Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mom and Dad

It's still weird to call myself a dad. Lots of you have inquired as to how Erin and I are doing so I thought I'd chime in on us a bit.

The dust has kinda settled from the wild ride and in some sense we are trying to figure out life now with this new hand we've been dealt. We have entered a new 'normal' and we're trying to figure it out. So now we're trying to make sense of what the next several weeks will look like being so far from home and living life with so many new realities. With Erin recovering so well, the past week we've sort of got our living situation organized and tried to fall into a day to day routine.

Every 4 hours Harrison is looked at by nurses and cared for in the NICU. They check his temperature, change his diaper, address his meds, take off the CPAP, clean his face, etc. They do that so they don't mess with him all day and he can sleep and be on a routine. He is on a 8-12-4 rotation. That is a good time to pray for him as we are updated on his progress. We go to the hospital at noon and 8pm to hold him, take pictures, etc. The rest of the day is filled with a Erin's 3 hr nursing schedule, trying to have a daily outing, figuring out meals, taking calls, managing life,

There have been challenges we have faced in life and in our marriage, but nothing as intense and as significant as this. We don't want to lose this child so badly, and long for the day when we know he will be "out of the woods." These are deeper waters than we've navigated personally and spiritually. With much hanging in the balance this early, it's hard to have much of a life or think of things going on outside of the NICU. And it is daunting to think through what 12 weeks of this will be like. We go to the hospital hoping he is doing well, and about every time we leave sad that we can' t take him with us. We have definitely cried and are broken over the stressful circumstances, and are trying to be aware of our heart and communicate what is happening honestly and openly to each other and God. Honestly, blogging has been pretty therapeutic for me.

I think we are sort of homesick too. We were feeling ready to be back in NC the week before our time in Ft. Collins was over... One of the most refreshing things we did all week was eat at McAlister's after church. We all got some sweet tea. That took me home... all the way to the humidity of NC. I think that is the best sweet tea on the planet. But its been hard to not be at home and think through the beginning of the year on campus and be a part of all the happenings with our friends and staff team. Pray for our staff team as they juggle everything with our absence. Not that we are irreplaceable, but this is alot for them to reconfigure as we have a leadership retreat next week Tuesday-Thursday to kick off the year.

We know we are not alone in all this. Erin's parents flew in from NC on Harrison's birthday and are leaving tomorrow, Thursday 8/11. My parents are coming Saturday and are planning to stay a week. We've received dozens and dozens of cards, gift cards, emails, prayers, and phone calls. We are really overwhelmed by all the love and support so many of you have extended our way.

I have gone to bed meditating on Hebrews 4 the last few nights.

14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, felt us hold fast our confession.15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize withour weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

I've been thinking through the implications of our new life out here and looking to Christ who went through a cosmic anxiety for his own life, emptying himself, leaving perfect communion with the Father behind, to make the gospel real for the lives of those who believe. He paved the way to this throne of grace through his suffering.

This chapter refers to a rest or peace that is available only because of the faithfulness of this this great Christ. He is offering something we can't get anywhere else. This peace, this fullness, this completeness is a reference back to the Garden, the way things were intended to be with God before anything went wrong. I'm trying to believe that this void in my heart with this whole mess can be redeemed and is by the worth of this person who loves me more than I could imagine. His love is beautiful and better. I pray you see that love more and more in your own life.

On a closing note, Lauren one of our favorite nurses that we've been getting to know more and more has a pressing need in her life. She is awesome. The first time I walked in the NICU when Harrison was admitted everyone was scurrying and taking care of him she looked me in the eye and said, "we are damn good at what we do." We really like her. She has a lot of optimism and has been so encouraging to us. Last month she was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Tomorrow she goes in for her second round of treatment. She has a great attitude and is optimistic for herself. Would you pray for her and that she would be healed and moved into the deeper reality of Christ's presence for her.

We love you all.

Much Love from CO,

josh and erin


  1. Thinking of you guys throughout the day. Much love from NC!

  2. Oh, how I wish there was a way to bring all of NC to you! I hope you get little tastes of home here and there. And I'll be praying for things to continue to go so well that this time goes by quickly. I absolutely cannot wait until you're carrying that little one home- I think I'll be so happy that I'll declare it a national holiday. Love you guys.

  3. Praying all day everyday for all 3 of you! Your faith inspires me! Love you very much!

  4. Much love from North Carolina too!

  5. Hi Josh and Erin!
    My name is Lauren. I was with Erin Ussery the weekend Harrison decided he would like to join y'all a little early. I am also a nurse in the level II NICU at MUSC in Charleston, SC so I have been bugging Erin for information ever since I found out about your little man. I would have to agree with your nurses in saying that he is a rockstar. What a precious little baby (and he looks like he's doing great)! I tell my parents in regard to the brady episodes is that it is the baby's way of letting us know they already want Starbucks (since it is often treated with caffeine), and the parents better be prepared to pay for $7 cafe mochas for the next 18 years. :) I will definitely continue to lift your family up in prayer. Life in the NICU can be two steps forward, one step back. I know the Lord will sustain you!

  6. Josh,
    Last nite I heard a program on KPOF (910am Denver) and a comment about the purpose of children struck me. It's not, according to the interviewee, so parents can be fulfilled or be made 'happy'. True, "children are a heritage from the Lord and blessed is the man who has his quiver full of them", but they are not primarily given to us for our benefit. They are, however, born into this world so that they might fulfill the purpose God has for them. and each on is precious to God, so much so that Christ lived, and then died for them. I've known that, but it hit me that my 'grandson' Harrison fits the above description just as much as any other child, for example our own daughters Sarah and Rebecca, and our biologic grandsons John and Daniel. It was a lot more than an intellectual revelation, it hit my heart. It takes some of the pressure off that I have been feeling especially for our daughter Sarah.

    Josh, I want so badly for Harrison to make it, as do the friends at Christ Our Hope. So, so, badly. Please understand my heart on this if you can. Janice and I want so much to know how we and our friends here can support you and Erin, and Josh, I want to continue to connect with you through this.

    I love you guys, you 3 Smiths. And Janice does too.

    May the Lord's Peace be with you all.


  7. Praying for you all! Hang in there and please let me know if there is anything you all need while you're in Denver. Please don't hesitate! Dileonardifamily at yahoo dot com

    Lizzy Dileonardi

    Denver Pres