You KNOW the days that I’m talking about…we’ve all been there.
You woke up in the morning, got dressed, and jumped on the Struggle Bus down to Struggleville. Then for some unknown reason you got stranded in Struggleville for the day. In Struggleville time moves laboriously slow. When you think it’s been 3 1/2 hours it’s only been 3 1/2 minutes. If something can go wrong, it does. The days there are long and the nights are hard.
THIS was my day on Tuesday.
The day itself was long. Honestly, my work has suffered because mentally I’m in room 7 of the NICU with my little girl holding her hand while physically I’m sitting in front of a computer trying to get work done. I’m fighting to be present, but being “present” for my team in this season is a relative term. I’m grateful for executive leadership that is gracious and patient with me as I fumble through life at this point.
Later that evening I got a phone call from Chelsea letting me know that they were going to re-intubate our little girl and that I needed to get up the hospital quickly. The news was devastating simply because she had been doing so well and defying all the odds. Yet, the “two steps forward, one step back” lifestyle of the NICU continued.
I had to take a moment to collect myself because I thought I was simply going to break down right in the middle of my CrossFit class, so I simply went outside, knelt down against the concrete wall and just tried to breathe slowly. After I collected myself I rushed to the car only to find that I had lost my keys. SERIOUSLY?!? In the moment that my wife and little girl need me I’ve misplaced my keys in a 20ft radius…HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?! There may, or may not, have been some choice words said that I didn’t even know existed that I had to repent of later that evening. Apparently, I was still hanging around Struggleville.
One of my friends was kind enough to drop me off at the hospital and I raced up to be with my little girl. She looked completely exhausted and defeated. Her usual warrior ethos had given way to extreme fatigue. She had been trying so hard to breathe on her own, but she was too worn out to keep it up. It was the right move to take steps towards re-intubation, but it was something Chelsea and I had been praying wouldn’t have to happen.
The doctor came in and said we could wait a little longer, but we knew that the quicker she could get help the better. So we gave the nod to make re-intubation happen. Let me just say this: re-intubation is one of the worst things you can experience in the NICU as a parent, in my opinion. The process is invasive and aggressive, yet completely necessary. As a dad it’s a helpless situation to be in.
Seeing my little girl that sick, waiting for her to be re-intubated completely defeated my spirit and I became undone. The doctors let me hold my little girl for a few moments before they started the procedure. I prayed over Davy girl as the warm tears coursed down my face onto her feeble frame. I reluctantly put her back into the bed as the doctors and nurses waited to begin.
I stepped outside into the hallway right outside of Davy’s room to join Chelsea and my parents. It was awful. We could hear Davy girl crying and gagging as they shoved the tube down her trachea. Chelsea and I did the only thing we knew how to do in the moment, embraced one another and cried. The procedure was over relatively quickly, but the emotions of the night wouldn’t be so lucky. They would continue to hover over us indefinitely.
Utterly exhausted emotionally, I told Chelsea that I needed to leave for a bit to try to regain some semblance of stability. I left to walk around the hospital and talk with God. I gave full vent to the range of my emotions; indignation, sadness, anger, fear, frustration and unbelief. As I prayed, God impressed on my heart that he knew, understood and sympathized with me.
He reminded me, as He did the other day, that He too was a Father. He reminded me that he also got to comfort his child the night before an awful experience (Luke 22:43). He also had to hear the terrible cries coming from his kid. However, his child wasn’t having a tube shoved down his throat, but was screaming out in pain because nails were being shoved through his hands and feet as He was being crucified for the sins of the world (John 19) . We don’t worship an aloof god, but we worship a sympathetic Heavenly Father who knows about long days and hard nights intimately well. Not only does He know them intimately well, but purposely endured one of those days that we might have access to eternal salvation, and correspondingly, a hope to cling to in the midst of suffering.
When you experience days that are long and nights that are hard, know that you have a Heavenly Father who understands (Isa. 40:28), a Savior who sympathizes (Heb. 4:15), and that all these temporal troubles are preparing you for an indescribable, eternal weight of glory (2 Cor. 4:7).
So embrace long days, endure hard nights and lean into the comforting arms of your loving and sympathetic Heavenly Father.
Update and Prayer Requests
Davy has been up and down this week. As I wrote above, she had to be re-intubated on Tuesday night, but has been recovering well since then. The doctors want to continue to give her a little rest before we try to extubate again. Here are a few prayer requests for this weekend.
- Lungs – Pray that Davy’s lungs would continue to get stronger daily.
- Stomach – Up to this point Davy’s stomach still hasn’t been working properly. Pray that it would start to function so she won’t have as many challenges feeding.
- Joy – Pray for Chelsea and I to fight discouragement with the gospel. It’s easy to be deflated when you take steps back, but I pray that we would endure well with joy.