Throwing Marley Across The Room (Figuratively) . . .

Throwing Marley Across The Room (Figuratively)	. . .

Last month I was putting Marley to bed and she was fighting like a monster to stay awake.  While I was reading to her, she grabbed my ear and attempted to pull it off.   It really hurt and I suddenly wanted to throw her across the room after already spending thirty minutes trying to coax her to sleep.

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 she finally drifted off to sleep.  Once I laid her in the bed, 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 J). 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 rocking me until I accept the plan he has for my life.

When Marley was first-born I struggled with trying to hide her disability.  I was always asking Jana if she thought people could “see” her Down syndrome.  At an initial meeting with our speech therapist, she 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 since that meeting.  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 she was born.  This is an unhealthy way to live 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.

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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 some time this week 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?

Please visit or website where we give Marley and other children diagnosed with Down Syndrome a voice to be heard! http://www.iftheyhadavoice.org/

May God bless you and your family,
Author, Jack Barr
http://www.amazon.com/Failing-Fatherhood-book-imperfect-father/dp/B00OSSQDGA

 

 

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

 

What Has God Taught Us? Let Me Tell You. . .

Hello Friends, Readers, and Welcome New Friends,

As many parents who care for a child with down syndrome or any disability, it can be a challenge.
But Jana and I keep close to our faith to help us through each day. So I thought today I would share with you what God has taught us so far on this journey we all call life. No matter what lies ahead for our future, we know when we keep our love and faith in God, we can make it through even the hardest storms that come our way. . .
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Nine years ago we made the decision to leave everything that was familiar to us and move to the other side of the world. One night while we were still living in Tennessee, Jana came home from teaching gymnastics, and asked whom I was talking with on the phone. I told her I was interviewing for a job at an International Christian School, in Bangkok Thailand.  She gave me a look that was intended to be profanity, but since we were good little Christians, she did not openly yell at me. I knew immediately it would not go well after I finished my phone conversation with ICS.  Once I hung up the phone, I quickly told her that I was offered a job, and the good news was they had an open elementary position.

What happened next was not the yelling attack I expected, but instead she smiled, and we started searching for Thailand on a map.  As I reflect back on this life changing decision, I think it would be good to share some things we have learned while serving in BKK.  I also want to encourage you this week to contemplate what God has taught you these past few years.  Too often in life, we don’t take the time to see what God has done in our lives.

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Jack – I have realized the true definition of depression.  I spent an entire year depressed after Marley was born.  I believe it was the hardest year of my life and I was worthless as a father during that time.  God taught me the value of a dedicated wife, and the healing we can receive through talking with people who have been there. The greatest part of that year was realizing my relationship with God was not where I thought it was, and my need for daily faith.

Jana – God’s creativity runs deep and wide. We have met so many different and interesting people while living in Thailand. Through each of these encounters and relationships, God has revealed Himself to us in different ways. It is through and because of these relationships that my relationship with the Creator has grown.

Jack – The enormous responsibility we have to mentor the next generation. God has opened my eyes to the struggles of our students at ICS.  The time we spend talking and caring for these students is a necessity.  Numerous young men and women have told us thank you for just taking the time to build a relationship with them outside of school.  We believe that is our greatest ministry at ICS.

Jana – God has been teaching me about humility for years and years. He has used so many of the years here in Bangkok to show me how little control I have in my own life, AND how much greater His plan is for me than what I have planned for myself.

Jack – There are days I love being a father and days I hate being a father.  I love the sweet smiles and hugs Marley gives me constantly throughout the day.  But I also hurt when I see people look at her differently, or when she struggles to complete tasks that are easier for others.  My own father dying at an early age inspired me to change my life, but I wish I could sit down with him now, and tell him I finally understand the love he had for me.

Jana – Unreached people groups are hiding within our own communities. We must pray for God to open our eyes to those people in need. We were never aware of the great need for families with special needs children until God made us aware. I think some of the raw emotions that we experienced as God showed/catapulted us into awareness is a taste of the deep love that God has for those who are hurting and lost.

Marley – I would say that she has learned that life is going to be fun sometimes and hard sometimes.  There will be times that Daddy/Mommy will let her splash in the rain puddles, eat a French fry, and wrestle the cat into submission.  Unfortunately, there will also be times that she will not get what she wants just because of who she is.  Pulling the cat’s ears, throwing her food, and biting will be followed by disciplinary actions.

Learn more about Jack and his book at http://www.iftheyhadavoice.org/
Follow Us on Twitter @jackjanamarley
Follow & Like Us on FB: https://www.facebook.com/JackBarrAuthor.FailingFatherhood/
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God Bless Friends,
~Jack, Jana and Marley~
http://www.amazon.com/Failing-Fatherhood-book-imperfect-father/dp/B00OSSQDGA