On this day, nine years ago, God’s grace shone brilliantly to our family. In an operating room at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, grace met fear and overcame 19 years of our heart cries for a normal, healthy child. Spencer Michael came into the world after sharing a growing and nesting place in my womb for 36 weeks and in my heart for always. For months God had allowed him to be ours and now he was being shared with the world and what a day that was.
After a dreaded and fear-filled caesarean birth, he was whisked away while I endured another surgical procedure and he was assessed. He was allowed to be brought to my recovery room for less than an hour before we all noticed that breathing was taking more effort than it should and he was admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit and diagnosed with immature lung function and pneumonia. He remained in that NICU for the next 9 days that seemed like a span of eternity because of our previous experiences.
The day we drove away from the hospital without him, was perhaps one of the deepest, darkest, moments of my life. I had been in this same space six times. Six pregnancies and never one time had I been discharged with a baby to take home. How I had dreamed and longed to be one of those moms who was put in a wheelchair, juggling flowers, luggage, gifts, and a bundle wrapped in blue or pink while passersby smiled and offered congratulations. Instead, I was in a wheelchair, alone, being whisked into my mother’s car and I cried all the way home.
Arriving home, I found my father-in-law and sister-in-law planting a flower garden in Spencer’s honor and many members of my family who had come to celebrate with us. Their support was amazing and in the next nine days, Spencer grew and healed and then it was home-coming day! WHAT A DAY! Dressed in a light blue, sailboat outfit, he came home to a room decorated in a sailboat theme with the words “Captain Spencer” painted on the wall. And then, surprising to no one who truly know us, we took him to the beach the very next day. A beach trip is required initiation into the Parris family.
For at the water’s edge, we are most at home.
I am sure the feelings of parenthood are common but often I wonder if anyone can possibly love as deeply as I love this boy (and his sister). He truly is God’s gift of grace in the flesh to our home. Spencer has added so much to our family. He is compassion, joy, laughter, and fun. God wired him perfectly to be a sister to Emma Grace.
He is very gentle and understanding of her special needs.
God designed him with his daddy’s intelligence and his momma’s tender heartedness.
Spencer’s favorite Bible verse is Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” He quotes that verse often and I pray He will always remember the truth of that verse. God created and equipped him to do a great work in his generation. We are so blessed to be able to share the journey with him.
God is so gracious in giving us our hearts desires. Often not in the time or way we would prefer but always in the time and way that is perfect according to His plan.
Thank you, Lord, for shining your grace so brilliantly in our lives nine years ago.