DuBOIS — Grady’s Decision founder Ryan Smith spoke of fighting battles bigger than someone thinks they can handle at the nonprofit’s dinner-dance fundraiser.
“So many people came up to me and said, man, I don’t know how you do it, Ryan, going through what you’ve been through, pulling the card from the deck of cards that you’ve pulled,” said Smith. “I truly believe that it’s not about me. And I believe that most of you, almost all of you in this room would do the same thing being faced with the battle — you would fight the same way because what else do you have to do? Giving up is not an option.”
Smith talked about what the neonatal intensive care unit journey is like — where words like apneas and bradycardias are heard.
“As a baseball guy, I had no idea what those words were until I entered the NICU when my twins were born,” said Smith. “I realized that there are certain things that happened in the NICU that I cannot control — a baby’s heart, a baby’s brain, a baby’s lungs. As a dad, as much as I would love to heal them and breathe for them and make their heartbeat for them, you realize it’s out of your control.”
One of the lessons he learned from the NICU is that “you’ve got to let go and you got to let God do his thing.”
“When you’re looking through this plexiglass screen and you’re looking at your baby struggling or sleeping and it tears you apart,” said Smith. “We tell many of our Love Team members that when you’re in that moment, it’s like God put a piece of plexiglass over your belly and you get to watch your baby develop right before your eyes. For some reason, God believes that you are wanting, he wants you to see what is usually reserved for God’s eyes only and you get to see your baby develop.”
Smith referred to a book he read which tells stories of battles that had been fought in the past and there was a King who inherited a piece of ground that was promised to him, and as he was in his land, three armies got together to drive him out.
“He (king) did in that moment, what many of us will be faced to do sometimes when a battle shows up at your doorstep that you did not ask for,” said Smith. “This king got everybody together ... he said, ‘Listen, all of Judah, this is what the Lord says to you. Do not be afraid. Do not be dismayed at the battle that is before you. This battle is not yours, this battle is God’s.’ What an amazing thing — when we change our focus from the battle to the one who can calm it and stop it, when we put our faith in our focus on the creator, we can fight any battle.”
Smith also showed a video which showed two parents — Megan Burkett and Joe Shields — who fought the NICU battle for their children, Cooper Burkett and twins Jack and Jonah Shields.
“They fought two amazing NICU battles and they’re still standing here to tell you about it,” said Smith.