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

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