A Prayer for Baby Joseph

Baby Joseph is our one kidney wonder boy! 

I have confidence in our maternal fetal medicine doctor who is knowledgeable, kind, and experienced. So far, Joseph’s single kidney looks strong and healthy, and his growth looks perfect. We will have check ups every 4 weeks to make sure everything continues to progress beautifully.

I was thinking about this today after I left the office worried and upset despite the positive feedback we received:

As parents, we want the best for our children in every way possible. Nevertheless, life is beautifully imperfect and it often throws curveballs on our path that redirect our courses of action. The cool thing is that, in the process, we are given the opportunity to learn invaluable lessons concerning just how much strength flows through our bones and how capable we are of keeping our anxieties and fears at bay if we throw in a couple of key ingredients: faith and hope.

For me personally, this is where God comes into play, because it is within these moments in life that I am given the opportunity to enter a more spiritual awareness in order to search mindfully for a deeper meaning and purpose beyond the physical world.

I don’t know what I would do without faith and hope. Without those two things, the worst case scenerio will always play out in my mind; I will automatically assume the worst.

What is misunderstood about God is the idea that He exists purely in a textual manner, or within the skin of a white man standing in the sky seeking to send us all into the pits of hell. For those of faith, maybe He exists as an entity to hold onto while expecting Him to sprinkle magic fairy dust from the heavens without us having to lift a finger, but that’s not really how God works either.

As long as I have known Him, God is less judgmental and scary, and He isn’t simply a book to live by. God is an entity of pure light and indescribable beauty. Maybe this is the result of not visiting church consistently growing up, but gaining my understanding of Christ and His place in this world and within our lives through observation. My grandparents on both sides were devout followers of faith. My dad’s parents were Church of Christ, and they lived and died by the Book. However, my mother’s parents were devout Catholics, and despite the various obstacles I watched them face as a kid—my grandfather’s progressive Alzheimers and eventual battle with cancer, my grandmother’s crooked and bent bones confining her to a rocking chair in her living room in her final years—I learned from them that a never-failing reliance on faith and hope to maintain the spirit is enough to fill the soul with an abundance of joy and grace.

God exists within a spiritual realm, yet, when we acknowledge Him and then give Him control, He has the power to transcend from our spiritual realms into our physical realms by working through us while He remains the undercurrent that carries us forward.

In life, we are each given the opportunity to acknowledge Him, understand Him, and then accept or reject Him accordingly. Void of His presence, we adopt full control, banging our heads against the wall to understand our “whys” without stopping to appreciate them for what they teach us, how they direct us, how they transform us a little more deeply to bring us a little more closely to our centeredness, our balance, our place of inner peace within our dwellings.

Without faith and hope, I wouldn’t be married; I would have a pretty screwed up kid with Aspergers; I would assume that Joseph will lead a life full of obstacles with his health; I would probably drink a ton; and I would be extremely vain. Faith doesn’t give me a magic pill to take every day. It doesn’t erase the scary things. It doesn’t make me perfect and free from the same challenges anyone may face. But what it does do is give me a sense of hope that things in life are placed just so, in just a certain way, for me to learn how to accept that control is a figment of the imagination and that, ultimately, love is the single driving force that can carry us through just about anything.

With that said, I will accept no concerns of sadness, regret, or alarm over baby Joseph.

Because what faith and hope tell me, what spirituality does, is it allows me to look at this situation and say…

My God, how completely, beautifully, amazingly perfect this little boy is in every single way! What a strong and mighty little kidney he has, and how awesome this kid will be because he is wonderfully made!

I couldn’t imagine a more perfect family for Joseph to come into. He has already been born twice. The first time was when our youngest daughter stood between Mister J and I in the kitchen. She was all of three-years-old. We had been arguing about the education of our oldest daughter and the challenges we were facing. No one ever tells you when you get a diagnosis of Autism that part of the prescription should be marriage counseling. No one tells you how hard of a strain that can be between two people just trying to get it right. We were facing each other in our kitchen and our voices had raised after the girls had gone upstairs to change out of their Sunday dresses and into play clothes. Tears were streaming down my face, and Mister J had raised his voice substantially, which is something he hardly ever does, making it all the more alarming. Just then a little body came between us, standing high upon her tippy toes and raising her arms as high as they could go.

“Yes, Molly,” we had said.

“Everything is going to be OK! My angel visited me in my room. She said that God would send happiness and that we are going to have a baby. His name is going to be Joseph!” This wasn’t alarming to us. Molly had been telling us stories about speaking to angels for quite some time. We let it be and listened faithfully to all of her tales.

In the following years, Molly would continue to hold onto her angel’s promise, long after she had grown to no longer claim to communicate with them. Every night for nearly four years she prayed at the conclusion of mealtime and bedtime prayers, “God, please send baby Joseph down from Heaven. Amen!”

Eventually, all five of us would talk about Joseph like he was already amongst us:

“Should we have baby Joseph soon? I’m getting older,” I would say.

“I need baby Joseph to come along because I really need another guy in the house,” Mister J would say.

“Is baby Joseph in your belly now?” Molly would continuously ask.

“We seem like a lot to handle, maybe we should rethink baby Joseph,” Jane would say.

“I can’t wait until we have baby Joseph,” Annie would remark. 

And then came the second time Joseph was born. We had moved into our new house into a town we were unfamiliar with, and it wasn’t under the best of circumstances. Things had been rocky and the drift between Mister J and I seemed substantial, like it would be nearly impossible to close the gap. I had gotten rid of all of our baby things prior to moving, assuming that we would never need them. Two weeks later, I found out that we were expecting. I was mad as hell and extremely emotional. The timing wasn’t right. What in the hell was God thinking? Time passed. Feelings softened. My belly grew. We started to fall in love.

I found out the baby was our much anticipated, talked about, and prayed for beloved Joseph over the phone. The reaction when I told Mister J will forever be engraved in my mind. “It’s him,” he had said with tears welling up in his eyes. He held the infant boy outfit I had given him as a gift between his fingers. “It’s really Joseph in there?”

“Yes! It is really baby Joseph. And I think we better brace ourselves. He is here to teach us all something.”

Because God is just that awesome!