Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Well, this has been a good week, although it has had its ups and downs for me. On Wednesday and Thursday of last week, we got to keep our sweet little friend Juliana. The kids love to have her over and enjoy giving her their love and attention. She loves them too and Jonathan especially loves to hold her and play with her. Jonathan continues to do very well with his drum lessons. He practices each day and is doing well grasping the rhythms and concepts he is learning. I see improvement each time he practices. On Friday, Aunt Keby came over and hung out with us for the afternoon and evening. She and Jonathan made dinner for everyone, and we even had our good friend Ms. Christen over for dinner as well. It was a wonderful meal. Not only did it taste great, but I didn’t have to fix it or clean it up! That was my blessing for the week! Another blessing we enjoyed on Friday was remembering one year ago:


9:35 am Prayer Need: Jonathan pulled his feeding tube out last night. The doctor's even now are deciding whether to put it back in or to leave it out and see how he does. He needs to drink 50 ounces of water by mouth per day. Please pray that the tube will stay out and he will be able to drink the amount of fluid that he needs each day.
Psalm 51:15 O Lord, open my lips, That my mouth may declare Thy praise.


His first words were, "I WANT SOME MILK. He has drank 2 containers of chocolate milk and wants more. HALLELUJAH! OUR GOD IS AWESOME.

AMEN AND AMEN!!!!!!!!!

Seven weeks ago today was the last time we heard our precious Jonathan utter a word. At best, we could barely understand him then because he was so sick. "I want some milk" will forever ring in our memories as the most beautiful words spoken - Jonathan's first words since December 30, 2004. He would also say "I want some more milk" and "I want some chocolate milk". Praise the Lord! It was an incredible moment. What a blessing to hear his voice again. Lots of things happened today, so let me back up to the beginning of the day. I walked in this morning to find out that Jonathan had pulled the feeding tube out of his nose in the middle of the night. The doctor said they may have to put it back in so that he can get all the fluids he needs (50 oz a day). They also changed the only 2 tube feedings he had left (3 pm, 10 pm) to snacks. I told them we wanted to try to give the fluids to him by mouth before putting the tube back in. So we determined that over 12 hours, we needed to give him at least 4 oz of fluid an hour. So that was our goal for today. Therapy went well. During speech, he ate 2 Cheeto puffs, some cheese and part of a graham cracker and did great. They are ordering him a mechanical, soft, ground tray in the morning to see how he will do. He should have no problems with it at all. Jonathan showed the neuro-psychologist that he also remembers his number 0-9 to go along with colors and shapes. After that we went to the play room for a while and watched Jonathan color on a Magna Doodle board, among other things. We went back to the room and I gave him 4 oz of chocolate milk, which he drank very quickly. After I put it back in the refrigerator, Uncle Chris and I were sitting on his bed talking to him and watching him desperately trying to say words. We continued to encourage him until he said "Milk." I asked him if he was telling me he wanted some milk and he said, "I want some milk." We cheered! Guess what Jonathan got? The rest of the carton and another whole carton too! I think he said "I want some milk" at least 100 times and we just kept calling all the family and holding the phone to his mouth. The doctor told us that chewing and talking usually happen together. Later on in the evening, he said "Bye" to his grandparents too. He continued to try to say more things during the evening, like Dad, Mom, Hi and Bye most of them were whispers but words none the less. We are looking forward to hearing every word he wants to say to us. Jonathan gives great hugs and tonight for the first time in 7 weeks, Dad got a hug from his son. He could hardly contain himself as Jonathan wrapped his arm around his daddy's neck and squeezed.
Psalm 115:18 - 116:1 But as for us, we will bless the LORD From this time forth and forever. Praise the LORD! We hope you will join us in praising God for yet another awesome miracle in the life of our sweet boy. Pray for Jonathan as he works through this new phase of his recovery and continue to pray for healing and peace within his little mind. Pray that we can maintain the fluids he needs by mouth so that there will be no more feeding tube. Pray for movement in his left arm and both legs and strength to hold up his head and to support himself. Thank you for praying and believing with us!
This is truly one of the most treasured moments of our lives. God is so good!

Our weather here was so cold over the weekend. We stayed in all day Saturday except for going to Jonathan’s basketball game. Jonathan’s team tied their game this week. They all played awesome! Jonathan got to play a couple of times during the first half and he made one basket for his team. One time the guys were running their play while he was in there, and although the “J play” was not called, when they got to where Jonathan was standing, they just gave him the ball and let him shoot it. His teammates are the BEST! Jonathan also got to play and entire period during the second half. He did a lot of defense during that period. He tends to forget things easily, and each time he went to the wrong place on the court, his teammates would adjust and keep playing. Jonathan got the Best Defense star for this game. Because the weather was threatening to get bad, they canceled Sarah’s game so we got to go home early. We have enjoyed watching a lot of the Olympics this past week, so we sat around and did that much of the weekend. It was a great time to just relax at home, something we haven’t had much time for this year. We were able to make it to church on Sunday. After choir in the evening, Jonathan came to tell me he was going to RAs with his friend Zachary. He came down to the sanctuary from his choir class, up on the platform where I was practicing, told me what he was going to do, walked back down the steps by himself (without holding on to anything) and out the door to RAs with Zachary, all by himself. I just love it when he does that! After church, he told me that Zachary was going to come over on Monday and play for the afternoon since he was off school. Zachary and his sister both came over for a little while on Monday afternoon, and Jonathan enjoyed being the one to have a friend over for once. We are grateful for friends like Meredith and Zachary who have been such a great encouragement and support for Jonathan. We went back to see Mrs. Lori today and she continues to work with Jonathan through her cranial sacral therapy. We are seeing some changes and are trying to continue to monitor those changes in relation to the things she is doing with him. I also received an email from the SpiritHorse Therapeutic Riding Center, asking for our preferred times for lessons for Jonathan. Hopefully we will find out soon when we will be able to have his lesson. It will start out as a 30 minute lesson and could become an hour, which I think would be great. Jonathan has faithfully worn his braces almost every day this week. We upped the time to 5 hours each day, and he has done a good job not complaining about wearing them. As I watched him walk today, I told him I thought his feet looked straighter than I had seen them before, so hopefully, our wearing them is having the affect it needs to have on straightening his feet.

As I read back over the journal from this time last year, here is what I read:

Although today was a tough day for all of us, God continues to faithfully give us little blessings to remind us that He is in control of Jonathan's life. Jonathan cried pretty much all night long. We had a few 20 minute periods of sleep, but for the most part, he cried from 10 pm until 9 am. I can't even express to you how tough it is to watch him struggle through those periods of agitation. Knowing that the agitation and sleep issues he is having are very normal does not make it any easier to deal with. It is heart wrenching to be unable to do anything to help him. You just pray and cry with him. The doctor gave him a new medicine this morning to help calm him down and it knocked him out for most of the day. He only got one of his therapy sessions, but he desperately needed the rest. They are going to give him this medicine again tonight as well. We had our Cares Conference again today and talked about the sleep issues as well as the rise in his blood sugar. He is eating incredibly well and continues to progress to new levels of eating. He is now on the chopped tray and hopefully will be on a regular tray by next week. We can't help but praise the Lord each time we see him eat. What a blessing. We have been officially told that Jonathan is out of the coma. He is interacting with his environment which means he is no longer in a coma. He is making great progress in his therapy and we are going to continue on the original plan set forth for him.

God has been good to give us so many good days since we have been at Our Children's House. Please continue to earnestly pray for Jonathan's rest at night. This is so important for him. Pray for continued progress in his therapy and strength in his body. Pray that we will not get discouraged when we have tough days like this. Pray for our rest and strength as well as Jonathan's. God's way, His timing and His will are always perfect. Pray that we will wait on Him.

I will never forget this night. I remember how discouraged I was as I stayed with him that night and watched him cry the entire night. Oddly enough, we are at that place once again, only at home instead of in the hospital. Last Tuesday night, Jonathan had a very good night of sleep. He only got up a couple of times. Each time we have a good night, I wonder if it is going to be our turning point. Unfortunately, it was short lived. Since then, we have struggled every night. This continues to be our greatest area of need right now. I am always open to everyone’s suggestions, and I try every one that I am given. We have slept with the lights on and with them off, with music on and with music off, with things and without things, in his bed and in our room. We have prayed, rebuked Satan, quoted Scripture, stood on the promises and many of you pray diligently daily for this specific need. And yet, the Lord remains silent on His answer, and our efforts remain futile to this point. This is quite an emotional rollercoaster for me, mainly because I am completely exhausted most of the time. I am easily discouraged and fight feelings of failure and despair day and night. Thanks to Aunt Keby’s help over the weekend, I was able to catch up a little on my rest, but it is slowly being depleted again. There were times over these last few days that many of you have reminded me of your faithfulness to pray for us. I can’t tell you how that encourages me. It is sometimes the only thing that keeps me from complete despair. Although Jonathan doesn’t seem to be adversely affected during the day, it does affect our schooling and our daily activities, because we start the day late and stay behind on things all day long. I know that God is in control. We have been in this place of impossible circumstances many times in this experience, and God has been faithful to accomplish what no one else could – for His honor and glory. He who began this good work will be faithful to complete it. Please pray that we will surrender to His will in this situation and that He would reveal His will to us very clearly so that we can discern what path He wants us to pursue where this is concerned. Continue to pray specifically that Jonathan’s mind would be at peace and rest each night. Please pray that God’s grace will sustain me and give me rest as I deal with Jonathan each night. Pray that I will be able to stand firm against the attacks of Satan in the midst of this difficult issue. I am claiming this Scripture for Jonathan: Psalm 4:8 - In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For Thou alone, O LORD, dost make me to dwell in safety.

Once again, thank you so much for your continued prayers for us. As I have already said, we could not make it without your support and prayers. Thank you for specifically praying for Jonathan’s greatest need of restful sleep. Please pray for health for our family as all the kids seem to have a touch of a cold right now. Please pray that Jonathan will continue to faithfully wear his braces and that the Lord will reward his faithfulness with beautiful, straight feet. Pray that he will continue to gain strength in his hips, legs and ankles. He seems to be getting stronger and stronger each day. Pray that he will be able to finish out a wonderful basketball experience. His running and stamina have improved so much and we are overjoyed with his progress. Pray that God will orchestrate the details of his therapeutic riding lessons and that He will again hand pick Jonathan’s therapist for this part of his recovery. Pray that we will have wisdom to discern God’s will for the best way to help Jonathan and that we would know exactly what He wants us to pursue each step of the way. I continue to be drawn to these Scriptures that we read in church last Sunday, so I will leave them with you tonight. How grateful I am to know that our great God is in control of every detail of our lives. We love you all.

Ephesians 1:18-23 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might 20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! This holiday will always bring us many memories. Here is where we were a year ago:

This is a Valentine's Day we will never forget for a number of reasons. Jonathan had a great day to start out the week. He ate great at all of his meals and even fed himself some pudding this evening. It was a cool thing to watch. He did great in all his therapy again. Our best session was with the neuro psychologist, Dr. J. She asked him a few questions and then gave him a toy with square, triangle and circle blocks to put in the appropriate holes on top of the bucket. The first couple were slow, but as he went on, he would take them right out of her hand and put them in the slot they belonged in. She asked him to compare 2 blocks and asked same/different as well as to pick out the different block out of 3. He did very well knowing his shapes and colors. She also had him pick up puzzle pieces of a boat, train, truck, plane and bus. He knew which ones they were. I was so very proud. He did such a fabulous job. The Lord, of course, deserves all the credit, although the snack of sugar free chocolate/vanilla swirl pudding just before we went might have helped just a bit!

Today was a very emotional day for me. I wept as I wrote Valentine notes to our girls whom we love so much and are so proud of how they have handled this enormous trial in our family. I wept many times as I looked upon our precious son. My heart was torn between undying gratitude to the Lord for the fact that he is alive, breathing, eating, holding his head up, moving his arms, opening his eyes, and yet begging God to restore him soon and let this cup pass from our lives. God's grace is sufficient and He remains faithful to carry us through each and every step of this path we are on. We hope that you have taken the time today to tell the precious people in your life how much you love them. Each day is a treasure not to be taken lightly.
Our prayer requests remain the same. Praise God for the wonders He shows us daily in Jonathan's healing process. Pray for his continued healing and daily progress. Pray for rest, health and strength for the rest of us as we wait for God's perfect will and time. We love you all.

This Valentine’s Day was very special because we remember where we have come from and are so grateful for where we are today. This has been an unusual week for us, but mostly for me. Jonathan had his second drum lesson on Thursday. He practiced very well last week and did very well in his lesson. He told me he thought he was going to stick with the drums. I think he is enjoying it very much. After that, we watched a movie together while making Valentine cards for our homeschool friends to give at the party the next day. As soon as the movie was finished, I gave Jonathan the insulin he gets each evening. As soon as I finished giving him the shot and turned to put up his supplies, I realized that I had given him the wrong insulin. I gave him the Humalog, which he gets at each meal instead of the Lantus which he gets once a day. He only gets between 8-15 units at each meal, but he gets 35 units at night, so I ended up giving him 35 units of the wrong insulin. I wanted to die. After calling the doctor, he said it was not a big deal, we just needed to give him some carbs to cover the insulin, check his sugar ever hour or two and give him half of his Lantus in the morning. That’s what I get for not paying attention. I hate to make a mistake like that because it causes unnecessary worry for Jonathan, who completely trusts in us to take care of this correctly. The girls told me later that once I left the room, he looked at them and said, “Mom gave me the wrong insulin – I’m gonna die.” But even though that’s what he said to them, he was very sweet to me and kept hugging me and telling me it was okay, that I wasn’t bad, that everyone makes mistakes and that he loved me anyway. What a precious little boy he is. He also wasn’t too upset about the fact that my mistake gave him the opportunity to have a real Dr. Pepper and a plate of French fries before he went to bed! I already get very little sleep as it is with Jonathan’s sleeping problems, but now I caused myself to have to get up even more to check his sugar and make sure he wasn’t low. Needless to say, I was not real happy with myself. Thursday was such a tough day for me. I was completely exhausted from an emotional day with Elisha’s funeral on Wednesday, a sleepless night Wednesday night, and another long day that day. My spirit was so sad and oppressed and had been all week long. A good part of that, I know, is because of the lack of sleep I have been getting for such a long time. The other part is because I have been struggling for some time with this issue of affliction. God was gracious to me that night. He took that mistake I made and turned it into a moment of truth, understanding, freedom and ultimately peace for this overwhelmed heart. By the time I was ready to go to bed, I knew I was going to have to get up in 30 minutes to check Jonathan’s sugar, so I decided to read for that 30 minutes instead of lie down. I have been reading a book that our pastor referenced in his sermon a few weeks ago entitled Affliction by Edith Shaeffer. God took that 30 minutes and used the divine revelation of this book to bring understanding to me and I will tell you that a huge burden was lifted from my heart and mind like I have never experienced before. I felt free from the questions that plagued me and the thoughts that oppressed me and I was at peace for the first time in a long time. I want so desparately to share with you what God revealed to me, but I need to read and re-read to make sure I know how to share it correctly with you. Plus, I am still completely exhausted and want to finish this update tonight, so I will save it for another time. I will tell you this; don’t ever let anyone tell you that there is no purpose in suffering and affliction. There are incredible miracles from God taking place in the midst of our afflictions, even though from our perspective, the circumstances never change or seem to get worse. I am anxious to continue to discover the truths God has to share with me through this book and I hope to have the chance to share it with you very soon. Now, back to the news of the week. On Friday, we spent some time with our homeschool friends at our Valentine Party. We had a great time, even though it was incredibly cold and rainy. On Saturday, we had great basketball games. Jonathan and Sarah both won their games this week. Jonathan made 2 baskets for his team and also got to do some new things. He set some picks for his team and played more defense than he had before. He got to bring the ball down for his team as well. He did a lot of running and we were able to see that his running seemed smoother than we had seen before. He continues to have good stamina during his games as well, although he doesn’t play as much as the other guys do. On Sunday, Jonathan and Sarah went with their choir class to a nursing home to sing and pass out Valentine cards. They went during church time and Jonathan went without my going with him and did perfectly fine. I was very proud of him. Once again, we love to see him being independent and doing these things on his own. He did a good job of wearing his braces last week. We started out just wearing them for 3 hours in the morning. This week, we are increasing it to 5 hours and so far he is doing it without much complaining. Monday, he had basketball practice again. He practiced a lot of blocking and playing defense with his team. He did some awesome blocking and even made his coach laugh because he was so excited at how well he was doing. Jonathan never sat down the entire practice. He was even running and dribbling the ball at the same time. He did great. Today was a great Valentine’s Day for us. Jonathan went to see Mrs. Lori first for his cranial sacral therapy. There is so much about this that I don’t understand. She explains a lot to me, but I’m not sure I can’t repeat any of it. Jonathan loves Mrs. Lori and feels very comfortable with her. We continue to pray that God will use her to accomplish in Jonathan what she can to help improve his health. After that we met Dad and went to lunch with him. We all exchanged our gifts and just spent the day together as a family. Of course, my thoughts are not far from our Valentine’s Day last year. I remember how emotional this day was for me. It was filled with joy and pain, but God was there to sustain us. We are so grateful to be home and together this year. It is a blessing that I will not soon take for granted. Jonathan continues to sleep poorly. There are some small changes, such as he seems to be a little more aware of his crying or of my presence in his room. He seems to wake up and be able to talk to me and do what I ask him to a little better than before. I’m not sure what that means, but it is a change nonetheless. One day last week, a sweet lady who works at FBC Dallas gave Grandma Cooper a CD to give to us. Her son, who is also named Jonathan and is also 9 years old, suffered from night terrors as well. They used this CD to help him get through his. It is a CD of 700 promises from God’s Word set to music. I don’t turn it up very loud, so Jonathan is probably not able to understand what is being said, nevertheless, God’s Word is being spoken over him as he sleeps. I know there is power in God’s Word, so I am thankful to have it playing through the night and pray that God will use it to bring healing and restore Jonathan’s sleeping soon. Thank you, Sherron Kemp for this wonderful gift. I think Jonathan is coming down with a little bit of a cold, so please be in prayer for his health as well.
Thank you so much for your prayers for Jonathan. Please continue to pray specifically for Jonathan’s sleeping. Please pray for the healing needed to resolve this issue. Pray that he will sleep in peace and that his mind will be at rest. Pray that God’s Word will be a powerful force in his room as it is spoken each night. Please pray for me as well. Not only is it difficult for me to watch him go through this each night, it is physically wearing me out. I live in a state of exhaustion and I know Satan uses my weakness to bring doubt and discouragement to my spirit. But God is there to sustain me each day and His strength is made perfect in my weakness. I would greatly covet your prayers as well. Pray that Jonathan will continue to improve in his balance and strength in his legs. Pray that God will orchestrate the details of his therapeutic riding and provide the direction we need for his continuing therapy. Please pray for Mrs. Lori as she works with Jonathan each week. Please pray for Jonathan’s health and the health of the rest of our family. God has been good and we have been very healthy this year. Pray that his cold will not be bad and will go away quickly. Pray that Jonathan will continue to do well in basketball, with his drum lessons and in school. Pray that God would continue to reveal Himself to us, to speak to us and to show us His will for our lives as we seek to serve Him. I would also ask you to continue to pray for our sweet friend Mary. I do not know what she is going through, but I know she is going through a very difficult grieving process. Please pray that God will sustain her with His love and comfort through this difficult time.
As I say good night on this special Valentine’s Day, I can’t leave without telling you how much we love each and every one of you who faithfully love, care and pray for us. Without you, we would not be where we are today. May God graciously bless your lives with His most incredible blessings. 2 Corinthians 13:11, 14 Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you. 14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.


Wednesday, February 8, 2006

I know I’m a couple of days late on my update. This past week could be described in a number of ways – good, positive, informative, exhausting, and sad. There is much to share with you, so be prepared for a lengthy update (as if it’s ever short, right?) Well, last week we had a chance to talk about and consider a couple of therapy options for Jonathan. On Wednesday, we had an appointment with a group called Alternative Health Solutions in Flower Mound. They specialize in Chiropractic Neurology. What caught my eye in the article I read about them was their emphasis on improving balance. That is one of Jonathan’s biggest needs right now. They focus more on the neurological aspects of balance issues instead of the outward, physical aspects, which is a little different that what we are use to. It’s hard to imagine that improving or correcting these parts of the brain that we can’t see actually improve and correct the walking and balance that we can see. After visiting with them, Lamar and I thought it would be a good thing to do. The only draw back is the cost. There is no way we can afford to pay for this out of pocket, and because we do not have permanent insurance right at the moment, we are unsure what the insurance might pay, if any. We will have permanent insurance as of March 1, so we are praying about this to see if God is leading in this way or not. We have laid this option before Him. He knows what He wants us to pursue, and He knows the financial needs He would have to provide if He wants us to do this. I was visiting with a good friend of mine about this who has her own practice in cranial sacral therapy. She had shared with me some time ago that the Lord had told her to offer her services to us for Jonathan without charge. Although I’m not very knowledgeable about this type of therapy, we did have some exposure to it while Jonathan was at Children’s. We had a therapist do this on him while he was in a coma. This friend of mine was at our house on Tuesday evening and worked on Jonathan for about 30 minutes. She commented on how tight his neck and the bones in his head were. Because of this tightness, the fluid in his brain cannot flow like it is suppose to and the bones are not as flexible as they should be and this can affect his balance. We are also hoping that this might help improve Jonathan’s sleeping as well. She did say that things could get worse before they get better, but they see any kind of change, good or bad, as positive. We went back to see Mrs. Lori yesterday, and she said that she could feel a difference just from what she did last week. We are hopeful that this will help Jonathan with his balance and his sleeping. So at this point, our plan is to continue seeing Mrs. Lori on a weekly basis since we feel that this is a provision that the Lord has given us. We will continue to explore whatever options are out there and wait to see which direction God is leading us to pursue beyond this. On Thursday, we had our second follow up visit with Dr. McDonald at the OCH. The only two issues we focused on were his feet and his sleep. He is concerned that his feet still turn out and that he walks on the inside of his feet. Apparently, we should have been wearing his braces much more than we did last year. He said we need to be wearing them at least 8 hours a day. This was extremely discouraging news for Jonathan. He dislikes those braces so much, but at least we know what we need to do now in order to help his fee straighten out. After discussing Jonathan’s sleeping problems with him, he first suggested trying a couple of medications for 10 days and seeing what happened. Then he decided a sleep study should be done before trying the medicine. He wrote a prescription for a sleep study. It will have to be done over night at Children’s. He said it takes a long time to get in to have one done at Children’s and sometimes they do them at the OCH. He is giving it to his secretary to work on, so there is no telling if or when it is going to happen. I’m not thrilled at the thought of spending the night at either place for any reason. I just keep praying that God will heal this before that becomes necessary. We had a couple of pretty good nights over the weekend, but the last couple of nights have gradually gotten worse, so I anticipate the next several nights to be bad. It seems to be the pattern. After our visit with Dr. McDonald, we had the opportunity to meet Benjamin Shannon’s parents and to see Benjamin again. We were so blessed to meet this wonderful Christian couple. They continue to trust the Lord for His miracle for Benjamin. They have 3 other children, one of which is Elizabeth’s age. Since we met them, Elizabeth has been in contact with Carolyn through email and is enjoying getting to know her. Carolyn is suffering from severe nightmares and it has given Elizabeth and her Sunday School class an opportunity to focus on praying for her specifically. Please be in prayer for this precious little boy, his family, that God’s will would be done and that His name would be glorified. All the way home from the OCH that day, which is about a 30 minute drive, Jonathan sat in the back seat and just laughed. I’m not sure what was so funny, but he literally laughed the entire way home. He had the rest of us laughing just listening to him laugh. It was such a blessing to see him so happy and hear his beautiful laugh. What a blessed treasure. Thursday night, Jonathan went to his very first drum lesson. His teacher, Mr. Brian is the drummer at our church. Before he ever got sick, Mr. Brian showed him how to play the drums a little one time Jonathan was at his house. The first time Mr. Brian and Mrs. Debbie came to visit Jonathan in the hospital they brought him a brand new pair of drum sticks and said, “Jonathan is going to need these when he gets well.” Jonathan had a great time and spent over an hour learning his first drum techniques and getting his assignments for the week. He was so excited he came home and showed everyone what he learned. We are so very thankful for Mr. Brian’s willingness to give his time to teach Jonathan how to play. We are all looking forward to see how God is going to use this in Jonathan’s life. Although we lost both basketball games, Jonathan and Sarah both played very well on Saturday. They each made three baskets for their team. This time, Jonathan got to play an entire period, and he brought the ball down each time and passed it off to his teammate. This was the first week we had seen him so eager to play. Every time there was a new period, he would jump up and see if it was his time to play. Two out of the three baskets, he made on the first shot. It’s fun for us to watch his teammates work incredibly hard to make sure that Jonathan gets the ball and the other team is held back each time the “J play” is called. They are a wonderful group of kids. After the game, we went out and celebrated Grandma Cooper’s birthday. Jonathan surprised us on Sunday morning, by going with Sarah to Sunday School instead of waiting around for me to get finished practicing and have me take him. It is always a treat for us to be able to watch Jonathan take steps of independence and do things on his own. We are thankful for each one and pray that God will give us many more.
I was looking forward to remembering last year at this time because Feb. 7 was such an incredible turning point in our lives with Jonathan. However, I will let you go back in the journal on the website and read it again for yourselves. It will bring a smile to your face and joy to your heart to read it again – it did for me. Instead, it is with a heavy heart that I want to go back and remember another memory from our journey. Within the first week that we were in the ICU at Children’s, I noticed a young lady in the corner of the waiting room who was earnestly praying with a group of people. I was drawn to her because I just knew she had to be a believer. It wasn’t long before we met Mary and found out that she also had a son in the ICU. Elisha was born with a rare disease and had spent his entire life in and out of the hospital battling this disease. He was 4 years old at the time. Mary was such an encouragement and support for us during our stay at Children’s. Mary and her friend came to our church for a prayer meeting for Jonathan on a Sunday night about 10 days into his stay at Children’s, even though her own son was in the ICU as well. I'll never forget how touched I was by this. Mary has kept up with Jonathan’s progress and we have kept up with Elisha’s progress over the year. Elisha was in and out of the hospital several times last year and the last time we saw him was when we were at Children’s for Jonathan’s anniversary on December 30. At that point, he had been there since October and was really struggling. Elisha went to be with Jesus on Saturday, February 4. Our family went to the viewing on Tuesday evening to visit with Mary and to see Elisha. Mary continues to amaze us with her strength, faith and love for the Lord, even in the midst of such great pain and loss. She got many big hugs from Jonathan. There were several people there who have prayed for Jonathan, and it was neat for him to be able to meet these wonderful people and visit with them. One of those people was Mary’s friend Judy who came with her that night to the prayer meeting. When she saw Jonathan, she laughed, hugged him and then cried. She told us that when she was at that prayer meeting, the Lord gave her a vision of Jonathan running. She had never seen Jonathan, but she said he had blonde hair and he was running. She told Mary then that Jonathan was going to be okay. Her story touched my heart. This is the first death that we have experienced since Jonathan’s illness. For me, it has had such a significant affect on my heart, I guess because we came face to face with the possibility of death with Jonathan. As I looked at Elisha lying there in that casket, I couldn’t help but wonder how different our lives would have been if Jonathan had been there just a year ago. I am humbled and in awe that God so graciously spared our precious Jonathan’s life and yet I can’t help but wonder why His will was this miracle of healing for us and yet not for some others as well. I have thought about it a great deal over these last few days and I’m not sure I’ll ever know the answers to those thoughts. Just before we left, Jonathan and I went to see Elisha once more. I stood there and prayed, thanking God for the incredible blessing of hope we have in knowing that Elisha is completely whole and healed in heaven with Jesus, where he knows no more pain and suffering, and that one day, he will again be reunited with his sweet Mother and family. As we stood there, Jonathan began to cry. I said to him, “You know Elisha is not really there.” He said, “Yes, I know.” I said, “Do you know where he is?” Through his tears, he said to me, “He’s in heaven.” We were blessed to know this precious little boy and we will miss him.
So now you know why I’m a little late with the update. It has been an emotional few days for us. Thank you so much for your continued faithful prayers for Jonathan and for our family. Please continue to pray for Jonathan, especially about his sleeping. I know many of you are faithfully and constantly praying about this specific need. Please don’t stop. Even thought we still struggle with this, it is such a comfort to know that you are praying. Pray that we will be able to find rest in the midst of this struggle and that God will give us grace to make it until the healing is realized. Most of all, pray that God’s healing of Jonathan’s brain will come soon. Please pray for him as he begins wearing his braces much more on a daily basis. Pray that they will not be uncomfortable for him, that they will not rub blisters and that he will wear them with a good attitude. Pray that God will reward his faithfulness by giving him straight feet again soon. Pray for us as we continue to seek the Lord and his direction in Jonathan’s continuing therapy. Pray that His will would be clear to us and that we would know which options to pursue. We thank Him for the provisions he has given us so far. Pray that Jonathan will continue to enjoy learning to play the drums. Pray that he will be diligent in his practice and that he will understand the things he is being taught. Continue to pray for his safety and good health to continue playing basketball. Pray for Mary when you pray for us. Pray that God will be very real and close to her and that He will fill the hole in her heart with His comforting presence. I will leave you with the words of a hymn we sang at Elisha’s funeral today that flooded my saddened heart and my mind full of deep thoughts with God’s perfect peace. May the peace that passes all understanding keep your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.

It Is Well With My Soul

When peace like a river attendeth my way, When sorrow like sea billows roll, Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, Let this blest assurance control, That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate, And has shed His own blood for my soul.
My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought, My sin not in part, but the whole – Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more, Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord, O my soul!
And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight, The clouds be rolled back as a scroll, The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend, Even so – It is well with my soul