Monday, October 24, 2011

Baby Steps

Baby Steps.................
22 ½ years ago I married a man. I knew some things about this man when we got married, but in time I have learned a lot more. I married him because I loved him. I accepted that we would never have children, I did not fault him for this but instead loved him in spite of it. We both thought maybe someday when we were getting older and were settled we would adopt. As I look back on this now I laugh. So naive were we! If God wants you to have children and wants to bless you, no matter what any doctor says believe me for I speak from experience, you will have children. I have so much more to say about this man that I married but for another time, today I want to talk about our first born blessing.
You see God saw us and decided we were enough to entrust us with not one but four children. I have never understood what God saw or why, because I have never felt worthy of raising these children. God’s children that he entrusted to Paul and I to raise them for him. To teach them to hold them to love them, and most of all teach them to be men of God who live for Him. This last weekend found us visiting our little miracle that changed our lives for all eternity. Twenty years ago, through a horrendous pregnancy and a birth that could make record books, our little amazing perfect little boy was born. Boasting red curls, dark brown eyes , curiosity, honor, and responsibility ingrained our little boy was born. Baby boy Lee entered the world feet first, while the first words out of the Doctors mouth were- “Wow look at the ski’s on this one! Good thing its a boy Mommy, you have a boy!” during the next few hours I kept hearing those words repeated as several things went wrong on the OR table. Kept repeating them to myself and praying over and over that God would help Paul raise our little boy and love him so completely for both of us. You see I was pretty sure I was not to ever hold my son at that point, After the complications of the labor there were more complications during delivery, I was allergic to the spinal they had given me for the C-section and I clinically died on the table. Paul and our little son were rushed out of the OR and were somewhere in the hospital, I was praying so hard that our baby was going to be alright because they had already told us with the swelling of his head there was a very good chance he would have brain damage. As I look back on this time I can tell you I remember some interesting things. Very few people know what I saw or what I remember doing. I do not remember being concerned for myself or even afraid, I just asked God to be with Paul and to heal our baby, make him whole so he could grow up. Through the whole ordeal I was at peace, I wanted to see our baby but knew Paul would be there with him and knew if I couldn’t he would raise our son with love and understanding, he would know about his mom and know that I loved him more then life, I knew Paul would make sure our son knew how much his Mommy loved him.
 During all of this Paul will tell you he was on his knees, praying for God to heal our son and restore his wife because as he told me later, he felt he could never take care of our child alone. He even went so far as to tell God to take him instead, that is how much he loves us. He felt I would be able to communicate our love to our son better then he could. In the span of 5 hours God performed another miracle that night. I stabilized and came out of surgery, shaky but whole and our baby was brought into my room and laid on the bed beside me. This is a moment I will never forget as long as I am alive, that little swollen face blinked his big eyes at me and turned his head toward me on the bed. I was too shaky to hold him or pick him up but Paul picked him up moved him close to me and crawled into bed with us holding our baby boy between us Paul held us both. This is when we prayed thanking God for this amazing miracle, praising Him for the understanding and intelligence behind our baby’s eyes. 
After four days our son would be named- Jonathan Mark Lee, named after Jonathan the best friend of David in the Bible whose faith and understanding and support was Davids rock in a time of great despair; and Mark after his Daddy. This name was not on our list of names, neither of them in fact but our list of names just didn’t seem to fit this little one we had been entrusted with, this is why it took us four days to name him, and actually God named him. I truly believe this, we were having devotions that morning in the hospital room Paul and I together while getting ready to take Jonathan home. Paul had brought his daily bread, he was reading and I was getting things ready to go dressing the baby. The story was on Jonathan and David and on Jonathan’s commitment to God and to David. We named Jonathan right then because we wanted him to know we would always be his best friend and our commitment to him would never fade, even in the worst trials of life. Remember at this time we still were unsure of the extent of brain damage, as the doctor still told us with the considerable swelling there was bound to be some, this was our commitment to our little boy no matter what came we, his Mom and Dad would be his best friends.

We took him home from the hospital that day, and as any of you who know our son, Jonathan Mark has NO brain damage. He is brilliant, smart, funny, loyal, caring, sarcastic, talented, simply put he is Gods amazing miracle child. Jonathan just turned 20 this month. Through the years we have often put Jonathan in Gods hands time and again. As parents we told him stories about God and Jesus. We taught him and showed him love. Those of you that know us well know our family is extremely close. That came from the fact that we chose to parent differently then either Paul or I were parented. Both Paul and I had families that loved us but talking is not something our families did much of. If you needed to figure out the facts of life you went to the barn to learn the birds and the bees, or in my case my younger sister blurting it out at the age of like three and I still hadn’t had it all figured out at the age of eight. So we made a conscious choice to make sure our child never got talked down to, and we would answer anything he asked as truthfully as possible and with as much information as he could digest age appropriately.
This turned out to be quite a commitment with Jonathan. Whew that boy could ask questions! Usually one question just led to the next and the next and the next with him. His thirst for knowledge and understanding was insatiable. I think it still is at times, if he allows it. Jonathan grew and changed, we have so many memories that come back to us at the oddest times. Just this weekend he was standing in front of me messing up my hair, and all I could see was a little boy of three looking up at me running his hands through my hair playing this silly game we used to play... “who loves you the mostest in the whole wide world?” “mommy loves me the mostest and Daddy loves me the mostest but you love Cabub the mostest too mommy” “Mommy and Daddy love you both the mostest but Jesus loves you lots more then we could” “how much more like a bigillion times?” “oh way more then that!” Then his little face would get totally serious and his hands would stop running through my hair and he would say “Mom, thats A LOT!” he would pat my hair back into place and hug me tight before scampering off my lap to contemplate how many a bigillion was. He was always thinking. Or another time when sitting in the ER because of a severe asthma attack with Jonathan laying on my lap while we ‘breathed together’ (we often did this so we could get his air back) he looked up at me and said “it’s okay Mommy, Jesus doesn’t want me to go away from you yet”. I hadn’t even realized that I was crying that time because the attack had been especially bad and he was a bluish shade. I was usually so calm and prayed continually inside during these attacks that God would heal him and keep me calm so he wouldn’t be scared. Most of the time I will tell you I kept expecting God to take his little perfect child home to be with him, in those days I really did not expect Jonathan to make it past the age of six. He did. He was also healed from the worst of asthma. Jonathan rarely has attacks anymore, and if he does it is usually an allergic reaction to something and he bounces back relatively fast. He hasn’t had a lengthy hospital stay in years! Praise God!!
Jonathan Mark grew up. He made it through high school graduated at the top of his class even after attending 5 different schools throughout his life in different towns and States. Now as look at this young man that often times is stubborn and willful, I see the little boy that he was. I see his temper flare and I watch his smile light up a room and I am reminded of so many times it has done so in the past, like a kaleidoscope of images from boyhood to man. 
Jonathan has always thought he would never find anyone attracted to him. His heart has always wanted a soul mate. His dad was like this growing up. He didn’t revel in bachelorhood his heart cried for a life mate to share with, and grow with, to serve God with. Jonathan takes after his Dad, in so many ways. He is like his Dad in his habits in most of his older music tastes, in his work ethic, and head for numbers, and yes even in his temper. We often joke in our family he got Dad’s insides and Mom’s outsides, but this is the truth. Jonathan has always thought he wasn’t good looking and all through junior high and high school felt no girl would ever look at him twice. Now to be fair here he does have a younger brother who never has to work at it and has girls lining up to flirt, but Jonathan has never been a flirt. Where as Caleb flirts back Jonathan typically won’t. Is he selling himself short? YOU BET! Jonathan is a great looking guy! (He will not like that I said that because he will then roll his eyes and say yep – you have to say that – your my Mom.) He is though, he lacks self confidence. He is sure of himself in most ways, self composed and confident except when it comes to the female gender. Which is kind of funny because, for the most part, I bet he knows more then most men of 20 about the female species. I have never and will never hide anything from him. I have told him everything he has wanted to know including sometimes things he didn’t want to know and wished he’d never asked!  I have always and will always be totally open with my son. He has a question about ANYTHING from Christianity to female anatomy, to sex to child rearing, I will always be here for him. He knows this and takes advantage of it often- it really isn’t one sided and I think he would be the first one to tell you that.
This weekend as I watched my son and we tackled some pretty heavy stuff, I am reminded of this-- He is Gods child. Paul and I gave him back to God, yes he has had to make that decision on his own now. He has had to take on the accountability and for the most part he has. I have also learned though and will do things slightly different with the other three, because as much as we have taught Jonathan he has also taught us. We didn’t explain things well enough sometimes, he didn’t understand. We didn’t tell him how much we struggled with decisions- how much we prayed. Sure he saw us pray, he knew our faith, he watched us and knew of our love for God and each other, he always knew in our marriage there were three not two, but I don’t think we let him in on the indecision and seeking as much as we should have. As parents we tried through all the moves and all the places God has taken us to keep family as the stable place. We succeeded but our children never saw us struggle with self doubt. I think they needed to see that. Now that I am watching Jonathan struggle to find his way to reconcile what he wants with what God has in store, I should have- WE should have let him see the struggle within us more. Shown him how to put it in God’s hands how to lean not on your own understanding and follow by BLIND FAITH. Giving up what we wanted in order to receive what God wanted, and realizing it was better then what we wanted all along. It is so hard to walk away from some things in life. Things we enjoy, people we enjoy, music, or even a lifestyle we’ve always wanted, but God says in the Bible... Walk away- leave it behind and FOLLOW ME. He will increase those things in our lives one hundred fold if we just obey, we just seek his will instead of our own desire.
Yes, as a Mom it is hardest to see your child struggling, but it is worse to see him struggling with himself, fighting a war and a battle within himself trying to become what he is supposed to be while still holding on. It breaks a Mothers heart to watch that struggle and know you can’t do anything about it. The tears come more often now, sometimes when I least expect them. I am so proud of my son. Jonathan has become a man who is loyal to a fault, responsible to heartache, he is loveable, sweet, sarcastic, brilliant, smart, shy, loud, vulnerable, and somewhere in there he is my little boy who loves the mostest. I pray everyday for him to find his way to God’s path for him, to find his way to God’s soul-mate for him, to be the man – to mold him into the leader God made him to be. So when he finds the rest he will be able and ready to be exactly what God had planned for this miracle little red head that he gave to two of his servant’s to raise on this earth.

Come away with me, Come away with me
It's never too late, it's not too late
It's not too late for you
[ Lyrics from: ]
I have a plan for you
I have a plan for you
It's gonna be wild
It's gonna be great
It's gonna be full of me

Open up your heart and let me in