Grip Strength

I caught myself pouting the other day, and I didn’t feel guilty about it.  I was overseeing Jesher’s care as a nurse attempted to calm him down.  Since being moved from a ventilator to a CPAP [Continuous Positive Air Pressure] machine, Jesher has been noticeably agitated.  And I can’t blame him!  The contraption requires him to wear a hot, cotton hat–outfitted with straps–to keep his mask anchored tightly to his face.  The continuous pressure applied by the mask causes swelling of the eyes and inflammation of the nose.  I’m not even wearing the mask, and I hate it!  But on this day, the son was better than the father.  Jesher just didn’t resign himself to pouting; he attacked his frustration with reckless abandon.  With one hand, he grabbed the mask and flung it off his face.

My upside-down smile morphed into a mouth-agape scowl.  I couldn’t believe it!  Jesher got so mad that for four seconds, his skin turned green, his muscles bulged, and he growled instead of crying.  My Lil’ Hulk was upset, and with every fiber in his being, Tiny but Mighty did what those watching him did not think was possible–he removed his mask.

“This little guy has quite the grip strength!” his amiable nurse affirmed.  As she rushed to reinstate the loathsome device, she concluded, “He really hates this mask!”  Within a few moments, his smiling care-taker overcame Jesher’s strength and successfully replaced the mask.  My son tried once again to grip-and-throw his nemesis, but this time the nurse’s hand guarded the apparatus.  All Jesher could do was cry and struggle.  All I could do was pout and struggle, thinking: I wish I had that type of grip strength.

Lately, I have felt my grip strength waning.  I have probably been counseled to “hold on” or “hang in there” at least 1,000 times since Jesher’s birth.  I haven’t been offended by the advice, and I know that each person who offers this guidance means well.  However, ‘holding on’ or ‘hanging in’ requires one paramount ability–grip strength.  And my grip strength isn’t increasing.  My wife’s grip strength isn’t improving.  In this sense, Jesher is out-pacing his parents.  As evidenced by this episode, our son is getting stronger.  But while he seems to be gaining grip strength, the daily grind of this NICU life is draining the grip strength of his parents.

Here is Jesher’s current medical report:

PDA [Patent Ductus Arteriosus]–The doctor examined Jesher again this morning and gave us a 72-hour window before we need to consider surgery.  As I have stated before, Lhorraine and I have adamantly petitioned God, asking Yahweh to deliver Jesher from needing any surgeries.  The doctors have agreed to try one more round of indocin (also known as ibuprofen) to encourage the closure of his heart valve, but there are doubts that the medication will work due to previous attempts to treat Jesher’s PDA with medication.  Now, we know that God must intervene if surgery is to be avoided.  We need the hand of the Lord to close and seal Jesher’s PDA as He closed and sealed the door of Noah’s Ark (Genesis 7:16).  FOR THE NEXT THREE DAYS, WE NEED YOUR FERVENT SUPPORT IN ASKING GOD TO CLOSE JESHER’S OPEN HEART VALVE SO THAT A TESTIMONY OF THE LORD’S POWER CAN BE MANIFESTED BEFORE DOCTORS, THERAPISTS, AND NURSES…WE ARE ASKING YAHWEH TO DELIVER OUR SON FROM THE PORTENT SURGERY.

I now understand why strength dwindles.  It diminishes over time due to a sustained counter force that overwhelms ability and will.  Previously, I thought weakness was the result of insufficient preparation or inadequate aptness.  I see it differently now.  Even the most prepared and capable person will weaken if the counter force is applied long enough.  None of us have infinite strength; therefore, all of us will eventually succumb to any prolonged tribulation that does not subside–unless an equal and opposite redemptive force interjects itself.  Which means, for the sake of our grip strength, we need a breakthrough, and we need it soon.

“I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.  But we [all] must hold on to the progress we have already made.”  Philippians 3:14, 16

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16 thoughts on “Grip Strength

  1. Dear Lhorraine and Michael, My heart goes out to you, and I raise my prayers daily on your behalf. I pray that whatever is best for Jesher will be done, so that he can grow and thrive, and that you will be able to take home a healthy little boy.

    I know that the two of you are exhausted and spent. May you find a special place to feel the wonder of God’s presence, so that you can know that he’s got you all in his arms. Perhaps there is a garden or forest or park nearby that can raise your spirits. May God send his ambassadors to minister to you.

    Hugs,
    Lynn

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  2. Praying for you and your family.

    “He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength…But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.”
    ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭40:29, 31‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

    God has You and your family in HIS grasp. Though you may feel like your grip is loosening, know that He won’t relax HIS grip on you. He will NEVER let you go. Just as He said to Joshua, He says to all of us:

    “…I will be with you; I WILL NOT FAIL YOU OR FORSAKE YOU.

    Only be strong and very courageous…”
    ‭‭Joshua‬ ‭1:5, 7‬ ‭NASB‬‬

    God bless you and your family!

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  3. Jesher’s strong spirit brought a smile to my face! Good for him! lol

    When you can’t seem to muster up sufficient grip strength, may you feel the presence of the many prayer warriors lifting all of you up – day and night.

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  4. I understand that you feel as you have no strength left. You have been and are on an exhausting journey and you are getting stretched beyond your capacity. (Deep sigh here) That’s perfectly fine. When your strength runs out, God’s is still here. With no grip strength on your part, HE will lead you with his hand and grip that never runs out because his strength is inexhaustible. God’s here. We’re here and we will stay here until the victory is won. In the meantime, we will continue to pray for another breakthrough.

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  5. When we were told to run the race with endurance, did you ever picture the marathon that it would become? Here in Australia one of the favorite races has a stretch called “Heart break hill”. It’s long, slow and just steep enough that people keep pushing themselves to run and not walk, but if they haven’t prepared well enough it will crush them every time. You’re almost to the top of that hill my friends. There is respite ahead. Healing in sight. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and know that the view from the top is going to be worth it. I read every post and pray every prayer – like I know so many others do. God is listening. The devil is trembling. The victory tape is so close. Huge hugs to you all from your Australian brothers and sisters – and from me; a lady born 4 months premature! xxx

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  6. I commit to petion the Throne of Grace with you several times a day within the 72 hours. I personally know how it is like to be desperate for an answer from heaven. We are all trusting God’s heart for your little one.

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  7. This was in my worship reading this morning.

    God was the strength of Judah in this crisis, and He is the strength of His people today. We are not to trust in princes, or to set men in the place of God. We are to remember that human beings are fallible and erring, and that He who has all power is our strong tower of defense. In every emergency we are to feel that the battle is His. His resources are limitless, and apparent impossibilities will make the victory all the greater. PK 202.4

    Praying that you’ll find refuge in that strong tower of defense. That you’ll know the moment by moment sustaining grace of God. He is your strength!

    With hugs and prayers,

    J&J

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  8. I praise God for. Jesher’s strength and pray he will cont to get even stronger and heal to the point of not needing any surgery. I pray also for the grip strength of both of you, his parents, to also hold on. I realize that in and of itself holding on is “easier said than done”, but then- there is God! So I pray when you get to the “end of your rope you tie a knot and hold- ” to His hand, God’s unchaging hand…” Blessings, hope, peace.

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  9. People say “God doesn’t give you more than you can bear.” I know folk use the Corinthian’s verse to justify that statement but I suspect it doesn’t mean that. If we could bear everything, we wouldn’t need Him. You can’t bear this under your own strength. You can’t. But somehow and always, God can and He will. When this is over, you will be stronger because of what He has now given you. More strength. More faith and a greater ability to comfort and assure others of what He and only He can do. I’m trust that for me, I’m believing that for you! You can’t, God can!
    Father , this is a hard long , overwhelming, gruesome test. I won’t ask why, or how long. I will ask for help. Help Father, Son , and Holy Spirit, help. Please help. Thank you, in Jesus name, thank you.

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