Tuesday, April 5, 2016

All To Him I Surrender

My year of sabbatical has come to an end.  What an intense year too.  So many lessons learned, tears shed, laughter shared, and memories made.  If I could share only one thing from this last year I would share how incredibly thankful I am for God’s stubborn love for me.  He has allowed to me venture with grace some “what if’s”, I watched as He squashed them under His feet and while in the protection of His wings, moved me past my fears, beyond my insecurities, and into a place of complete surrender.
Over the last couple of years being on the west coast God really held my hand and walked with me through a difficult season.  At the end of this particular season of isolation and confusion, God opened doors and moved us back to North Carolina.  It wasn’t till I was in complete surrender, no longer asking God “what if” questions and instead just obediently listened for the softness of His voice, grabbed His hand and walked the unchartered territory he asked me to.  This is still where I am today, walking in some unchartered territory, it’s painful, and the road is long, but the presence of the Lord is deeply intense and sweet.
Part of my “what if’s” was why we ended up on the west coast.  God in His sovereignty allowed me grow spiritually deeper than I could have ever imagined.  Taking a glimpse, this is what I wrote a year ago this month in my journal…
As I walk this journey marked out before us God, I see you are faithful with your comfort, your love, your peace, but most of all your presence.  I am awe struck with you, Jesus, I am so in love with you Jesus.  Your presence is so real in and around us that I can't help but lift my hands in gratitude and thanksgiving. 
One day a few weeks ago, while pouring my heart out, I cried out to you, "God, why have you taken so much from me, my husband, my security, my life, friends, community, and my kid... how much more must I give you? You know I trust you."  Your whispered response... “I want it ALL, I have had to strip away where you were seeking and finding identity and security that was not within me and me alone, for I am jealous for you.  You haven't been stripped of everything… you have been given an identity in me, you are my daughter, you are my beloved and I am all you need.  Learn to seek me, to find security in me, to rest in me, seek refuge in my wings, to seek me for the love you desire, seek me and you will find all you need, all you want, all you desire.”
I was struggling so badly, I was seeking God, but out of desperation of all I had left, out of desperation of all I had lost.  While there was a time when that was all I could do, and that was beautiful to God, He wants so much more for me.  He desires a life of abundance for me, not desperation, not loss, but hope, and love so amazing. He wants to grow me, refine me, etch his beauty into my life, and this is the journey he has chosen to do so.  I am embracing his love for me, letting go of all that does not belong to me with a heart surrendered completely to Him, I will stand with what feels like nothing, stripped of everything... everything expect Christ and His grace... and it is enough for me.  He is enough for me. Jeremiah 29:13 and 14 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,” declares the Lord
Can I get an Amen!!!  Daily I am seeking and daily I am finding God more intimately than words express.  

Yes!  You read that right!!! God has delivered us back home to North Carolina, ALL 3 of us.  Each day I wake up and just thank God for bringing us back together again and back home.  So grateful to have friends, support and our church family close by again.  The transition has been a little more challenging than I expected but the confirmation comes daily that this is where we belong.  Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, to take him at his word, just to rest upon his promise.
We are rejoicing and giving God the glory for how far he brings Adam each and every day, here is a little moment from a couple of months ago...

So incredibly thankful for progress that can only be explained by the miraculous God we serve.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Road Bump In The Journey But Progress Is Being Made!

In this journey I have often felt like we are finally gaining ground, just enough to pass where we once were but then only to be pushed back... once we gain, it feels like we get shoved back, having to work even harder to get back to where we just were.  In the last week, we have been pushed back.  It is hard not to get discouraged but I am reminding myself that with God, there are no steps backwards, no time lost, just necessary steps to fulfill His purposes and in His timing.  And that we have so much to rejoice in all that God has already done for us.
Adam has had 3 seizures in the last 24 hours.  We believe we have narrowed it down to the increase of his antidepressant we did a few days ago.  We're unsure why his seizure medication effectiveness is decreasing as we have increased his antidepressant.  This is not a typical side effect of this particular medication.  The real bummer is, with this antidepressant, Adam has been able to get out of bed the last 4 weeks he has been on this medication.  We were just starting to see some positive changes... and now we are heading back to the drawing board to try to figure how Adam's severe depression can be treated effectively without causing anymore seizures.  

This seems to be a tricky balancing act and we could use prayer for wisdom as we proceed.  Please pray for NO MORE seizures... this is enough.  Pray too for rest for both of us.  I have struggled with falling asleep, I have wrestled with fear of Adam's breathing pattern changing, or a seizure beginning again.  Every breath he takes I am tuned into.  Every noticeable change, triggers my flight or fight reaction.  I am working at giving my fear to God, resisting the enemy, and standing firm in faith. 
Mackenzie's spring break is this week and I was counting the moments before we were once again reunited, with the recent turn of event however, it doesn't look like we will be together.  I am devastated and she is too.  Please pray for us as we cope with our separation.  She loves being with her grandparents and her horses, and I am incredibly grateful for the life Mackenzie has been able to have with them and apart from this journey. 
As I have been wrestling with God’s timing and purposes over the last day or so, my devotion this morning couldn’t have been more perfect.  I just have to share it…
The Bible has a great deal to say about waiting for God, and the teaching cannot be too strongly emphasized. We so easily become impatient with God’s delays. Yet much of our trouble in life is the result of our restless, and sometimes reckless, haste. We cannot wait for the fruit to ripen, but insist on picking it while it is still green. We cannot wait for the answers to our prayers, although it may take many years for the things we pray for to be prepared for us. We are encouraged to walk with God, but often God walks very slowly. Yet there is also another side to this teaching: God often waits for us.
Quite often we fail to receive the blessing he has ready for us because we are not moving forward with him. While it is true we miss many blessings by not waiting for God, we also lose numerous blessings by overwaiting. There are times when it takes strength simply to sit still, but there are also times when we are to move forward with a confident step.
Many of God’s promises are conditional, requiring some initial action on our part. Once we begin to obey, he will begin to bless us. Great things were promised to Abraham, but not one of them could have been obtained had he waited in Ur of the Chaldeans. The ten lepers Jesus healed were told to show themselves to the priest, and “as they went, they were cleansed” (Luke 17:14 [emphasis added]). God was waiting to heal them, and the moment their faith began to work, the blessing came.” ~ Streams of the Desert Bible Devotion

God's timing was so perfect in this devotion.  My hope is anchored in God and in his timing.  I pray that I will be obedient what he has in store for this journey and for our lives.  Psalm 57: 8-13 "Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll are they not in your record? By this I will know that God is for me.  In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid.  I am under vows to you O God; I will present my thank offerings to you.  For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I many walk before God in the light of life."

 ADAM PROGRAMMED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Adam's ability to program is still in his brain!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Oh how I have prayed, cried, and begged God that Adam could still have the ability to do what he loves, what he has always been so passionate about.  For those who knew Adam before his injury knew how much programming was something he loved, it was more than a job, more than a hobby, it has always been something he has been passionate about.  Over the last couple of years, I will often find Adam sitting in front of the computer at home, frustrated because he can't remember what to do.  He will often tell me that he knows he has a job on the computer but can't figure out how to do it. 
I am no programmer so I haven't been able to help Adam with this at all, we have tried for the last couple of years to find someone who would be willing to spend time with Adam tapping into the programmer aspect of his brain.  I have prayed, and so many of you have prayed for God to bring someone into our journey that could remind Adam of the basics of programming.  To show Adam basic programming and for us to see if Adam could still do it.  HE CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!  GOD DID!!!!!!!!  God has brought someone into our lives that has stepped into this roll and is amazing at it!  I watched in amazement this week as Adam solved a computer programming question.  Tears in my eyes as I watched Adam one step ahead at one point!  This is one incredible gift!
Programming isn’t the only thing we are giving thanks for… Adam was also given an opportunity to have a “job” at church.  He is able to provide help by volunteering administratively once a week!  Having this two opportunities is providing Adam with much needed purpose!  What answers to prayer!!!!  Keep it up prayer warriors, we need continued prayer for healing!
Adam "working" at church
We are incredibly blessed by these opportunities that God has provided and by those who are newly stepping into our journey.  God really has provided an army for Adam and we are seeing so many people being obedient to Christ by saying "yes" to the opportunity to walk with us on this remarkable journey.  It is going to continue to take an army as we would love to transition into life being "therapy" instead of so many appointments in our schedule.  We are believing God is working to make this happen!
Mackenzie at a completion, Adam and I were able to make it to Oregon and cheer her on!

My sister Renae also made it to the completion, this is us with Chuey, Mackenzie's horse

Adam and his brothers were able to hit a bucket of balls at a driving range while we were in Oregon

My boys

My man and I celebrating a successful day of therapies completed

Adam mowing our yard, every time he does, I know I am watching a miracle in action

Adam and I on a date night, Ranger came too.  I can't get over how handsome my man is!

Saturdays with Abby!  I love this girl!


Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Sweetest of Loves

If You Want Me To By: Ginny Owens
The pathway is broken
And The signs are unclear
And I don't know the reason why You brought me here
But just because You love me the way that You do
I'm gonna walk through the valley
If You want me to

'Cause I'm not who I was
When I took my first step
And I'm clinging to the promise You're not through with me yet
so if all of these trials bring me closer to you
Then I will go through the fire
If You want me to

I have been spending some incredibly sweet time with the Lord, begging him to let me just touch the threads of his robe, he gently said "how much sweeter that I have washed you in my blood and covered you with my grace and love."  How quick I am to forget how much sweeter it is what God has already done for me rather than focusing on what I want him to do for me still.  How much more must it mean to God when we come before Him and praise Him wholeheartedly than only to present our requests to Him?  Over and over in the gospels Jesus tells us that he desires mercy rather than sacrifice.  Often I come to him wanting to offer only sacrifice and withhold my heart, not recognizing that the sacrifice has already been offered for me through His blood.  But as Jesus is guiding me, He is showing me just how sweet it is to walk with him, to be aware of His presence, of His unfailing love., grabbing hold of Him out of pure desire and longing that I have never before experienced.

As I am going through the new testament in my quiet time in the morning, I am noticing how often Jesus went off to be alone or to have a time of solitude.  As we read, I see he seeks God and prays in his quiet time before God.  Unburdening his soul onto God, just as we are called to do, Jesus set an example for us.  Quiet time with God, praising Him, desperately seeking God's presence. 

With a renewed passion I have set aside weekly date nights with God.  This time is not my daily time in the word, but time where I just worship, giving God access to all of me, no distractions, time set aside just for Jesus.  Previous on this blog I have mentioned my past of dating God, when I was single and shortly after being saved, I did much the same thing.  It is the sweetest of time, I truly date God, much as I would date my husband.  I worship him, listen to all He wants to tell me, pour out my heart and soul to Him.  Approaching these nights with the same enthusiasm as I would a much coveted date night with my husband.  I light candles, I get dressed up much the same way I would if Adam were able to take me out on a date.  I get excited for these evenings with great anticipation, because God has truly met me every single time.

The idea of passionately dating God, came out of a desperation of wanting to date my husband in the way that we once had.  Around Christmas time when so many friends were posting on facebook and instagram the holiday parties, the date nights they shared with their spouses and I began to become jealous and bitter that my life was not anything what I imagined it would be, nothing of what I desired it to be.  Adam doesn't always like the idea that we are married and going on dates is often very exhausting.  We try weekly to have time also to go on a date and even when I am not in the mood to go, to bear the weight of the conversations, and all the memories of our relationship, can sometimes be overwhelming.  My heart was breaking and I was becoming incredibly angry over the circumstances in my life.  I recognized that I was even starting to question God, something I truly never want to do, I don't want to question, just trust.  I had a choice to make, continue to become resentful, angry, upset, bitter, or worship God, trust Him no matter the calling He chose for our marriage.  I wanted to know God's goodness, the sweetness of His love, I desperately desire to be consumed by Him.  I realized the only way to make this happen is to give God what I desired.  Seek Him the way I wanted to be loved and pursued. To seek Him for a love that I so desperately wanted.

The more I pursue Him like this, the more I seek Him, the more I spend time with Him... the more He reveals the sweetness of his love, that He is truly making it complete in me.  People will always fail to make us feel special, to feel loved, but God, God is unfailing love and when I seek Him to fill me with the love I so badly desire, He fills me abundantly.  He overflows me with His love and with this love I am able to love others, to love Adam more deeply,  more passionately, than seems humanly possible.  I love Adam with the love Jesus pours out into me and daily my desire and love for both God and my husband grows.  God is love, love is not a feeling, not a verb... love is GOD. 

Last I updated we were discharged from Harborview.  Adam was struggling in so many ways.  Adam has continued to work hard, persevere, and press on in this journey.  His walking has improved, his speech has improved, everything physically he has made remarkable improvements on.  Even his memory has improved.  With his memory improving, Adam has struggled like never before.  He is aware now of his injury, aware that he is not the same person he once was, aware that life has seemed to forget him.  He is aware of the date and can't figure out how to process the time that he feels he has lost.  He is in the worst depression I have ever witnessed. 

Adam needs prayer like he has never before needed.  He has been able to express how he feels and why he feels the way to does, this is truly miraculous and this alone has left his team of doctors amazed.  Working with a neuropsychologist, he has expressed feelings of worthlessness, of incompetence, of not understanding why he is still alive.  He tends to focus on what he has lost, rather than the miracle that God has spared him and still has plans for him.  It is incredibly challenging taking care of him during this time, he doesn't want to get out of bed, has very little interest in doing much of anything.  Everyday I force him to get out of the house with me, and this has been very exhausting and hard for both of us but I know it is best for him to get out and experience life.  I love my man so much and it is so difficult to see him hurting like he is.

We met with Adam's team just this week and we have decided to make some changes to help Adam.  Prior to his severe depression he was at his best I have seen in the entire recovery.  With doing so well it brought forth an amazing awareness for who he is and that he isn't the same person he once was.  This is HUGE progress, while the depression is a terrible side effect of this awareness and breaks my heart daily, I can't help but rejoice in the significance of this progress!  While his team is trying to figure out the best route to treat the depression, we need prayer for wisdom, guidance, and strength.  Until we get the depression under control, Adam's recovery is really at a halt.  I pray daily that the joy of the Lord will be Adam's strength for the day, please join me in praying this, as well as peace and comfort for Adam.  Pray also that Adam will start to face the facts and find joy every day instead of retreating back to bed.

Thankfully, God has brought us into a church community during this time.  Weekly, Adam is encouraged by the pastor, another man!  Praise God, this has been an answer to prayer that brings tears to my eyes every time, I hear him encourage Adam, watch Adam around another man, and smile at the mention that God still has plans for Adam.  He even asks Adam to spend time with him, a friend in the truest sense, an answer to many prayers.  For the first time since being on the west coast we have finally been able to attend church weekly, and be in community and fellowship with other believers!  Praise God!

I don't know what may come of all of this, but I know God has been continuously faithful in answering the cry of my heart to not leave us like this.  To daily place His fingerprints on our lives by changing us, not allowing us to enter the next day the same as we were when we entered the day before.  God is doing this in Adam's physical recovery as well as our hearts.  We praise God for what He has done, for what He is doing, and for what is still to come, we wait in expectation and anticipation to see God bring healing every day.

Adam has been able to do the back stroke unassisted in therapy

Adam and I have been enjoying weekly dates to the bowling alley near us, he has even been able to bowl strikes!
Since Goldie has been with Mackenzie, Adam needed a companion, this is Ranger.

My kiddo, my heart... love her

Adam and I have been blessed to be able to spend our Saturdays with our niece Abby
She brings great joy and love into our home! 
Our beautiful daughter Mackenzie and one her loves.

Adam and I went on a walk and we were accompanied by the deer below.


Our family is in need of your prayers as we continue to walk forward in this journey and face difficult decisions.  Prayer that we will continue to walk this as a family, that we will all trust God with the future and where that might lead.  Thank you for your prayers, support, love, and patience.  I will try to not let such a long time go between posts.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

ROOT ROOT... It's Discharge for us!!!

The last six weeks of living life confined inside the walls of hospital may have been some of the most humbling moments I may have ever experienced.  What a journey we have been on.  Surrounded by so many people who are just beginning their own journeys and hearing their stories has been both heart breaking and an honor.  Heart breaking because I can honestly say I know the pain maybe not the exact pain but one so very similar, I know the difficult road that comes with a journey, I know the grief from life changing in an instant.  BUT I also know and can speak from experience there is so much joy in the journey. I was just sharing with a family last night how much easier I laugh these days then before Adam's injury.  When life hands you an unexpected journey it really puts life into perspective.  Moments and memories are never taken for granted but celebrated and cherished.  Hope is never lost, never crushed, never far... because Hope is not a feeling, Hope is alive, it's Jesus. 

My prayer is that these families that we have been surrounded by, the families that have graciously shared their hearts with us will see Hope like they may have never seen it before.  I pray that all of us on journeys will seek to find Hope from Christ and Christ alone and not from the doctors, therapists, or anyone else.  May we all experience hope like we have never experienced it before.

Romans 15:13 (AMP)  "May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over)with hope.

One of my all time favorite worship songs is In Christ Alone...

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
The Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm

What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

The song continues on and I encourage you to listen to it, but I just love these lyrics.  Walking this journey for 4 years now.  We have experienced ups and downs, highs and lows, moments of despair and moments of unexplainable peace.  My feet have wavered from time to time, my eyes have wondered off the cross, but God has remained the same.  Faithful and true, comforter and peace.  God is continuing to show me His unfailing love for me.  He has been my encourager, my only source of hope.  And as we prepare to start yet another chapter of this journey, I pray that my feet will be planted firm on Christ alone,  that I will never once think of our situation as hopeless but hopeful, HOPE FULL!  Pray for us please.  While we are not starting from the beginning and our journey is not new, we are facing challenges very similar to what it once felt like at the beginning. Pray specifically against discouragement.

Praise God we are not alone, that He has been guiding and directing our steps and Adam's care, that He has supplied our needs and provided in ways that have been truly unfathomable.  We are continuing to trust Him as we embark on our next steps.

Today we are celebrating DISCHARGE!!!  When in a hospital setting this might be my favorite word!  Nearly 6 weeks in the hospital has been long enough!   We're hoping to break out of here sometime before lunch. 

We are praising God for His provisions once again!!!  Adam was approved for Rehab Without Walls!!!  This will be the first time ever that we will have help in our home with Adam.  We have very strict guidelines in taking Adam home and they will be very confining, but having support in the home even for a few hours a week is going to be amazing!  Adam is very sensitive to stimulation and going out in public as been posing some challenges.  Adam's doctor is requesting for every hour of stimulation, whether in the house or not Adam will require 3-4 hours of quite and rest.  His brain is just really sensitive and unable to process too much at one time while it is continuing to heal from all that it has been through.  It is also recommended that we limit our outings to appointments only and that Adam takes the next 4-6 weeks to be at home with controlled stimulation.  Pray that this won't be challenging for wither of us but a time of peace and reprieve, of healing and joy unspeakable.  Thank you for praying for us and for walking this journey with us, we are so blessed.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

My Marriage, My Man... God's Plan

What a privilege it is to stand by my man.  To be one as we walk the difficult road before us, to united by God's grace and love.  My role as a wife is different than most, I am thankful daily for Adam, even when he is agitated and all that seems to fly out of his mouth are 4 letter words... I am thankful that he is speaking... perspective.  I have to keep my eyes on the blessing God has bestowed upon me so that I won't get lost in the longing I have for my husband to be what he once was, but to see the gift he is and the gift we have been given to share this moment together.  It's easy to get caught up focusing on what I don't have or wishing for something different than what God has given me, it takes practice keeping my eyes fixed on God and recognizing that the life and journey I am walking is because He has allowed it and therefore is orchestrating all things for His good and for His glory.

I challenge all of you who are married, the next time you might be temped to be upset, mad, or angry at your spouse try to see what a blessing they are.  That you both have the ability to share life together, conversations, laughter, that you can create memories, share in life's celebrations and sorrows.  Ask God what He is teaching you about Him through your spouse.  God is teaching me so much about who He is and His characteristics through my role as Adam's wife. I have so much to be thankful for and I am incredibly blessed that I have the privilege to walk daily with my maker, allowing Him to ill any gaps in my marriage.  God has continued to shape and mold Adam's and my life, just because Adam may not remember being married, or even me as his wife, it doesn't stop God from working and knitting our marriage together not just our lives.

We are continuing to rejoice as we see God's hands throughout all of Adam's recovery!  It's been a successful week in rehab for Adam!  It's an incredible blessing to see all the hard work going into Adam's recovery both from Adam and from all those who have been working with Adam.  Thank you Jesus for giving Adam strength and for your provisions around Adam's team!

It's so awesome to be working with a team that will continue to follow Adam as we discharge.  It's helping as we develop a plan of care for Adam and not just a "survival plan".  Adam's physiatrist sat down with me multiple times this week and we worked together to determine a long term plan of care as well as played through some scenarios and how best to treat Adam if these situations should arise.  For example if Adam should become agitated beyond my ability to stay safe or to keep Adam safe, she and I worked on a plan of action.  We came up with a plan to continue to check with neurosurgery to keep an eye on Adam's shunt levels and making sure the pressure in Adam's head is maintained at a safe level. 

Adam's doctor also listened to my concerns about Adam's agitation, I believe he gets most agitated when he can't remember specific things about his life.  Most of his agitation is in response to his memory loss and confusion.   Awhile ago, before we switched physiatrists, I had asked about certain drugs that stimulate the production of acetylcholine which our bodies make naturally but those with dementia or Alzheimer's it produces at a much lower rate and those with brain injuries similar to Adam's it suppresses the ability for his brain and body to make enough if any at all.  When I had asked about this awhile ago, Adam hadn't been stable enough with all his seizures and other medical issues that it wasn't a possibility to try something like this.  Since Adam is inpatient there is no better time to try... the other blessing... ADAM HAS BEEN SEIZURE FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!  If Adam's seizures were going to continue with the fierce intensity that they had been he most likely would have had seizures right after surgery and with multiple surgeries he would have had a greater risk.  This isn't to say he won't ever have another seizure but continuing to maintain the pressure in Adam's brain this is helping to keep the seizures under control.  PRAISE THE LORD!!!!!!!!  With this awesome and exciting news we also have been able to work Adam off one of the 4 medications he takes for seizures.  This is only the beginning, hopefully we will continue to work him down to just one seizure medication.

One of the goals we have been working on while Adam is inpatient is how to work through the agitation and still be successful in getting out in the community.  This last year for us has been extremely isolating. We have been working with the doctors, therapists, social worker, and psychologist to come up with a long term plan as to where our family will end up and evaluating our support team and our quality of life.  This has been difficult as we have been so blessed with amazing support and incredible health care but the two don't always come in the same package.  So it looks like we will have more decisions to make.  Placing yet another life altering decision in the hands of God.  Pray for protection and guidance as we make this decision.  We won't be changing locations right away, as Adam still has quite a bit of recovery ahead of him.

We are hoping for a discharge date of next week sometime, but that will depend on what will be available to Adam as an outpatient.  The team here believes Adam needs intensive therapies and care to continue.  We have contacted a program called Rehab Without Walls, we are hoping our insurance will approve this as an option.  RWW will provide therapists, nurses, and other support teams to come into our home and work with Adam in his environment.  This would allow him to become stable at home before beginning outpatient therapies here at Harborview. This will help with the transition and with the stimulation issues that we are seeing arise in Adam.  RWW is a short term transitional option for us pending insurance approval.  I would love for God to provide RWW as long as God sees fit for Adam and not what insurance decides is best.  God has been incredibly faithful at providing all our needs and we are continuing to do trust Him.

Please pray for Adam's cognition to improve beyond what limitations man has put on him.  We know Adam's true physician is God and God alone and there are no limitations as to what He can do and is doing in Adam's recovery.  Pray for Adam's memory to be restored fully.  Pray for me and our family, there is more going on than I have the freedom to share and I could really use prayer.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

God Meeting Us Right Where We Are

My heart is so heavy and for so many reasons.

Often I don't understand all that we have to face in a day, I don't understand the mounting stresses and frustrations that have complied on top of Adam's injury.  God has asked only of me that I trust Him and place my trust in Him alone.  That is all I can do right now, because nothing about life in this moment makes sense to me. All that I am processing through both in Adam's recovery and in day to day life truly makes me feel like I am about to be crushed under the weight of it all.  But God is bigger and He is my strength and I am keeping my eyes fixed on Him and not on all the circumstances around me.

While I may not understand why we are facing all that we are facing, God has met me right where I am.  My time with God lately has truly been some of the best I can remember, He is truly showing me how sufficient His grace is.  He's protecting me in the palm of his hands.  He is walking with me through some difficult circumstances and pulling me closer to Him in the process.  I am so incredibly amazed how closely He is walking with me. 
The last couple of days I have spent processing all that has been going on.  I have spent time meditating on God's word and praying for direction and protection.

At the end of last week I learned that the doctors believe Adam is suffering from a brand new brain injury.  They believe that the trauma from the 3 brain surgeries, the complications of the fluid and air that built up on Adam's brain, and the 4 shunt and pressure adjustments was just too much for Adam's already fragile brain to handle.  This has resulted in new injuries, new deficits, new complications, new challenges, and the beginning of a "new normal". 

Adam has had a significant increase in agitation and has been unable to manage stimulation well.  This has been an expected turn in his recovery.  When his injury first happened I had prepared myself for a change in his personality based on what the doctors and therapists had educated and trained me.  I wasn't prepared for it to happen all these years later.  It hadn't crossed my mind that it could happen now, years after his injury.  But as a result from this new injury we are seeing what looks like a change in his personality and ability to cope with stimulation.  I am praying this is temporary.  Listening to Adam swear in anger and frustration over and over again all day long is very difficult. Thankfully the Lord has sprinkled some relief here and there.  Yesterday Adam had a great day, and was easily distractible... today, not so much.  There is no rhyme or reason as to what triggers his anger. 

After talking with Adam's doctor this evening she was realistically said that there is no way to know what Adam can and will overcome.  He has already come through so much and much than he was ever expected to.  No one can look at Adam's chart and read through his medical history and not see that Adam is here because God is working in Adam and not by chance.  Medically speaking most doctors can't understand how Adam has survived all that he has.  Adam has survived his initial injury, 14 brain surgeries, 2 life threatening infections, 5 craniectomies, facility related medication mishaps, a silver alert, and probably more than I can recall.  It truly is by God's grace and purpose that my man is still alive.   I can't wait to see all that God has planned through for Adam. 

One thing I know for sure is God has definitely had purpose in our time here.  From conversations with the staff to Adam's roommate.  With permission I am share this... Adam's roommate is a homeless man who truly has been given a second chance at life.  We have not only been able to live our faith out, but share it as well.  The last couple nights as the lights have been out, he has been discussing the changes in life that he wants to make and I have been able to share God's love, explaining, that God wants to give the gift of His grace through forgiving his sins.  I told him there is nothing God can't forgive.  I have loved the opportunity to talk about Jesus and our faith, it's nothing short of a divine appointment.   Join me in praying for this man's salvation and for his eyes to be open to God's purposes and plans for his life.

Matthew 5:14-16 Message "Here's another way to put it: You're here to be a light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.  God is not a secret to be kept.  We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill.   If I make you light bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket do you?  I'm putting you on a light stand.  Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand -- SHINE!  Keep open house; be generous with your lives.  By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven."

PS:  Mackenzie had her first day in high school, please pray for her as she walks through this time, and especially because we don't know where we will end up through all of this.  I hate the thought of moving her around in high school, but all of this is in God's hands.  We will continue to trust Him for guidance and direction.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

God's Plans Are Higher

A decision I made early on when I decided to live my life for Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior, was that I was all in.  In good times and bad, in difficulties and celebrations... I don't want to wake up in the morning being the same person I am today.  I want to consistently be in the hands of my maker, shaping me and molding me to be more like Him.  I don't want to go one day without His hands working in and through my life.  This has been my prayer and my heart since that day in 2005 when I asked God to forgive me of my sins and to allow me to live for Him all the days of my life.  This hasn't been an easy prayer to keep praying, especially when God has chosen very challenging circumstances, or even challenging relationships to grow me.  The growing pains are rough sometimes.

Everything that Adam and I have gone through prior to his injury and even since his injury has taught me a great deal about the importance of growing to be holy and making that my focus rather than my focus of just "being happy".  A long time ago, I remember saying frequently that "life's too short not to be happy", in reality life's too short to not focus on allowing God to refine me and make me more holy.  We learn a lot about God through our relationships with others.  God often uses our spouse to be the vessel to build in us Christ likeness.  This evening I was reminded how much I have changed and how much God is growing me through my marriage to Adam and even other relationships in my life.

We learn a lot about the character of God and who is when we follow the examples He has set before us.  God forgives; we learn forgiveness by refusing to give up on those who’ve disappointed us. God loves; we learn to love by enduring in friendship with those who are at times unlovely. God is gracious; we learn grace by blessing others when they haven’t earned our blessing.

I loved this example from a devotion I read earlier today as I was seeking wisdom and guidance from the Lord… “The Bible borrows an image from the world of architecture and construction to describe God’s plan for relationships: “So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another” (Romans 14:19 – NASB).  Relationships among Christians are like construction sites; each person is being built up spiritually, made more and more like Jesus. God is doing this work, and the tools he uses include our interactions with one another.”

When we disengage from difficult relationships (and or difficult circumstances), it’s like leaving the construction site. We miss out on the opportunity to grow in our likeness to Christ through the very difficulties we so desperately want to avoid.  The notion of pursuing peace is critical. It suggests that harmony is something we ought to crave so much we’ll chase it down at great expense to ourselves. Obviously, a primary obstacle to growing in our relationships is complacency – simply not caring enough to do the hard work of forgiving, accepting, forbearing. It is, after all, so much easier to disengage, ignore, marginalize. 
Marriage is the perfect platform for us to learn such great tools, to grow closer to Christ, and to become more like Him as we allow Him to use us to accomplish His will and for Him to have His way in our life.  Marriage also offers the perfect platform to put into practice what the Bible teaches.  Forging through the storms so that we might grow and become more like Jesus.  Not easy by any means but critical to our walk with God.  It might seem easier just to walk away from our difficulties, whether people or circumstances, but in the long it would be me who would be missing out on all that God has planned to be good through these storms of life.  Because I believe in God I believe this to be true, that no matter the difficulties God is still good and still working all things together for good.
I can see Him working things together for good as I watch Him knit Adam back together.  How thankful I am that Adam is still here and persevering through it all. It might have been a day of challenges and Adam was extremely agitated on and off throughout the day but, I sure can see God working all things together for good just by allowing Adam to be getting the help he needs at this time.  God’s provisions are amazing.  My man is amazing all that he is persevering and fighting through.
Adam had another full day of therapy nearly 6 hours of therapy plus a team meeting and a meeting with the vocational counselor.  I am so proud of my man!  He truly is the strongest man I know for all that he fights through daily and all that he has come through in the last 4 and a half years.  During our team meeting today as we were discussing goals and plans for Adam’s few weeks here as inpatient, my heart was heavy.  I explained to the team what baseline looked for Adam and even discussed some of the things he was capable of with his right hand only a couple of weeks ago.  His doctor told me that he believed some further damage may have been caused whether form the surgeries or the complications its unsure… but he believes it will take 6 months to a year to get Adam back to where he once was.
It’s incredibly hard to not be discouraged or sad when I think about it.  But just like I have been saying, God has a plan for all of this and there are no steps backwards.  He is still a miracle working God so please pray for Adam’s miracle.  Pray that this will be just another statistic he will defy and overcome.  I am so thankful God is in the miracle business, I am still hoping, praying, and believing for the miracle of Adam’s full restoration.  Not a sign of his injury left behind.  I truly believe this will happen.  When Jesus healed, he ALWAYS miraculously and instantaneously did so.  He never healing part way.  While He has allowed Adam to make it this far, I am still believing He will heal Adam completely.
Please continue to pray for Adam and our time here.  Pray against discouragement and frustration, pray for continued perseverance and strength.  Pray also for Mackenzie.  She is going through rough transition as she is preparing for high school to start on Wednesday.  She had her orientation today and it was a struggle for her, she felt so alone.  Please pray that God will provide her with good girlfriends and a positive 4 years at high school.  Thank you all for your continued prayers and encouragement, it really helps us get through our days.
If you would like to send something Adam can put on his walls in his room the address is:
Inpatient Traumatic Rehab
Room 465-2 Root
325 9th Ave
Seattle, WA 98104