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.

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