“Shining Bright”

Dear baby girl,

A lot has happened in the past nine months. You have been intricately woven together in your mother’s womb by the very One who spoke this world into existence, and we can’t wait to finally see your face. 

We have done things differently than we did with your brother. We waited far too long to get your nursery and everything together. That reminds me, we still need to get some diapers. Being the first girl in awhile, you are already spoiled with clothes and clothes…and more clothes, and I’m already putting money aside for your wedding in 40 years. Yes, 40. 

We have waited to share your name. Mainly to drive your Nana crazy, but also to leave SOME element of surprise to your big day. Some people put a lot of thought into naming their children. After all, it’s with you your whole life. Take your brother for example. A lot of people think we named him after the country singer, Easton Corbin or after the baseball company, Easton. It’s a lot deeper than that… He was named after the hockey company, Easton, which translates to “of East Town”. Still can’t believe your Mom let me name him that. Your name, though, takes on a much different meaning. We chose your name because we liked the sound of it, but what it translates to, is what makes it so wonderful. 

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.” Baby girl, your name literally means Shining Bright. In a time so dark…so evil… You are called to be a light. It’s a tall order. And it will only get harder the older you get. But do not worry, you have plenty of support to help you. Let me introduce you to a few people that will be instrumental in your life here.

Your mother:

Your mom is my best friend. She is beautiful, funny and passionate. And she will teach so much about what it means to be a daughter of God. She will teach you how to stand up for your beliefs. She will teach you how to love unconditionally, and she will teach you what real beauty looks like, not what this world says it should look like. She has been through a lot in the past few years, but she is strong. She will always be someone you can talk to. Because of her, you will always be dressed nice, and you will always be loved, and you will grow up to be a beautiful image of Christ.

Your father:

I’m still not quite sure what to do with a girl. But I’m excited. I’m excited to have tea parties and play princesses. I can’t wait for our first dance, and I’m already scouting good Christian boys at church to arrange for your future marriage (kidding….kind of). I will show you how a woman is to be treated and set the bar as high as possible for the man that you will one day marry. Most of all, I will tell you I love you and that I’m proud of you. This world will beat you down at times and it will be my job to remind you of who you are in Christ and where your true citizenship is. 

Your brother:

Your brother has already taught us all so much and will continue to as he gets older. Learn as much as you can from him. He will protect you and you will have to protect him as well. You two will bicker and fight as you grow up, but always remember that he was your first friend. He will teach you that love goes beyond the appearance of a person, and that with persistence, patience, and hard work, you can overcome anything. Most of all he will teach you that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. And as for who the favorite sibling will be…it depends on which sibling is asking. 

This last one is the most important. For without Him, I wouldn’t be writing this now. And it’s only necessary that I write to you the same thing I wrote in Easton’s first blog. Much different circumstances. Same God. 

Your God:

Now let me tell you about your God. Your God created this world. He created every living thing on this earth. He created a universe so vast and so amazing that you will never be able to comprehend the extent of how large it is and how small you are. Your God is the past, the present, and the future, all at once. Your God is sovereign. He knows everything about everything. Your God is faithful and he keeps his promises. Your God is kind, yet so incredibly powerful. Your God is perfect in every single way. Your God is uncoditional love. Your God is the peace that surpasses all understanding. Your God is true joy. He is the truth, the light, and the way. He is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He sent his Son to die for you, a sinner, so that you may have everlasting life. He created you. The way that He wanted you to be made.

We love you Ellie Mae Washer. And we can’t wait for the world to meet you. 

Sincerely, 

Mitch, Kendall, & Easton 

 

“The Special Needs Marriage”

There she stood. At the doors of that beautiful stone church. A white flower in her hair and on the brink of tears. The music. The music was fitting. It was the piano piece from Pride and Prejudice. The song was called “Mr. Darcy” because she would always tell me I was her Mr. Darcy (whoever that is). I remember holding hands and her squeezing them three times which meant “I. Love. You.” And I would squeeze hers back four times, “I. Love. You. Too.”

The reception was wonderful. The storm the night before blew the top off the patio on the venue and made for a gorgeous view of downtown Nashville. Dancing and laughing, it was a day I will never forget. We drove off in an old Rolls Royce on our way to stay the night at the Union Station hotel before we left for our honeymoon the next morning.

A week in Mexico. All inclusive, a free room upgrade, massages, swimming with dolphins… It was the works. It was the closest thing to paradise I could ever imagine. I remember distinctly sitting there thinking “how hard could this marriage thing be?”

Fast forward 4 years and a few months: I sit here and reflect on the whirlwind that I call my marriage. I’ve come to the realization that marriage is tough. Really tough. It’s extremely difficult incorporating two people’s lives into one household. Add in a child and it becomes even tougher. Make it a special needs child and it’s a whole nother ball game.

According to the American Psychological Association, anywhere between 40-50% of marriages in the United States end in divorce. That is a statistic that we are quite familiar with. It’s a scary statistic, but I believe personally it speaks to the challenges in ANY marriage. The rumored number of couples that have a special needs child and divorce, hovers around the 80% mark.

So why do I bring all this up? I’ll state first and foremost it is not to condemn anyone for getting a divorce. Everyone’s situation is different and I’m not about to go down that road. I can only speak on my marriage and my experiences. So with that being said, I have a confession to make… I have a special needs marriage. First time hearing that term? It’s weird to think about, right? One dictionary defines special needs as “of or relating to people who have specific needs, as those associated with a disability.”

Personally, I don’t think you can have a special needs child without having a special needs marriage. I watch my two year old struggle to hit milestones that seem to be so easy for kids half his age. He goes to four different therapies just to work on stuff that comes naturally to the “typical” person. There are days that it feels like we go two steps forward and one step back. And there are days that it feels like we go ten steps back, fall down another flight of stairs, fall over a cliff and stumble 20 steps back. Marriage seems to be no different.

Having Easton has taken a toll on our marriage at times. Arguing over things I never thought I’d argue about. How do we know what therapy is best? We’ve never been down this road before. It’s not fair. Robbed of what a “normal” life would be. We have been at our wits end and pushed even further. Questions of what is because of his syndrome and what is because he is a two year old boy. We take our frustrations out on each other at times. Emotionally, physically, mentally, and oh so spiritually exhausted at other times. Let’s just leave it at the fact that if it wasn’t for the grace of God and that alone, our marriage would be disabled.

So I got to thinking. There were so many parallels between what Easton has to do to thrive and what we, as a couple have to do. Other than feeding therapy, Easton partakes in physical, occupational, and speech therapy every week. We sit down at different points during the year to go over his IEP. An IEP is an Individual Educational Program and is used by the school systems and other various groups to help children with special needs reach their goals. It is essentially a measuring stick that we use to see how he is making progress, where we want to be in the future, and how we are going to get there.

What if I applied that to my marriage? I came up with four therapeutic areas that I believe are essential to every “special needs” marriage:

1.) Physical Therapy: Defined as a branch of rehabilitative health that uses specially designed exercises and equipment to help patients regain or improve their physical abilities, a marriage cannot survive without physicalness. Physical therapy consists of a lot of ups and downs. You are repairing and rebuilding muscles that have, at one point or another, become damaged. When things are going good, it’s easy for us to be all lovey dovey. Then, there are days that the last thing on either one of our minds is sex. There are times that frankly, we just don’t want to be next to each other, let alone be in the same room together. With that being said it’s even more important for us to be aware of each other’s physical needs. Even if it is just scratching her back or her holding my hand, there is something so comforting about being close and physical with the person who is in the trenches with you every day.

2.) Occupational Therapy: The word occupation here does not just talk about a chosen career. It refers to everything that people do during the coarse of everyday life. For Easton, his occupation is simple. It is to be a healthy, typically behaving toddler. Since that is not always the case, they work on skills such as adaptation, collaboration, coordination, and engaging. As a marriage, we have a specific occupation as well. For us, it is to glorify God. Trust me, it is hard to accomplish. It is so easy to want to throw in the towel at times. We must constantly work on adapting to shifting environments, collaborating together to achieving that goal, and persistently engaging with each other on a daily basis.

3.) Speech Therapy: This one is kind of self explanatory, but so incredibly essential. For Easton, it is the basis for communication. Without communication there is no understanding. Without understanding, we cannot meet his needs. And when we don’t meet his needs…watch out terrible twos. I would have to say that 90% of the struggles we’ve had in our marriage have to deal with communication or a lack thereof. Without us communicating to each other, how can we meet the needs of the other? ANY relationship without communication is a recipe for disaster. I know what words I can and can’t say to Kendall. I know what tone of voice works and what doesn’t. And I also know that when we speak in love is when we communicate the best.

4.) Love: Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things- 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. The unconditional love that Kendall and I have for Easton is from God. And ONLY by the fact that He loves us, can we love him. Oh to love my wife like Christ loves the church. Love is the end all be all. It is what will get us through struggles. It is what will fuel the flame. It is what will continue to push us and motivate us to not just survive, but thrive as well. We throw that word around so loosely sometimes, when in fact it is essential to our salvation. We are called to love God with all our heart and all of our mind, and love our neighbor as ourself. It’s just sometimes we forget that includes marriages.

When it’s all said and done, let’s be honest… Every marriage has it’s strengths and it’s opportunities. Same with every child. If we were really splitting hairs, I guess you could say we all have special needs. Some just may look a little different. Some families deal with divorce. Some deal with abuse. Addiction. Death. Some people don’t even have families. For us, in the scheme of things, it’s really not that bad. We have a healthy child who won’t ever be able to smile. He has some other challenges here and there, but I’ll tell you what he does have. He has a mom and dad who are committed to loving Jesus. And he has a God who created him to do the same. And that is all the “special” needs that anyone of us will ever need.

With great LOVE,

The Washers

“I Once Was Blind”

We’re back! I know all of you were having trouble sleeping, thinking “when will there be another blog post?. Well now you can finally get your sleep back. In all seriousness though, I always promised to be sensitive to what God was putting on my heart to share with others, and I guess His time was a little longer than mine. So I take great pleasure in the fact that I have been moved to share a story again and an update on Easton.

Since the time of my last post, things have changed drastically in our house. We no longer have a little baby boy, but we have a delightful, stubborn, driven, loving toddler who continues to blow us away day after day. He is attending an all-inclusive preschool and continuing his occupational, physical, speech, and feeding therapies every week and excelling in all of them. He is getting stronger every day, and continues to expose us to a world we would have never known if it weren’t for the love of God.

Before we had Easton, I must be honest, the special needs world was something that was so far off my radar, I never considered it to happen in our family. After all, God knew that we weren’t cut out to be the parents of a child with special needs, right? God only gives special kids to special people, remember?

I think one of the hardest things for me to accept with Easton, was the fact that no doctor, no geneticist, no one, could tell us why Easton was born with Moebius. I’m beginning to realize a lot of special needs family go through this. It’s a process. Not to sound morbid, but it’s a mourning process. Mourning the loss of what you thought your child was going to look like. Mourning the loss of the fact that you realize your life will be drastically different than what you expected. And more selfishly, mourning the fact that you can’t do everything you want to. We didn’t sign up for this. I get that some people really are cut out for this, but not us. Don’t get me wrong, things improve day after day, but there is still that voice in the back of your head saying “you did this to him” or “your sin caused this”. With that being said, it is ONLY by the sovereign grace of God that we just don’t throw in the towel some days. And for that, I’m humbled.

I love how God shows His face in the perfect places at the perfect time. He continues to show me answers and show me love. So, it is a little known fact that the Washer’s love to go to Chick fil a on Saturday mornings for breakfast. As you would expect, a lot of people do the same and we see a lot of the same faces. But there was one that would always stand out to me. There is this old man, has to be about 30 or 40 years old…kidding. At least in mid 80s though. And he would ALWAYS be there by himself, but would have this old metal briefcase open and his bible in front of him. I was always so inspired that someone of his tenure was still so adamant about being in the word. So Monday of this week, I was picking up breakfast there for a doctor’s office and sure enough there he was. Today was going to be the day I talked to him and figure out what he kept in that dang briefcase. The curiosity was killing me. I sat at a table across from him and faced him waiting for the perfect moment to catch eye contact and make my move. Instead, I looked more like a creepy stalker. Then this happened. He started following his finger along the words. And was beginning to get louder and louder the further he got in the passage. With so much excitement and so much passion, it seemed like the Word was just too much to handle for him. At that point it became less about the briefcase and more about what he was reading. So like the rude, ill-timed moron I am, I interrupted him during his prayer. I said “Sir, I see you in here all the time. I need to know two things. What in the world you keep in that briefcase and what in the world you were just reading.” He laughed and invited me to sit down. I figured his name would’ve been Gabriel or Michael like after an angel and that he would have something magic in that crazy briefcase. But, come to find out his name is Robert. And there was a bible, a book, and some medicine in his briefcase. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. Anyways, we chatted and talked about where we came from and where we live and before I left I said “Robert, it’s funny how badly I wanted to know what you kept in your briefcase, but the thing that actually brought me to come talk to you was how passionately you read your bible. What scripture were you reading?” He immediately opened up to where he was reading and he said “Look. John 9 talks about this man that was blind and Jesus made him see. With mud. So that this man may “see” the love of God. How GREAT of a God to open my eyes and work in me.” So he leaves me with the statement of “God’s word will reveal different things to different people all at different times, you just have to look.” So I left. Went and did my breakfast and sat in my car and opened up to John 9. And sure enough the first few verses in there floored me. John 9:1-3 says this, “As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” I long for the day that I tell Easton why things happened the way they did. And although I will never fully grasp the infinite love and grace of God, I will bring my child up learning to search for that and to teach him to be Jesus to those around him. Thank you Jesus. For putting mud on my eyes. For making me see. And for using my child to display YOUR works in. I’m starting to realize that this is all so much bigger than us and that we are just a small piece of a much greater plan. And for that, we will always faithfully serve Him. In ALL circumstances.

-Mitch, Kendall, and of course Easton

“To Whom It May Concern”

For all those that have been with us along this journey, thank you. This blog, thus far, has been a great way for me to vent all while sharing the ups and downs of the past year. After this post, we will continue to update on Easton and his progress as often as we can, but I feel this post is a fitting end to one heck of a year. It’s another long one, but its a group of letters composed to 4 different people over the past year.

To my son, Easton:

God has used to you to change the world. You were created unlike any other child and you were created perfectly. You have taught your mother and I how selfish we were and how to rejoice in all circumstances. Our Father created you to bring us closer to Him. To strengthen our faith. You also need to know that no matter how much your mom or I love you, it won’t ever compare to how much our God loves you. Easton, we are so proud of you. You have endured more in one year that many children will never experience in a lifetime. You are strong. Not because of any therapy or any doctor, but because of God. You were fearfully and wonderfully made. As bad as I want to claim you as my own, I can’t. You are on this earth for the One who will one day return. Give Him glory in everything you do and rejoice in every situation. Thank you for teaching your mother and I so much. You are loved by so many others and I can’t wait to see how you will grow. We are always here for you and we will love you no matter what.

Sincerely,

Mom and Dad

To my wife, Kendall:

When I think I can’t fall any more in love, I wake up next to you and fall in love all over again. I look at where we were 12 months ago. In a hospital room sobbing uncontrollably, mourning the loss of what we thought to be a “normal” life. The guilt we shared as we were bombarded by different doctors telling us all these different things about
our son. It’s scary to sit here and think about the past year and if we didn’t have God. I don’t know how people do it. But here we are. Closer and stronger than ever. And not just to each other, but to God. Your raw, honest emotions towards God have inspired me to have a more genuine relationship with Christ. You have inspired me to love you and love Easton unconditionally. You have inspired me to get out of my comfort zone and realize there are so many different people out there. But most of all, you have showed me that together, through Christ, we can accomplish anything.

To the moon and back,

Yours

To the evil one, satan:

You lose. It’s over. You don’t stand a chance. You never have. You have tried so hard to distract us. You have tried to make us blame ourselves, to blame others, to blame God. And although you may get a glimpse of that satisfaction, it always results in a victory for Him. Does it not get old wasting your energy on a situation that is so Christ-centered? When will you learn, you foolish pig? You have nothing. You have no control over me or my family. You have tried and tried again. And I’m sure you will continue to try. But you will fail. Miserably. You see, my family is in this world, but we are not apart of it. This is not even our home. We belong to the Alpha, the Omega. The Truth and the Light. You may get in my head from time to time, but my heart…my heart dwells with the I Am. Forever.

Sincerely,

His for eternity

To my Father, Christ Jesus:

Oh God, forgive me for ever doubting your plan. Forgive me for the mere human I am. Look at what you have done. How can this child and this situation be explained by anything else but your sovereignty? Father God, thank you for letting me vent, for letting me scream, and cry, and rejoice, and laugh, and question, and wonder. Thank you for grabbing me and shaking me and stirring me and doing whatever it takes to get my undivided attention. Lord, we give you this child. We give you our life, our hopes, our dreams. Just so we can spend eternity in Your dwelling place. I thank you for opening my eyes to people who need you. For placing us in a community of people that we may never have encountered if it wasn’t for Easton. How great are you? That you use such a small and innocent child for your glory? Here we are Lord. We are forever faithful in all circumstances. Here we are. Do whatever it takes. Here we are, Father. We want to be like Jesus.

Sincerely,

Your humbled children

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“Let go”

I had a really strange dream about a year ago. Picture this… It was a Wednesday night at church and although it was dark outside, the inside of the auditorium was so bright. I can remember how the wood in the ceiling looked so beautiful and the cross behind the baptism pool glowed even more than usual. The pews were packed with people that I had attended church with my whole life. Everyone was in their Sunday best except for me. I was in shorts and a t shirt. There was no preacher, no song leader, no praise team. Just hundreds of people looking at this glowing, majestic cross. I remember so vividly we started singing “It is well with my soul”. My palms started to sweat and my heart started racing. The louder the singing got, the more anxious I got. To the point that I started getting disoriented. I was the only one like this though. People noticed my anxiousness and just continued to sing and look at me and smile. I looked over to Kendall who was lost in the moment and she looked at me nodded. My whole body went weightless. I looked around me and I started floating up. In pure panic, I grabbed the pew in front of me with a white-knuckle grip to keep me from taking off. I was sweating, nervous, and confused. I looked down at Kendall who was trying to tell me something but I couldn’t hear her over the singing. It was a beautiful chaos. And then it happened. I was starting to lose my grip on the pew. My fingers started slipping off one by one…when all of a sudden, everything went dead silent. All I could hear was my breath. I looked around and everyone was floating around me with their eyes closed. Kendall, with such a calm presence, looked over at me and said, “it’s ok, He has you. Just let go”. In utter confusion, I took both hands off the pew and in an instant I felt the most overwhelming sense of awe and wonder in my body as I started to float up. Something took over every part of me and I had no control over anything, but felt the greatest feeling in the world. I woke up with a surreal feeling. It was one of those dreams where you couldn’t separate dream and reality. I wish I had words to describe it. I wish I could have that dream again. I still really have no idea what it means, but I’d like to think I got a glimpse of what my life could be like if I just let go of everything and focused on the cross.

Why is it so hard for us to let go? Why is it that we strive to hold on to things that we have no control of? We clutch and grab onto anything that will keep us comfortable and then wonder why we don’t feel or see God when we pray. It’s so much deeper than that.

I fall into this trap with Easton all the time. Sometimes I feel my 10 month old son has a stronger faith than I do. We have started some therapies over the last couple months and will start some more over the next few as well. He is currently participating in feeding and speech therapy as well as physical therapy for his feet. We have a surgery for his feet scheduled for the beginning of October in hopes that we will be able to flatten them out a little more. We are awaiting occupational therapy and in the meantime meeting with a craniofacial doctor at Vanderbilt and a pediatric neurologist in Nashville.

To be honest, it’s getting to the point where we are realizing that Easton is different and that Easton is going to develop differently than other children. We have been attacked at times with fears of autism and developmental delays and whether or not he will make friends. I find myself jealous at times of children who are walking and crawling already. Truthfully though, what parent doesn’t go through all that? We have learned to take things one day at a time. We take joy in his small victories like sitting up and eating with a spoon.
We have learned what it means to love with no boundaries.

I’m reminded daily of how blessed we are to have Easton. I’m also reminded how blessed we are when we let go of the things we can’t control. Oh to have the feeling I had in that dream. To have that feeling that no matter what is happening in my life, good or bad, that “it is well with my soul”.

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“There Will Be a Day”

First of all, I apologize for not writing a post sooner. To be quite honest, I just didn’t feel like it. Lately, our life has been consumed with me starting my new job and starting to figure out what we are going to do for Easton. As I’m sure a lot of you saw on Kendall’s Facebook, we saw his foot doctor this past week and will be moving forward with his big surgery later on this summer. He is starting to sit up some on his own and he is able to eat and swallow baby food, so we are very thankful for that. We will also be starting physical therapy with him soon and we are taking every action possible to keep him hitting milestones. It’s still weird to me sometimes that I even have to say that stuff. There’s times that we forget about his syndrome until we see other children. It feels like this will just go away. And it won’t.

Going back to why I haven’t written a post in 2 months. I promised Kendall everything I would write, would be through the Spirit in me and not just me writing for the sake of writing. Every month prior to this, I have been “nudged” by God to say something and get these feelings of our journey off my chest. This time was different. God moved me so hard that I am now sitting in a parking lot writing. I can’t stop reflecting on this week and the world’s events. I can’t stop thinking about this past year’s events. I sometimes catch myself dwelling on the future of my child and this wicked, terror-filled world we live in. As a matter of fact, there was a day this year where over 100,000 children were bullied. There was a day that 11 youth took their own lives. Within 6 months, there was a day where 12 people were shot and killed in a movie theater, and 26 more were killed in a school. There was a day this week that 3 people died in a bombing at a marathon.

I find myself wondering if this stuff stands out so much more because we have the social media aspect now, or if I’m just getting older and realizing the impact. I fear for the world that my child has to grow up in. I fear that he will be bullied because he looks different. I fear that he may be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I fear that he may not hit milestones he should. Why do I fear these things? Because at times, I put so much faith in this world. Faith in a fallen people, faith in doctors, faith in a new job. Faith in things that, frankly, just don’t matter in the big scheme of things.

It is a constant battle for me to remember daily why I am on this earth as a Christian. I am simply called to love God and to love others and to give glory to Him. That’s it.

I can’t tell you how much I think about heaven at times like this. It helps me to put my faith back where it belongs. Faith in the fact that God has a mansion built for me…waiting for me. Faith in the fact that one day, there will be no more bullying, no more shootings, no more suicide, no fears, no cancer, no Moebius syndrome, no clubbed feet, smiles and laughter, eternal happiness in paradise. Say what you will, but I glorify God in these tragedies. It gives opportunities for us to love the unlovable and makes me yearn for the day that I will have a glorified body in heaven.

Although we have our struggles with Easton, I put my faith in God. That He will grab ahold of Easton’s heart and give him eternal life. I can’t change anyone’s heart or mind. I can only pray and love. “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”

Smile today,

The Washers

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“Free Gift!”

I remember it was a year ago in late January, on a Monday, because that’s when our friends Heather and Matthew would come over each week for dinner. We bought two tests just to make sure, because that second pink line was way too faint. There was no way, right? Still in shock and confusion, we sat down for dinner with Heather and Matthew and I don’t think we said much at all until we just couldn’t hold it in any longer. “I think we are pregnant!”

A few weeks ago I kept thinking back to that day. So much has happened in the last year since then. Our lives literally changed forever in that instance. The people we have met, the love we have seen, the things we have experienced. I don’t think I can express in words the emotions we have been through.

If I can be honest, I find myself thinking at times how different things could be for us if everything was just “normal”. The beginning of January was an extremely hard time for us. As I’m sure a lot of you have seen, we had issues with Easton’s casts falling off up to 2 times a week, meaning Kendall was at Vanderbilt some weeks up to three times. We tried fitting him for braces after his surgery and his feet aren’t correcting like we hoped. We tried to get a second opinion only to find we are doing all that we can. It definitely takes a toll on your emotions when we were told this would be the easy part of all of this. So right now we are taking a break from everything with his feet for a couple of months. We need a break, Easton needs a break, and I’m sure the doctors are sick of us too.

It breaks my heart to see my son go through this. It breaks my heart to see my wife go through this with him. It tears me apart when my wife says she just needs her mom. It kills me when things get so hard with him that I take my frustrations out on her. It keeps me up at night to know that I can’t fix this or give her anything that will fix this… BUT…God continues to put things in our life that keep us going. Things we just honestly don’t deserve. He gives us free gifts.

If you are friends with either of us on Facebook, chances are you saw a lot of purple on January 24th. With saying that, I have to apologize to all of you. I have spent the last few days trying to find a way to just somehow thank every person individually. I can’t. There were too many people. People I know, people I don’t know, people who don’t know us, people who know people that are cousins to another person’s brother’s wife…people who took the effort to get an entire high school, middle school, and elementary school to take a break from uniforms and wear purple. People of all ages. From little babies, to grandparents and everything in between. People who wrote letters to tell classmates about their cousin and how God made him perfect. People who woke up that morning thinking I have to wear purple to support Moebius syndrome. I’m sorry I can’t thank you all. It’s not that I don’t have the time, I just don’t have the words. I cannot wrap my mind around how much love there is and how humbling of an experience this is. Just please know that we do not take any of the credit and that ALL the glory is going to God for this free gift.

I brought up the day we found out we were pregnant for a reason. I remembered I sat in my car before work the next morning and I prayed. I was hesitant to put this in the blog because it is extremely personal to me, but I have to share.

“Father God, Holy God, you are Sovereign and all-knowing. Your hand is in my life and I can’t begin to think of how you work. You have blessed us with the opportunity of a child. You have answered prayers and shown signs of your love and grace. Father, be with Kendall. She has to be so scared. Give me strength to be there for her. Lord this is all from you. I give ALL glory to you. This can only be explained by you. I pray that you give us guidance and wisdom and direction and courage. Father I want to pray for the child. You have great plans for it and you will know what it will do before it is even born. Bless it so that it will know you and have a relationship with you. Lord I am so excited, anxious, nervous, speechless. You are God of all gods, Lord of all lords and King of all kings. Let us depend on you for everything. Here we are Lord…we are here to give glory to you. This is all for you!”

I journaled this prayer the morning after we found out we were pregnant. This was the first prayer I ever prayed for Easton. The date of this journal entry was January 24, 2012… On Moebius Syndrome Awareness Day last year.

I remind myself of this prayer every time I curse God. Every time I get mad at the doctors. Every time Kendall and I hit our breaking points. Every time a cast falls off. Every time I get jealous of a normal child. Every time I think God is out to get me and doesn’t know what I need.

And then I think of His Grace. The exact Greek translation of grace is “free gift”. I am saved by this free gift. I don’t deserve this. Any of this. But He gives it to me anyway. Through people in my life. Through my wife. Through the hundreds of people who now know what Moebius syndrome is. Through putting it on my heart to write out my prayers in a journal. How can you even start to fathom something so big, so perfect, so perfectly planned out? And it’s free. No strings attached. Ever.

Thank you all. We will never be able to repay you all for this, but I promise that you have all made me look at life differently and you have made an impact on our child’s life forever. I am extremely overwhelmed and speechless. Thank you. Just thank you, thank you, thank you.

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