Archive for November, 2010

Plenty of Wait-ers!

I started this blog to encourage people who are going through tough situations. My thinking was that as each day brings new struggles and I have to talk myself back to faith in those things, others might be encouraged by my discussions with myself! I don’t know for sure if it’s had that effect or not, but I know it has helped me (not a reason I started it!). I am able to put my emotions here and just walk away…

Then there are time through the day when doubt starts to rise and I have to push myself back to faith once again. Times like last night while I am tube feeding Chris and just looking at him resting there. I see his right hand all drawn up and think I am not doing enough to help. I glanced at the pictures of him I have over his bed and I am swallowed up with grief once again. Oh how I miss my son!

I wonder how long this journey will be as it has been over 2 years already. I realized last night this is our third Thanksgiving since the wreck. Even though it’s just over 2 years that makes it feel so much longer! I really thought we’d be back “out and about” by now. I never dreamed…

Each day is so different even within our little schedule. He responds differently to different things. Overall he’s doing real well, it’s just so slow! I miss things, like when I’m putting him in bed in the evening I realize I didn’t brush his teeth, things like that. And then I feel so badly; like I’m not doing a good job!

I keep telling myself that the Bible is full of wait-ers! Joseph had dreams when he was a child and did not see them fulfilled for many years. Abraham waited for 25 years for the birth of his promise. Daniel lived 70 years in Babylonian captivity waiting for the promise of the end. That makes my two years here look pretty small really!

There are many other stories in the Bible of wait-ers. Isaiah said that those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. He also stated in chapter 30 that God is waiting on us to wait on Him so that He can be gracious and show us mercy. Waiting on God is a very special place of intimacy between just you and your God. There’s a closeness there that cannot be described.  Waiting on Him incorporates a lot of trust, and that lends itself on into faith. So here I wait for Him once again. I can find my strength in Him and strength to make it through another day.

Come join the wait-ers! I’m sure it’s going to be worth our time!

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Nothing Like a Hug from a Friend

Yesterday was a great day! My friends from Arkansas came by and stayed a big portion of the day. I guess I didn’t realize how long it’s been since I got a plain ole hug from a friend. There’s just nothing like it! It was a very refreshing day here in the furnace! It’s was nice to have a break from my norm and sit and visit and grab a pizza with friends.

I think when I get through all this I will make it a point to hug more people, specifically friends! I’m not going go running around Wal-Mart hugging folks I don’t know! I found though a solid truth in the Proverbs that speak of friend’s effect on the countenance. And I must say it also has a positive effect on the heart as well!

One cool thing that happened too was my friend Acra just went to the keyboard and begin to let praise flow out. This was so refreshing as I don’t get to have those times of corporate praise. It was so nice to be able to just sing along with others in praise.

At one point Acra began to just pour out from his heart prayers for Chris. It was a moment I want to treasure for years to come. I don’t know if Chris will remember it or not, but I certainly will.

Now today I will continue my somewhat regular schedule; but my heart will have a little more warmth!

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Before Time Began…

Something I make a point to do (which can really be a struggle some days) is to always give Chris positive feedback. I praise every tiny thing he does. If I am asking him to move something and he doesn’t seem to I praise him for trying. I even praise him for thinking about it sometimes, even though I really don’ t know if he is or not!

No matter how I feel or what my struggle is in the present, I keep pumping him with positive “way to go’s”! This is an all day thing every day! I also spend a lot of time reassuring him of my love. I tell him I love him no matter what we are engaged in at the moment.

Yesterday I was standing at the foot of his bed raising his head as I had just laid him down. I said, “I love you Bubba” then I thought about how I loved both of my kids before they were even born, before I even knew them. I looked at him laying there and I said, “Chris I love you. I loved you before you were even born!”

That catapulted my thoughts into God’s deep love for us. He loved us before we were born, before we were formed, before we were a thought in our parent’s mind. But it goes further back than that, He was acquainted with our ways and had already written about our days in His heart before time began. That just blows my mind! He loved us and knew us before He said “let there be light”!

That’s my meditation for today…. His great love for us which is just too big to fathom! Enjoy His love today no matter what you are facing!

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Snuggle Time

Sometimes when Chris is not feeling well it makes it a little more difficult for me to get through the day. Last night as I was getting ready to go on to bed, I just looked at him and he still seems so far away. Tucking us in for the night is a pretty involved process for me really. I have to change him and get him turned on one side or the other since I don’t know for sure how long he’ll sleep. Then I have to make sure I have all supplies set up so I don’ t have to go looking for stuff in the middle of the night! I tube feed him and get him the rest of the meds for the day. After I wash out his tube feeding utensils I make my coffee for the morning and try to get myself laid down for some rest.

He  is progressing nicely really. Seems to be doing well even though he’s sleepy still but I think he just hasn’t felt well the last couple of days as he is wheezing again. That’s another whole battle as I’ve had to call the doctor twice and still don’t have the meds for his breathing machine. Not really that big of a deal in some respects, but just an added frustration in an already full cup of battles!

So this morning my “cup of frustration” is already set on high as I have to check to see if the doctor did indeed call in the prescription this time, and trying to get a step ahead of Chris’ wheeze! I’m also starting to try to plan for my weekend away and that is troublesome to me as well. I feel like I am placing so much strain on everyone else. I know.. I live with the strain, but I still feel badly.

So how do I begin the dig out of this hole? I have to return once again to His promises. He promised things about Chris and those things stand no matter what I see right here in this piece of time. I must turn to Him and rely on Him for the strength to make it through yet another day. I know I am not going through something that no one has ever been through before. But I wonder how those who do not know the Lord and the word make it through these types of things. I feel I am pretty mature in Him and still have to concentrate to keep my grip on His word tight.

One of my prayers from the very beginning was that  I would be like some of those saints (I know I’m no saint !) who have gone before. You know the ones who were put in prison because of their beliefs and they began to write and we have some wonderful insights about our Father because they yielded to Him even under the pressure. Even a large portion of the New Testament was written from confinement. I hope that in this press I will let Him be what is pressed out of me.

I hope that as I learn to yield myself to Him even more He can use me more. I think again of Joseph and Daniel who were men of high esteem even in captivity. Somehow through the darkest toughest times of their lives they maintained a close relationship with Father. And you know, they didn’t have Psalms to look up for encouragement, they must have gotten it directly from Him. So that’s my intent today, to press into Him even more.

Yeah, like a child who is troubled crawls up in your lap and presses in to get even closer to you? That’s some awesome snuggle time for a parent! That’s how I want to be with God today, I want to “snuggle” with Him. And I believe in that yielding and leaning on Him will come the strength for today… how about you? Need some snuggle time too?

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Who is Waiting on Whom?

Well, another day is upon us whether we are ready for it or not. There’s no way to press pause and just take a breather either! So here we go another day in the furnace. Over all it’s not been too bad of late. Chris is progressing nicely and starting to eat. All those things help my attitude but still sometimes I feel like my perspective is skewed.

I still have so many fears each day. I’m afraid I’m gonna hurt him or drop him. Worried I’ll feed him something wrong and he’ll choke or something. It’s like even as we progress I feel like I have to walk on egg shells. Every day is an experiment. I have to find out what he can or will handle for today and there’s no sense in even trying to press him further than he is willing to go. However, it’s good he’s making some decisions too.

Even though most of the time I feel like I am helping Chris somewhat, there’s no way to hurry it along. It will take as long as it’s going to take.  And once again there’s no end in sight. That’s so difficult (especially for a seer) – to not be able to see the end. Each day I see progress, but can’t see exactly where that leads.

I think one thing that troubles me the most right now is his right hand. Everything else, every part of him seems to be at least advancing somewhat. His right hand seems to be getting tighter and more drawn. I have been working with it but it doesn’t seem like it’s enough. That’s one of the frustrating things too – it never seems to be enough no matter what I do. Then I struggle with feeling like he’s being neglected or something. It’s like when I take time to work on the computer (which I have to do to pay the electric bill!) it’s taking away from him. However, I know he needs breaks and I think I am figuring some of that out.

Actually the last few days, I have slowed down with him in some ways. Not in trying to help him but in pushing him. Like when we are standing I don’t hurry him to sit. I let him stand there until he initiates the sitting movement, then I help him to sit. He actually gets more standing time and I think it’s more effective.

Maybe that’s what God does with us sometimes. And maybe those are the times when we feel He is neglecting us. Maybe it’s the times He is waiting on us to initiate a move, then He steps in just not until we are really ready! Those are the times we feel abandoned I am sure. You know, when He doesn’t move fast enough for us. But I hate to admit it – He’s not going to move for us – just with us. As we begin, He will assist.

So maybe all this time we have been waiting on God, He’s really waiting on us! So my decision for faith for today is to go ahead and take a step in the directions He shows me; even though it doesn’t make sense. It’s all about learning to trust Him to not leave us – He won’t! And trusting that when we feel so alone He is still there. He’s waiting on us to move so He can act… so let’s get moving!

 

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Guide My Steps…

The last day or so has been pretty good really. Even though Chris is sleepy he really seems to be improving and that helps me out a lot! I get very excited at the progress I see. And then as I have shared before it still brings a sadness. I just miss my Chris.

One of the things that plagues my mind is wondering about “who” he will be when this is over. Right before the wreck he was talking a lot about his drums. He talked about not wanting to make them an idol or a god in his life. He was so concerned that he would enjoy the gift more than the giver. He spoke frequently about laying them down. And he really went through seasons where he did so. It seemed right before this incident that he had found a pretty good balance.

Among the other things he talked about frequently was just his intense desire to know God. His struggles reminded me so much of those of Keith Green. We discussed these struggles a lot the last few weeks before the accident.

I can liken this to watching a butterfly emerge from its cocoon. It went in a slimy little worm! But when it goes through the deep sleep and then the struggle it takes to get out, it is a changed into a thing of beauty. With the promises God has made concerning Chris I have to believe this is a parallel process.

So I once again return to His promises regarding my son. I must trust that He will restore because that’s what He said He would do. He said He would restore the years that the cankerworm and destroyed. I think about these two years (so far) and all that seems lost. What will it look like when He restores us?

How can God “put all this back?” The life I lost, the jobs and plans and hopes I had for me and Chris? I know that’s not too much for God, but it sure seems like a far stretch! 🙂  Will I go back to Chicago? Where do I belong? Will Chris even want to finish his education? Will he even care?

…and that’s just the beginning of all the questions I have today…

I don’t know what life is going to look like, but I must deal with today.  That’s all any of us can do anyway, because with all our plans and hopes and dreams…we still only get to live one day at a time!

A man may make designs for his way,

but the Lord is the guide of his steps.

Proverbs 16:9 BBE

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Finding The Resting Spot

I am in a weird place. I guess I sort of live there! I sense the Lord giving me direction once again but I am so not sure how it will all play out. For so long on this journey I couldn’t see past the moment. It’s not that He hasn’t spoken to me during this time, for He has indeed! Although I’ve been led to write more and things like that He hasn’t pushed on me much. (I hope you know what I mean.)

Lately this has changed. I realize that just as He has not changed His mind about even one thing He said about Chris, the same it true for me as well. And the last week or so I can feel His gentle nudging to begin to step on out into some things He has told me. That is so difficult from here.

I know there are family members who will help but I certainly don’t want to wear any of them out. Ronella and Shawn have been an invaluable support for me during this time. They sit with Chris every Monday so I can go tutor and bring in a little dough! Plus they have chosen to just come and chill with us on Friday nights. I am sure they have no idea what that has meant to me…

So, I have a couple of speaking engagements that are pending final plans. They are both on one weekend so that’s good. But it takes so much to set all that up. (I am sure God was aware of this before He began giving me these plans!) And although I really do need the time away (even though it is still technically “working”) I hate to ask for help! It’s not even like I’m doing it every weekend. We’re talking one weekend away that’s it!

Amid the progress there is still lots of fear. Chris has had a couple of sleepier days and that always brings some concern for me. I don’t know why because it’s all part of the healing process. But I worry each time that he may be regressing. Call it lack of faith if you want, but it still makes my thoughts go nuts! I have to really talk myself back through to faith on those days.

Sometimes I feel pretty caught and over burdened. I so need to work on line but I also have lots I feel the Lord directing me to write. How I divide up my time can sometimes be overwhelming. Then I also have to try to remember that it’s okay to just sit sometimes. I feel like I have to be doing something all the time and I forget to relax!

So for today, it’s just a weird spot for me.. almost like I’m regrouping and reassessing and reorganizing all over again! I am excited about my ministry weekend that is coming up and I am also excited about friends who are coming to visit next week! so as you can see my thoughts and emotions are all over the place! Well, welcome to my world! lol!

These are the times when I have to direct my heart back into His rest! That can be a difficult task at best. But it is how I must make it through today. So I will quiet my mind and begin the shut down process so that my voice can become quiet and His can prevail…and I will rest! The best way for me to do this is run…so I’m outa here… headin’ for a good morning run – yep, that’s how I rest.

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Recall the Promise When the Rainbow is Gone

So there I am with faith soaring high, ready to take on another day and get all I can out of it and Chris; and he goes into his sleep mode again. All the questions and fears that lie dormant most days now begin to dig their way back to the top. Like digging a hole and piling the dirt high trying to bury faith once again.

I often wonder if Noah got a little nervous every time it rained. You know? It had never rained before the flood, they didn’t even know what to expect. It had never been experienced before. It rains; it floods. Then he gets the promise and the rainbow. Even though he had the promise tucked safely in his heart the entire world as he knew it had changed. There was literally nothing the same. So I wonder if the next time it began to sprinkle if he battled a few thoughts while sorting through memories?

When the rainbow is gone how do we remember the promise?

We must rehearse it over and over again until it takes root in our hearts.

So yesterday Chris goes back into what I call his brain sleep. He is totally out to the world and limp as a wet noodle.And that is where the battle begins. All these pictures of where we’ve been and how bad he’s been come to mind. I worry that I gave him the wrong meds at the wrong time or if he’s getting too much of one or another. Will he slip backwards instead of forward… you get the idea. It rages in my heart and mind.

Of course this changes my whole day and schedule. But this time it wasn’t as difficult as times past. He wasn’t twitching like he did during these strange sleeps. He also did rouse a little when I changed him or touched him; of course this was only to moan in displeasure for being disturbed! But to me I still measure that as progress.

As I am standing by his bed with him mostly out I just look at him and recall the promise. If Chris was to digress it really doesn’t matter as that will not cause God to “take it back,” not one word He said will be erased just because Chris has had a rough day. So I remind myself of the promises God has made.

Chris has good days (those I enjoy) and then he has rough days (those can be draining). I am trying to get ahold of the fact (truth) that it really doesn’t matter, it’s all part of this brain injury journey. If I let it, it will always lead me back to Him.

So humor me for a minute while I imagine Noah experiencing that first drop of rain after the rainbow has been gone for some time. You know, rainbows don’t last forever! What went through his mind when the water droplet fell from the sky. He knows what God promised him, did seeing rain without the forewarning cause any alarm at all? I just imagine he might have freaked out for a minute or two only to return to His promise.

In many ways I think his second experience of rain may have been more difficult than the first. The first he was expecting even though he wasn’t sure exactly what it was! The second probably came without warning. This one required a different “working through.” But Noah had to return to the promise to find rest. That’s what I am choosing to do right now. I don’t know what kind of day Chris will have – but I will return to His promise to make it through. The promise is still in effect even though the rainbow has faded.

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2 Year Anniversary!

I cannot believe that it’s been two years since Chris’ wreck. What a journey this has been! It was November 8, 2008 when I got the parent’s dreaded call. That call that saps your strength and breath immediately as the numbing begins. You can’t think, can’t plan, I think it’s probably a mild state of shock. Thank God for people who were close by who could book a flight for me.

I have very mixed emotions today. On one hand I am so glad for how far Chris has come in this two years! But on the other I really thought we’d back to “normal” by now too. It seems the rest of the world got to go on with their lives while we are stuck in this cave of “recovery” just waiting for progress.

We’ve been lots of places in this two years. Hospitals, nursing homes, rehabs…and each has played their role for that piece of time. two years ago today I couldn’t have even imagined caring for him myself in our own home. I hadn’t even had my own home for two years! But here we are with him progressing slightly forward each passing day. I guess we’ve both progressed! 🙂

I’ve heard lots of things from the medical profession. One doctor said you look at the one year mark and that’s about all you’re gonna get. Well, we’ve already proven that wrong! He’s come a very long ways in this last year! Another said that you cannot determine anything about a severe head injury for three years. That is both consoling and scary. On one hand it tells me medically there’s still time; on the other it means he could be 2/3 of the way through and I think he’s got further than that to go.

I won’t fake anything – it’s been a very rough journey. Sometimes faith soars and I am so excited about what God’s going to do; other times questions and doubts overcome and lead me down the dark path of wondering. And most of the time these days I just miss Chris. This was not the way life was supposed to “play out.” He’s supposed to be leading a band somewhere or be a famous drummer traveling the world “playing the gospel on the drums.” That’s what God put in his little eight year old heart so many years ago.

But we are here on this path, clinging to all the hope we can find to make another day.

So on this two year anniversary I must take time to see all that has been accomplished in this time. For one, Chris has come so far. He is eating, standing, moving more all the time, and making lots and lots of noise with his vocal chords! He lets me know when he doesn’t like something and I think yesterday I saw a look of pride when he was able to pull himself up out of the chair using his own strength. I wonder what he thinks, how much he’s aware of all that has transpired.

I have tried to surround myself with positive people. I joined a support group that has been so helpful during all this time. That’s where I found several “success stories” that were encouraging. One kid always says, “Don’t believe the doctors, they don’t have the last word, God does!” And sometimes I have held to that thought no matter how weakly!

I am actually pretty encouraged today by what I  have been seeing in Chris. Knowing people are praying for him all over the world is a wonderful support! But God gave us promises before all this happened. I had a dream where Chris and some others were in a wreck and Chris was being sucked under a rock under water. He did not say a word but just looked at me. I grabbed his hand and began to pull him out. I remember thinking in the dream how difficult it was to pull against the flow of the water and keep him from being taken under. Then I got him out, put him on the bank and they all went on down the road. I had no idea…

Then the angelic visitor that came to my daddy and told him that Chris had honored his father and mother (and he has) so he would be honored with “many good years.”

These were both unsolicited promises! Those are what I cling to as I push Chris toward progress each day. The frustration comes when I don’t see what I think is enough progress daily. With brain injuries it goes so back and forth. It’s like he can go all the way out and show what he’s capable of (those are very encouraging days) and then he settles back to where he really is on the journey to recovery (very discouraging days!).

But overall today is not bad so far. I rejoice in how far Chris has come in this two years. Two years ago today we didn’t know if he would live. At one point we were told that he would not ever wake up, just be a vegetable the rest of his life. I love it when progress proves the doctors wrong! I am thankful for each step Chris has taken. And although I do get tired, and I cannot see the end of the struggle I must encourage myself to make one more day for Chris’ sake. Who knows what he might do today?

One thing is sure in all of this. I could not have made it without the Lord. He has been my rock and my stay! I know He has carried me many times when I could not go on one more step. (I have fewer and fewer of those days it seems.) His strength has been my fortress and Holy Spirit has truly been revealed in me as the comforter He is! I can truly say, “If it had not been for the Lord on my side, where would I be? If God be for us who (or what) can be against us?”

We have His promise of restoration and wholeness…no time to quit believing now! 2 years down….

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Staying In Peace While You Feel in Pieces

Well it certainly helps me out a lot when Chris sleeps all night! I think I actually got to sleep five hours. That’s part of the struggle is not getting enough rest. It causes all sorts of tension in the body and emotions. Sleep is so important, although I always felt like it’s such a waste of time. I mean, why did God make our bodies need to rest almost a third of out time? that’s one third of our lives that are “wasted” in bed. That just seems like an awful lot to me! But for today, I am thankful that I got a little lump of sleep all together!

Sometimes I have such a difficult time balancing everything out. I need to work online to generate some cash flow; but I also have so much I feel I need to do as far as ministry is concerned. I am working on so many projects, and the funny thing is that even though I can’t get to all I have to do already I still have more ideas of things that could be done! I guess my mind hasn’t found the “off” switch yet!

Balancing that all out can be a great struggle for me. I really desire to write the study guides and articles, but need to write on line for my “job” so to speak. I’m finding that as I put the things first that He has given me to do, the other pretty well falls into place. But there are times when those little articles people read come through great difficulty.

Usually, when Chris has had a rough day it is hard for me to sit and write about faith! lol! I wonder why? It takes a large amount of energy sometimes to shift my brain back over. It’s a constant struggle sometimes to stay focused on Him and the Word in the midst of the trial.

But somehow in the middle of all the mess there is a closeness with Him that I am sensing. I can’t really explain it, but it’s like I know sometimes He is right here. Oh the next minute I may be fussing because I got all tangled up  in Chris’ chair, or couldn’t get him to eat or whatever! But then when I settle back down, He is still right here. Under all the turmoil there is still peace! The struggle is to try to stay in that peace.

That’s my motto for today – stay in His peace. That sounds so spiritual and so great doesn’t it? But it is actually a very difficult task to accomplish. But that is still my goal for today – stay in peace while I feel in pieces! I think we can do this!

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