The Stand

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I have been praying a lot lately for a couple of friends of mine who are currently in the PICU with their child who has a couple of lung infections. Their child needed to be on a non-invasive ventilator as well as a feeding tube.  No one should have to watch their child struggle to breathe.  I know.  I had to watch Levi struggle to breathe his whole life, which ultimately ended it.   Anyway, our friends child is doing great; he’s off the ventilator and feeding tube. It should only be a few more days until they get to come home! Praise God!

This brought back many memories for me about our stay in the hospital with Levi. Remembering all the times we had to intubate and extubate, feeding tubes in and out, needles in and out, putting a brain shunt in, chest tubes in and out, test after test. Wow. Looking back on all the things that happened in Levi’s short life is a crazy thing to think about. He needed to go home, he was very sick.

I remember the day he died, it was the saddest day and the most relieving day of my life. During those last beautiful moments while I sat and held my beautiful wife rock Levi as he passed into Jesus’ arms are moments I will never forget. I remember the song that was playing in the background, Hillsong United’s ‘the stand’.

You stood before creation.
Eternity within Your hand
You spoke the earth into motion
My soul now to stand

You stood before my failure
Carried the Cross for my shame
My sin weighed upon Your shoulders
My soul now to stand

So what can I say
What can I do
But offer this heart O God
Completely to You

So I’ll walk upon salvation
Your Spirit alive in me
This life to declare Your promise
My soul now to stand

So what can I say
What can I do
But offer this heart O God
Completely to You

So I’ll stand
With arms high and heart abandoned
In awe of the One who gave it all

So I’ll stand
My soul Lord to You surrendered
All I am is Yours

The phrases about ‘offering this heart o God completely to you’, and ‘all I am is yours’ are phrases that I visually saw myself giving my son into God’s hands. This is a very powerful image for me to hold on to because it brings me peace, knowing that Levi is in good hands. I will say it again, this pain sucks, but it’s only temporary. I will one day again hold my child with tears of joy.

“Tears of joy will stream down their faces, and I will lead them home with great care. They will walk beside quiet streams and on smooth paths where they will not stumble.” Jeremiah 31:9 NLT

Fear to Joy

doubt-fearNovember 20th 2013 is a day I will never forget, for multiple reasons.  This was the day that brought me great fear and great joy.  It was the day that my son Ian entered this world.  The day started out normal as usual.  We had one thing on the schedule for that day, a doctor’s appointment for Dana.  She was 37 weeks pregnant with 3 to go.  After our normal scheduled ultrasound we had our normal scheduled non-stress test to listen to the baby’s heart beat for 15 minutes.  As we are sitting there during the test our two doctors come in and sat down with us.  Dana finally asks what’s going on and the doctor says he thought something sounded funny.  At this point I’m starting to feel a little anxious because I know something’s not right.  Two doctors don’t just come in to chat with you during your test.  Finally, the words that I’ll never forget, so…… how about we have a baby today?  What!?  Dana says, your kidding right!? The doctor proceeds to tell us that the umbilical cord is wrapped around Ian’s neck and his heart rate is dropping to concerning levels and we need to do an emergency c-section.  There were two main emotions running through me at this point, fear and doubt.  Dana had many; this is one of the many reasons why I love her deeply.  She handled everything that was thrown her way with such strength amid the million different emotions she was going through.  As with Levi, I put on my it’s going to be alright confident face and tried to assure her that everything was going to be ok all awhile freaking out on the inside.

As we arrived downstairs at the operating room, the doctors pulled me aside and put me in the waiting room while they prepped Dana for surgery.  This was the darkest time for me.  I remember sitting in that room fearfully praying to God and asking him to take care of Dana and the baby.  I was terrified.  After everything that happened with Levi, I couldn’t go through that again.  I again asked God to give me the peace and strength to be there for Dana once I was allowed in the operating room.  Wow did God answer my prayers.  Once I entered that room the overwhelming peace that I felt was extraordinary.  It was the same peace I felt in the hospital room where Levi passed away.  A peace that can only come from Jesus right by your side.  What a great God we serve.  He will never leave us or forsake us.  When we need him most He will always be right beside us to walk us through the most difficult times.

Ian James was born at 4:30 on that joyous November day.  We now hold a precious healthy growing baby boy.  Fear turned to joy.

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Love Never Fails,

Happy New Year Everyone

Chad

Pain

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Last week I read through the book of Job, my pastor’s wife lost her battle with brain cancer, and Dana had to go to the emergency room because of some bleeding.  Wow, what a week. Talk about pain and suffering.  (Dana is OK by the way and baby is perfectly fine) I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I was reading through the book of Job while all this was going on.  God is in control of EVERYTHING! I challenge you to read the last 5 chapters of Job and tell me He isn’t.

Anyway, Friday night as we were getting ready for bed Dana yells from the bathroom, “Chad I’m bleeding!” There were many emotions and thoughts  running through my mind at this point.  Most prevalent, especially during the drive to the ER was, oh no not again.  I had to remind myself over and over that God is good and everything will be fine.  He is in control.  Because of these recent trials, I have been thinking about Levi more than usual and how much he was actually suffering.  It reminded me that the doctors only gave him two weeks  to live after we found out Dana was pregnant.  It reminded me our prayer for healing, our prayer just to be able to meet him.  I believe that’s the answered prayer we received.  According to the doctors Levi wasn’t even given a chance to be born .  He was born and we received the blessing to know him for 100 days.  God is good, even though sometimes things don’t go the way we want or are praying they go.

Job lost everything and the one thing that stuck out to me after reading the book was that God never gave Job and explanation of why He allowed all that suffering to happen to him.  Instead, in the last five chapters, God just describes how he created everything, and that nothing happens without Him ordaining it.  Who am I to demand an explanation from God?  He saved my soul! I remember a sermon about the paralytic who was lowered through the roof to Jesus.  The first thing Jesus says is, “your sins are forgiven.”  What!? The dudes probably thinking, I came here to be healed not to receive forgiveness.  That’s the point though, even if Jesus doesn’t do anything else for you for the rest of your life will you be satisfied with His forgiveness?

The loss of pastor’s wife was a huge hit to many in our church family.  There is a lot of pain right now.  But you know what? This life is temporary.  We need to always remember the eternal life we hold.  Yes pastor is sad that his wife isn’t with him anymore and I’m sad that Levi isn’t.  But imagine the smile on her face as she holds her daughter in Heaven for the first time.  Imagine the smile on her face as she watches her daughter and Levi playing in the field.  I can’t wait for the day I get to hold him again.

Pain sucks.  Period.  I remember telling myself after Levi died that I had two choices; continue to remember that God is good, He has a plan and believe that He has good things for me or quit.   Please don’t quit, I urge you to remember these things even in the midst of unbearable pain.

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4

 

Love Never Fails,

Chad