It has been a very slow and steady day for our little one, for which we are extremely thankful. Ned's stats have been really good all day. He took a couple little dips tonight as they attempted to wean his vent a little faster than he was ready to accept so the doctor's eased back onto Ned's slow little pace and he picked back up rather quickly. The heart surgery still hasn't been scheduled and won't be until Ned is off the jet vent. His little body controls the pace of that so I am just believing that as I prayed that God would control the timing of the surgery to be best for Ned, that his low tolerance for change is God's way of making the doctors listen to Him!
Other than being thankful for the beautiful, uneventful day, I have been consumed today with really mediatating on God's purpose for this situation and for my life in general. I can't fully begin to understand how and to what extent God's purpose for Ned's life will be manifested, but I can see how God has used him in the life of our family already. I know that when Ned comes home, he will be coming to a more God focused home than he would have if we hadn't been through this valley. He will now come home not only to a mother who prays over him, but also a father who prays outloud and uninhibited for the sake of his family. He will come home to an aunt who has gotten past some anxiety to pray for him at school with her class. He will join a family who has truely been blessed to witness, first hand, the beauty and love of the body of Christ. And although he will never remember all of this, my little Ned will have already lain a legacy for Christ that most of us could only hope to have established by our last days on this Earth. I am excited about being able to let him know when he is older how God used him as an infant and my hope is that Travis and I will have given him such a foundation in Christ that this will only be the beginning of how Ned's life will impact others. I am also hopeful that by seeing how my very small son has been used by the Lord, that I too will allow myself to be used in even greater ways. That I can come to the father as His child, open and trusting to what He has in store for me and ready and willing for His service.
This birth experience has been much different from what I experienced with Jack. I'll share a quick encounter before I sign off for the night.....
About 6 months or so after Jack was born, I found myself completely out of touch with the Lord. I was still going to church, but just in the total routine change with adding Jack to the household, I had neglected to spend any quiet time in study or prayer with God and the effects of that change were becoming more and more evident to me. I remember thinking how I hadn't heard God's voice speaking to me in quite some time and I was becoming aware of the distance that I had allowed to come between me and my God. We were getting ready to go to the beach and I had planned to leave work at lunch, go by the mall for a new pair of tennis shoes and go home and get packed up (there's a lot to pack when you're taking a 6-month-old on a week's vacation!). I was running behind and didn't leave work until almost 2pm and I was completely frazzled. I contemplated skipping the mall trip, but I decided to settle down, relax, pray and allow God's timing to affect my life. I had gotten so caught up in routine with Jack's eating, sleeping, bath, schedules that my focus was on my time, not His. As I pulled off the interstate at the mall, there was a homeless man on the side of the road. I, of course, thought to myself, "how do people end up homeless....how did you get yourself in such a mess buddy?" As I ran in the mall, I kept thinking about that man and I clearly heard God say, "Betsy, take that man some money."....I protested, "But, he'll probably just take it and buy alcohol or drugs." God interrupted, "That's not your concern, all you need to do is obediently respond to what I am asking you to do." So, I go and buy a little Bible and then I go to the ATM. I take $20 out of the ATM and as it spits out my money, the machine says "transaction cancelled". I ask around, but no one knows who owns the ATM and I'm feeling like I have stollen $20? Anyway, I leave word at the cookie counter that I think the machine is broken and it may have given me money without debiting my account? I leave the mall and head back to the homeless guy. The whole way I kept thinking, "well, if I don't hit that red light, what will I do?" But God assured me that He would handle the whole timing issue. As I pulled up, the light turned red (His timing). I rolled down my window and handed the guy the $20 and the Bible. He had the most clear, blue eyes and he looked very intently at me and he said, "you know, don't you?" I was very taken aback since I thought I was the one who was being the little messenger for God, but I responded, "Yes, I know.... Do you know Him?" He looked me dead in the face and answered, "The only think I know is the Love of My Father." The light turned green, I drove off. It was immediately like God said, "If you will take the time and listen for me, I'll always talk to you and use you." It was and elated feeling knowing that all I had to do was turn back to Him and He was right there waiting to be a part of my every day life again. And it was all my blessing and benefit, I gave nothing of my own, not even my own $20.
Having shared that, I have just known that in this experience with Ned, I am learning a very different lesson than I did after having Jack. I don't think either is more or less important, but just part of God's plan to continue to strengthen my relationship with Him. I have thought often of Paul and how his time in prison led to the salvation of the Roman soldiers. In understanding his purpose, Paul was able to praise God for his struggles. I am seeking that same level of understanding and trust.
Please continue to pray for God's timing with regard Ned's surgery. While I am so anticipating being past the heart surgery, I am learning patience in yeilding to and trusting God's timing. Like I have said before, in my mind, I wish that this would all be over and I could just pick my son up and take him home, but I know that God has us here for a reason and that He will allow us to move past "this place" in our lives only when His purpose has been fulfilled. Please pray that Travis and I will be sensative to the Holy Spirit so that we can be obedient servants while we are here.
Love, thanksgiving and blessings to you all!
Betsy, Travis, Jack & Ned