With the help of my wife, Leah, we have told a little of our daughter Joy’s story involving birth defects, multiple surgeries, and God’s means of working and encouraging us during heavy times.
On Tuesday, Joy will be having another surgery. This one will be on her jaw and requires a bone graft from her hip. Recovery shouldn’t be much fun as she must be on a strict liquid diet and have very little activity.
One aspect of my spiritual growth is an awareness of when I need help. When sticking to the status quo just won’t cut it and I need to be intentional and be willing to prepare, from a spiritual standpoint, for a difficult event. Here are some ways that I plan on preparing myself spiritually and emotionally for next week:
- Fasting – I have talked about fasting in this space before. The biblical use of fasting was largely to mark solemn occasions or times of repentance and returning to the Lord. Joy’s surgery, though routine for the doctor’s performing it, still will have deep impact on my daughter’s daily life for the next month and our family’s as well. This occasion requires me, as her father, to be at my best, and to be constantly in a state of prayer. In my recent practice of fasting, I have found deep moments with God and opportunities for spiritual reflection that has been life giving and a needed reset in my spiritual life. I don’t want to go into this time running on spiritual fumes, so I need something drastic to set the spiritual tone.
- Asking for prayer – Even though I have a blog and share some of my business, I am normally a pretty guarded person. I don’t like to talk about my own problems for fear that people would think I am fishing for sympathy or think my situation is more serious than someone else. But, in several of my church and work settings, I have specifically asked for prayer for Joy and that the surgery will go smoothly and that recovery will be light and free of pain. I have seen the power of intercessory prayer, and need that power in my family’s life this week.
- Surrender – I remember when Joy was just a few month’s old and had her first surgery on her lip. The dust had settled on the surgery and time in the recovery room. I made my way to the small chapel in the hospital where she was staying. I can’t remember too many times that I felt more reliant on God and aware of my lack of ability to control much of anything. I had come to a place of surrender of my child over to God. This is a terrifying yet comforting place to be as a parent. So, I find myself back in that spot again. I have to be willing to let things be for Joy and our family during Christmas. I have to daily pray for God’s will to be done for the surgery and for the aftermath. I have no control over how she will respond and what will cause her the most discomfort and irritation. I have to simply trust that God knows our deepest needs and will provide for those in a way that is best for all of us.
I am a firm believer in the power of prayer & as God’s word tells us, He hears the prayers in numbers. His word tells us He will never leave us or forsake us, so please know you have many praying for your family & Joy. I, too, have found that once I surrender things over to God that He offers & brings me peace & comfort on what I’m praying for. For that reason, I echo the prayer for Joy not to have pain, for the skill & wisdom of each dr., nurse, & care giver, a successful surgery, no worry or anxiety for the family, endurance of strength for all aspects of this surgery, complete healing & recovery for all of you & giving thanks for Joy & your family & especially for God’s love, grace & mercy. Sending prayers for Joy & the Jeffries family. God bless from the Sheffield family.
Thank you Julie. That means a lot.