Sunday, March 23, 2014


Imperfect. That’s what we are. That’s how we were born.

But then also in the image of God.

Redeemed, but still sinning. Already, but not yet.

This is the tension we live with, the seeming contradiction of our souls, our bodies, our beings.

And it applies even to the smallest baby.

I know, because I had the smallest baby. Okay, not THE smallest, but certainly the smallest my doctor had delivered.

I watched him struggle with his imperfections. His lungs could not breath, his kidneys failed twice, his heart failed to recognize that it was out of the womb and change the way the blood flowed. He needed heart surgery. Then he needed surgery again as his gut perforated. It had begun to die off, unable to digest food. A month later his retinas were on the verge of detachment. This was not a perfect being, it was a being slowly unraveling, held to this earth only by a thin thread and the wires and tubes of medical machinery.

But yet he was strikingly perfect, even at just over one pound. His hands, his sliver-sized translucent knuckles. When he was born he had perfect little fingers with fingernails. FINGERNAILS! How is that possible on so tiny a being?

Imperfect, but in the image of God.

A paradox. Like the world we live in. I don't understand.

How do I explain sin? I cannot. I wish it didn’t exist. How do I explain why my baby lived when others died? I cannot. I wish children did not die.

But I read this – the death? It’s not how God intended. Just as we were not created to give in to our selfish desires, or be victims of others’ sin, we were also not created to die tragic early deaths. We’re in the already – Christ has come and we are saved – and we are in the not-yet, living in a fallen and broken world where sin and death still plague us.

“See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days.”  - Isaiah 65:17-20

Never again.

I cannot tell you how much comfort verse 20 gives me. God knows that infants die, and he also thinks it isn't right.It isn't fair.

My son lives. This is by the amazing work of a team of medical professionals. This is also by God’s grace, giving life to kidneys that had failed when the nephrologist told us nothing more could be done, giving wisdom to doctors on when to perform PDA surgery, giving skilled steady hands to JAM’s surgeon for the many surgeries performed. Miraculous. The "already."

But there is still death. And sorrow.

We are there, with a good God who works miracles in small beings. We have a savior who has conquered death by death.

And we are not there, sin still reigns. It still impacts us and rocks us to the core. But somehow grace is still poured down, even in the midst of the scorching heat of sin and death, there are drops of rain, and dew collects on grasses.

I do not understand. It is a contradiction, a paradox I cannot unravel.

Already, but not yet.

This is what a one (and a quarter) pound baby taught me.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

What is a miracle?

We are still in the throws of preparing to move. It's just enough of a messy process that we hope this is it - both that our home has finally sold (we have an offer on the table) AND that we don't [Punctuation placed liberally to tell you]

Jonathan is doing very well. He is a trickster and today's trick was standing, by himself, for one whole second. He was so proud.  Maybe he'll be walking by himself before this last season of quarantine is over. Maybe we'll surprise everyone when we reemerge from our winter hibernation.

In the mean time, take a look at my post on the Hand to Hold blog, where I discuss coming to term with the term "miracle" that is used liberally by doctors and friends alike to describe my son. You might be surprised, but I don't like the term. Read here to find out why.

It doesn't take a preemie to be given "a miracle."
You're just more aware of what a miracle life is when you've got a preemie.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

GI doc

Tomorrow we add a GI specialist to JAM's team. It's about time. We hope to find out why he has vitamin deficiencies, isn't growing well, and has severe bowel pain almost daily.  More to come, I'm sure.

In the mean time, JAM is enjoying our house. In addition to adding a GI specialist, tomorrow is also the day our house goes on the market. Since the floors are swept and polished to perfection, we've taken down anything to bar his way and are allowing him to explore almost the whole house.  He's enjoyed it immensely and is so proud of his crawling ability. He's getting really good at getting everywhere. He even managed to wedge himself under our bed, a feat that was just traumatic enough for him that it is something I hope he won't repeat.

We've even practiced going up and down stairs. He doesn't quite have the strength to do it alone yet, but he's getting the hang of it and is so proud of himself.

His lungs suffered for a few days from either a cold or our cleaning spree (likely both) but he's back on track now.