Sometimes, you have to go and find the story. Other times, the story comes to you. This is one of those times.
I work with teenagers as a youth pastor, and one of the young people in my youth group is named Joseph. Joseph is a high-energy, high-charisma kid who is almost always smiling and encouraging the people around him. He loves Georgia football almost as much as he loves Falcons football…or the Braves, Hawks, Thrashers (R.I.P.), or any other sport. He loves younger kids, loves to sing for the church, and is just a darn fine young man.
Joseph is special. In fact, he’s so special that I wanted to share his story, as told by his mother, Shannon, with you today.
Like I said – there are times when you have to look for stuff like this, but last night Shannon posted these words on Facebook and I dang near cried my eyes out because I didn’t know the whole story. And the wonder of it all is that it was right under my nose.
“It has been almost 16 years since I lay in a hospital bed waiting to see my sweet, perfect, new baby boy. I can still remember the shock and pain from hearing the doctors words ” I don’t know what is wrong with your son. I think he will live but he may be blind, deaf, and mentally retarded.” My PERFECT son might not be as perfect as I thought. That day I began a different journey than the one I thought I was starting when I entered the hospital. That day I received more than a perfect baby. I was blessed with my miracle baby and a son who touches lives.
The doctor told me that morning in his office that I didn’t know what I was talking about when I said the baby wasn’t kicking. I was told I was too young and too busy in my life to notice him kicking. I knew my baby wasn’t kicking and I was persistent. I had already been told everything was fine and that I could go home and wait the next three weeks for him to come. Since I was already in the office he decided to humor me and do a stress test. I was young, I was busy, and I had no idea that something was wrong. The doctors eyes began to get bigger and bigger with each test. He finally said “Well, we are going to have a baby today.”
I was put right into the hospital and they started to induce labor. They found that every time I had a contraction his heart rate would drop. They knew that if they waited he wouldn’t live. They decided to do an emergency c-section. It was done so quickly that when Joe sat down to say something to me he missed the delivery and didn’t realize the baby was in the corner being worked on.
Being our first child we didn’t know how things worked. We didn’t realize that they should have brought him over to show me or that we would hear him crying or that it is was odd that they wheeled me out before him. It seemed like forever waiting to see him and we still had no idea that something was wrong. I sent Joe to find out when we could see him.
Joe was brought into the ICU where they were working on our baby. There was another mom there who saw him. She grabbed him and said come see my baby. Her baby at that point was the smallest baby born in Georgia at 11 ounces. They were told that there baby probably wouldn’t live an hour but she was about two weeks old. I only saw her through a window and she was so tiny she could have fit into my palm. She did go home around mothers day although I did hear months later that she had passed away at around 5 or 6 months old. So young yet if you asked anyone at the hospital around that time she touched our lives. Her name was Mary. Mary King. Mary and Joseph. Could there have been two more perfect names for these two little miracles?
Joseph is not blind. He not only can see the world with his eyes but he see’s it with his heart. He isn’t deaf. If you ever watch him listen to the choir or his favorite group casting crowns it is like he is already hearing the sound of the trumpet calling and the angels rejoicing. Mentally retarded, I hate that word. Does my son have special needs? Yes, but who doesn’t. The day he rolled over, when he started to walk, when he gets up in front of a crowd at church to sing, these are all miracles and I praise God for each of them. It is so much sweeter to see my child do these things that any other child can do so easily.
Joseph is turning 16 this month. If he has ever touched your life I ask that you join me in celebrating his. He doesn’t want a car or things like a normal child would want. He is special and wants something special. He wants YOU. Please join me in a surprise party for Joseph. It is going to be January 14 from 4-6. If you would like to surprise him please come early. He will show up at 4. It will be at out church Chestnut Grove Baptist Church on Rosebud.”
Here’s hoping Joseph has the best birthday ever.