Tag Archives: proactive parenting

Face to Face with Fear pt 3 by Gregory Bland

Emotional turmoil may be a gross understatement. Lynn and I left the Dr’s office with incredible resolve to love whomever we welcomed into our growing family.  Still there were moments that we were completely broken.  Emotions would run wild, tears would stream, and fear would once again show his ugly face.  My fears centred around my ability to provide a loving and supportive environment for this child.  I hoped so, the question continued to linger, “Could I?” Lynn’s fears centred around the health of the child.  The potential of Spina Bifida presented some unique challenges and Lynn’s motherly instinct was quickly approaching over-drive.

Lynn and I talked a lot, cried, and prayed together too.  In retrospect, I believe this is something that fostered some of the relational closeness that we still enjoy today.  I am uncertain what may have happened had we simply shut down, or ‘crawled inside ourselves’ during this intensely emotional season.  Sharing our honest thoughts, feelings, and desires allowed us to remain connected and strengthened our relationship together. Taking this one step further, we reached out to others as well, we are a part of a larger faith community that states emphatically, “When one member of the body suffers, we all suffer with it.  When one member rejoices, we all rejoice.” We were made to share our journey together.

Heart pounding and knees slightly weak I stood to my feet following the pastor’s invitation and began sharing with the church family what we were currently experiencing.  My voice cracked and tears flowed freely as I recounted the emotional visit we had with the specialist just three days prior. I shared our decision, the resolve we had, and the fears that lurked beneath the surface and simply asked that people would pray that both Lynn and I would have the capacity to love whomever we welcomed into our home and for wisdom as we navigate the course set before us.

What an overwhelming response.  The church family gathered around us and began to pray as we requested. Simply put we felt loved, supported, and sensed an incredible reassurance that we are not traveling this journey alone.

My compassion for Lynn grew day by day as I helplessly observed sickness take it’s toll.  Lynn loved pregnancy but pregnancy did not love her. She was violently ill during all three pregnancies and even hospitalized with our last child.  My love for this unborn child grew richer with each passing day. There was an excitement mounting within my heart.  The possibilities, the honour of moulding and shaping the precious life that would be entrusted to our care.  My fears and apprehensions had turned to excitement and anticipation.  Would we have a girl or boy?  What did God have in store for them?  How would they shape the future?(Butterfly Kisses by Bob Carlisle was realized shortly before the scheduled c-section.  Listening to this song catalyzed thoughts about having a baby girl.)

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Watching Lynn’s C-Section has to be one of the most incredible events I have witnessed.  I cringed as the Dr. skillfully took the scalpel and drew it across Lynn’s abdomen.  I cringed a little but being intrigued I continued watching.  Looking briefly at Lynn to see if she was ok, our eyes connected, I smiled and said, “Just a little while longer and we’ll see who it is.  Joshua or Katelyn.”  She smiled in return and I turned my gaze back to the Dr’s skilful hands. now cutting through the uterin wall.  The anticipation was so intense I could hardly keep from smiling.  The crown of a head appeared, then shoulders, arms, midsection, and legs came into full view as the Dr. held the baby high.  From the warmth of the womb to the cool operating room this child was destined to change our lives forever.

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“Do we have Joshua or Katelyn?” Lynn said through slurred speech.  I turned, smiled, and said, “We have Katelyn and she is a beautiful baby girl.”

What an incredible season of our lives.  Emotional turmoil.  Facing  fear.  Solidifying values.  Seeking strength and wisdom that goes beyond ourselves. Trusting God’s sovereignty when we don’t understand.

Would I change a single moment of that season?  Not a chance! Walking that journey has been very formative within my life.

As I conclude this part of our series Face to Face with Fear, what fears have you faced and how has that shaped who you are?

Until next time,
Face your Fears for they are working a greater good in you.
Your friend and pro-active parent coach
Gregory Bland

 

My Big Girl will Always be My Little Girl by Gregory Bland

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmC3rJR7E98]

My big girl will always be Daddy’s little girl.  Time stops for no one, it simply keeps marching on.  Today I find myself reflecting upon how fast 15 years has passed.   I’ve heard it said, time flies, but today I know that is more than a saying, it is a reality.

15 years ago Bob Carlisle’s song “Butterfly Kisses” was hitting the charts.  Somehow I found myself drawn to the incredible words of this song as the birth of our child drew closer.  I remember well the excitement, the thrill, the anticipation of our first child.  Would we have a boy or girl?  That question itself did not hold the same significance for me that it does for many.  After all the sickness, scares, news, tests, fear, prayer, and tears that we cried during this pregnancy, we were simply relieved that this day had come.

Wearing my gown and mask I watched anxiously as Lynn is prepped for surgery. We whisper a prayer together and as I kiss her forehead, smile, and say, “Soon our child will be in our arms.”  With sheet drawn high she cannot see anything, left only with her imagination and dreams of what was happening.  Me, I have a full view of the skillful hands that prepare to bring our child into the world. I marvel as the first incision is made in Lynn’s abdomen.  The Dr asks about Lynn’s comfort level, she affirms she is ‘OK’ although tears are streaming.  I know the tears are of joy and anticipation, not pain.
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I try to describe what I am seeing to Lynn.  I see the head, the shoulders, as skillful hands carefully lift this child from the warmth of the womb  into our cold world.  Lynn anxiously asks, do we have a boy or girl?    I don’t know yet because they have not lifted the child completely out.  Here is the stomach.  Anticipation mounts and I see we have a little girl as the nurse lifts the child into plain view, looks at me and says, “It’s a girl!”  I turn to catch Lynn’s eye, “We have a girl!  We have a girl.”  Through tears and a broken voice, “We have our little Katelyn,” she says.  It is amazing to me how instantly love grows to an overwhelming flood.  I am sure I was grinning ear to ear as the nurse carefully bundled Katelyn in a white and pink blanket and placed her in my arms.

Cradling someone so tender, so small, and fragile.  I looked at her and she seemed so completely helpless.  “What a difficult journey you have had little one,” I whisper softly, “Mommy and Daddy are so glad you made it here to be with us. We love you very much.”

As I looked upon her soft delicate features, powerful words flood my mind.   “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.  You saw me before I was born.  Every day of my life was recorded in your book.  Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. (Psalm 139:13-16 NLT)

Like a flash of lightening brightly piercing a dark night, I was struck by a sudden realization.  I was holding someone so precious, so fragile, so dependent, yet, so full of potential.  It dawned on me, Katelyn has a part to play in HIS story; a part in God’s greater plan for humanity.  She, like Lynn and I, and everyone else, has a destiny to fulfill.  If that wasn’t enough, I was overwhelmed with the fact we have the incredible privilege of partnering with God in the discovery and formation of His greater purposes for her.

Wow!  What an honor.  What a privilege we’ve been given as parents.  Prayer sprung from my heart and across my lips once again as I whispered, “Father, what do you have in store for this little life? In what way is she going to leave a mark upon this world? We need wisdom.  Give us eyes to see and recognize what you are doing in and through this little one as she matures.”

Today, 15 years later we still stand humbled at the incredible privilege we have of partnering with God in the formation of a life that has been entrusted to our care.  In the grand scheme of things, God has given us as a gift to her, to nurture and influence, but I also know He has given her as a gift to us.  To mold, shape, and develop our own character.

Have Lynn and I been perfect at this?  By no means! We’ve stumbled, tripped, fallen and scraped our knees on this parenting  journey. We have made mistakes along the way, but thankfully, there are also some things we have done well, as I am sure you have within your parenting.

As you think about the children God has entrusted to your care I would like to leave you with a couple of questions to consider.

  • What has God been developing within your character through His gift of your child/teen to you?
  • Where do you sense God actively at work within your life?
  • Where do you sense God’s activity within your child/teens life?
  • What may God be shaping and forming within their character?
  • How can you best partner with God for your child’s development?

Until next time remember we have a relatively short time with our children under our direct influence.  How can we best partner with God in His development of our character and our children’s character as they discover God’s greater purposes for their lives.

Enjoy the journey, it’s a short one
Your friend and Pro-Active Parent Coach
Gregory Bland