Saturday, July 29, 2006

We are thanking God for another very full but good week. We have been busy, had some fun outings, embarked upon some changes, and been blessed by the Lord in many ways. On Sunday, we welcomed Uncle Timmy home from his mission trip to Argentina and enjoyed the concert that the FBD Dallas orchestra gave that evening. The kids love Uncle Timmy for lots of reasons, but one of the things Jonathan admires him for is his drumming. God has gifted Uncle Timmy with the drums and it is so much fun for me as his sister to watch him play and see how God is using him not just in the lives of my children, but in the lives of people all over the world. Wherever there are drums, it usually doesn’t take Jonathan long to make his way to them so that maybe he can sit down and play for a few minutes. I can’t wait to see how God is going to use the drums in Jonathan’s life. On Monday, our family got to go to the Palace of Wax/Ripley’s Believe It or Not museums with a group called the Starlight Foundation. When Jonathan left the OCH, we were given a form to fill out in order to get to participate in this Foundation. This group organizes free outings for families of children with disabilities so they can enjoy these events without having to worry about all the extra things that go with having a disability. This was our first event with Starlight and it was a great treat for our family. Our tour guide was a 15 year old guy named Eric who was dressed up as the Scarecrow from Wizard of Oz. He walked through the museums with us and helped us find the answers to the trivia questions they gave us to look for as we went. We had such a great time! We walked for about an hour and a half and we only sat down two times for just a couple of minutes to watch a presentation. Jonathan walked the entire time without the need to sit down any extra time. That is a definite improvement! In the Palace of Wax, we saw movie stars, presidents, talk show hosts and many other things. One of the longest exhibits that we had the option to skip but Jonathan decided he wanted to go through was the horror movie exhibit. There were some pretty creepy parts, but we all made it through with only getting completely freaked out just a couple of times. There were two big exhibits that took up most of the tour in the Palace of Wax. One was the horror exhibit and the other, surprisingly, was the life of Christ. I was so impressed by the attention they gave to the Lord Jesus. We saw him as a baby lying with his mother in the stable and his father looking on (which was absolutely beautiful), as a 12 year old in the temple, as an adult with the children, standing on the mountain giving the Sermon on the Mount, at the last supper with his disciples, on the cross with the thieves and the Centurion looking on, lying in the tomb, and finally as the resurrected Lord. It was an awesome exhibit. In Ripley’s Believe It or Not, we stood by the tallest man who was 8 feet 11 inches, saw a pictures of the Last Supper that was made out of more than 2,000 stamps, saw a painting of the Crucifixion on a grain of rice made from one human hair, walked through a tunnel that was suppose to be an earthquake, saw the aftermath of a tornado, and tried to roll our tongue in front of a mirror that we found out later was a two way mirror where everyone could see us on the other side. After we finished our tours, the kids all got to make wax hands of their hands to take home. It was probably the coolest thing they could have gotten there. Jonathan and Sarah both did the “I Love You” sign and Elizabeth did the sign language sign for an “E”. After they finished their wax hands, we got to eat hot dogs, chips and cake. Before we left, all the kids got bags of stuff to take home as well. All of the families that were there got to enjoy all of this for free. I know this cost someone a lot of money. What a blessing that there are people out there willing to donate their time and resources to provide these special kids and their families with some fun time. We are so thankful for them and will cherish the memory of our day there. While we were eating, a lady from the Dallas Morning News interviewed us. The article ran in the Wednesday edition of the paper. I found the article on line.
Foundation helps disabled youngsters 'do kid things'

Starlight Starbright includes patients' families in outings

07:00 AM CDT on Wednesday, July 26, 2006
By KATHY A. GOOLSBY / The Dallas Morning News

His words are mostly unintelligible, but that didn't stop 11-year-old Collin Stevens from communicating his pleasure Monday at the Palace of Wax in Grand Prairie.


Eleven-year-old Collin Stevens and his mother, Melissa, toured the Palace of Wax in Grand Prairie on Monday.

While his mother and brother peered into a toyshop in the fairy tale exhibit, Collin began pointing excitedly at a life-size Peter Pan perched on the shop's roof.
"He really liked that Peter Pan," said his mother, Melissa Stevens.
The Arlington boy has Sturge-Weber syndrome, a congenital disorder that affects his ability to walk and talk. Medical bills tend to drain the family's entertainment funds, so Monday's trip was a rare treat.
Six families were treated to the Great Escapes outing, hosted by the Starlight Starbright Foundation as part of its effort to bring joy to seriously ill children and their families. This year, Los Angeles-based Starlight Starbright is expanding the program into 11 metropolitan areas, including Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston.
"We're rolling out the program in cities that do not have Starlight chapters but where we have hospitals that are benefiting from the foundation," said Dana Cozby of Arlington, the Great Escapes coordinator for North Texas. "We built a children's playroom in Huguley Hospital in South Fort Worth, and we have animated Barney dolls to interact with children while they are having radiation treatment."
Starlight also has worked with Nintendo to develop a sterile game system for hospitalized children. Players insert their hands in gloves and manipulate the controls inside a box.
Several local health-care facilities benefit from the foundation's efforts: Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, Cook Children's Medical Center, Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital, Medical City Children's Hospital and Parkland Memorial Hospital.
About 150 North Texas families have signed up for the Great Escapes program, Ms. Cozby said. The patients' ages range from 4 to 18. Their siblings and parents are included in the monthly outings at no cost to the families.
"It's a way for them to relax as a family and for parents to network with other parents," Ms. Cozby said.
For patients, Great Escapes offers a way to be out in public without feeling self-conscious about using a wheelchair, pulling an IV pole or being bald, Ms. Cozby said.
That was a big plus for Makenzie Goff of Arlington, who has cystic fibrosis. Her classmates wonder why she takes so many pills before a meal, but no one batted an eye as she prepared to eat a hot dog in the museum's snack bar.
"Kids at school don't understand cystic fibrosis," said Makenzie, 9. "I tell them that it's not something they can catch. You have to be born with it."
Jonathan Cooper , 10, of Lewisville slipped into a six-week coma in December 2004 two weeks after a diabetes diagnosis; then he suffered a stroke.
The road back has been difficult for everyone, said Kristi Cooper, the boy's mother. Including Jonathan's older sisters – Sarah, 12, and Elizabeth, 14 – in the outings makes them even more special.
"Starlight has been very good about including the girls in activities," Ms. Cooper said. "The group did a Valentine's Day party at the hospital, and the girls got to go around and do all the crafts, too."
Jeffrey Johnson of Rowlett, 9, was initially afraid that making a wax mold of his hand would hurt, but after one dip in the warm wax, his expression changed from concern to delight. Because of a muscular disorder, Jeffrey had to be lifted over the vat of wax by his father.
His mother and nurse watched as Jeffrey's hand was repeatedly lowered into icy water, then into the warm wax. The joy on his face said it all.
"I think he's really enjoying getting out and seeing other kids running around," Sandy Johnson said. "It's just great for him to get out and do kid things."
I’m always amazed at how poorly people retell the details of our story, but I appreciate their effort. That was our fun outing this week. The rest of the week we worked on finishing our cleaning, went swimming, and had some friends over a few times. One significant thing to share with you is that last Saturday night we started giving Jonathan Benadryl to see if that would help with his sleeping. That night he slept horrible. Not only was he up and down crying most of the night, he seemed more violent in that he would beat on things when he would get up crying. My initial thought was that the Benadryl was having the opposite effect that it should have had. Nothing else has worked so I really didn’t think this would work either. I debated whether or not to give him more on Sunday night, but decided to try it one more night. Sunday night he slept really well. We have continued to give it to him all week. He has slept pretty well every night this week. He continues to wake up a few times, but overall he has slept very well this week. As a matter of fact, as I am writing this at almost noon on Saturday, he is still sleeping! I guess only time will tell if the Benadryl is really working, or if we are just going through a “better” sleeping phase. Please continue to pray for Jonathan regarding this issue.
Thank you for your continued prayers for Jonathan and our family. Please continue to pray for Jonathan’s upcoming doctor’s appointments. Our first appointment is this week with the new optometrist, Dr. Charles Shidlofsky. Please pray specifically that he will be able to help Jonathan with his vision issues and that God will use him to bring about healing in this particular area of Jonathan’s life. Please continue to pray specifically for our appointment with the neurologist, Dr. Jeffrey McGlothlin on Aug. 17. Also, continue to pray for our weight loss journey. Jonathan continues to lose and gain and stay right around the weight we started at. Also pray for his balance. Sometimes he can walk so well and sometimes he really struggles with his balance. I have seen some of that struggle this week. Pray that we will continue to trust the Lord for all these things that we are asking of Him for Jonathan. We love each and every one of you and thank God that you so faithfully check on us and lift us up in prayer. May God bless each of you this week.

Psalm 37:3-5 Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. 4 Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

I hope everyone is doing well this week. The update is later than it should be for a couple of reasons: one, we have had a very busy week this week, and two, the website is down as I write this. So hopefully in the next day or so, you will get this update. Our week has been very busy because we have been at VBS at our church every morning this week. This is Sarah’s last year to be in VBS, so she has had a great time getting to do some extra curricular fun things each day. Elizabeth and I were floaters for Jonathan’s class which means we got to walk the kids from class to class and enjoy VBS with them. We had a great group of 4 th graders and they were all very good with Jonathan. Jonathan had a great time as well. He participated in just about everything that happened. He made crafts each day, he helped with the Bible study, learned about missions and all about the Artic from our wonderful teacher and friend, Mrs. Cathy, he learned 6 new songs and all the motions to go with them, and he played several games during Rec throughout the week. We learned about the courage of Elijah to stand up and proclaim that he knew God was the one and only true God to the prophets of Baal. We learned about Queen Esther’s courage to trust God and His plan for her life even as she and her people were facing certain death. We learned about Nicodemus’ courage to believe even though it went against his position as a religious leader. We learned about Saul and his courage to follow the very one that he had spent his entire career persecuting after his encounter with Christ on the Damascus road. And finally, we learned about Peter and John’s courage to continue to speak about Christ even though they were arrested and told to stop. It’s amazing how much an adult can hear and learn from something like VBS that is centered on teaching children. Most of the time I was so busy helping Jonathan learn the moves to the songs this week (and trying to learn them myself!) that I never stopped to listen to the words until Thursday evening at the Parent service. The kid’s got up to show the parents the motions to the songs and this time I sat and watched and the words began to jump out at me. One of my favorite songs: I know that I know that I know that only the Lord is God. I know that I know that I know that He is in control and I am not. I know that I know that I know that I’ve got to have the courage to show the world who he is, cause people need to know that they know that they know that only the Lord is God. There is no other besides Him; there is no other like Him, that’s why I put my faith and hope in him alone. I needed that reminder that God is in control, no matter what happens, because He alone is God. My next favorite song: In the middle of trouble I’ll be trustin God. In the middle of confusion I’ll be trustin God. In my good days, in my bad days, in each and everything that comes my way, I will be trustin God with all my heart no matter what no matter where no matter when. I will depend on Him; I will not lean on my own understanding. In everything I do I’ve got to have the courage to trust in God. Only trust Him, only trust Him, only trust Him now. He will save you, He will save you, He will save you now. Do I really have the courage to trust God, especially when I don’t understand what’s going on or why? And another favorite that really spoke to me: You are my hope, You are my strength. You are my friend, my everything. Your hand made me, You gave me breath. How could I fear what lies ahead? I will follow You, Jesus because I believe in God’s plan for me. I will follow You, Jesus cause I know for sure You hold my future and You love me so. I will follow. Isn’t that beautiful? I can have courage to follow God and not fear my future, or Jonathan’s future, or my family’s future because God’s plans for us are for good and not evil and they give us hope. (Jer. 29:11) Even as an adult, I needed the messages of these songs. Besides VBS in the mornings, we went swimming at least 3 days during the afternoon and we spent one day in Ft. Worth with Grandma Smith. It was good to finally make it to the weekend!
I wanted to share a couple of things with you that we would appreciate your specific prayers about in the days ahead. On Wednesday, Aug. 2, we have an appointment with a specialized optometrist that was recommended to us by the therapy office we talked with earlier this year. They had very good things to say about this guy and said they had referred many of their patients to him. We are hoping that he will be able to do more to help Jonathan with his vision issues than the average optometrist might. Please pray specifically for this appointment and for this doctor, Charles Shidlofsky. Also, on Thursday, Aug. 17, we will be going to see a new neurologist, Dr. Jeffrey McGlothlin. He was the first neurologist that was recommended to us when I began seeking a new one a few months ago. Needless to say, Jonathan’s sleeping issues are not improving, so I made the call this week and was able to get an appointment. I’m not sure how I feel about it. The truth of the matter is that I hate doctors, I’m tired of them and I don’t want to go see another one. At the same time, I feel as though I am prolonging Jonathan’s suffering by not getting him to someone who has the potential to help him with this issue. Yes, I am confident that God can heal Jonathan of this and I know that many of you have joined me in praying that specific prayer. I would be lying to you if I didn’t say that I can’t understand why He has not answered that prayer and healed Jonathan by now; it’s been 9 months. But I know that God knows exactly how He wants to handle this situation and who He wants to use to fulfill His purpose in this particular situation in Jonathan’s life. So I am trying to Rest in this situation even though at times I want to be consumed with thoughts of fear and uncertainty. How can we fear what lies ahead? We will follow You, Jesus because we believe in Your plan for Jonathan. We will follow You, Jesus cause we know for sure You hold our future and You love us so. We will follow. So we are asking you to begin now to pray for this appointment, that God will use this man for good in Jonathan’s healing process and that he will be able to help him especially with his sleeping issues. Also, please continue to pray with us about our weight loss journey. Pray that God will give me wisdom as I try to lead in this process. I am also praying that God would provide a dietician or a nutritionalist for us that might be able to help us in this process. I know that this is something that God has called us to do and I know He will be faithful to provide us with everything and everyone we need to accomplish it.
Thank you so much for always faithfully lifting us up in prayer. God continues to work in our lives individually and as a family. As I continue my quest in learning what it means to Rest in the Lord, I have found many wonderful Scriptures that have encouraged me and spoken hope to my heart. I want to leave you with some Scriptures I found already marked in my Bible that I remember claiming early on in Jonathan’s illness. These promises are as true today as they were then and I am thankful that the Lord led me here again to renew my hope and trust in Him. God bless you this week. We love all of you so very much.

Isaiah 30:18-21 Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him. 19 O people in Zion, inhabitant in Jerusalem, you will weep no longer. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you. 20 Although the Lord has given you bread of privation and water of oppression, He, your Teacher will no longer hide Himself, but your eyes will behold your Teacher. 21 And your ears will hear a word behind you, "This is the way, walk in it," whenever you turn to the right or to the left.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Thanks for checking on us again this week. We have had a pretty good week, especially after the somewhat discouraging week we had last week. Not a whole lot has happened. We are just moving steadily through our summer. We had a good weekend. On Saturday we celebrated Elizabeth’s birthday with the Smith side of the family. We had our family over for lunch, cake, ice cream and presents. Her birthday was actually on Monday, the 10 th, but she left for a week of Middle School camp that day, so we had to celebrate over the weekend. On Sunday, we took her out to eat and gave her some gifts from our family. Other than that, we spent the weekend getting her ready for camp. While our family was over on Saturday, Uncle Timmy helped Jonathan with some things in his drum lessons that he was struggling with. On Monday when Jonathan had his drum lesson, he was able to finally get a particular part that he has been working on for a while. It was awesome! I was in the kitchen listening to him practice and when he got it, I just started screaming! He is doing so well in his drums and I can see the excitement and interest growing more and more each week. When Jonathan will say, “Can I practice my drums before we go swimming?” I know that he is making progress! We had the privilege of hearing Sarah share during the Sunday evening service what she learned from her week at camp. After she shared, she got to sing. She sang a song by Chris Rice called the Untitled Hymn. I refer to it more as Come To Jesus. I remember hearing this song either before or during the time that Jonathan was sick. The message takes you through many different times in your life: when you are weak and wounded, come to Jesus; when your burdens are lifted, sing to Jesus; as you are walking through life and fall, fall on Jesus; when music fills the air and there is so much joy, dance for Jesus; and when you reach the end of your life and it’s time to say good-bye to this world, fly to Jesus. Isn’t that an awesome message? That song has spoken to me many times throughout our journey and it has touched me even more as I have listened to Elizabeth and Sarah both sing it. Well, Monday morning was a very busy morning for us. First of all, we got Sarah and Jonathan off to VBS with our friends up the street. This year, Jonathan is on his own without Elizabeth walking around with him. He has done a great job all week. Although he and Sarah are in the same group, they don’t do everything together. Jonathan has met some new friends this week and each day when we walked in, a different child eagerly handed him his name tag. Yesterday he told me that he accidentally bumped into another kid who was not happy about that and in turn pushed Jonathan down. This is really the first time that any child has reacted negatively to Jonathan since his illness. While I wanted to be bothered by this, I was kind of glad that the experience actually happened. It’s easy to get very use to people doting on you, making exceptions for you, doing everything for you and making it so that you don’t have to deal with anything on your own. While I am thankful for all those people who really watch out for Jonathan and who work to make things easy for him, there are time when he needs a challenge and needs to remember that he is just like everyone else and he needs to deal with life as it comes, just like everyone else. He did get hurt a little and he did cry, but he handled it fine and there were leaders around who helped take care of the situation. Anyway, back to Monday morning. After getting them to VBS at 9 am, we got Elizabeth to the church to leave for Middle School camp. That took a little longer than I anticipated, but she left and called me when they made it to OK. She had a great day and many of her friends made her 14 th birthday a special one for her. She obviously is doing fine and having a great time because I haven’t heard from her since Monday! I have been able to enjoy mornings at home this week by myself. This is the second week this summer that I have had 3 hours during the day to myself. Even though I have spent both of those weeks working on my mission to clean out my house, it has been a refreshing time for me. I have had very little time to myself since God began giving me my children 14 years ago, but time to myself has almost been non-existent since Jonathan’s illness. I am thankful that God has given me the ability to be with my children so much and to help Jonathan through this difficult time in his life. But through God’s grace, His healing progress in Jonathan this year, and the sacrificial help of our family members, Lamar and I have had the chance to enjoy some extra time on our own recently. We have continued to swim during the afternoons this week and we have actually been able to walk during the evening 3 times this week. When Jonathan weighed on Sunday morning, he had lost 1 pound. We are thankful for that. Each day this week, I have put a snack and an empty 8 oz. water bottle in Jonathan’s backpack. If the church provides something sugar free for him he can eat it, but if not, he has a snack of his own to eat. One day they had ice cream sandwiches and he ate the snack he brought instead of the ice cream sandwich, which I couldn’t believe. He has been very good to fill up his water bottle and drink it each day. Yesterday he said he was still thirsty so he filled it up twice. That’s a miracle! He has done so well about drinking his water. Yesterday, when he had his snack in the afternoon, I forgot to get his water out. After he ate his snack, I noticed he had gotten the water bottle out of the refrigerator, on his own, and drank it without a word from me. That’s progress! Over the past three day, he has drunk twice the water that he usually drinks. And he does everything without complaint. I am so proud of him and the progress he is making with his health. Exercise is still difficult for him, but he has walked each night this week without complaint. Another bit of progress that we have witnessed is that Jonathan is walking down the stairs in our house now. Since he came home from the hospital, he has always come down the stairs sitting instead of standing. This week, he has been walking down them instead of scooting down them. It’s a little thing, but it’s progress and we are thankful for it. Jonathan is still having a difficult time with his sleeping. He got a little better over the weekend, but has been up and down a lot this week. Please continue to pray about this for Jonathan. We are thankful to have Grandpa and Grandma Cooper and Uncle Chris safely back home from Israel and yesterday we said good-bye to Uncle Timmy as he left for a mission trip to Argentina. We are also looking forward to getting Elizabeth back tomorrow morning and to have our family back together again. By the way, I hope you have had a chance to see the new pictures that Lamar put on the website. The picture on the front is one of my beautiful Mother’s Day pictures. Isn’t it awesome?! We will try to post the other two for you to see as well.
Thank you so much for your prayers for Jonathan, for me, and for our family this week. God has been good to me and allowed me to learn of Him this week. As I told you last update, I did a word search on Rest and found 24 passages that spoke to me about the rest that I needed to learn about. What I have done since then is take each Scripture and read the surrounding chapter/verses to know the context in which this word Rest is being spoken of. The first Scripture I read is one that I has caught my attention several times in my readings just recently: Exodus 33:14 And He said, "My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest."While this verse caught my attention, I figured that the surrounding verses would probably not speak to me as significantly. (I mean really, what kind of significant word from God can you find in Exodus?) Boy was I surprised! These Scriptures were full of God’s words to me. Exodus 33 begins with the Lord telling Moses to tell the children of Israel that He will not go with them to the Promised Land because they were an “obstinate people” and He would destroy them if He went with them. Then it goes on to describe how Moses would set up a tent outside the camp and when he would enter it, “the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent and the Lord would speak with Moses.” (v. 9) One of the most awesome verses I read and underline in my Bible is verse 11a: “Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend.” Isn’t that beautiful? Oh how I want that kind of relationship with my Heavenly Father! Let me share the rest of the chapter with you: (vs. 12-23) Exodus 33:12-23 Then Moses said to the LORD, "See, Thou dost say to me, 'Bring up this people!' But Thou Thyself hast not let me know whom Thou wilt send with me. Moreover, Thou hast said, 'I have known you by name, and you have also found favor in My sight.' 13" Now therefore, I pray Thee, if I have found favor in Thy sight, let me know Thy ways, that I may know Thee, so that I may find favor in Thy sight. Consider too, that this nation is Thy people." 14 And He said, "My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest." 15 Then he said to Him, " If Thy presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here . 16 "For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Thy sight, I and Thy people? Is it not by Thy going with us, so that we, I and Thy people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?" 17 And the LORD said to Moses, "I will also do this thing of which you have spoken; for you have found favor in My sight, and I have known you by name." 18 Then Moses said, " I pray Thee, show me Thy glory!" 19 And He said, " I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion." 20 But He said, "You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!" 21 Then the LORD said, " Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock; 22 and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. 23 "Then I will take My hand away and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen."What an incredible passage of Scripture! I have been encouraged this week to continue to hope and trust in the Lord. Even though many things may still be unchanged, the discouragement is gone and I have been able to get up each day this week and spend a few minutes learning more about resting in the Lord. God is right there, in His Word, desiring to reveal Himself to us if we will take the time to seek Him.
Please continue to pray for Jonathan. He is doing very well in many ways and yet still struggling in others. As I sit here trying to finish this update, he continues to cry in his sleep every few minutes. So please continue to intercede for his sleeping, his continued healing and that we will continue to see progress and improvement in his life. We love each of you and thank God for your faithful prayers, unending love and continued support for our precious boy and our entire family. You are such a blessing to us. May God richly bless you.

2 Chronicles 15:2 "Listen to me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: the LORD is with you when you are with Him. And if you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you… 2 Chronicles 15:15 And all Judah rejoiced concerning the oath, for they had sworn with their whole heart and had sought Him earnestly, and He let them find Him. So the LORD gave them rest on every side.

Thursday, July 6, 2006

I hope this update finds you all doing well. I hope you had a chance to spend some time with your family over this July 4 th holiday this week. I am so glad the Lord gave us so many neat things to share with you last week. This week, however, has been more difficult and discouraging. It’s amazing how quickly I find myself in a valley after having reached a mountaintop just a few days before. I mentioned last update that I felt like the Lord has delayed His answers to some of our prayers because there is work He desires to do in us that we would have missed out on if He had answered immediately. I think that this week He is saying, “Do you really believe that and are you willing to let Me do that work in you while you wait for My answer?” I do still believe that to be true and I am finding out what specific work God needs to do in my life. I will share more about that with you later. Let me share with you what has happened during our week. Nothing much happened at the end of last week. Sarah spent a few days with Grandpa and Grandma Smith, the girls had a sleep over birthday party Friday evening, and we spent most of our day Saturday rearranging and cleaning up our game room. The worst part of those days was that Jonathan slept horrible for three straight nights. I think he was up and down every 5 minutes all night long, all three nights. In recent months, we seem to have mostly good nights with a couple of bad nights here and there. I guess this was the longest bad night spell we have had in a while and by Saturday night, I pretty much lost it. He started out the night getting up crying about 10 times just in the first 30 minutes he was in bed. At that point we stopped and prayed about it. Jonathan cried while I prayed and we asked God to touch his brain and allow him to sleep without waking up. Even though I believe that God hears our prayers and that He is able to do all things, I know there is a part of me that knows nothing is going to change because I have prayed that prayer for so long and nothing has ever helped. This night was no different. There was no change in his sleeping. As much as I hate to admit this, I was so angry that God has refused to help my sweet little boy and heal him of this issue. Hasn’t Jonathan been through enough? What’s the use in praying about this if God is not going to do anything? Every time I pray during the night, Jonathan is up crying again before I even get finished. At one point, Jonathan went back to sleep in his bed. After getting him settled, I dropped back in my bed and cried out of utter despair. Jonathan was up again in about 5 minutes. This time we cried together. He kept saying how hard it was that he was not able to sleep. He seemed very much aware that he had not been sleeping well. We sat on his bed and talked for a few minutes. I asked him if he wanted to sleep in his bed or in my room. He said he wanted to sleep in his bed. When I asked him if he wanted me to sleep in there on the floor with him, he said, “Oh, I really don’t want to put you through anymore. You’ve already gone through so much and you haven’t gotten any sleep; I don’t want to put you through that.” This just made me cry all over again. What a precious child to think of me when he is the one going through this difficult issue. He actually laid down and slept for 30 minutes then while I got my Bible and tried to find some comfort for my discouraged heart. I read through the passage in Acts 27 and I read through my notes that Donny Forson had preached about a faith that endures a shipwreck: That faith is resolute, unwavering, determined, confident; God’s desire for us to know His will is greater than our desire to know His will; The Holy Spirit reveals all things to us; The tendency is to back away from God’s revelation when things don’t go that way along the journey. When you compromise, God’s word cannot be fulfilled in that situation. Be careful not to compromise when God has spoken; God will reward us for our willingness to trust His word; Faith is believing God for what we cannot see – believing the God who gave the promise is the God who will bring it to pass. While I was reminded of all the things I needed to know at that time, it did not change the way the rest of the night went. To add to my discouragement, when Jonathan weighed in the morning, he had gained 3 pounds back. Needless to say, my Sunday morning was filled with tears. During the service, the choir sang the song Healing Rain. I tried to sing, but I cried through the entire song. This song was sung at Welcome Home Jonathan Day last year, but this day, I heard the message of this song: Healing rain is coming down; it's coming closer to the lost and found. Tears of joy and tears of shame are washed forever in Jesus' name. Lift your heads; let us return to the mercy seat where time began. And in your eyes, I see the pain; come soak this dry heart with healing rain. And only You, the Son of man, can take a leper and let him stand; so lift your hands, they can be held by someone greater, the great I Am. These words were sung for me: Healing rain, it comes with fire; so let it fall and take us higher. Healing rain, I'm not afraid to be washed in Heaven's rain. Am I willing to go through the fire that brings the healing rain? Oh how I want to say that I’m not afraid to be washed in Heaven’s rain. Jonathan looked weary and discouraged by the time church was over. So after lunch, we all laid down and took a 2 hour nap. He actually slept better Sunday night. On Monday evening after drum lessons, Jonathan and Sarah got to go spend the night with Aunt Keby since Tuesday was a holiday. Elizabeth was getting to spend a few days with Grandpa and Grandma Cooper, so we would all get back together on July 4. Jonathan is always excited to spend the night with Aunt Keby. There is something about her that makes him comfortable to be with when he is away from us. I am so thankful for this and for her willingness to take the kids, even though she has to deal with Jonathan’s sleep issues, and allow us to have an entire night of sleep. He did not sleep well for her, but he did have a great time with her on July 4 with lots of swimming and all the other fun things they did together. Lamar and I got to spend some time together and we met up with everyone for dinner and fireworks. Jonathan has slept very well the last 2 nights. He is still sleeping some in his bed and in our room, but he has been waking up only a couple of times during the night. We are still trying to work on our eating and exercising. I’m not sure what happened that caused us to gain the weight back. But we continue to seek the Lord, journal our food intake, try to stay active, and eat as healthy as we can.
As I have been pondering on all these things that have gotten me down this past week, I have come to believe that the work that needs to be done during this time of silence is in my own life. Jonathan is growing in so many ways. God is really working in his life, especially in his spiritual life. It is a beautiful thing for me to see. I believe the Lord desires for me to learn to rest in Him. I realized today that there are so many things that I am trying to make happen on my own. Yes, I pray about them all, but I am the one striving to make those things happen. A lot of those things relate to Jonathan, but I didn’t realize how many other things there were until I sat down today and wrote out “My Striving List”. There are 15 things that I am constantly thinking about or working on or dealing with and so far I have not successfully handled any of them. Go figure. So I sat down at my computer this morning, did a Bible search and copied 24 verses on Rest. I also read through 2 Chron. 20, a passage that I have read many times before. I put my striving list in place of the enemies and prayed that back to the Lord. I know there is much I need to learn about resting in the Lord. I am praying that He will teach me how to rest in Him and wait patiently for Him (Ps. 37:7) and to cease my striving and know that He is God (Ps. 46:10).
Well, thank you for letting me share my heart again. Thank you so much for faithfully praying for Jonathan and for our family. Even though the road is rough this week, God is working whether we can see it or not. Please continue to pray for Jonathan. Please pray for his sleeping. Please pray for his weight loss and the lifestyle change we are trying to make for all of us. Please pray for his walking and balance. Please pray for all areas of his brain to be healed. Please pray that he will not get discouraged when things seem difficult or unchanged. Please pray for us on this journey that we will trust in the Lord at all times, even when our prayers seem unanswered. I want to leave you with the devotional I read today that spoke exactly to my need to find rest in the Lord. God is always so gracious to speak when we need it the most. May you know perfect rest in the Lord this week. God bless you all.

"Neither know we what to do; but our eyes are, upon thee" (2 Chron. 20:12).

A life was lost in Israel because a pair of human hands were laid unbidden upon the ark of God. They were placed upon it with the best intent, to steady it when trembling and shaking as the oxen drew it along the rough way; but they touched God's work presumptuously, and they fell paralyzed and lifeless. Much of the life of faith consists in letting things alone. If we wholly trust an interest to God, we must keep our hands off it; and He will guard it for us better than we can help Him. "Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass." Things may seem to be going all wrong, but He knows as well as we; and He will arise in the right moment if we are really trusting Him so fully as to let Him work in His own way and time. There is nothing so masterly as inactivity in some things, and there is nothing so hurtful as restless working, for God has undertaken to work His sovereign will. --A. B. Simpson