The Story of Joy, Part 2

One part of my spiritual and personal story that I haven’t discussed much is the pregnancy, birth, and early life stages of our daughter, Joy. My wife recently wrote about this and I thought I would share it on the blog with a series of posts. God has moved in profound ways concerning Joy and her life has taught me many things:

Enter my wife, Leah.

joy2

When Joy was born, the main issue that she had was a severe and complete unilateral cleft lip and palate. The other issues that the doctor predicted, some being life threatening, were not present. Other issues would come later, but nothing beyond the cleft lip and palate was immediately noticeable.

The issue with cleft lip and palate is that the ability to get suction to eat is almost impossible. Joy had no “roof of her mouth”. Everything that went in her mouth, came out her nose or went down into her airway.

Her orthodontist made an oral appliance (like a retainer) to put in her mouth to give her a sort of barrier between her mouth and nasal cavity. We kept it in her mouth using denture cream.  It took a long time to feed Joy and she would get so tired . Scott and I would both get up with her so that one of us could help keep the other awake. It was exhausting. Joy had issues with pneumonia due to aspirating milk and even had a feeding tube at one time.

The first surgery to repair her lip was coming up. She was scheduled for a time in August and we were ready for the healing process to begin. It would just be for her lip and nose, but it would help. As the date approached, we received a call that the surgery was rescheduled for a later date. I was so upset. Joy needed to have the surgery soon!. I didn’t understand the delay.

It wasn’t until her pre-op that God revealed why her surgery was delayed.

We found out that the world renowned Craniofacial Surgeon, Dr. Kenneth Sayler (he helped separate the conjoined twins from Egypt) would be performing a live teaching surgery at a Cleft Lip and Palate Medical Conference. Joy would be his patient and a group of surgeons from all over the world would be watching the Doctor repair Joy’s cleft lip. Joy would not only receive the best care from the best surgeon in the world, but other children would be helped because of what the surgeons were learning from watching her surgery. We were overwhelmed with God’s timing and plan!! I am thankful we had to wait and be rescheduled. God’s plans are perfect! 

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It’s Time To Grow Up

Birth receives far more attention among Christians than growth. Born again, new birth, new life are all terms in high use among Western Christians, and rightly so. But, ignoring or overlooking growth leads to the absence of growth and in the words of Eugene Peterson, we become “a nation of adolescence.”

Peterson goes on to say, “the most significant growth that any of us does is growing as a Christian…all other growth is prep for this growth.” Scripture is full of growing up both physically and spiritually and sometimes both. Moses grew up, David grew up, John the Baptist grew up, and Jesus himself grew up. Then after Jesus returned to his father, we see the spiritual growth of his followers who go from clueless, scaredy cats to courageous and bold ambassadors for the Kingdom of God.

woman wearing red dress on gray stairs

Photo by Zun Zun on Pexels.com

Could it be that the most important thing about you and me is our Growing Up as followers of Christ? How would that change our work place? How would that change our families? Our marriage? Our solutions to society’s biggest problems?

I am a more patient, friendly, happy, and trusting person because of my Growing Up. I have seen God do some miraculous things in and through me because of my Growing Up. I have made odd and foolish career decisions that demonstrated that God knew what he was doing. I have gone out on a limb and seen God handle the outcomes far better than I ever could. I have grown up and that growth has made it possible for more growth. I am not where I can be or should be but I have matured and developed in my faith.

Let us not put Growing Up on the periphery of our Christian life. Let us make it the other side of the coin from new birth. Let us no longer be a church of adolescence.

The Story of Joy, Part 1

One part of my spiritual and personal story that I haven’t discussed much is the pregnancy, birth, and early life stages of our daughter, Joy. My wife recently wrote about this and I thought I would share it on the blog with a series of posts. God has moved in profound ways concerning Joy and her life has taught me many things:

Enter my wife, Leah.

joy

I was 18 weeks pregnant and went to see a specialist because they thought there was an issue with my uterus. At this appointment, they actually found something wrong with our baby.

I remember the nurse and doctor walking in the room. They had that “look” on their faces that something was wrong.

Scott and I sat and listened to a list of serious issues that the doctor felt was wrong with our baby from the findings on the sonogram pictures. There was everything from Down Syndrome, to heart issues, to intestinal issues, cystic fibrosis, and her cleft lip and palate.

The doctor felt strongly that she would have serious issues and we should consider aborting the pregnancy. I felt like someone punched me. I remember saying a strong “no!” to the abortion topic, and we left with lots of questions and feelings of helplessness. We got home and just felt so saddened. We did find out that day that our baby was a girl and soon realized we needed to find a name so that people could pray specifically for her. More on that next time…….

Reading Now/Listening Now

Reading Now

What I am Reading: I am going through my highlights from Dallas Willard’s Life Without Lack and starring the best sections.

What has Meant Something to Me: Willard describes the movement of faith from sufficiency to abandonment to contentment.

LWL

Something I am Going to Try: A day with Jesus. At the end of the book, Willard maps out how to spend a day with Jesus. I am looking to schedule this and plan for this later in the month.

Listening Now

What I am Listening To: As Kingfishers Catch Fire by Eugene Peterson. This is a collection of sermons from the long time pastor, translator, writer, and professor.  I have the audiobook version and I listen to it on my way to work. Unlike the Baptist preachers that I am used to, Peterson’s sermons are usually around 20 minutes long. So, I often finish the sermons on my commute.

What has Meant Something to Me: Peterson isn’t trying to conquer the known world with each sermon. He simply has a text, a word from God, and fantastic use of language. This helps you chew on the message and let it swim around a bit in your head. There are no set of points to map out, just grand, holy ideas to consider and pray through.

Something I am Going To Try: Reading the Psalms in the Message translation in order to get a fresh taste of the full range of human experience and God’s provision in that experience.