Some of you may have noticed that my posting has been a bit more sporadic the last two weeks, but don’t worry – I’ve got what I think is a pretty good reason. 😉
My wife, Ainslee, and I recently welcomed our first child into the world!! Our son Declan was born a couple of weeks ago, and needless to say we’ve been a bit busy taking care of the little dude. We’re beyond thrilled to be on the journey of parenthood, and super-thankful that Momma and Baby had a healthy delivery and a great first couple of weeks at home.
We definitely felt God’s hand over the whole situation. Our labor and hospital experience went smoother than we ever could have hoped, and we’ve been blessed to have received a whole lot of love and support from family and friends (extra shout-out to the grandmas for being our overnight reinforcements!).
Not Everything is Easy
One thing you may have noticed from the picture above is that Declan was born with what is called a “cleft lip and palate.” This is something that was diagnosed fairly early in the pregnancy, so it wasn’t a surprise to us when he was born. But it was definitely something we had to wrestle with. No parent wants to hear the doctor say their child will be born with a defect that will require multiple surgeries to repair.
When we first found out at the eighteen-week sonogram, we felt quite the flurry of emotions. On the one hand, we were ecstatic to find out we were having a boy. On the other, we realized that unless God miraculously intervened, we would have a long and challenging road ahead.
So we prayed and we prayed. “Lord, please heal our son. Or Lord, please let it be a misdiagnosis. Lord, please help!”
We had friends and church members pray for healing. We hoped and believed for a miracle. Since Ainslee works in the dental field, she and I were well aware of the challenges that come with cleft lip/cleft palate: difficulty feeding, risks of infection, and the aforementioned surgeries. Multiple scary, astronomically-expensive surgeries.
In the midst of it all, our faith was tested and stretched. During the last half of the pregnancy it was almost like we were holding our breath. Would it be a miracle? Or would we have to do this on “Hard Mode”?
We ended up getting “Hard Mode.” Not for lack of praying or believing; we did plenty of that. And not for lack of God’s grace – as I said, we still felt plenty of that throughout this whole process. The whole pregnancy and delivery and everything else has gone so smoothly and been so joy-filled that I wouldn’t change any of it, and I’ve certainly seen God’s hand in it.
One reason I continue to patiently trust God despite the answer we got to our prayers is because of a Bible passage that kept coming up over and over again in my mind throughout the pregnancy. It’s from John chapter 9:
“As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. ‘Rabbi,’ his disciples asked him, ‘why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?’
‘It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,’ Jesus answered. ‘This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.'” (John 9:1-3, NLT)
The account goes on to tell of how Jesus eventually heals the blind man in a surprising way. I believe this passage was God’s way of telling me that no matter how Declan was healed, whether miraculously at birth or through surgery or some other outcome later on, his glory would be seen in it somehow. It was a reassurance that everything was going to be okay. It’s all part of a plan.
And at one point in the pregnancy, I had simply told the Lord, “However this turns out, I’ll trust you.”
It’s difficult, but I’m keeping my word. After all, to paraphrase a quote from Philip Yancey, faith means trusting God in advance for things that will only make sense in reverse.
That is where my wife and I are at right now. We don’t know all the reasons why God chose not to completely heal our son’s cleft yet, but we do know they are there. And until then, “we walk by faith, not by sight.”
So that’s a little glimpse into where I’m at in my journey. I’ve still got a lot to learn about being a father, but so far it’s been basically the greatest thing ever. So I’m not too worried.
I’ll still be posting on here as time allows, hopefully once to twice a week. I’m planning to write more on discipleship and prayer in the near future, with more resource recommendations and Bible studies down the road too, so be looking forward to that! And if there’s anything you’d like to see discussed on here please feel free to let me know in the comments or contact me directly. If you enjoyed hearing about our personal journey, let me know and I’ll keep you posted on that too.
See you down the path.