It is 3:50am on April 28, 2017. The room is dimly lit and full of anticipation. Emily is laying at a 45 degree angle on the bed with a team of doctors and nurses at her feet and at her side (I was by her head lol). Everyone is around her with eyes focused on the monitors waiting for the next contraction. As the contractions build like crashing waves Emily pushes with all her might. During the pushes the doctors and nurses get into position and hold Emily as the waves of contractions pound against her body. Then the contractions stop and everything goes still. All eyes re-adjust back to the monitors to wait for the next one to come. My eyes zeroed in on Blakely’s heart rate monitor to see if she was still alive and I was relieved each time to see the rhythmic pulse of her heart still drumming. Everyone knew that it was only a matter of a few more contractions before Blakely arrived and the world seemed to stand still – very still. Then the clock hits 3:58am and the next wave of contractions build and the medical team takes their position and Emily pushes and pushes and pushes and then piercing through the tension a gritty cry floods the room – it is Blakely and she is alive!


As I write reflecting on Blakely’s birth in room 26 at the NICU with Blakely fast asleep in her crib and the neon lights of the monitors, I am in awe. I am in awe of a God who answers prayers, a God who gives life and a God who reveals himself in his people. Blakely’s birth was a holy and sacred ceremony. It was a communion with the living Jesus embodied by the church and ministered by the Holy Spirit. God’s Word was spoken out loud so all who were present could hear. Prayers were petitioned across the world and songs were tenderly sung. It was worship – it was beautiful.

I will always remember looking at Blakely’s face and holding her to my chest those very first few moments and thinking, “God this is good, this is what you are all about, do what you must to my family, we are in your hands.” I can’t really explain it but as I held Blakely with Emily by my side I was convinced full heartedly that God was more good than I could imagine. He heard my cries and he fathered me and he held me and he loved me.



I remember the people and their faces. I remember the doctors and the nurses and the friends and the family. I remember the prayers, the countless conversations, the emails, the texts and the letters. I remember the gifts and the love and the support from all of you. It was beautiful, it was overwhelming and it was joyful.

When I held Blakely for the first time, I was melting in her presence with each blink of her eyes and crinkle of her lips. I had underestimated the power of life and the explosive feelings of love it can deliver to the heart. As each second passed with Blakely in our presence I felt like love was a hammer and my heart was the anvil. I was being beaten into fatherhood and I could feel my selfishness, pride, anger, bitterness and malice breaking away. As the hammer kept pounding my heart gushed with love. I was soaking in love and was snotty and puffy eyed and goo-goo-ga-ga for Blakely. It could not be any sweeter to be her daddy – nothing else mattered.


So as I write to all of you now I want say, “Praise God.” He has listened and he has answered and he has shown his love to my little family through all of the hugs, notes, gifts and prayers. There is a long road ahead of us and it will be full of good moments like her birth and hard moments like her seizures, but God is with us. My prayer during this time has been, “God here we are do what you must.” God must do what he has to do and I trust him. My family trusts him and whatever must be done to us let it be done. He is making all things right and I cling to the promise that one day all will be made new including my little family.


But for now in the good and the bad I am seeing God. Even in the suffering I feel God’s presence. He has been in a position where he has witnessed his own Son (Jesus) live, suffer and die. As I write this right now I am awake because Blakely’s heart rate plummeted during the night.  Emily and I stood by her crib as we watched it plummet a few more times. We didn’t know what was going on but we had to sit in that moment looking over our daughter and praying to God that we can have more time (She is stable and doing great right now!). It is up to him, but I know that he knows what it feels like to be in our shoes. He has been where we have been and he will see it through. I can’t do anything but let the pain sting and let the joy fill up and trust God to be God.

Blakely Details:

Born: April 28, 2017 at 3:58AM

Weight: 8lbs

Length: 21.6 inches

Favorite Color: Pink

Favorite Food: Chick-Fil-A

Favorite Activity: Watching Lebron James with Daddy


Blakely Prayer:

(1) Pray for Blakely’s surgery early this morning at 9am central time. She will be getting a G-Button in her tummy so she can eat without a tube in her mouth.

(2) Pray that Blakely will not have any more seizures. We have her on medicine to try and control them but we want to pray that they stop happening.

(3) Pray that we will be able to make wise decisions for Blakely in regards to her medicine and interventions that she may need. This weighs heavy on our hearts.

Thank you all for doing this with us!

– Michael, Emily and Blakely


14 thoughts on “5-9-17

  1. Praise God for the beauty your precious Blakely has brought into this broken world! In the brief time your princess has been here she has done mighty things! She has brought an entire 6th grade class to the throne of God to petition for blessings for Blakely, to give thanks for her birth and to pray peace over her beloved family. She has brought this momma, as well as many others I am sure, to the lap of Father God to give thanks for every second we have been given with the gifts of our children, to pray a mother’s prayer for Michael, Emily, Blakely & her loved ones. Blakely has renewed a heart of acknowledgement of the unfathomable gift of children & blessed many to share the journey & be inspired by the faith her parents. God is using your tiny 8 lb wonder to freshen faith, grow gratitude & remind us all that God is good all of the time! My girls & I remember you all in prayer multiple times a day……to pray for a miraculous healing of Blakely, to ask for peace & strength for her family & to give thanks for the bright light this special, special girl has brought to us all!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You don’t know me, but I have been thinking about your family for weeks. One of your blog posts showed up on my news feed because Emily & I have several mutual friends, even though we have never and will never meet. I have been eagerly waiting to see that Blakely made it into this world and has continued to show the world she is strong. I wanted you to know that your words have impacted people you may not be aware of. You are brave for sharing your story and kind for letting strangers like me share in the journey.

    I have struggled with my faith for years, always turning away and wondering why so many terrible things have happened if there is an all-knowing and all-powerful God. But your family’s journey had me praying like I used to. I wanted to badly for this strong little girl to have a life and be able to feel and see how much her parents love her. Thank you for reminding me of God’s love. You truly have rejuvenated my spirit and I am THRILLED to see this update on your gorgeous, strong family.

    God Bless the three of you for the endless days to come and pray for Blakely’s continued progress.

    – Emily, Jacksonville FL

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  3. How great is the Father’s love and your words are profound. My heart rejoices with you all and knows the ache and uncertainty is so great. Hold fast dear ones to the grace that will keep you strong and hold you tight that only God can give you. Love to all and sweet kisses for your precious daughter. Praying for surgery this morning.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for continuing to share your heart with us…you are a beautiful family and are in our prayers daily.


  5. May God continue to hold all of you in his loving arms.  Our prayers continue for each of you.

    Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphone

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Praising God for the gift of Blakely to your family and these precious moments you have together. Praying for her as she enters the operating room this morning – wisdom and extraordinary guidance for the medical team, peace and comfort for all of you in the waiting room, healing for Emily, gracious words of blessing from your family and friends, presence of those you love, and through all of the hardship and joy for God’s name to be lifted high. It has been a tremendous privilege reading your story and I continue in faithful prayer for you. Thank you God for the amazing gift of Blakely to our world – we praise you for wonderfully making her!


  7. Words cannot express how overjoyed we are for your family!!! Continuing in prayer for the 3 of you. As we had a scary ambulance ride and full day yesterday, your last sentence cannot ring truer, “I can’t do anything but let the pain sting and let the joy fill up and trust God to be God.” God is SO GOOD. Even in our pain. Thanks so much for sharing


  8. Michael, Emily and Blakely… Our family is touched by your faith and tribute to the goodness of God. The miracle of birth is a picture of God’s grace. Blakely is a precious young gift from the Lord. Thank you for sharing her life and story with us. You are a beautiful young family and we are praying for all of you. May the Lord continue to embrace you with His love and provision.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What a tiny little miracle baby. God has used Blakely in amazing and impactful ways with so many people. His glory has been revealed and he is Jehovah Shammah….God IS there. Michael, this experience in your life has changed you as only hard things can do. You have become a truly gifted and transparent writer, ministering to so many. I have no doubt that God will use you and Emily in your ministry in even greater ways because of your story.


  10. Look at that hair! She is so cute, what a miracle to be able to hold her and love her. All of us at Seven Rivers are praying for you and your family, may God continue to comfort and sustain you.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Your Seven Rivers Church family is thrilled that our prayers have been answered. We look forward to welcoming you to our Christ-centered church and will support you in every way possible.

    To God be the glory,
    Marcia Samuelson

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  12. As I sit with my 5 year old son Preston and read your joyous and amazing words, words that are filled with strong faith and knowledge that our Sovereign God holds it all in His hands, my eyes fill with tears, not tears of sadness I explain to my precious little blessing, but tears of happiness and comfort at our Amazing Father’s love for us. He sits close to my side as he looks at the sweet pictures of little Blakely and her mommy and daddy so happy and loving as they hold and adore her. I explain to him that God has answered the prayers of His people and allowed sweet Blakely to be here amongst us all for as long as He feels the need until her life has accomplished what is meant. He is silent and listening… As I continue to read on my tears become stronger and the Suttle sobs are noticeable to my little boy, I explain the actual joy of the reaction he is witnessing, that it is not sadness but pure peace and comfort I am feeling from our Great and Wonderful Creator our Amazing and all Loving God. That He can make all things, even the scary and sad moments in our lifes beautiful!! I lift Praises to our Lord and Savior!!! Our Seven Rivers family is so richly being blessed by this incredible journey with your family!! Let the Strong Arms, Deep Love and Peace and Joy of our Wonderful Father God continue to comfort and hold the 3 of you throughout this time.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I just saw the news of your sweet girl and have tears in my eyes! I know without a doubt that God has been planning all along to use your family in unimaginable ways. This journey though painful will lead many to heaven and one day you’ll get to celebrate forever! Praying for Blakely ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Every time I read your thoughts my heart starts rejoicing one more time in the presence of The Lord and there is not doubt about His great love! Keep trusting and waiting in Him! You are in Friday now but there will be a Sunday, a Sunday of resurrection and you will see the complete Glory of God! When we trust in Him and wait patiently, the blessings are beyond that we can imagine. ❤️❤️

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