I want to begin by thanking each of you for your prayers for my dad the past few weeks. I don't say this lightly. I believe in a God who suffered more than I'll ever know so that I could experience a joy deeper than I ever deserve.
There's no question the pain my dad is going through is for a purpose. We'll never understand it all this side of eternity. But I'll assure you this, your prayers are being answered in more ways than just getting my dad through these difficult days.
Let me explain.
When my dad got through the first major setback that nearly took his life three days after receiving his heart pump, he caught a glimmer of hope and was progressing quite well. Then, a blood clot emerged in his heart.
It’s now been a week since they successfully removed the blood clot. Today, while writing this blog, I got news he was officially moved out of ICU—yet again. Unfortunately, his recovery started all over too.
He is once more progressing quite well—his heart and kidneys doing great. The pain and exhaustion in his voice are no longer due to the unknown, but instead reveal the hard work he’s doing in rehab—taking walks, with assistance, down the hall each day.
The process itself, especially for my dad, has been quite discouraging at times. He’s embracing a struggle full of unknowns. But a struggle he’s realizing has purpose behind it.
In the midst of the physical pain and long recovery ahead, we’re all learning the art of praising the struggle.
Putting our two-month-old baby girl down for bed the other night I held her tight against my chest, her legs folded up as they were in the womb, and together we danced around the room. After praying for my dad, my prayers switched to our daughter, and all I could think about was how soon it’ll be until I’m dancing with her on her wedding day.
As we danced, I thought of my dad again. When I first learned he had congestive heart failure, I knew my time with him could be abbreviated at any moment. So I decided to make the most of the times I shared with him as I grew up—memories that are not just helping us through this struggle, but that are being weaved together into a story that will shape our family lineage for generations to come.
Holding Kennedy tighter to me still, I began thinking about the memories we’ll share together—in both times of joy and times of struggle—and how I’ll be able to look back on these moments with my dad as a lesson in what it means to embrace both.
Because it’s through this struggle, I’ve watched our family grow—grow in perseverance, grow in character, grow closer together, grow closer to joy—and most certainly—grow closer to Jesus.
Psalm 119:111 says, “Your testimonies are my heritage forever, for they are the joy of my heart."
Your prayers are writing a testimony for your family that will be a heritage forever, a heritage where no matter the circumstance, no matter the earthly outcome, God receives the glory and you receive the joy.
Tonight, as you tuck your kids into bed—dance with them, pray over them, hold them a little tighter, read to them a little longer—and consider the testimony, the story your family is writing for generations to come.
Make memories. Praise struggles. And write a story for your family that echoes into eternity.
Joshua Straub, Ph.D. is an advocate for families and parenting in the 21st century. He loves coming alongside families to provide encouragement, support and practical counsel. Josh loves combining scientific research with biblical wisdom to provide the best-of-all-worlds perspective on raising stellar kids, having an awesome marriage and enjoying life while doing it. You can read more of the boring professional stuff about Josh and his books here, if you’re interested. Together with his favorite writing partner and wife, Christi, Josh has fun parenting their son Landon and daughter Kennedy. For more encouragement and ideas on marriage and parenting in the 21st century you can join Josh and a growing tribe of awesome families at www.joshuastraub.com and follow him on Twitter @joshuastraub or Facebook.