How do you put into words the feeling you have holding your child for the first time?
Hannah and I both agreed it is a love like we have never felt before. We looked at each other and sort of laughed because we both knew what the other person was thinking. We love each other, but this is a different kind of love. It has to be the purest form of love a human being can feel on earth. To see and hold your child for the first time is an amazing feeling.
It was New Years Eve. I had just finished up work and was heading to the hospital. I had just left Taco Cabana to pick up dinner and when I arrived I could tell something was not right. Her contractions were picking up and the atmosphere was different.
For those that don’t know, my wife was put on bed rest on 11.12.13. Yep, the same day Concept Church launched its evangelism campaign. She was sent home a couple days later just to return to the hospital due to contractions. We were only 21 weeks pregnant with twins at the time. At that moment if they were to be born they would not have been viable outside the womb.
We have had our difficulties in marriage just like everyone else but what most don’t know is that it took us a while to get pregnant. We fought against infertility. It was a fight to get pregnant and now we were fighting to keep our children.
But after 6 weeks of my wife fighting on a hospital bed and believers fighting by petitioning God in prayer, on 12.31.13 the cries of our two sons were heard by the world for the first time.
During that time there were a lot of tears and a lot of prayers. Many of you were praying for us and our sons Elijah and Luke. We are very thankful for all of you. There is power in prayer and I believe that my sons are here today because men and women of faith stood in the gap and petitioned God.
God doesn’t have to answer our prayers the way we want Him to. I can not stress that enough. But He showed us mercy by allowing our sons Elijah James and Luke Matthew to be born at exactly 28 weeks and 1 day, which was a milestone for viability and health in the NICU.
They are now in the NICU and doing well. For those that have had premature babies you know the stress of going and leaving your children behind every day. It is taxing. But once again we are thankful for a merciful God who is giving us strength and is giving our sons life. We are continuing to pray for them and ask for your continued prayers.
I want to share a few things that God is teaching me through all this.
1. You have to fight.
It was a fight to marry the right girl. We have had rough spots in our marriage where it was a fight to stay married. It was a fight to get pregnant and a fight to stay pregnant.
God will fight for you (He does that on a daily basis) but more often than not He calls you to step up and fight while giving you the strength to do so. In other words, He wants to give you battle stories that you can tell to the next generation. None of us will enter Heaven with a boring story.
He has equipped us with the tools to fight the good fight and He expects us to use them.
It is in those times that we learn to rely on God for strength.
2. Regardless of the outcome, God is faithful.
When I found out there was a chance our sons could be born too early to be viable I hit my knees in prayer. I petitioned God and asked for help, because only He could help us. In His mercy He allowed our sons to be born at the target date of viability. I had nothing to do with it, it was all God.
During that time people would tell me stories of premature babies that made it and that I just needed to have faith. It was great to hear stories of God being merciful to other prayer requests but I couldn’t project those answers on to my situation. God is faithful regardless of the outcome and I have to trust in Him and His character either way.
My faith does not determine the outcome, God’s will determines the outcome.
Because my faith is not God, God is God.
This means that ultimately God answers our prayers based on His will. He loves us and wants to give us good things but sometimes He has to answer a prayer differently than we want not because He is being cruel or unjust, but because He has a larger plan that is bigger than my understanding.
3. Protect your heart.
I never let my heart go to the place where I placed my faith in my faith. Again, if my faith had power over God then I would be God and I am not. He alone is in control. I never let my inner man tell myself God will be faithful if my sons survive, I prepared my heart for either decision to be handed down by God.
God’s love is not defined by His answers.
See we often define God’s love for us by how He answers our prayers but this is not the case. Neither is God’s faithfulness affected by the result of our situation.
The most dangerous place we can put ourselves in is defining God’s love for us by how He answers our prayers, or to define God’s characteristics based on how He answers our prayers. I have done this on multiple occasions and learned a lesson every time.
You may be single and wondering why God has not answered your prayer for a spouse. You may be struggling with infertility and wondering if God is listening. As humans our hearts naturally go to the place where we ask, “God, do you love me?”. But we can not allow our hearts to go to that place.
The answer is yes, God loves you very much.
He loves you like a father loves a son, because we literally are His sons and daughters. All we can do is humbly bow before Him and ask for mercy, petitioning and praying without ceasing trusting God in His decisions as almighty and infinitely wise.
It didn’t hit me that I was a father until the next day after they were born. I was driving home after spending the night in the hospital and had to pull over because I broke down into tears. “Is this how much God loves us?” I would give my life for my sons and I had only known them 12 hours. It was an overwhelming feeling of God’s love for us.
The song How He Loves has a whole new meaning now.
God has demonstrated not only His power in our lives but has revealed how deep His love is for us. The power of your prayers is being felt. When you walk into their pods in the NICU you can feel the presence of the Holy Spirit.
But we have a ways to go and appreciate your continued prayers. We do have power through prayer to fight the powers of darkness and death not because of our power but because of Christ in us and when we join together we have the power in Christ to move mountains.
On behalf of my family thank you to all who are standing in the gap with us.
We will keep everyone updated.