Much To Be Thankful For

posted Nov 25, 2010, 8:32 PM by Grady Smith   [ updated Nov 25, 2010, 8:50 PM ]

November 25 (PM)
- In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, we are told “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” On this Thanksgiving day, we have much for which we are thankful. Over the last three weeks, we have been on an unexpected journey, yet we see the sovereign hand of God at work in it every step. We know that “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above,” and we want to take this Thanksgiving evening to share with you a glimpse into what we are Thankful for, as it relates to Grady Jeremiah’s early arrival (at least in our human perspective) and what has happened since then.

SOME OF THE MANY THINGS FOR WHICH WE ARE THANKFUL...

  • God’s faithfulness – God has promised to never leave or forsake His children. We have felt His presence with us every day. We have experienced His power that enables us to trust Him even when we don’t understand what is happening or why it is happening. We have been blessed by the ways He has used you to minister to us!  God has been so gracious to us, and we are grateful that He has called us His own, cares for our every need, comforts and guides us with His Holy Spirit, and has given us so many promises in His Word to which we cling.

  • Our parents – Our parents have gone above and beyond in encouraging us, praying for us, bringing food for us, doing our laundry, and spending time with little guy so we can be at peace doing other things, just to name a few! We are so blessed that Grady Jeremiah is not far from our families. They have ministered to us in so many ways, and for their love and support we are so thankful!

  • The doctors, nurses, and staff of the UAB neonatal ICU and continuing care nursery – We are amazed at the staff here, both in their incredible knowledge and experience in working with such premature babies, and in their personal interest in our little guy. Of especial note has been the many personal touches from the head neonatologist here who regularly stops by our room to answer questions and personally follow up with the little guy. He has even given us his cell phone so we can contact him anytime. That is rare today, and we feel so blessed.

  • A new, state-of-the-art facility at UAB – This is one of the few neonatal ICU facilities anywhere in the world that provides a private room for every premature baby. It is amazing to be at such a place and to be able to spend uninterrupted hours every day (and even some nights!) with Grady Jeremiah. We continue to be amazed at the technological resources available at this research hospital and the access we have to such care. We are thankful to live in a time and a place to where premature babies like Grady Jeremiah have such care. As we look at the care he has, we also are very thankful for the good insurance policy we have!

  • Housing in Birmingham at the Ronald McDonald House – We are able to stay one block away from the hospital at the House. God answered your prayers and a room became available the very afternoon Julia was discharged. It is a 5 minute walk from our room there to Grady Jeremiah’s room at UAB. It is closer than the parking deck! We are thankful for this amazing charity and the blessing it is to us to be able to stay so close to our little guy.

  • Your prayers - As we look back through our blog posts and pictures, we are so encouraged as we are reminded of how God has answered prayers for the little guy (see below for some examples). God has been so faithful, and God is using you as you join with us in prayer for Grady Jeremiah!

  • Encouragement of family and friends - We have been so blessed with the many cards, notes, emails, text messages, facebook messages, and phone calls from many of you (more so than we can reply to!). We also have been blessed at the many ways in which you have offered to help us during this time. Even people who are friends of friends whom we have never met have offered encouragement and help.  Thank you.

  • Our church family – We are so thankful for the support of Lakeview Church during this time, including prayers (even in corporate worship the day he was born) and the time away from work to be here in Birmingham. Few men have the flexibility in their jobs that Brother Al and Brother Cliff have extended to me, and we are grateful for that and for their concern.

  • Grady Jeremiah’s progress
    – We could say lots about this area, but here are a few highlights...

    • Digestion – At first, Grady Jeremiah could not digest even 1 cc of milk. As you prayed about it, he began to digest and has been able to steadily go up in his feeds since then. Now he is up to full feeds of 17 cc every three hours. He even starts to get fussy about 30 minutes before it is time to be fed! And it is working… Just yesterday he passed his birth weight for the first time.

    • Breathing – Unlike many premature babies, he never had to be intubated nor given surfactant to help him breathe. He was off CPAP within three days after birth and has only needed a nasal canula and some additional oxygen since.

    • Skin – He had early skin irritation around his diaper lining. You prayed about this problem and it quickly cleared up!
  • Being able to touch and hold Grady Jeremiah – We get to touch him every day for extended periods of time. Most days we even get to take him out of the isolette for an hour and lay him on our chests. It is a special bonding time for us each time and we are thankful to be able to hold our son!

As I close, I want to say thank you again to each of you!  We are amazed at how many of you follow this blog each day and pray for us daily! As I close, I am reminded of what Paul wrote to the believers in Corinth. Our situation is not like the trials Paul went through, but something he said about his trials resonates with us: 

But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us.  On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.  You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many. (2Corinthians 1:9-11)

God is giving us many opportunities to rely on Him, and we rejoice that each of you can join us in giving thanks because of your role in this journey!

Blessings,
Grady and Julia

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