I didn’t realize how prominent the letter ‘B‘ would become once Jesher came home. Our life has become inundated with the second letter of the alphabet. The “bassinet” has become the central hub of all household activity. The day’s schedule is now controlled by the words “bottles,” and “burps.” I am constantly reaching for “blankies” or “bibs” or stuffed “bears.” “Boba’s” and “Boppies” have become my new favorite accessories. “Bath” time is now a pre-planned event. “Bedtime” is ever fluctuating, and my wife and I are constantly reminding ourselves to “breathe.” Yep, our “baby” lives with us now! There is no doubt about it! But oxygen isn’t what we need most these days—“bravery” is.
I now see that there was a gap in all of the advice and lessons shared with me before Jesher came home: No one ever told me how “brave” one must be when caring for a newborn. Yeah, people mentioned patience. Dependence on God was referenced dozens of times. Humility and attentiveness were also mentioned. But no one ever talked about “bravery.” Maybe its because the use of the term is usually reserved for soldiers, activists, firefighters, and missionaries. (To be honest, I’ve never seen parenting listed as one of ‘the most courageous jobs in the world.’) Yet, over the past week I have been confronted by challenges inside our home that have dwarfed the challenges I have faced outside our home. From sleep deprivation to coping with the rigor of Jesher’s three to four medical evaluations per week, the task of caring for our son has only become more challenging. Relief and relaxation were not included in his discharge packet. The demand never relented; the work just continued. So I often find myself standing in front of a mirror at the end of each day, chanting the same phrase until my blood pressure normalizes: “Be brave friend; no matter what, be brave.”
By definition, “bravery” is primarily a revealer of character. It’s not simply an expression of valor. The concept of “bravery” denotes a value system or ethical foundation that fuels uncommon effort. The word presupposes a collaboration between sacrifice and courage. It is where integrity and audacity intersect. It is the proving ground of fortitude. “Bravery” is rigid; it never changes its standard, but it is a generous rewarder of those who diligently pursue it.
And that’s why ‘good’ parenting is such a “brave” act—it requires everything you have all of the time. Periodically, I’ll look at Jesher and say, “Wow, you’re my responsibility for the next lifetime!” The thought is so gargantuan that I sometimes black-out for ten seconds due to a brain overload. The implications of such responsibility are infinite; the weight of such a calling is tectonic. The undertaking just seems too overwhelming. But when I get to my wits end, I just walk back to my bathroom, splash cold water on my face, stare at the man in the mirror, and repeat the eight-word motivational speech that’s been getting me through the torture of 2am feedings: “Be brave friend; no matter what, be brave.”
Here is Jesher’s life update:
“BABY BLESSING”–Lhorraine and I have decided to present Jesher to the Lord earlier than we had originally planned. We know that we are raising a miracle baby, and we don’t want to delay in dedicating our son back to the Giver of All Miracles. So this coming Satuday, July 21, 2018, we will be dedicating Jesher to God’s service at the Riverside Nashville Church [800 Youngs Ln, Nashville, TN 37207]. I have also been asked to share a message about our journey, outlining something I’ve learned about Yahweh and His kingdom during this tough season. We are excited about our son’s progress, but we also know that our son is not ours…he belongs to God. Lhorraine and I have simply been asked to care for Jesher on behalf of our Father in Heaven. And this is what will be symbolically represented through this ceremony. The experience will be live-streamed at www.riversidenashville.org. PLEASE ASK YAHWEH TO EMPOWER LHORRAINE AND I WITH THE STRENGTH AND WISDOM TO BE GOOD STEWARDS OF THE MIRACLE HE HAS CALLED US TO RAISE.
CONSTIPATION–I want to thank you for all of the feedback and counsel concerning Jesher’s constipation and digestion complications. Quite simply, a newborn’s tummy just isn’t calibrated for formula. And Jesher is just the latest little tyke to struggle with the heavy additives found within industrial formula brands. But after doing a great deal of research, we were able to change his formula [to a highly rated vegan option] and start a regiment of digestion aids (probiotics, constipation aids, medicinal oils, etc.) that have helped Jesher move his bowels at a higher frequency. PLEASE ASK THE LORD TO HEAL JESHER’S SYSTEM SO IT CAN PROPERLY DIGEST HIS FOOD AND PROCESS-OUT HIS WAIST.
OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY–So far, Jesher is showing great signs of natural, neurological development! Based upon his age-corrected milestones (meaning, his development is being tracked according to his ‘due date’ not his premature ‘birth date’), Jesher is meeting–and in some areas surpassing–expectations. The doctors and therapists will continue to closely monitor for any neurological delays until June 2019. PLEASE ASK GOD TO TOUCH JESHER SO THAT NO DEFICIT, DISORDER, OR DISEASE WILL DELAY JESHER’S HEALTHY DEVELOPMENT.
With all the “B” words flying around our house, you might have expected the word “blessing” to be my number one choice. After all, we now have a 7lb. 4oz. “baby” in our home who wasn’t expected to live past his first 36 hours. Wouldn’t our story be more accurately represented by the word “blessing”? Well, don’t get me wrong; we are a deeply grateful and thankful family of three! Against insurmountable odds, our family did not revert back to being a unit of two. Indeed, we are “blessed”! But the “blessing” we have experienced has not freed us to be naive. You see, “blessings” don’t negate the need for “bravery”; oftentimes, our “blessings” are the variables that elicit the need for its expression.
“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth.” Psalms 127:3-4