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. '

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