Friday, August 25, 2006

I’m not sure I will be able to put into words what we have experienced over the last couple of days. Even though we believe with our heads that God is in control and that He has a purpose and plan for everything, it is very difficult right now for our hearts to embrace that. As each day passes, it seems to get a little easier but it still seems so unreal to know that Barbara Cooper is gone. When we got the call Wednesday morning, as Lamar rushed over to their house which thankfully is in our neighborhood, I got the kids up and we sat at the kitchen table and began to pray for God’s mercy that she was okay. Before we finished with our prayer the phone rang and Lamar told us that she was really gone. While this grief was very familiar to us because we felt it so strongly in those first days of Jonathan’s illness, there was something completely different about it. With Jonathan, there was always a twinge of hope lingering that something would change. This grief held nothing but finality with it. Grandma Cooper had many aches and pains, as all of us do. She had had surgery on her shoulder in the past and it made it hard for her to sleep in the bed because of the lingering pain in her arm. Often she would get up during the night and go sleep in her recliner in the family room right outside her bedroom. Grandma Cooper also was a Type 2 diabetic. We are told that she had been having very low blood sugars in the morning that week (down in the 40s). What we assume happened is that she got up and went to sleep in her recliner and because of her low blood sugar, she slipped into a coma and died sometime in the early morning hours. Grandpa Cooper got up about 7 am to come wake her up. When she did not respond, he touched her and found her not breathing and already cold. She was actually sitting in his recliner instead of her own which was unusual. After calling 911 and determining that she was gone, he called us. Thanks to my family and our friends, people were here to stay with the kids so I could go be with Lamar. We were able to sit at their house while we waited for the family to arrive and the funeral home to take her body. She looked just like she was sleeping, very peaceful. The only blessing we could come up with that day was that she was not hurting or in pain when she went to heaven. The shock of the reality that she was really gone was too much and overshadowed every thought. After her body was taken from the house, we got some things together and went to the funeral home that afternoon to make the arrangements. We spent 4 ½ hours in the strangest place, doing the strangest things that we never imagined we would be doing that day. I can’t explain it other than to say it was just a weird place to be; it just didn’t seem real. That night, after we were back together, just Lamar and me and the kids, we talked some more, cried and tried to calm some fears in their hearts and minds. This is the first experience with death that we as a family have ever had. Even though you know the day is coming, you are never prepared for it, no matter how hard you try. Fortunately, Lamar was able to sleep, but the kids and I found it very hard to sleep. The kids were afraid; they were trying to understand why but just couldn’t process it all. So we gathered all our mats, went into the game room and watched movies and played video games until we were finally able to fall asleep. Yesterday we spent the day planning the service and getting the program ready. Lamar did a beautiful job of designing the program and we were able to find an awesome picture of her from earlier this year when she graduated from Criswell College. I can’t look at that picture for long because her life just reaches out and grabs me and makes her death seem even more unreal. Today was easier in some respects; we were able to laugh and talk and exist for longer periods of time before the tears would begin to fall again. Yesterday afternoon and evening was spent at the funeral home with the family viewing her body. We took the kids to see her for the first time. I was amazed at their strength. Elizabeth is our very sensitive one. She can hardly handle these difficult situations; it makes her sick at her stomach. But she was able to stand and touch her Grandma and run her fingers through her hair, just like she remembers doing in her life. She did not spend a lot of time in there, but she did a beautiful job. Sarah is a very strong person in difficult situations. She never seemed to need to cry; she was always right by Grandma’s side, touching her, fixing her hair, wanting to know all there is to know about what is going on. Before we left, she did break down and cried very hard. Her Grandpa was suddenly the man of strength we know him to be and he stooped down beside her and told her how much he and Grandma loved her, how much Jesus loved Grandma and how this was not good-be, only see you later. It was a precious moment with her and her Grandpa. Jonathan has surprised me. He has not cried since Wednesday morning. He never cried when he saw her body. He touched her and stayed as long as he had to, but he mostly spent his time outside the room where her body was. He has done a lot of worrying. His little mind cannot process what is going on. Everything has happened to fast and so unexpected that he doesn’t know what to do with it all. He has been a strong little man emotionally. But he is afraid. We had some wonderful visits with our extended family yesterday. We were all able to sleep much better last night and for that I am so thankful. Today we will have the viewing in the Sanctuary at First Baptist Church, Dallas from 6-8 pm. The funeral will be Saturday morning at 10 am at First Baptist Church, Dallas.
Thank you for praying for our family this week. Thank you to all of you who have emailed me with your thoughts, prayers and words of encouragement. I am overwhelmed by your love for us. Please pray for us over the next couple of days. Pray for the kids as each one of them deals with this in their own way. Pray for Elizabeth, that she will be able to handle the grief of the funeral. She is afraid she will not be able to make it without throwing up. This is a very real issue for her. Pray for sweet Sarah, as I know this last good-bye will be hard for her. Pray for Jonathan that he will not be afraid and that if he needs to cry he will be able to do so. All of us are grieving in different ways as Barbara was someone different to all of us. To the kids she was an awesome Grandma. To me, she was a wonderful mother-in-law. To Lamar she was his precious mother. But to Dad, she was his wife. Please, please lift Dad us in your prayers this weekend. I can’t even imagine the grief he is experiencing. There will be a time at the close of the funeral for our family to say our last goodbye to our Mom and Grandma. Please pray for us at that point as it will be just as hard, if not harder than the moment we found her. Pray that all of our hearts will heal and will begin to see God’s hand at work in all of this. Pray that we will trust in the Lord with our whole hearts and not lean on our own understanding. Pray that we will bring God glory, even through death, knowing that He has promised to be with us. We love each of you.

Romans 8:35-39 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written, "For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered." 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Precious in the sight of the LORD Is the death of His godly ones. Psalm 166:15

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Dear Friends,

Once again I come to you to ask you for your prayers. We received a call this morning from Lamar's Dad around 8:00. He called to say that when he got up, he found Lamar's Mom sitting in her recliner; she was not breathing and she was cold. He called 911 and Lamar went over as soon as he got the call. She is indeed with the Lord at this time. I had to tell the kids as soon as they got up. It's not even 9 am yet and we have shed buckets of tears already. This is the first death in our family that we have had to experience and it is very difficult. I have not known this grief and cried this much since Jonathan was so gravely ill. This will be a difficult thing for our family to deal with as we are very close to both of our parents.

You all have been so faithful to pray for our family and we need you again today. Please pray for God's grace and mercy on our family and especially for Lamar's Dad, Lamar, his brothers Stephen and Chris and his sister, Ruth. Please pray for Elizabeth, Sarah and Jonathan as they deal with their first experience of death. Pray that they will not be afraid and that Lamar and I can minister to them somehow in the midst of our own grief. Pray that we will be able to focus on the blessings that this death means to Grandma Cooper instead of the loss that it means for us.

As always, we could not make it without you. Your prayers mean more to us than you will ever know. I will email again as soon as we know some specific details.

With love,

Friday, August 18, 2006

Wow! What a week this has been! My original intention was to start school this week, but that didn’t happen. Everything else did! But it was a wonderful week! I can hardly wait to tell you the details of our appointment yesterday. It humbles me to think that my God loves me so much that He would answer my prayers in such specific ways as He did yesterday. And we are humbled even more that so many of you prayed so earnestly for us through this appointment. Many of you wrote at the exact time you were praying and knowing that you were praying gave us such incredible strength and ability to walk in faith, believing God for this appointment. Well, let me get the rest of the week’s news out of the way so I can share yesterday’s events with you. We had a very busy weekend last weekend. The kid’s got to go to the circus with Uncle Timmy and Aunt Keby and some of their other cousins. They had a great time as always. Sunday was a day of new beginnings for all the kids. Everyone went to a new Sunday School class in the morning. After Jonathan got signed in, I helped him get settled in his new class. When we walked in, I noticed all the boys in one of the class rooms with an older gentleman. I asked Jonathan if he wanted to go hang out with the other boys. He said yes and when we walked in the room, all of the boys said hi and called Jonathan by name. I was so thankful! It was such a blessing for me to see that. When we went to pick him up, he was sitting on the back row with all the boys and seemed to like his new class. I asked Jonathan during church if he had made some new friends. I asked him if he remembered some of the boy’s names. He named a couple of them that he remembered. After church that morning, one of those boys saw Jonathan and told him good-bye when he passed him. I talked to his father and found out that they had learned about Jonathan through Sunday School and had prayed for him. I continue to pray that God will give Jonathan some wonderful new friends at church and I’m thankful for those He has brought thus far. On Sunday afternoon, the kids all began choir for the first time. Elizabeth is in the Chapel Choir (High School), Sarah is in the Clarion Choir (Middle School) and Jonathan is in the Children’s Choir. Everyone had a great time. Jonathan did terrific! I thought I was going to stay with him for the first couple of weeks, but he made his way to the circle of boys in the choir and did perfectly fine without me. I peeked in on him a couple of times and he was sitting with all the other boys (on the back row) singing and having a great time. What another blessing! After church we went to a friend’s house for pizza. The kid’s were going to spend the night with Aunt Keby, but just before leaving, Jonathan had a fall and ended up coming home with us. It was probably providential because when I told him we were leaving, he was working hard not to cry, so it was for the best that he ended up coming home. He wants so badly to be able to do the things that the girls do, but sometimes he is just not ready. He cried quite a bit that night, but once we got him home and in bed, he slept almost the entire night, only waking up once. On Monday we spent the day at Hurricane Harbor with some of our family. We got to do this last year and had so much fun that we decided to do it again. There were a few more people there this year than last, but it was nothing compared to a normal summer day. Jonathan rode a couple of new rides and did really well for the most part. All the rides are so high up which makes the walk to the top very long for someone like him. He would start out well, but by the time he reached the top and then having to stand in line, he would be completely wilted. But once he hit the water it seemed to revive him. We all had a great day and enjoyed the time we got to spend together with our family. Tuesday morning finally brought us the phone call Jonathan has been anticipating and asking about for two weeks – His new glasses were in! So just as quickly as we could get to Plano, we went and picked up his new glasses. He loves them, of course, and is trying to read everything we put in front of him. They look good on him as well. He has bifocals now, so we are working on learning to read through those. We will go back in September to see if any changes need to be made, but so far, he is doing well with them. Later on that day, we got to spend a couple of hours at Main Event in Grapevine playing Laser Tag and eating pizza with the Starlight Foundation. We did not expect to get another invitation so quickly but we enjoyed another fun family event with them. We got to play two games of Laser Tag. Lamar played the first game with Jonathan and I played the second game. He did a very good job. Sarah scored the most points out of the entire group on both games. (Those of you who know Sarah are not surprised!) We had a great time and we are so thankful for all those who make that possible for families like ours. After Laser Tag, Jonathan went to his drum practice. Yes, this was quite a busy day! He did well there and was so proud to be able to show Mr. Brian and Mrs. Debbie his new glasses. On Wednesday, we got to spend some special time with our precious friends in the Worship Ministries at Lakeland Baptist Church. They were so sweet to give us a little farewell party and a gift at their fellowship time. We have been blessed to serve with some of the most incredible people in all of the body of Christ and it has been our privilege to be part of that special ministry. We will miss you but promise to drop in and keep in touch.
Well, let me share about our appointment yesterday. Many of you called and emailed words of encouragement that lifted me up and kept me from being overcome with fear and anxiety about this appointment. I spent a very emotional time with the Lord Thursday morning as I prayed about the appointment. During this time, the Lord confirmed to me again that He will completely heal Jonathan. I wept that God would answer me again so specifically. I claimed God’s promise in Prov. 3:5-6 and I asked God for another promise for the day. He gave me Is. 41:10 - Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.' I shared all this with Jonathan after breakfast and I had to really work hard to keep my emotions under control. I kept myself pretty busy during the morning, but I continued to fight a nervousness in my stomach. Lamar was able to rearrange his schedule and come with us which was such a comfort to me. We dropped the girls off at my parent’s house in Ft. Worth before heading downtown to Cooks. I was so nervous on the drive to Ft. Worth that I had to just shut my eyes and pray and meditate the entire way. As I was praying, the Lord brought another Scripture to my mind: Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. I found myself telling God all the reasons why I could be thankful for that appointment: It gives us another opportunity to bear witness of God’s miraculous healing power, it’s another opportunity to see God’s hand of control leading and guiding this healing process, it’s another opportunity to show God’s love and care and His power to answer prayer to so many who are praying for us, it’s another opportunity for us to trust in God and believe that He will be faithful to keep His promises. It really didn’t matter what happened, I knew that God was in control. I finally found that peace and was able to walk into the appointment without fear. Dr. McGlothlin visited with us for about an hour. We shared everything with him. He listened, asked questions, took notes, read through the medical records we had and looked at the CT and MRI films we brought with us. After examining Jonathan and talking with us, he said he thought he could help us with the sleeping issues. Instead of putting him through a sleep study, he had three medications he wanted to try. He explained each of them and gave me a prescription for one to start with. He only wants Jonathan to take half a pill each night and to take it about a week and then call and check in with him until we find one that will work for him. He watched Jonathan walk up and down the hall. He told me that he thought his balance was not really that bad. It is the week right leg, the way his foot turns out and he drags his toe that causes him to lose his balance. He said he has a partner who specializes in gait (walking) so the next time we come in (which will be in Nov.) he thought he would have him look at Jonathan and see what he has to say. So really, nothing major happened at this appointment, but let me tell you just how God answered my prayers. When I first began to contemplate finding a new neurologist, I made a list of some specific things I wanted to ask the Lord for in this doctor: 1) I wanted him to be a Christian – I don’t know if Dr. McGlothlin is a Christian, but Lamar said he was wearing a Cross ring like the one that Jonathan wears; 2) I wanted him to be gentle and kind – Dr. McGlothlin was a very soft spoken, gentle, kind man in the way he handled Jonathan; 3) I wanted him to be sensitive to Jonathan and his needs – When Dr. McGlothlin began to examine Jonathan he said to him, “I don’t have any shots for you.” Several times he reassured Jonathan with regards to what he was doing. Not only was he sensitive to Jonathan, but he was sensitive to my concerns and addressed them very specifically; 4) I wanted him to be able to explain and help us understand things – He explained everything very well and went over the films with us, answering questions, verifying things we told him that we remembered and helping us understand things we didn’t know; 5) I wanted him to only suggest test that were absolutely necessary – He never mentioned any tests, and suggested that we begin with the medication to help the sleeping improve. Isn’t God amazing? At the top of the page on which I wrote these requests several months ago, I have a part of Matt. 7:7-8 written out: “Everyone that asketh receiveth…” God’s Word never fails.
Once again, I am thrilled to be able to share with you God’s answer to your faithful prayers. I am so very thankful that you are on this journey with us. Now that the appointment is behind us, we need your prayers that one of the medications Dr. McGlothlin wants to try will be the exact thing that Jonathan needs. I got the prescription filled today and he has taken it for the first time tonight. As I sit here writing, he has woken up crying at least 3 times. With the Benadryl, it took 2-3 days before we began to see it help him, so we are giving it a few days before we make a judgment. Please pray that the medicine will work and that it will not interfere with his bladder control. Continue to pray for Jonathan’s walking to improve. Pray that Jonathan will adjust to his new glasses and that they will be a big improvement for him. Continue to pray for his weight loss and his eating. Also pray for all the kids and myself as we begin school next week. Thank God for His goodness and faithfulness and His answered prayers. We love each of you and thank God for you. Thanks for checking on us so faithfully. May God give you a blessed week ahead. We love you all.

Matthew 7:7-8 Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. 8 "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Well, my intention was to post the update today, but I just don’t have the time I need to sit down and write about our week. But I wanted to write and ask you to be in prayer for us tomorrow, Aug. 17 at 2 pm as we go to our neurologist appointment. You know how I have struggled with this and how easily I want to succumb to fear and anxiety over it. I can’t tell you the peace that I receive knowing that you are praying for us. So I’m once again begging for your prayers for us at this important point in our journey. Please pray specifically that we will rest in God’s peace in this appointment – all of us. Pray that we will see God’s hand of control, His leading and His guidance throughout this process. Please pray for this doctor, Dr. Jeffrey McGlothlin. Pray that he will be gentle and kind and sensitive to Jonathan and his needs. Pray that he will be able to explain and help us understand things. Most of all, pray that he will only suggest things that are completely necessary based on Jonathan’s specific situation and needs. Pray that we will trust the Lord with our whole hearts and not depend on our own understanding. Pray that we will take this appointment as another opportunity to testify of God’s miraculous healing power in our lives. And then pray that we will stand on God’s promise to direct our path (Prov. 3:4-5).
I will update again tomorrow evening or Friday to let you know about our week and specifically about this appointment. Again, I can’t tell you how much we rely on your prayer support for our family. You have brought us through many difficult and important points in this journey. We owe you a debt of gratitude that we can never repay. We pray God’s most incredible blessings on you for your precious sacrifice of prayer for us. We look forward to sharing what God has in store for us tomorrow. We love you all.

Ephesians 3:20-21 Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Well, we made it through another busy week, but the days seem to have gotten away from me and I’m late getting this update out. As always, I’m so thankful that you continue to check on us. We are counting down the days until school starts and trying to get things wrapped up around our house in order to start school in a little bit more organized home. I am thankful for the summer the Lord has blessed us with this year. Most of the summers come and go being so busy that by the end I’m saying, “Where did the time go?” and “I really got nothing done.” But this year has been different for me. While I didn’t get everything around my house done on the schedule that I set for myself at the beginning of the summer, I got most of it done and am very pleased with what I was able to accomplish. On top of that, it did not seem as though the summer raced by this year. It went by at a steady pace with everyone getting to do the things they wanted to do. While I spent a lot of time cleaning and organizing, we spent a lot of time playing and swimming together. I think this is one of the first times I can remember thinking so often about how much I love hanging out with my kids. I get to spend so much time with them anyway because we home school and I have always loved that. Although, there are times when schooling can be much more stressful than fun. But this year I found myself just playing with my kids so much more than I remember. Or maybe it’s just because I’m so much more aware of how precious our time is together. Whatever it is, I have enjoyed this summer more than I have enjoyed any summer that I can remember in a very long time. Last summer was spent in therapy 2-3 days a week. This year was spent playing together in the pool 3 times a week and it has been awesome! Well, last week, the kids all got to go to Fine Arts Camp at church each evening. Jonathan got to participate and Elizabeth and Sarah got to be helpers since they are too old to participate. Everyone seemed to enjoy the week. And yes, that was my third week this summer that I had 3 hours without the kids! I didn’t have it all to myself; because it was in the evening, Lamar and I got to spend several of those days together. I didn’t get anything done, really, but I am thankful for the time we got to spend together, as that is a rare occasion for us. On Wednesday, Jonathan had his eye doctor appointment. We liked Dr. Shidlofsky very much and think that he will be able to help Jonathan see better. He prescribed Jonathan some new glasses and said that they should help him see better than he has ever seen before. He took two hours with us and was very thorough. I did come out and ask him if any of Jonathan’s issues were curable. While he did not say yes or no, he did say that he believes in making the best out of what we have and finding ways to maximize and enhance his vision at this point. He is suppose to be doing some research on some low vision tools that could help Jonathan in his reading and school work. The glasses that he prescribed had to be paid up front before they would even begin to make them. They cost us $756. I almost stopped breathing when he told me the price. So basically what I came away with from that appointment was that we liked this new doctor and think he can help further Jonathan’s vision in its present state, we are now out a lot of money for some glasses that we really can’t afford, and finally another confirmation of what we already know to be true – if Jonathan is ever going to see correctly, it will take a miracle of healing that only God can do. While I was concerned, I was not devastated. For one, I have recently seen God’s provision for our financial needs and even though I spent a little time worrying about it, my heart knows now what my head already knew - My God shall supply all our needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:19). Second, I didn’t need to be reminded of the fact that God is going to have to heal Jonathan’s eyes if he is ever going to see correctly. I have known that since he was a baby. Tuesday night as I was reading my Bible, I read in Mark 10:46-52 about Jesus healing Bartimaeus. I know that God can heal Jonathan’s eyes. When we asked God to completely heal Jonathan, we asked God for the whole thing – his brain, his diabetes and his vision. Let me share with you the other Scriptures God brought to my attention again regarding Jonathan’s healing: (These Scriptures are talking about Abraham and God’s promise to him to become a father of many nations) Romans 4:17-22 (as it is written, "A father of many nations have I made you") in the sight of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. 18 In hope against hope he believed, in order that he might become a father of many nations, according to that which had been spoken, "So shall your descendants be." 19 And without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah's womb; 20 yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief, but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully assured that what He had promised, He was able also to perform. 22 Therefore also it was reckoned to him as righteousness. I too can believe in God who gives life to the dead – We’ve seen that happen to Jonathan already – and calls into being that which does not exist – For Jonathan, that is fully developed optic nerves, the right amount of pigment in his eyes, no movement in his eyes and perfect vision. We continue to work on not becoming weak in our faith as we contemplate the impossibility of Jonathan’s vision issues. I pray that like Abraham and Sarah, we will not waver in unbelief but we will grow strong in faith and give glory to God because we are fully assured that what He promised He is able to perform.
A couple of weeks ago, our family made a significant decision based on God’s will for us at this particular time. Let me share with you the email that we sent out to those we had the ability to contact at the time.

To all our friends at Lakeland,

Because we love you and value each of you as friends of our family, we wanted to personally let you know that the Lord has called our family to return to our home church, First Baptist Church, Dallas. We have been experiencing God’s call on our family to make this change for several months now. After much prayer, discussion, and seeking God’s will and direction about this, we determined that He is calling us to return to our roots and serve Him there. We feel that God has confirmed this decision as His will for us and we believe this is the road that we are to take. While we are excited about all that God has in store for us as we begin a new chapter in our family, it means we must turn the page and bring this chapter to a close. All of us have made some wonderful friendships at Lakeland. Some of you are our Home School friends, some are our camping friends, others are our worship ministry friends and our tech crew friends; we have Sunday School friends, Awana friends, and staff friends, and all of you are dear and precious to our family. We thank God for each of you and the love, care and support you have given us throughout our years at Lakeland. We are eternally grateful for the way you have prayed for and lifted us up during the most difficult, most important experience of our lives. We owe you a debt of love and gratitude that we will never be able to repay. Even though we will not be worshiping with you each week, it is our hope that we will continue to enjoy your friendship and keep in touch with each of you. We will continue to pray for you and for Lakeland and wait with great anticipation to see what God has in store for you.
Thank you so much for being our faithful friends. Words could never express how much you mean to us.

All our love, Lamar, Kristi, Elizabeth, Sarah and Jonathan Cooper

We have been experiencing the Lord’s leading and His preparing us for this event for some time now. It is one of the easiest and yet hardest decisions we have ever had to make. Never have we felt so loved by two churches as we feel from Lakeland and First Baptist Dallas. It is a precious yet humbling place to find ourselves. Thus it makes it so difficult to leave the family at Lakeland. Lakeland has loved us, cared for us and carried us through with their prayers and we are forever indebted to that precious family of faith. But because we know beyond a doubt that God has called us to First Baptist Dallas to serve Him there, it makes it easy to follow that calling. We joined First Baptist this past Sunday and were so warmly welcomed back home. As we filled out the paperwork after the service, we were asked to answer that important question of what it takes for a person to go to heaven. Jonathan was sitting with Lamar and me, so we let him share. He sat there for the next 10 minutes preaching a sermon to this man about what it means to be saved. There was no doubt after he finished that Jonathan has been saved! Anyway, we want all of our Lakeland friends to know that we love you all very much and hope that we will continue to stay in touch with each of you as your friendship is very dear to us. We also hope you will continue to pray for us and check on us regularly as we greatly depend on your prayers.
It is now Tuesday and I have been working on this update since Saturday. Today we said good-bye to our dear and precious friend, Mrs. W. A. Criswell. Dr. Criswell was our pastor at First Baptist Dallas for 20 years before we came to Lakeland. We said good-bye to him 5 years ago and have missed him greatly. Because of Mrs. Criswell’s Sunday School class that airs on KCBI each Sunday morning, we know that thousands of people all over the world heard about Jonathan’s illness and have faithfully prayed for him throughout this healing process. During those early, critical days that Jonathan was so ill, we were encouraged many times as we heard her speak his name during her lessons or pray for him during her Sunday School time. We were blessed to have the opportunity to visit her class last September to personally thank them for their love and prayers and to sing for her class. We got to visit with her and we have some beautiful pictures with her that we will cherish forever. You can see those pictures in the 10-4-05 photo album. Although we will miss the physical presence of the Criswells in our world and in the church, we are so thankful that they are finally together with the Lord that they so faithfully served. We were blessed to know them.
Well, I can’t tell you how exhausted I am at this point. There seems to be so much going on; not just busyness, but significant, emotional, life changes that our family is going through. Yes, this journey is exciting as we are walking with the Lord, in the direction that He desires to take us, showing us more of Himself with each passing day. And while that journey can be draining sometimes, we know His grace is sufficient to carry us through. Thank you for checking on us and for not giving up on me when I get the updates posted late. Your prayers are so important to us. Thank you for your prayers about Jonathan’s eye doctor appointment last week. Please pray with us that God will provide the money we need for his new glasses. Also continue to pray for his sleeping. He is still taking the Benadryl and is sleeping pretty well (only waking up 4-5 times a night). Pray for our upcoming neurologist appointment which will be Aug. 17. Also, please continue to pray for Jonathan’s weight loss. Pray that God will give me the right information and some new insight that will help us in this process. He is just not losing any weight yet. Continue to pray for God’s complete healing of his brain, his vision, his diabetes and his balance/walking. We love and cherish each of you more than we can say. May God bless you all this week.

Jeremiah 29:11-14 For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 12 'Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 'And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 'And I will be found by you,' declares the LORD. '