Lhorraine’s Prayer Tree is growing, and so is her joy. Now, please don’t misunderstand me: She is not 100% yet. She still cries whenever she thinks about the night her prized pregnancy was ripped away from her. Looking through pictures of Jesher’s early days still triggers negative emotions and heartbreak. She still whispers the words “I’m sorry” to him whenever they sway together in the rocking-chair. She still battles against thoughts of guilt and depression. The trauma of her experience has taken a visible toll on her; yet, Lhorraine’s perseverance has been fodder for her prayer tree. The tree has grown as her son has grown. As he improves, the tree flourishes. Its branches now extend across the entire wall–a testament to my wife’s unfailing belief that her son would be healed.
Lhorraine knows that Jesher is not out of the proverbial “woods” yet, but more and more of the leaves on her prayer tree are blossoming. The veins of each leaf chronicle my wife’s journey. Each colorful sheet testifies of where she has been and where she plans to go. Petitions like Please God are mixed in with praises like Thank you Lord. The tree exhibits a collage of emotions. It confirms the treachery of trauma while corroborating the steadfastness of faith. It applauds the importance of spirituality while endorsing the existence of a higher power. It reveals the brokenness within while rebuking the devil without, and it confesses periodic doubts while championing everlasting promises.
The sticky-note foliage is quite the beautiful spectacle. As with the seasons, winter arrived, spring approached, and summer appeared. The prayer tree is blooming in its full glory. For almost three months, Lhorraine has showered it with tears–each drop making a path for another miracle to be sown. At first, the tree only had leaves, but now it is bearing fruit. It used to be small and compact; now it is wide and lush. It shimmers in the brilliant rays of sunrise. It glows in the soft comfort of sunset. Lhorraine’s Prayer Tree, like her son, is proof that persistence is an underrated attribute. And I, the one who has witnessed the growth of both, am a thankful father and a blessed husband. My wife prays. My son is still alive. And I have a feeling the former has a great deal to do with the latter.
Here is Jesher’s current medical report:
BRAIN ULTRASOUND–Jesher recently had a follow-up ultrasound to gauge the healing of his brain ventricles. The good news is his brain injury has not worsened. The strange news is his brain injury has not improved as expected. With Jesher’s vital signs improving exponentially over the past two weeks, we (doctors, nurses, and parents) anticipated his ultra-sound showing great gains. Unfortunately, his results are still showing unresolved bleeding and enlarged ventricles. We are thankful that he is still excelling in spite of this news; however, we are aware that Jesher’s risk of neurodevelopmental disorders increases if his bleeding and ventricles do not improve. PLEASE ASK YAHWEH TO BLESS JESHER’S BRAIN; ASK GOD TO SEND ANGELS THAT EXCEL IN HEALING TO TOUCH OUR SON’S HEAD AND MEND THE INJURY HE INCURRED WHEN HE WAS BORN.
ECHOCARDIOGRAM–Jesher’s recent echo [short for echocardiogram] came back, and Jesher’s PDA has closed! What amazing news! As you might recall, a few weeks ago we were told that Jesher would probably need heart surgery. His patent ductus arteriosus [PDA] had not closed after three rounds of medicine, and he was beginning to show signs of pulmonary stress due to the open valve. Immediately, we put out a request for everyone to pray for God to intervene. Since this journey began, we have been asking God to deliver our son from the scalpel. Yes, surgery has helped many NICU babies, but it can also cause complications or prolong recovery. We are still asking Yahweh to fight back any need for surgical intervention, and with this good report, no one is talking about the need for heart surgery! PLEASE PAUSE TO THANK THE LORD FOR HEARING OUR PETITION! ALL OF US PRAYED ON ONE ACCORD, BELIEVING IN THE ABILITY OF YAHWEH’S POWER…THE LORD CLOSED THE HOLE IN OUR SON’S HEART, AND WE WANT YOU TO CELEBRATE THIS VICTORY WITH US!
OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY–Jesher was assessed this week for motor skill development and eye development. After both assessments, Jesher was declared ahead of schedule! For a baby his age, born at 26 weeks gestation, he is showing wonderful signs of developmental health. For example, because of his stellar eye exam, they are not recommending another eye exam for the next six months! His flexibility and dexterity is above average, and the therapist was beyond impressed by Jesher’s high functioning motor skills. PLEASE ASK YAHWEH TO CONTINUE BUILDING OUR SON MUSCLE BY MUSCLE, TENDON BY TENDON, AND BONE BY BONE. THANK THE LORD FOR THIS GOOD REPORT AND ASK GOD TO SET UP A STANDARD AGAINST ALL DISEASES, DEFICITS, AND DISORDERS.
One of the newest additions to Lhorraine’s Prayer Tree is a stack of onesies hanging in the center of the luminous display. They hang in military-like alignment. Blues, whites, greys, and browns uniquely speckle each one. The shirts are void of wrinkles. Each one is spotless, fit for a newborn’s skin. The hook above them holds them with pride, and the inscription written across each one’s chest prophetically declares what angelic supporters think of our son–TINY WONDER. Jesher, indeed, is a wonder. And I find the name fitting since he was carried by a strong woman named WONDERFUL.
“And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?” Luke 12:28