“Joy is a mystery because it can happen anywhere, anytime, even under the most unpromising circumstances, even in the midst of suffering, with tears in its eyes.” –Fredrick Buechner
That quote is now framed on my bookshelf. It once graced the table beside my chair. It even sat quietly on my nightstand. Quietly though it sat, it spoke volumes. I gave a framed copy to my mother and another one to Bobbi, our precious family friend, who is an awesome prayer warrior, because she prayed for our Prodigal child every morning at 5:00 a.m. without fail!
The irony in this quote blasted through my heart the day our daughter ran away from home at the young age of 17. I had flipped my calendar page over that day and discovered it. Never once thinking that I would soon discover the true meaning behind it! Joy was far from our hearts and home that day. But it did come to us again. She returned home, like the prodigal son, after discovering that life was not as it is depicted in the movies. She returned with a broken heart and unprepared for the changes coming to her world. Her biggest change came just days before Christmas of her 18th year of life.
He arrived in a flurry of activity. We knew he was coming, we even prepared, but this we did not prepare for. One minute we were sitting quietly on the little sleeper sofa provided for us, the next minute we are instructed to leave the room. White skirts and coats fly around as if in a whirlwind. Movement is everywhere, with the exception of my heart. It is as if it stopped. The minute the tiny heart inside his mommy stopped, so did mine.
Today was supposed to be a memorable day. It had started off early. We had arrived at the hospital around 5:00 a.m. with our beautiful, young prodigal daughter. After a long strenuous day of labor (on our daughters part) and watching and waiting (on our part), my husband and I were quickly ushered into the hallway as the doctor worked diligently to get a heartbeat back in the little life we had yet to meet.
When the doctor came out to speak with us, the anxious teary-eyed parents, he told us he was about to do an emergency C-Section. He instructed us to “suit-up”. In Ephesians 6:13 we are instructed to “take on” or put on the “whole armor of God” so that we will be able to fight against or withstand the tricks of the enemy. I felt like this was some horrible trick being played on my family and I didn’t know for sure how “durable” my own armor was. I talked to God everyday, but there were many areas in my life that needed some work. So here I stood in hospital scrubs and “spiritual armor” shaking in my shoes, but ready to take on the enemy for the sake of my daughter and her unborn baby.
Off we rush to the surgical area and wait outside the door while they hurriedly prepare the Prodigal for the procedure. The nurse comes out and directs me quickly into the room to our daughters side and her dad to the surgery-viewing window. I held onto her hand, touching her face as I silently prayed, watched, and listened. They were frantic to get our little one into the world.
His name had been chosen as soon as we discovered through the miracle of an ultrasound that it was to be a boy. Rylan Oliver. My husband teasingly referred to him as “ROK”, indicating that he would be fiercely strong and powerful. He would be a “good ‘ole tough country boy”. The name Oliver was chosen from our “Grandbuddy”. I still remember the day I sat in Tiffany’s “reclaimed” bedroom trying out different names for our little one. I realize that I keep referring to him as “our little one”, but I can’t help it!
In just a few short minutes that felt like years, a small crying little boy with a head full of dark hair entered this world. Flailing his little arms and kicking his short legs, he was a sight! A tremendously beautiful sight, and I could hardly see through the blur of tears in my eyes! The nurse held him close to his mommy’s face so that she could kiss him and then handed him off to me to carry down the hall to the nursery. Tiffany had said, “mama, don’t let him out of your sight”, and you better believe I didn’t. He was our long awaited for “grandson”! Our hearts were full to overflowing. God was just too good to us! My face was already hurting from smiling so much! It was making me exhausted! But it was the absolute best exhaustion I would ever have! Smiling from ear to ear because of a new life!
When you stop and think of all the lives that have been brought into the world of Christ through salvation, don’t you just know how much rejoicing goes on in heaven over just one life?
Luke 15:10… there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
When we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior by believing on Him and that He gave His life for us, then our heavenly Father “doesn’t let us out of His sight”!
Matthew 10:30 says, And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Many of us have, or have had loved ones that prayed countless prayers that we might come to know the Father in heaven. When we accepted Him and became part of the family of God, we were the “long awaited ones”. Just like our first grandchild. He arrived in our lives with much ado, and we would never be the same again. Once we give our hearts and lives fully to Christ, fellow believers, we will never be the same!
“Our little one” is now 7. God has added to our family several more beautiful blessings, but Rylan was the one that taught us all so much. He has been diagnosed with mild cerebral palsy and an autistic spectrum disorder.
He was definitely our “Joy” during some tough circumstances, an unexpected gift, but one we treasure with all our hearts.
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