Such a strange, beautiful but delicate place I find myself right now. I'm utterly overwhelmed and blessed by the encouragement and advice flowing in, and for those of you who mention that their comments may never reach my eyes, be assured, they all do, before I click the word publish. At that point they become public in order to bless others.
I know that Michael's story has become relatively more public than other birth stories, and I find that to be slightly disquieting. He is special, to be sure, but no more special than every other child that I've read about in your comments, any other child on the planet. We're deeply moved beyond words that radio stations are sharing our story and are asking you to pray. Yet I feel inclined to say that I don't believe that because of that attention, our Omnipotent God is necessarily more likely to act. That could mean prayers of people with a greater number of Twitter followers or Facebook likes would be more likely to experience answered prayer. I absolutely believe in the power of prayer, and I believe the mystery of the purpose of prayer may go deeper than we tend to give it credit. But, for those who disagree with that thinking, let me state that I am not asking you for prayer. I will tell you our story. It's up to you whether you pray, not pray...or unsubscribe. :)
We know from Scripture that the prayers of just one man can move the heart of God (Abraham interceding for Lot or Elijah praying it would rain) and I know that when I draw near to God, through prayer, He draws near to me. When I surrender to His will, my will becomes secondary. Prayer is beneficial to me in far more ways than just receiving affirmative answers.
So. Here's our story for the day:
Starting at 3am, my two oldest boys (5 and 3) walked down the hallway and crawled into bed with their daddy. We have always encouraged our children to sleep in their own beds. Exceptions are utterly marvelous. ;) In the morning, I got the boys ready for school, Classical Conversations, where Daniel, my 5 year old, gave his weekly presentation, this one on his family. Daniel took his place in front of the class.
"My name is Daniel, I have a brand new brother. His name is Michael Aaron Shust. He is 5 years old (he meant days) and weighs 5 pounds. He has Down Syndrome which means he will smile a lot, laugh a lot, share his toys very easily and give lots of hugs. It also means his heart is very sick and will need surgery to fix it. He is my brother and I love him and I can't wait for him to come home."
Then he passed around the picture of himself holding Michael, the one I posted yesterday, and asked if there were any questions. I was so proud!
Michael's Bilirubin is down. :) His cultures are good, but his weight is still low and he didn't eat very well today. But tonight at 8pm he ate his entire bottle, no need for the the feeding tube...that he completely yanked out for the 3rd time. Ouch. He's a feisty kid for having low tone. ;)
Sarah is still rocking the NICU. I asked her today how she was doing emotionally in the hospital non-stop. "Oh I'm fine," she dismissed. She was wired to handle this. Thank you, Jesus. I was not. Get this: a nurse cried in Michael's room this evening because of Sarah's "spirit". She said she couldn't imagine what Sarah was going through but she was handling it so well. Sarah said it was a totally open door to share the love and sovereignty of Jesus with her: "Worth more than a little extra sleep," she said. As I type, the nurse had just walked back in to hear more!
My friend Laura Story asks:
What IF the blessings come through raindrops?
What IF the healing comes through tears?
What IF a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know Your near?
What IF trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?
You still wanna be blessed? :)