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A Child in a Messed up World (The Story of Jewel, Article)

Updated: Feb 10

Hear a more dramatic, vocal account of this story in my podcast;

The Unborn Child (Abortion)

You can also see Stepping Away From Abortion (Article)

Surprise!!! Wha, wha, WHAAAAT???

I didn’t plan on having any kids… ever. I’d worked with children and families for decades and I’d had enough. Some of my life mottos were things like; “No more diapers!”, “No more screaming kids!” and “No all nighters with vomit streaming down my clothes!” Not that those are bad things (in some manner of speaking), but they just weren’t for me anymore. Aside from that; our lives were even less structured than they are now. My health was in the toilet and all I wanted to do was be a photographer and a musician again.

This is my own image, not stock. See/purchase in my photography portfolio

Be careful what you ask for

Just about everyone knows the saying “Be careful what you ask for. You might get it.” I started confirming that truth during a previous rant I had toward God.

Something had happened one night back in early 2016. I’d been rattled good by the events of that day; coming home with the emotional breakage of one incident after another trailing behind me. When I’d sat down to watch some streaming TV and take some stress off, I found that our internet had been hacked and malfunctioning… again… for the umpteenth time (and I’m no slouch when it comes to security).

Blood boiling; I started a fist pounding, voice raising, one-sided ranting match with my Heavenly Father. And here’s the funny thing about those kind of explosions; as with any other challenge toward him, little did I know how much love God was going to show in his answer.

I went on, railing harshly about how my life wasn’t a game. I was angry about a broken childhood, failed relationships, Fibromyalgia and a host of other medical issues. And even though my own behavior had been sometimes intolerable, I’d been working painfully hard to unwind and revamp the way I interact with everyone.

So I went on, ranting toward God; telling him that if I was nothing but a pawn, a game piece; He needed to either do something about it or put me out of His misery. I told Him all of my improvement and hardships were nothing but cruelty if they were all for nothing. And through my anger, I just kept repeating “You have to show me what this is worth! It has to be worth something!” I ended the rant and moved on, virtually forgetting about it.

The first clue of what was to come

Within a day or two after the above moment, I found myself walking down the hall toward my wife, Grace. As soon as I looked at her, my first thought was: “She’s pregnant.” My face must have tweaked out pretty good ‘cause she looked at me and said: “What?”. My response was something like: “Nothing.” Of course you NEVER tell a woman you think she’s pregnant unless she says it first. She showed no signs and didn’t even know about herself yet. Then my next thought was something like: “Leave it alone, it will go away”. Obviously, it didn't...

Image not available in writer's photography portfolio.

A very big piece of the puzzle

It's important to note that we were actively trying to not have kids. As a woman in her early 40's, Grace's natural chances of getting pregnant were only about 5% pr month and she was on birth control and we were taking other precautions.

"I think I'm pregnant"

Within a few days or so, I’d forgotten about that moment in the hallway and went back to my life plans; those that came without having a small human in tow.

A handful of weeks later; Grace and I began a conversation that changed my life forever. Knowing I didn't want kids, she called me into the bedroom to talk. With tears in her eyes and a low, timid voice, she reluctantly uttered the words: “I think I’m pregnant”.

I… sank.

For some time after that, I stayed in grumpy mode. Questions and assumptions filled my mind every waking moment. How could we possibly afford to take care of a kid? Where would we live that was safe? How could I watch a child with such a weak, unhealthy body? My mind was jam packed, racing with stressful thoughts. I agonized constantly over what I would lose and how our lives would change. I had the thought of giving the child up. Grace had the thought of leaving town and ditching me if I didn't want to be a father.

The Ultrasound

Within weeks of the "I'm pregnant" moment, in came the first ultrasound. That day, my nerves were completely and racked. Somewhere inside me I knew; once I saw that baby it was over. I was going to have to either live with becoming a father, or live with letting such an incredible piece of me go.

Nervously we entered a dark, cozy, quiet room; computer fans lightly whirring; glowing control panel lights under a blank screen, waiting...

After what felt like a handful of eternities, in came a moment full of images that would change my life forever...

Image not available in writer's photography portfolio.

And there on that screen was the first view I'd ever had of my baby girl. An incredible, undefinable mix of thoughts and emotions came rushing into my soul. Grace said my entire look quickly changed in an instant as I turned grey. I was so stunned my words became completely jammed and utterly unusable. Hours went by steeped in my own silence.

later at home sitting on the couch; I held the printed ultrasound images in my hand; slowly, repeatedly shifting from one, to another, then another. I couldn't put them down. So Grace crept up quietly, parked down next to me and asked: "What are you thinking?" I took a deep breath and pushed out the first real words I'd spoken in hours... “We have to name the baby”.

The Rainbow

Once some time had passed and Grace became undeniably pregnant, I spoke to God about this again (this time not in anger). I told Him I was absolutely riddled with worry and if He really needed us to raise this child, I needed answers. I needed to know it was going to work out. About two or three days later; Grace and I were staying at my parents' house alone as they were on vacation. That’s when one of the strangest, coolest things I’ve ever seen happened...

I love the sights, the gentle sounds and the fresh smell of rain. So, that day, when a few light drips began to turn into a downpour, I went outside to simply watch. What I saw was a bit crazy. There was a fairly dark, grey cloud; about 500-600 feet long and about 400-500 feet wide, almost perfectly centered above the house we were staying in. Surrounding it were a small handful of much smaller, scattered, puffy white clouds; embedded in a mostly blue sky. The sun was about 30 minutes away from setting, perched not far above the horizon just behind me. Under the large cloud… rain. And as I stood under the rain and looked eastward I called for Grace to step out with me. There above the horizon, we saw a big, double rainbow that almost appeared to be just a few hundred feet away from us.

That rainbow lingered as it stayed whole and bright for at least ten long minutes. That's when things got even more strange. After the rain stopped, the rainbow hung around for almost 15 minutes. I kept my eyes focused on the bright, beautiful colors as, very slowly, it began rising from the ends upward. After about five more minutes of lingering, it finally faded out into nothing, but a memory.

Not the actual rainbow mentioned above, but one we saw when Jewel was about six months old. See/purchase image in writer's photography portfolio

Within a short time after that, I put all of the moments together; the rant telling God to show me what it was all worth, the rainbow telling me it was going to work out. This child; this little being was my answer to that rant. And to this day I still sometimes call her: “My Little Answer”.

The changes in me

As time passed, during the last 3-4 months of the pregnancy; I began spending 1-2 hours a night, laying next to my kid while she was still in the womb. She did this thing where she would roll her back to me for 30-60 minutes every time I laid down and I would rub that little back until I knew every inch of it.

By the time her birth was near, I could hardly bear the anticipation of seeing that wonderful little face and hearing that tiny voice. I'd gone from grumpy anti-baby poster child, to hopefully waiting father, feeling upset when I'd occasionally miss my nights of laying next to Grace's belly for an hour or two.

Now fast forward to the moment of Jewel's birth. During the entire three nights between our arrival at the birthing unit and when we took Jewel home; we got a total of about one hour of sleep. I think I gained five pounds from the meals people were bringing us in the hospital. None of it even mattered. All I could think about was this little person I could cradle with just my two hands.

When that girl was born… magic. She came out whaling as she was first laid on Grace's chest. But the second I called her name, she stopped and slowly turned her bouncy little head toward me. I reached out, put my hand on her back and there it was; that little, soft structure; as familiar as it was when I was rubbing it every night before her big debut.

As of now; I still have work to do on my behavior; but once we realized we were meant to keep the kid, that work went into overdrive. Church, therapy, and every tool I could find to self-improve became the norm. I knew this child would have to end up with an abundance of love, patience and consistent understanding; and she has. Perfect? No. But welcome to being human.

Image not available in writer's photography portfolio.

The answer to the question "Why bring a kid into this messed up world?"

I’ve seen enough ugliness to know change has to happen in the world and more importantly, in our individual lives. Misconceptions have to be shattered. Chains have to be crushed and people need to learn the reasons we should be putting God front and center in our lives. I can show my kid how to teach. I can bring a child up with love and joy in the light of Christ. I can help shape and guide a fragile life into someone I’ve often failed to be. And in the process, I can make my previous stupidities and my broken past worth something.

What this kid has done for us

With all of my unknown worry about what this child would take from us; I didn't know until she arrived that for every one thing she would take from Grace and I, she would give back 1,000.

Image not available in writer's photography portfolio.

I didn’t expect these gifts; becoming more social, more patient, more joyful and the kind of spiritual fighter I never dreamed I’d be. Life is still often painful, but I see a love from God that I had no idea was there. He’s shown me what it means to be a father; and from that, through my desire to be more like His Son, I’ve been pushed (gratefully) into being more like Christ.

To conclude

So why would I (or anyone else) want to bring a child into such a messed up world? Because the moment she showed up; every fear and apprehension I had about her fell straight to the ground and quickly became unnoticed. In their place was a clear demonstration of what Christ lived, died and rose for; freedom, love, forgiveness and redemption.

What's more?

The Art of Parenting (article, located on my photography portfolio site) - What does parenting take and what is it worth? This article came out about two weeks before my first Getting to God article.

My Toddler's Version of Privacy (90 second video) - One of the gifts she brings? Humor, and a lot of it...

Thanks for reading :) I spend a lot of late nights and challenging moments working hard. All content is done by me... the writing, recording, editing, web design and setup, photography and publishing content. If you find value in it, please consider any of the following:

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