A Special Share Of My Book, Failing At Fatherhood. . .

Hello Friends, Readers, and Welcome New Friends,

 

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”

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Excerpt From Failing at Fatherhood

Marley, today I came home from work, and I heard you yelling when I pulled up on my scooter. From the street I could hear your innocent voice calling out to me—“Da-ddy, Da-ddy.” As I walked up the steps towards our sliding glass front door, I saw you standing there with your arms up in the air waiting for a hug. Only God knows how long you would stand there waiting for me so you could give me you’re welcome home hug. As I bend down and hug your little toddler body, I can barely hold back the tears of shame that I now carry in my daily life, the shame I have of abandoning you mentally and emotionally for the first year of your life. How I long to go back then and know what I know today as I hug you so tight that you begin to giggle. You have shaped my life for the better and taught me about a love I could never truly understand before your birth.

When I wrote the CNN article, I read comments about the hatred you would feel towards me one day. How could I share the darkest thoughts of my soul about my own daughter? Many parents were sure to point out that one day you would not only hate me, but also refuse to love me because of how I treated you during your first year. As I finish this book, I accept that you may abandon me the same way I abandoned you that first year. If that fate comes, I will fully accept it, because that would only be a fair response to my failures as a father to you. The day is coming that you will not see me as the hero hugging you now, but before that day comes, I want you to understand that I believe true healing comes through honesty.

This book is because of you, and the change in my life would never have occurred without you. Today, I have a love for you that I could have never imagined or comprehended before the words Down syndrome entered our family’s life. My love for you and the journey of our lives need to be shared because many fathers out there are receiving news that will forever change them. You are a beautiful blessing who has taught me many things these first few years. It started out difficult for me, but I promise you I will be right here loving and caring for you until we meet our father in heaven. When you were born, I was scared. Even before I knew about your extra chromosome, I was scared. The idea of having another person in my life to care for worried me day and night. I never really told Mommy, but I was fearful of being a terrible father. From the moment you were born, I was anxious about you and your health. The only things I could think about were the problems that you might have instead of enjoying the beautiful person you are.

When the doctor told me that you had Down syndrome, I went into panic mode. I knew you were different. The problem was that I could not see past the diagnosis. You are different, just like how I am different, and how Mommy is different. You are the most beautiful person I have ever met and the sweetest girl in the world, except when you don’t nap. Now I look forward to spending time with you every day. Things I used to love to do like play basketball, watch ESPN, and listen to the Orioles all come second after you. You have made me a better husband, father, and person in this world. The bear hugs we share are some of the happiest moments of my life. Our secret kisses through the mosquito net on your crib are the final nightcap I cherish every evening before going to bed. The little things like chowing down on hamburgers together because momma refuses to eat that junk food would have been nonexistent without you. I pray to God that we are able to spend many years together, and I thank him for the great blessing that you are in my life.

As I close, I pray that you will one day forgive me for my insecurities and doubts. I am going to spend the remainder of my life teaching you, loving you, helping you, and protecting you. You are a gem in this world that some people may never choose to experience. I know there will be days that we will cry together, but there will be more days that we laugh and dance together.

The world can be a cruel place but the great news is that you will overcome it. You have a bloodline of fighters, and I already see the fight you will bring against anyone who doubts you! God is on your side, and he has a greater plan for you than he ever had for Mommy and me. The things he has done with your life these first three years are amazing. I love you, my beautiful daughter, and thank you for entering my life so I could see the beauty that only you could show me. —“Da-ddy”

www.iftheyhadavoice.org
Jack Barr, Author of Failing at Fatherhood
http://www.amazon.com/Failing-Fatherhood-book-imperfect-father-ebook/dp/B00OSSQDGA

 

My Guest Article Written For, “My Big Jesus” ~ A Place For Spiritual Inspiration.

Hello Friends, Readers, and New Visitors,

It’s not everyday I get invited to be a guest writer on many websites. But my friends at “My Big Jesus” have given me a platform, and invitation to share about my new book and advocate a little about
Down Syndrome from a personal and family perspective of raising a child with downs, and to share hope with other families doing so as well. So I thought I would also share it here on my blog with all of you, my friends and supporters.

I want to thank the good people at, My Big Jesus for this wonderful opportunity to do so. Please go by and give their website a visit here: http://www.mybigjesus.com/, as I know you will be inspired after you have. Here is a little about them.
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My Big Jesus:

Your Jesus is too small. The idea that Jesus is King has cosmic implications for the way those who follow him see the world. Jesus not only wants to reconcile all people, created in his image, to himself; but he is also at work in and through his image bearers reconciling all things to himself. Meaning, Jesus redeems both people and all of culture: film, parenting, marriage, education, justice and mercy efforts, intellection endeavors, academics, finances, vocation, Christian identity, friendship, leisure – every area of life and culture. MyBigJesus.com will be a landing-place to find the voices that reflect this truth.
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Evangelical Presbyterian Church
Chris Lawson
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Founder of MyBigJesus.com, husband to Merri, father to Adam, Ellie, and Zachary, disdainer of Lucy (the dog), and executive pastor @reynoldachurch. Lives to make Jesus famous. He enjoys watching the Atlanta Braves and UNC basketball, as well as demeaning and insulting whatever sports teams you root for. He knows a disturbing amount about television and movies.

My Guest Article on My Big Jesus
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by Jack Barr

“The day my daughter Marley was born, I went straight to the nursery and held her for well over two hours. I just held her and cried because I had never experienced such a love for anyone or anything in my life.  I think the nurses thought I was crazy because eventually they told me I needed to go be with my wife. Three days later, before we left the hospital, the pediatric doctor told us she thought Marley might have Down syndrome”.

I immediately had a panic attack and was taken to the emergency room. Thoughts were racing through my mind: How could my perfect daughter have Down syndrome? How could they not know for sure? How could the general ultrasound, which said we had a 1-in-18,000 chance of having a child with Down syndrome, be wrong? Why was God punishing me? How could I live with a daughter that was going to be rejected by everyone … including myself?

I entered into a deep depression for the first year of Marley’s life. My wife became concerned about me, so I started taking antidepressants and seeing a counselor. I contemplated leaving my wife and suicide. I would lie awake at night thinking about my future, and searching for a reason to live. I believed all the negative things the world told me about Down syndrome, and viewed it as a curse on my family. The entire time, I couldn’t stop thinking about how this would change my life! Finally, one Saturday morning, when Marley was about 2 months old, I got up and told my wife I was going for a walk. I had no intention of coming back.

After I left, I started having second thoughts, and that’s when I remembered that my wife had signed up for an online support group.  I opened an email and phoned a father in India that I had never met. He had a 2-year-old son with Down syndrome and we talked for hours.  He was the first person since Marley’s birth that spoke truth into my life about Down syndrome. After that conversation I had the strength to go home and face another day.

Year ago, my father said to me, “If you want to fix a problem, then do something about it”.

I followed his advice. First, I tried to gain as much knowledge as I could about raising a child with Down syndrome. Next, I started calling every family I could find that had a child with Down syndrome. I also started interacting with my daughter. She was desperate for me to start loving her, and she continued loving me until I broke down and did the same. I was scared to accept my daughter because that would mean accepting her disability. But the reality was the only thing keeping me from loving my daughter was my own ignorance. I slowly began to see the beautiful girl that would change my life forever.

And finally, for the first time since my conversion in college, I talked to God. I talked to Him just like He was sitting in a chair beside me because that was the true barrier in my life. I was honest with God throughout the entire process, and that is when I started finding peace. Healing was a slow process and a long journey, but I am thankful for the life-changing transformation Marley brought to my faith.

It is true, there are difficult times having a daughter with Down syndrome. But it also true that she is very much like any other child. Marley smiles, laughs, plays, makes mistakes, and, most importantly, completes our family. The medical community focuses on so many of the challenges associated with Down syndrome that we develop an unnecessary fear — but these are only differences. The truth is I am a better person today because of my daughter, my daughter who has Down syndrome. I am grateful for a wife that was willing to push me to change, and support me when I struggled.

I am still saddened that Marley has Down syndrome, but I am beginning to realize that God can bless us regardless of our circumstances. I will never be able to fully understand why Marley has Down syndrome, but I do know she has made a difference in my life, my wife’s life, and in the lives of so many in our community.

May God Bless You and Yours,
Jack Barr, Author
http://www.amazon.com/Failing-Fatherhood-book-imperfect-father-ebook/dp/B00OSSQDGA

Fighting Like A Little Monster.

Fighting Like A Little Monster.

Hello Friends, Readers, and New Visitors,

Last night I was putting Marley to bed and she was fighting like a monster to stay awake. While I was wrangling her, she jabbed her finger in my eye. It really hurt and I suddenly wanted to throw her across the room. Instead of going to jail for launching my child against the wall, I gritted my teeth and started counting backwards silently. This enabled me to relax and I was finally able to get her in bed. Once I laid her down, I started to think about her determination to stay awake. I was mad because Marley was actually fighting against something that would benefit her. I wanted to wake her back up and say, “Fine, you win, lets stay up all night and see how you feel tomorrow.”

Of course I knew she could not understand this reasoning and it would be worse for Jana the next day, and she would be furious with me, (better to keep the wife happy). While I was debating this in my head it brought me back to my relationship with God. I began thinking about how much I fight God when I do not get what I want. I started to imagine God looking down on me and saying “See, you are the same way, you fight something I have for you until you have no energy left to fight. Then once you accept things, you realize that it was the best thing for you all along.”
I felt very convicted at that moment because I am sure God wants to throw me across the room sometimes when I am fighting, but he patently keeps working until I accept the plan he has for my life.

Our first Christmas with Marley we met our speech therapist in Charleston, SC. At the meeting the therapist asked me if we were going to have any more children. I told her that we did not know and she made a comment that has stuck with me the past few years.

She said, “When you decide to have more children, then I will know that you have accepted Marley for who she is and whom she will become.” When she first said that, it made me mad, but now I am starting to understand the importance of that insight. As a competitive father, I have only wanted to push Marley to be “normal” since I accepted her condition. This is an unhealthy way to live a life regardless of the limitations of our children. I need to accept Marley for who she is, and understand her value to God and the world. Is this an excuse to not push Marley, not at all, but when Marley fails just like any other child, then I need to love her for who she is and not for what I want her to be. “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.

All of this is based on trusting God and his plan for our lives. I know I have a serious problem with a lack of faith in my creator’s plan.  I constantly fight against God, I dislike rejection, I struggle accepting my child’s faults, and I want my daughter to be accepted; but all of these things are a lack of faith.  Take time this month to look at Job.  I always enjoyed God’s response to Job until some of my own struggles caused me to question God’s plan.

Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:“Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone—while the morning stars sang together and all the angels [a] shouted for joy?

Very few people have suffered like Job.  I think instead of blaming God for me not getting my way, I should step back and see the blessings in my life.  We know God loves us and cares for us more than anything on this earth.  We need to trust him during the sunshine and storm.  What kind of faith do I have if I can only praise God during the joyous times?
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Jack Barr, Author and Dad
http://www.amazon.com/Failing-Fatherhood-book-imperfect-father-ebook/dp/B00OSSQDGA