The Pearl

My dad travels a lot for his company. However, he hasn’t had business in OKC for several years…until this week, the week his first grandson is in the OKC NICU. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. After a quick breakfast at Panera, Papa Mike held baby Finn for about 45 minutes…soothing him so much that his alarms went off because his breathing became too relaxed. Between pats on Finn’s little diapered bottom, Dad told me about a vision, or thought he had yesterday. The family (Rosells and Armstrongs) were all surrounding Finn, praying for him. Then Jesus was there and we all stepped back, allowing Jesus to hold him. This reminded my dad of a verse in Mark, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (10:14). I love the idea of Jesus paying special attention to my little one. As I said yesterday, sometimes we feel we’ve been forgotten by God; like He hasn’t heard our prayers (or yours). Perhaps we’ve all felt this way at one point. I just have to trust that He’s bigger than all this. His plan is bigger.

I received a package in the mail yesterday, the contents of which I’ve waited several weeks for. Inside was a necklace with Finn’s name on it from The Vintage Pearl, a Tulsa company specializing in personalized jewelry (Thanks, Emily and Paul!). I’m not very much into jewelry, and there are very few things I’d want to flaunt around my neck, but his name is definitely one of them. I’m so proud of our little fighter. The pearl hanging above his name reminds me that although the oyster is ugly and rough on the exterior, there is a precious, unique jewel hidden inside. Maybe our situation mimics the oyster and the pearl.

His head circumference is down another .5 cm today. The doctors are happy it’s going slowly, so the “plates” in his skull have time to fuse correctly. Joey bottle-fed him again and it was a success. We saw him without a tube in his mouth for the first time while they were changing it out…love those lips!

Praying for another smooth day, for leg movement, for decreased swelling, for successful feeds to get us out of here sooner, for a good night-time nurse, and for strength and endurance along the way.

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19 thoughts on “The Pearl

  1. Oh I can just sense how much that visit from your daddy meant. What is it about what a daddy can do for his grown daughter’s heart? Perhaps it reminds us of the presence of our heavenly father? I love the vision he had of Jesus coming to Finn. I love the faith of this family and all who love Finn so dearly. When I read the title Pearl I also thought about the grain of sand or irritant within the oyster that causes the pearl to produce. I love you Ashley and Joey and could not be more proud of you…proud of your faith, your courage and your honesty about how incredibly hard this is. That alone shows such character and such trust in the Lord.

  2. He’s so beautiful!!!!! Still praying everyday for his improvement. Guess I will add prayer for a good night time nurse now. Love the necklace. You both are so amazing. I love the pictures. So beautiful……..

  3. I happen to think that all grandpas are special; but maybe that’s just me. It’s good to hear of your on-going progress—–and Finn’s.

  4. Thank you for “The Pearl” and all the other blog entries. These really do help us know how to pray. Finn has captured my heart. He is so handsome! I am praying for him throughout the day and at bedtime. I am remembering you three Armstrongs in all my daily prayers. In Him, Sarah Redwine

  5. What great progress Finn is showing!! He is so beautiful! Love your necklace, I have one from the Vintage Pearl too, we are on the OklaEtsy Team together. May your heart stay strong!! Continued Prayers!

  6. Hi, my name is Kayla. I have a 21 month old daughter with Spina Bifida as well. I actually started following you because Abby Heckendorn is a mutual friend and she told me about ya’lls situation. Turns out we went to SVHS together, too. I have read all your blogs and decided that there was too much to say in this little box, so I started writing you a letter. I will send it when it is done. It is long, very long, but I hope it is filled with love, perspective, hope and a bigger picture of tomorrow. It is about us, but there are so many similarities. I wanted to pop in and say hi today though, because when we were in the hospital with Elena the verse that I held onto was the same verse that your dad shared with you. In fact, it is my verse for Elena. I never want to hinder her from knowing Jesus Christ or rolling to him (in her case). Actually, now she can stand for Him too. There is so much heartache in the first days, but it becomes so much more beautiful than you could ever imagine. I am praying for ya’ll, for today, but also for tomorrow. Sending so much love, Kayla Wiens

  7. Thank you, Ashley, for keeping your prayer warriors updated. I feel like I know the little fellow. I’ve always found comfort in knowing that as much as we love our children, God loves them more. I don’t know how that is possible, but it is.

  8. Ashley, We are following your blog and praying for you daily. We love you three and miss seeing you. Finn has melted our hearts and he is just beautiful. God is awesome and He has great plans for that little feller.- Ann and Brett

  9. Thank you so much for sharing your life. I feel God working so strongly in your precious family. It blesses me,as I know it does so many others. Love and prayers surround you.

  10. Ashley & Joey…thank you for the updates! It is a wonderful gift to have the opportunity to pray for you both & your precious little Finn. Love the pictures…he is soooo cute!

  11. So glad your Dad just happened to have to come to OKC for business. Know your Dad was thrilled Finn calmed so much with his touch. Continue to pray for the requests you’ve listed.
    Love
    Linda

  12. Just got caught up with your last three posts! Precious pictures! I’m sorry that you got rotten care and I do pray it never happens again. My heart is so heavy for all that the three of you are going through. I will pray that everything will go smoothly and quickly so you all can be home together very soon!! I love your necklace! Thanks so much for blogging! Love you All ❤

  13. Is that not the cutest baby face ever? Of course you’d expect his parents to think that, but when you have people out here saying it, now that’s something! And great work, gramps! Thank you so much, Ashley, for sharing with us the best and worst of each day, each mighty step. I also feel Christ’s light and warmth so present in your lives and in my prayers for you. Finn, we have one teeny tiny thing in common–I also have that kind of shunt. I’m sure it makes for exceptional people 😉 Love, Julie Myers and fam

  14. Hi Ashely and Joey,

    I met you guys a couple of times back in Waco at Calvary. Wasn’t sure if my name would ring a bell, so felt like I should “introduce.’ Congratulations on your sweet baby boy!

    I came across your blog and have been reading it. Thank you. I’m not so sure I can express how much it touches me and builds my faith. Through your writing you both are ministers of peace, compassion and comfort to me.

    I am praying for you specifically as you request and will continue to do so! You guys are two incredible people and parents. Again, thank you. Love, Sarah Viviani Hummel

  15. Hi Ash,

    Thinking of you all. Love the necklace – how special! Thought you would be encouraged to know that several of my girlfriends are keeping up closely with your blog – sometimes updating me about Finn before I’ve even had a chance to check for myself! You guys have several prayer warriors in Minnesota.

    Much love to your fam of 3,
    Rebecca

  16. I wanted to let you know that this morning at breakfast when Elena and I were praying for ya’ll and for our food Elena just piped up and said, “Hi, Finn!” and then “Morning, Finn!” For the past 2 days she has been saying hi to him, blowing him kisses and saying “Yuv you, Finn!” I think she knows that she has a special thing in common with him. They will always support each other, even if they never get to meet. Sending our love once again.
    Kayla and Elena

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