My lovely wife posted this to her blog today, which you are welcome to read if you’d like some perspective on what I’m about to say. Anyway, we were given what could potentially deemed “bad” news regarding little Reid a number of months ago. Naturally, this was right in the dead center of my back-and-forth travel to Shanghai for work, so not and ideal time to have some emotionally challenging pregnancy issues, but that’s not the point of this. It was an opportunity for us to trust that God is in control and can use any situation and literally the only thing we could do was trust. While that was seemingly easier for me than Kimberly, I still had some internal struggle with what the news could’ve meant.
Fortunately, I know some wonderful parents who are more than open about their parenting situations and I have had a lot of time to “what if” this situation to have formed a stance as the head of my family. That’s not to say that being sad is wrong or unholy or untrusting, but merely a stage in the process; regardless of outcome. It reminded me of a couple of things I’ve been learning (overall) about my life in the last few years and maybe it’s a good chance to highlight them now:
One is the very well-known Biblical story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are caught not following the King’s worship guidelines and the men say something interesting to the King: “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” One of our church’s (Rock Harbor) pastors gave some incredible insight to this situation when he spoke on this saying that it’s interesting that while they had faith that God would deliver them, they say that even if He doesn’t, they won’t change their obedience. What an interesting perspective of deliverance…God doesn’t have to spare their lives in exchange for their obedience. This is the faith I strive for.
The second is the example that Jesus sets forth when he is confronted with Lazarus’ death as described in John’s gospel. A verse that most Christians love because of its brevity, Jesus (the all-knowing God) gets news that Lazarus has died and His first response after asking where he is laid is to cry. “Jesus wept.” He knew that a short time later He would raise Lazarus from the dead, but he cried with His family first. How quick I have been in my life to rapidly explain that God is in control and that He has a plan in tragedy of any magnitude…how wrong I was (and still am sometimes) in allowing that platitude to be the first words out of my mouth to comfort someone about anything, much more so my wife about a difficult, potentially life-transforming situation.
I’m sure Kimberly can tell you whether or not I responded properly all the time in the last few months, but I think this was the first time in my life that I wasn’t worried about something so life-altering. We love Reid having never met him, having not known him…If he has developmental challenges and we are his parents and caregivers, that is where our love will be. There was never a doubt in this for either me or Kimberly. And, yes, God is able to deliver us from such troubling situations, but even if He does not, our faith in the situation and our ability to love our child. But first, we wept.
These beautiful moments for our family, in its mere infancy, are the things that let me know I had a massive #marriageWin . We are able to learn these things about ourselves and our God together at a common pace with a wonderful support system; both together and separate, Christ-centered and otherwise (there is a lot of value in opposing religious views too, but that is a different blog post).
You see, Kimberly and Lincoln and now Reid are all great motivators to remain myself, but further engrain my faith in God and inspire my spiritual leadership with my wife of our family. We can draw off of each other’s strength and our friends and families’ strengths to be good parents to both of children how they are and not how we want them to be.