Wednesday, June 28, 2006

This has been a very good week for us. God has been gracious and allowed us to see some significant improvements in Jonathan over this last week that I am anxious to share with you. First of all, Jonathan was able to go every afternoon for 3 hours to participate in Upward Basketball camp. There was never any hesitation from him at all; he just went in, gave me a hug and kiss, and went to get a basketball and get started. This was the first time I have had this much time to myself since Jonathan got sick. It is a good thing I had projects planned to complete or I would have wasted the entire week not knowing what to do with myself! I went early on Friday to see Jonathan and Sarah play the last game. There were no “J Plays” and Jonathan had to get in there and play with everyone else. Sarah was on his team and gave him the ball to shoot a basket a couple of times. Neither ball went in, but he played really well and held his own place in the game. I was very, very proud of him. He is well on his way to preparing for the next Upward season. This was the first significant improvement we got to see in Jonathan this week. I was able to get Jonathan’s room cleaned out while he was at camp. He was so excited at how nice everything looked that he wanted to start sleeping in his room again. So almost every night this past week, Jonathan started out the night sleeping in his own bed. He usually made it an hour or hour and a half before he would start crying. He would then spend part of the night sleeping in our room. Somewhere between 4-6 am, he would wake up and ask me to go back to his bed and he would sleep there until it was time to get up. Although he hasn’t slept through the night yet, this has been a significant improvement for Jonathan nonetheless. Another major improvement is that he has kept his room clean all week long! He has been very good to put his clothes away and make his bed every day. This is the first time this has happened in Jonathan’s entire life! On Saturday, we picked Elizabeth up from her trip to AR with World Changers. After getting her home and listening to her talk for a couple of hours, Lamar and I had to go run some errands. Elizabeth and Sarah were going to stay home and rest since neither one got much sleep Friday night (Sarah was at a camp out). Jonathan usually goes with us wherever we go, but this time, he wanted to stay home with the girls and hang out with them – another new thing. On Sunday after church, we went to lunch with Grandma Cooper and one of Sarah’s friends also came with us. Jonathan usually wants to sit by me, even if all the other kids are sitting at a different table. This time, he wanted to sit with the girls instead of by me. We watched him visit with the girls while he ate and it took him a lot longer to eat his meal than usual. While we were at lunch, we met another home school family who we haven’t seen in a while. Last year, during the summer, the father spent three and a half months in the hospital recovering from a virus that attacked his nervous system. They had not seen Jonathan and we had not seen them since all this had happened to our families. We got to share miracle stories from our families over lunch, and we went away praising God for the miracle work he had done in this man’s life. They have a son who is Jonathan’s age. At some point during lunch, Jonathan came over and asked him to sit with them. They talked and visited for a while and Jonathan started making plans for him to come over sometime. It was neat to see him interact with this boy. I was able to watch him talk and interact with other kids during basketball camp as well. Jonathan has been pretty quiet around kids since his illness. He will talk with them if someone else starts the conversation and carries it, but he has been very slow in initiating conversation and interacting with other kids. Over the last week, we have seen that change and we have watched Jonathan walk up to kids, initiate a conversation with them and then talk for a while with them. It has been such a blessing to watch that change in him. Another awesome thing we have to share is that when Jonathan weighed in Sunday morning, he had lost 2 pounds! We were so excited! This is the first time his weight has gone down instead of up. He has been so excited about it that we have heard him thank God for it every time he has prayed since then. It has been such a blessing to hear him share his grateful heart to the Lord. Monday night when he prayed before bed, we heard such a spirit led prayer from him as he prayed and thanked God for many things in his life and asked God to help him with the things he is still struggling with. We are watching Jonathan grow through this process in his relationship with the Lord and his understanding of God’s will and purpose in his life. I believe that God may have waited to answer some of these requests that we have been asking of Him so that we could experience this closer, deeper relationship with Him that we might have missed if He had answered them immediately. Jonathan is doing very well with his drumming. He is practicing well, learning new things and trying to create his own rhythms with the ones he has been learning. He sounds awesome! On Tuesday evening, we took a walk over to see Grandma Cooper (she lives two blocks away from us). On our walk over there, Jonathan ran a couple of times for us. He told me he could run as fast as his dad! When we got to her street, Jonathan ran all the way from the top of the street to her house which is four or five houses down. He definitely got his exercise on that trip! Grandma Cooper is on her way to join Grandpa Cooper and Uncle Chris in Israel for a couple of weeks. We spent the day yesterday visiting with Grandpa and Grandma Smith. We are so blessed to have our grandparents close by. They are such an incredible help and encouragement to us and we thank God for them.
God has been so good to allow us to see these small changes in Jonathan’s life. Sometimes it seems like things stay the same for so long and nothing seems to change. Then He reminds us that He is still in control and allows us to see progress and improvement to encourage us to continue to walk in faith, believing that He who began this good work will be faithful to complete it. We know that it is not only our own faith and trust in God, but the faith and prayers that you lift up on our behalf. You all are such a significant part of this miracle in Jonathan’s life and we are so grateful for your faithfulness to pray for him and for our family. Please continue to pray for Jonathan’s continued healing. Pray that these good changes that we have seen over this last week will continue to grow. Continue to pray for his interaction with others and that he will continue to grow stronger in his social skills. Please continue to pray for improvement in his walking and balance, for good tone in his ankles and flexibility in his hips. Pray that his brain would comprehend the correct way to walk. Continue to pray for our spiritual growth as we continue to seek God first. Pray for our wisdom and understanding as we continue to learn about healthy eating, exercise and weight management. Pray that God will continue to bless us by allowing us to lose the weight we desire. And please continue to pray for his sleeping. We are still having some rough nights (last night to be exact) and good nights as well. You can also continue to pray for our family as we seek God’s will in several important things we are praying about at this particular time. I want to leave you with the Scripture that we are memorizing this week. Thank you again for all of your prayers. We love you all.

Romans 12:1-2 - I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

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