You’ve been provider, overseer, holding your family together and holding them up. It’s been a difficult NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) journey. Most days you’re afraid of what could potentially happen, and how quickly things can take a turn for the worst. However, you never stop being the strength and protector for your wife and family. She looks to you for encouragement, assurance, and comfort. She’s enthralled in your presence as she watches you sitting and holding your very fragile baby on your chest. She takes it all in as you are delighted to hold them for the first time since their birth. This is not how you imagined you’d be spending your Father’s Day. This is not the birth story that you’d envisioned, but reality stares you in the face as you see your tiny one fighting with everything they’ve got.
In that moment, she prays a silent prayer to herself: “God, please keep and protect our child. Please strengthen them and save their life.” You immediately notice her tears, and reassure her with a gentle “we’re going to get through this journey together. She wipes her tears and gives you an uncertain smile.
Meanwhile, you begin to reflect on the reality of what has transpired over the last few months. You begin to think to yourself, “How did we get here?” We were having a great pregnancy; where did we go wrong.” In the mist of asking yourself these questions you pray, “God, show yourself mighty and save our baby’s life.” You feel a swell of tears forming, but manage to keep them from becoming visible for your wife to see. You begin to feel fear, doubt, uncertain, and scared, but you remind yourself to try to remain positive and cling to your faith in God. You’ve found that extremely difficult to do these past few months, but you still somehow some way manage to trust God through this entire frightening ordeal. That’s all you can do, as this entire situation is beyond your control; not being able to fix the situation, or provide a solution makes you angry.
Moreover, you know that you can’t rely on your own strength; you know that you need the strength of the almighty Father to sustain you and help you to remain a pillar of strength during this time for your wife. Because of this knowing, you often meditate on 2 Corinthians 12:9-“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” This scripture has gotten you through a lot of tough, weak moments.
You’re trusting God with all that you’ve got right now. You’ve never not trusted Him, but this situation feels like it’s testing your faith in a way that you’ve never been tested before. You are determined to draw closer to Christ and draw from His strength. After all, this is all you know to do at this moment.
NICU dad, this is not what Father’s Day is supposed to entail, but there you are being strong, taking each day in the NICU one day at a time, while still providing for your family, and being of great emotional support to your wife. That’s why on today you are saluted, honored, celebrated, and supported! We pray that you are able to enjoy this Father’s Day with your wife. We pray that you can take a moment to enjoy the little one that’s blessed you with the most important title in the word-Dad. You are an amazing dad to an absolutely, amazingly strong warrior. Happy Father’s Day to you!