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

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