Stretchy Souls (+1!)

Last month (actually on Christmas Day) God gave us a spectacular gift.

Here’s how it went down. Nyra was in the middle of a Christmas afternoon nap and I was sitting in our living room when I heard Emily gasp from the direction of the bathroom.

A bathroom gasp is generally a harbinger of something unpleasant, so I was relieved when Emily rushed out to show me the two lines on the pregnancy test she had just taken, and graciously explained what they meant: after months of trying and praying, we were pregnant!

We went out and bought a second test the next day, on the five-year anniversary of our life-changing accident. It was positive again. How about that? In 2012 the day after Christmas marked the end of our lives as we had always known them, but in 2017 the day after Christmas marked the very beginning of a brand new life the world has never known.

Recently I started reading a book called A Grace Disguised by Jerry Sittser. The author writes about losing his wife, daughter and mother simultaneously in the same car accident. He chronicles the utter devastation, depression and ultimate restoration he experienced following this unspeakable horror. Here’s a quote that I found particularly resonated with me:  

“The soul is elastic, like a balloon. It can grow larger through suffering. Loss can enlarge its capacity for anger, depression, despair, and anguish, all natural and legitimate emotions whenever we experience loss. Once enlarged, the soul is also capable of experiencing greater joy, strength, peace, and love.”

I’m not really an emotional guy. Never have been. But the bitter soul-taste of suffering makes joy taste all the sweeter.

Examples: God wanted me to be disabled after twenty-one years of health and vigor. Bitter taste.
God also wanted me to have an incredible wife by my side every step of the way. Sweet taste.  
Further, God wanted us to become parents of a beautiful little girl. Sweet, sweet.
Now we see God wanted us to be married through a rocky valley and become parents of two lives made in His image. Sweet, sweet, sweet.

We’ve been learning over the past five years that even when we don’t understand why God does what he does when, where and to whom he chooses, we can always trust him with it. Because everything he does is good regardless of our capacity to understand it or willingness to agree with it.

God giving us two kids is good. That’s an easy one because we like it and it makes us feel good – it tastes sweet. God giving me a severe physical disability is also good. That one’s harder because there’s literally no physical aspect of my TBI that I enjoy – it tastes bitter. If there was a pill I could swallow or a button I could push that would restore my physical state to where it was before the accident, I would have done so years ago. But I know that everything God does is good because he is the very source and definition of good, so I trust him with the fact that my injury is good because he gave it. He only gives good gifts (Matthew 7:11, James 1:17). Some of those gifts taste bitter at first, but no good father gives his kids candy every day. But what God gives us is always the best thing. Always. And in time, as we fix our eyes on Him, even suffering becomes sweet.

God has given us the gift of suffering and stretched our souls like balloons so now we can experience the joy of being parents with a capacity we simply didn’t possess before.

Simply put, we’re stoked to be pregnant! Right now our baby (which Nyra has already claimed as her own) is a little bigger than a blueberry and growing every day. The due date is (roughly) September 4.

It’s amazing to see how quickly babies develop in the womb. And from what we hear, it’s amazing to see the way a child’s outlook on life can change once they have a sibling and are no longer the center of attention.

Would you please join us in praying for this precious new child, his or her big sister and wisdom for us, the happily overwhelmed parents of two spectacular kids? Thank you!