1. "You are only as happy as you most unhappy child." I'm not sure where this quote originated, but it really is true. We could debate the use of the word "happy," but the point is clear. As a parent your well-being in life is directly related to the well-being of your children. This week if you ask me the simple question, "How are you?" the simple answer is, "I'm doing about as well as Cooper is doing."
2. "Daddy's here." I've said this phrase no less than a thousand times this week, not to mention how many times Amanda has said, "Mommy's here." As Cooper has endured all the pokes, sticks and pricks of hospital life, the only real comfort we could offer was the assurance that we were at his side. This brings perspective to God's recurring promise in the Scriptures to be with us. As parents, our best guide in the parenting process is to do for our kids what God does for us. Give your kids your presence. If that means re-working your schedule to get a little more time at home - do it. Parent in such a way that when your kids are 25 they will say, "Mom and/or Dad was there!"
3. Humility. I'm detecting a theme here. God is relentless in His agenda to make me a humble man. I have received tons of emails, tweets and posts of people all over the country (and a few from various countries around the world) saying they are praying for Cooper. A Sunday School teacher of Cooper posted that he "hit his knees" with the news of Cooper's complications. Pastors of churches, not just our church, carving out time to pray for my son by name with their congregations. People have shared how their lives have been impacted by Cooper's story - and he's only 5 (well almost 5, January 24th is his birthday). I am humbled beyond description. I have a renewed confidence in God's Church! For all those out there that love to preach, tweet, post and blog about the "problems with the church today..." I say with boldness and humility - stop talking bad about the Bride of Christ! You don't wanna mess with her Husband!
4. Technology. Praise God for those who have pioneered procedures, equipment and devices that have served to keep Cooper alive. Those things are not pagan inventions but snapshots into the brilliance placed in all people as image-bearers of their Creator...another reminder to honor all people even if they don't believe exactly what you believe.
5. I still love being a dad. As emotionally trying as all this is, I wouldn't trade being a dad for anything! I believe parenting is an incredible thrill ride in life. Parenting guarantees that you will face heartbreak, fear, anger, frustration, disappointment, loss and more. BUT parenting also allows you to be the most significant influence in your child's life for most of their lives. It breaks my heart when I see parents who don't like being parents. Sure, parenting will get the best of you from time to time, but resolve in your mind to give your all and love being a parent!
Cooper Update: Today they removed the remaining chest tube and released Cooper to eat. He managed to drink a lot of Pedialyte, some apple juice and some chocolate milk. He ate a donut and some chips. He was agitated a good bit of the day. I think he's just ready to get rid of all the wires and tubes. He fought sleeping since 4am - he finally fell asleep around 6:30pm tonight.
How you can pray...
- Sleeping. Pray Cooper gets good sleep. We are really trying to keep him off lots of meds, so the more he can sleep naturally the better.
- Breathing. Pray Coop breathes on his own without the assistance of oxygen. This will allow him to lose the oxygen deal in his nose....he hates it.
- Eating. Pray Coop starts to eat lots of food and regain his strength.
- Influence. God really is using Cooper's life to impact many people for Christ. Pray that it continue. In the last week or so, the Cooper's Story video on YouTube has had over 3000 views! The video is anointed, and God uses it in people's lives. If you haven't seen it or you want to share it click here.
We cannot thank you enough for praying. It means more than you will ever know.
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