needs.
When their daughter Candace was born, her Down syndrome diagnosis was a surprise to her parents, Bruce and Meka Jackson.
"We're all made in the image of God. And God definitely isn't surprised and caught off guard by what has just happened. I didn't know but He knew. She didn't slip through the cracks," Meka said.
She's been involved with her community, church and school. Back in 2013, Candace was the littlest Lemon Shark cheerleader with the biggest smile.
Now Candace is 11 years old. She likes cheerleading, playing with dolls and hanging out with her big sister, Cherie.
Meka Jackson shares her family's journey in a new book: Specially Wrapped Gifts.
"It's my family but also we've expanded. Wait a minute. It's other families that are on the same journey," she said.
She wraps those families up in a big hug filled with hope.
"Yes, that person has special needs but it also impacts the whole family has special needs. It impacts marriages and siblings. By trade, I am a social worker so my heart just, I am always thinking about other caregivers," she said.
The book traces the chapters of her life with Candace from fear to trust to blessed.
"I wouldn't trade it. My life is so fulfilled with the family that I have. And just grateful to God. Wow! You would entrust us with her," she said.
Meka Jackson concludes her book with two important words: Be encouraged.
"Like situations at the onset that if you look at them and you're like I wouldn't choose to go through that. But once you're in it and on the other side of it you're like, wow, God I can see your hand in it. And it's a gift," she said.
A specially wrapped gift.