Friday, July 1, 2011

Perseverance Plus

     When our first grandson was born in October of 2007, both our family and our daughter in law's family rejoiced at his arrival.  We could not wait to see him, touch him and love him.  In the midst of all the excitement, though, a word came from the doctor that something was not quite right.  He had a larger than average head size, and the pediatrician ordered tests to be done right away.  To all of us, he was perfect in every way a gift from the hand of God, so what could be wrong?
     After MRI's and CT scans, an evaluation by a doctor at All Children's Hospital, and other tests, we heard some large meaningless words:  polymicrogyria and megalencephaly.  After further pursuit by my son and daughter-in-law, the diagnosis of MPPH Syndrome (Megalencephaly, Perisylvian Polymicrogyria, hydrocephalus) was given to him.
Such big words for such a tiny boy named Branson.  What the doctors began to explain was that as a result of a birth defect, our grandson's brain did not fully develop.   It was very rare and he was one of 15 children so affected in the world.  His head was larger than normal and he might eventually require a shunt to relieve any fluid build up on the brain.
     A flight to Chicago and a visit with a doctor who was researching this rare abnormality brought further insight.  He told us that no one really knows why this happens.  He felt that Branson might one day be able to produce speech, but there was no guarantee as his speech center had been affected to a certain degree.   He recommended a communication device.  Additionally, he recommended that therapies might be helpful.  All else was left to conjecture.  We had a surprise package sitting in the lap of his loving parents.  Before departing, the doctor also informed us that Branson might suffer seizures at some point.  It was a lot to chew on.  At times like this, it is God's grace that sustained our son and daughter in law as well as the rest of the family.
     Amazingly, this little cherub with a bright happy smile, has continued to bless us with his determination and perseverance.  Since the visit with the specialist three years ago,  he has gone through countless hospitalizations in his short life having a shunt installed and suffering from a severe bout with seizures, but through it all, he has shown determination like no other child I have ever known.  He does say some words, he is able to do both the army crawl and crawling on all fours, and can walk with the aid of braces and a walker.  We see progress every day.
      This week, we have been on vacation with our family at the beach.  Watching Branson do an army crawl across the beach to get the toys he wanted to play with humbled me.  His determination, his perseverance brought to my mind the verse in I Timothy 6:12:  "Fight the good fight of the faith.  Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses."  Branson is fighting the good fight daily.  Obstacles do not stymie him.  He keeps reaching for new goals.  Stretching his overly tight muscles on his leg and hand that are affected by his neurological problems is not comfortable.  He doesn't like it, but he goes through it with the aid of his loving parents.
     What about us?  Do we keep on fighting the good fight when we are faced by what seems like insurmountable obstacles?  When God stretches us and it hurts, do we work through it and go on?  Or do we whine, complain and say, "This is too hard for me. You don't know how badly I hurt" ?
     Beloved of God, the Lord has called us to take hold of the eternal life which He has called us to live.  He wants us to fight through the difficulties of life by the power of His Spirit.  He is our loving Father who all the while we are hurting is there holding our hand.  The pain will subside.  We will be stronger for it, and better able to push through the obstacles of life.  Just like little Branson, we are called to persevere.
     Each day, we watch another wrapping come off the surprise package that is our little Branson.  There is no greater joy in life than seeing his sweet, patient smile.  He has taught us all so many lessons...especially me.  His perseverance reminds me that we are in a fight - the good fight of the faith in Christ.  If we are ever tempted to whine or complain, lets remember Branson a child born to teach us all about perseverance and determination.  Selah!

I welcome your comments here.  Please feel free to share your story of perseverance or to leave an encouraging word.


Patricia said...

He's a beautiful little boy, Barbara, and I know how much you love and admire his perseverance. Oh that we all would face our trials with the same determination and joy.


Barbara Thayer said...

Amen Pat. Yes, I love him more each day and I see how God is using his life to teach me and all our family lessons that we could not see as clearly otherwise. What a blessing he is in our lives!!! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts my friend. Aren't grandchildren the best?

Libby said...

Such a beautiful post shared from the heart, Barbara. The love you have for your grandson reminds me of the the Love the Father has for us...abounding, endless and eternal.

Barbara Thayer said...

Thank you Libby. Yes, God takes all things and works them together for good. He expands our love and helps us view all things from His perspective. I am forever grateful to God for each of our grandchildren...but especially blessed by the lessons I am learning from Branson. I think as we grow older our view of life changes and we can see what we could not see when we were younger. So glad y ou stopped by and I am so glad you are blogging! Love what you write my friend!

Anonymous said...

That's tough, but it's true these children can be such a joy! Branson looks very sweet.