Sunday, July 22, 2007

I hope this update finds you all having a great summer! We are enjoying ours very much. It pains me to think that school is literally around the corner. I have a very little time left to get things done that I want to get done and to be honest I’m just not ready for school to start again. I have some great things to share with you this time so let me jump right in and tell you what the Lord has done in Jonathan’s life these past two weeks. On Monday, July 9, we began our week of VBS at First Baptist. It has been about 10 years since we were at VBS there, so we were very excited to go again. Jonathan is really the only one who got to “go” to VBS, but we all had a job to do that week. Jonathan was in a class of 5th grade boys and I worked in the room next to him with the 5th grade girls. Jonathan’s class had about 15-20 boys each day and about 4-5 college guys leading it. The director of his class was a college guy who fills in for Jonathan’s Sunday School class when his teachers are out, so Jonathan already knew him. He likes Campbell a lot and Campbell took good care of Jonathan and helped him really enjoy himself at VBS. I saw Jonathan just briefly a couple of days during the week, but otherwise, he did the entire VBS week on his own, without me in his class. That is a praise and a wonderful testimony of the miraculous work of God in Jonathan’s life. I stayed busy in the next room with about 38-46 5th grade girls every day. Elizabeth worked with about 20 1st grade boys and girls and Sarah spent the week working at the homes of some of the widows of our church in the Dallas area since she is too young to work in VBS. Every day but Thursday we rode into downtown on a charter bus which was great fun for all of us, but a real treat for me especially! The only reason we didn’t ride on Thursday was because of Jonathan’s doctor appointment which was right after VBS which I will tell you about later. Overall, it was a great week at VBS. If VBS was all we had to do that week it probably wouldn’t have been so bad. But each day was full of other things that had to be done that week which made the whole week very exhausting. On Monday I had to finish birthday shopping for Elizabeth since her birthday was the next day. We spent the rest of the evening with Uncle Timmy and Aunt Keby which was also a lot of fun. Tuesday was Elizabeth’s 15th birthday. During the afternoon we baked her cake and then spent the evening with all of our family to celebrate her birthday. We had a special visitor with us for this birthday; Lamar’s grandmother, the kid’s great-grandmother, Mamaw, was visiting from Mississippi and this was the first time she has been here for one of the kid’s birthdays. We enjoyed seeing her and got lots of pictures with her while she was here. We had a fun time celebrating Elizabeth’s birthday and we thank God for the precious gift He has given us in her. On Wednesday we went swimming in the afternoon and then I had a doctor’s appointment to go to and on Thursday, we went straight from VBS to Jonathan’s endocrine appointment at Children’s Medical Center. I know that many of you were praying for us as we went to that appointment because I felt it. I spent the entire week praying about that appointment and trying to get my heart and my thoughts right about it. By the time we got to that appointment, here were my thoughts: Yes, there were many things that we had done over the last 7 months that were completely opposite from what we were told to do at our last appointment with Cooks back in December. If I were to go back to Cooks and tell them all that we had done, their response to everything would have been, “Oh, that’s not good.” So needless to say after hearing that response to everything I tried for at least a year, I was not the least bit thrilled about sharing this with Childrens, as I expected to hear the same from them. I am completely confident that what we have done during this time is the exact direction that the Lord led us to walk in regarding Jonathan’s health care. We have seen God’s blessing not only in Jonathan’s life but in ours as well as we have followed this direction. So I began to think, what am I afraid of? Why should I be afraid of having followed the will of God in this particular circumstance? I always tell people that being in the center of God’s will is the safest, most blessed place to be. We have been there with this particular part of Jonathan’s healthcare and the Lord has been faithful to bless. Why should I be afraid of anyone’s response to that? To be sure, I had no intention of going in and defending myself to this doctor by saying, “This is what God told us to do.” However, I was able to find rest in my anxious heart and mind knowing that God would honor our obedience and that He would be our defense. Psalm 118:5-8 says: Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered and set me free. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? The Lord is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. This Scripture and the prayers of many faithful friends and family gave us the confidence we needed to walk into this appointment. When we got there, Jonathan told me he was a little nervous about it. We talked about God’s faithfulness in his life and that He would again be faithful to him that day. Dr. Ham remembered us. She seemed genuinely glad to see us. She asked us how things had been going over the last 2 ½ years and I began to share our journey with her. She listened very intently to everything I told her. Not one time did she reprimand me for anything that we had done over the last 7 months. She looked at his blood sugar numbers and after talking to us for a while, she seemed encouraged and pleased by what she saw. In regards to lowering his insulin by almost 25 points, she said he was exactly where he needed to be. She was pleased with his weight loss and with the exercise program that we are currently doing. She made some changes regarding his meal time insulin to help keep in at a more consistent level. She was very encouraging and supportive of us which is the exact opposite of what I expected. Jonathan talked to her a lot and seemed to be at ease with her. He asked her what she thought about his possibly using the insulin pump. She said she thought that he would be a good candidate for using the pump. He has shown a great deal of maturity and responsibility, especially over the last 7 months in checking his sugar on his own and giving himself his shots after I draw them up. She said we are already doing half of the things they would require us to do to begin using the pump, so she thought it would be a great idea. I loved it because Jonathan took the initiative to ask her this question on his own. He seems very excited about the possibility of the pump. This coming Tuesday, July 24 we go back to the Diabetes class and we will discuss the pump while we are there. Needless to say, we left that appointment praising God for His faithfulness to answer our prayers once again and to increase our faith through this experience. Thank you for praying for us during that appointment. God heard your prayers and answered them again. We were finally able to rest up some from our busy week over the weekend. On Monday, we were out early again going to our appointment at Scottish Rite. I don’t know how you feel about doctor appointments, but all of them cause me some degree of nervousness. Jonathan was also a little nervous about this appointment. We had no idea what to expect, so we simply had to trust the Lord about what we would hear from them. We were, however, able to feed upon the fresh faithfulness of God in our lives and we were able to approach this appointment with much less anxiety. We saw three people while we were there. The first one was an assistant to the orthopedic doctor. We talked about what happened to Jonathan, what we had been told to date about his foot and what we were seeing and concerned about from our perspective. We also saw a physical therapist who gave us some suggestions of things we could do to strengthen his legs. After that we saw Dr. Cusato, the head orthopedic doctor. We liked him very much. This is what we were told. They do not think he needs surgery on his foot. Originally we were told he needed the muscle lengthened in the back of his foot in order for it to work properly. They said that he is able to get it to a standing position, which I believe is better than what it was back in December. I think that this is a result of the workout that Jonathan has been doing with his feet over the past three months. They said the reason he walks the way he does is because his hip and thigh are very weak and because he does not have the strength to lift them properly he compensates by walking the way he does. So basically they told us that we are doing all the right things by exercising and losing weight. They assured me that he will not destroy his hip by the way he is walking, which was a concern of mine. They told us to continue doing what we are doing and that they would see us back in a year. Depending on what they see in a year, they could possibly take an x-ray at that time, but he did not feel it was necessary right now. What a blessing! The Lord reaffirmed our present course and our obedience to His leading in our lives in this area. We were thrilled to hear that no surgery was needed and it has given us a greater enthusiasm to continue our weight loss and exercise program that we have been working on. We are changing some things in Jonathan’s exercise routine that will help specifically strengthen his hip and thigh and we will continue to work in that direction and see what God wants to do. Again, thank you for praying for us about this appointment as well. We are always comforted by the knowledge that you are faithfully praying for us. I don’t know how we would have made it through this journey without you. God knew we needed you and we have been blessed to have you walk alongside us in this journey.
Well, this is where we are today. Please continue to lift Jonathan up in your prayers. Pray that we will continue to see Jonathan lose weight over the next 6 months. Our goal is for him to lose another 15 pounds by the end of the year which will put him at 100 pounds. He is looking so good! We are thrilled with his progress. He still has quite a big stomach for his frame, but it is gradually getting smaller. I believe that his walking will improve even more when his stomach returns to a normal size. Losing 15 pounds will help that. You could take your prayers to the next level by asking God to help him learn when he is full and when he needs to stop eating. I’m not sure he knows when that is. He either just stops because his plate is empty or because we tell him he doesn’t need any more. So pray that he will learn how to control that part of his eating. Continue to pray for his exercise program. Pray that God will strengthen the legs that are weak, especially his right hip and thigh, and that his walking will improve in God’s perfect time. Pray that I will be content to let God heal this in His perfect time, and that I would not be so anxious to have it taken care of now. Pray for our Diabetes class coming up this week. Pray that we will gain more understanding and knowledge of how to effectively treat Jonathan’s diabetes. Pray for us as we make the decision about the pump. Pray for all the things that will accompany that, including insurance, etc. Thank you for your prayers for Jonathan’s sleeping. He is doing well with it. He does not wake up every night and when he does, it is just briefly, once or twice. We are pleased with his progress in this area as well. Please pray for Elizabeth and Sarah this week as they will be leaving early in the morning to go to youth camp in Corpus Christi. Pray for Jonathan as well while they are gone. We have a busy week ahead of us which will hopefully help the week go by quickly and we won’t miss them so much. Each of you are a priceless treasure to our family. We are the most blessed family on the face of the earth! Thank you for loving and supporting Jonathan and our family. We love each of you and pray that God will bless abundantly bless your lives because of the blessing you have been to us. Have a wonderfully blessed week!

Hebrews 12:11 – All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Well, I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July week this week. We have had a great couple of weeks here. Let me share what has been going on in our family. On Tuesday, June 26, we were rejoined together as a family for the first time in about 3 weeks. Elizabeth came back from her choir tour that day and it was such a great blessing to have her back. Because of all the rain we have been having here, we were concerned about the weather for their return flight. We prayed during the morning that day that the Lord would cause the weather to be clear until they had landed and were safely home. The Lord was gracious to answer that prayer for us. The area was clear and free of rain between 1-2 pm. As soon as we drove out of the parking garage to leave the airport, it began to rain and it rained so hard I wasn’t sure we were going to make it home. Isn’t God so good? He cared about my concern over that detail of Elizabeth’s trip and graciously answered my prayer. Again and again He proves Himself worthy of my complete trust in His control over every detail of our lives. I’m so thankful to have my family back together again. We spent the rest of the week catching up on all the details of her trip and listening to her and Sarah share their stories of their first choir tours. It was great fun and a wonderful time for all of us. On Sunday evening, we spent our worship time listening and singing along with the Chapel Choir as they presented their home concert. Chapel Choir Home Concerts bring back many wonderful, special memories for Lamar and me. This one was the best yet because our own daughter was a part of these special memories this time. At the end of the concert it is always a tradition to have all the alumni of the choir come join the current choir in the loft and sing The Battle Hymn of the Republic. This year we were able to stand beside Elizabeth and proudly sing along side her, sharing this special time together with her. I can’t even adequately express how special it is to have our kids where they are and to be part of this very special church that means so much to us. What a blessing it has been. Well, there wasn’t much going on at our house last week. On Tuesday, we went to Frisco with Aunt Keby and Uncle Timmy to see some fire works. We had a perfect view and were close enough to enjoy the fire works. On Wednesday, we spent a few hours at Main Event playing video games with a game card that a nice family gave us on our way in. It had about 3 hours worth of time left on it, so we were able to have some fun without having to spend any money! That was a real blessing as well. We grilled out at our house, had a nice time together as a family, and ended the evening watching fire works together. We were planning to go camping Thursday – today, but our reservations were canceled because of too much rain. We spent Friday evening and half of the day on Saturday on a special Passport to Purity weekend with Elizabeth. Sarah and Jonathan went to spend the night with Aunt Keby and Lamar and I got to focus our attention on Elizabeth. It’s hard to believe that Elizabeth with be 15 years old this week on July 10. She is an incredibly special young lady and she has blessed my life in so many ways. She shared with me just recently how much Jonathan’s illness and what we have experienced with that has changed her life. She is such a wonderful girl and I am anxious to see what God is going to do in her life in the years ahead. We stayed at a hotel in Dallas and spent Friday even and Saturday morning going through 5 different sessions that will prepare her for the years ahead of her. Then we spent a wonderful time having lunch at Antares, a restaurant at the top of Reunion Tower in downtown Dallas. After lunch, we got Sarah and Jonathan back and spent the rest of the day swimming at the hotel, eating dinner and walking around at the Galleria. While we missed having the opportunity to go camping together, we enjoyed spending the time together away from home, even though it was short. This next week will be a busy week for us as we will be in VBS at First Baptist every morning. We are looking forward to it.
Jonathan is doing well. We are enjoying our slow pace this summer. He has been doing pretty well with his sleeping. He has not had a sleeping pill since June 1. This past week he has woken up several times during the night, and I’m not sure why. He will do this two or three nights in a row and then go one night without waking up at all. I am just keeping my eye on it and continuing to watch his progress with this. I hope you will continue to pray that he will overcome this completely and that I will have the wisdom to know what needs to be done. Jonathan is also doing well with his diet and exercise. He finally moved the scale again this week and lost 1 more pound. We were very excited. Please continue to keep this in your prayers and pray that he will continue to see progress as he works so diligently each day.
I want to share with you some thing that you can pray about specifically this next week. After spending time searching and calling different endocrinologists, we finally have an appointment. We will be going back to Children’s Endocrinology on Thursday, July 12 at 12:45 to see Dr. Melissa Ham. Dr. Ham was the first doctor we saw in the emergency room when Jonathan got sick. She was also the first doctor we talked to in the early morning hours before the sun was up shortly after Jonathan suffered his stroke. I will be honest with you and tell you that I am not looking forward to going to this appointment this week. We have not been to see an endocrinologist since December because of various insurance issues and changes that have taken place this year. God provided enough supplies and insulin and made it possible for us to get through all these transitions until we had permanent insurance again. Now we must see a doctor to get new prescriptions. There have been many changes that we have made with Jonathan’s diet, exercise, insulin amounts, etc. over these last 6 months and most of it is backwards from what the doctors would tell us to do. I am fearful of what they will have to say. Because of Jonathan’s unique circumstances, I have always desired to find a doctor that would look at Jonathan as an individual instead of the status quo way that all diabetics are looked at. I am afraid that I’m not going to find that here. I feel as though God has opened this door for us to go back to Children’s, even though I tried to find another door to go through instead of this one. Every door I tried was shut. I know that God is in control of Jonathan’s doctors. Please pray that I will trust Him with this. This is very hard for me. Pray that we will be a witness to Dr. Ham as we meet with her. Pray that she will be exactly what Jonathan needs. Pray that we will not run into any difficulties or obstacles. Pray that I will be open minded to their care and the information I receive from them. Pray that I will not be defensive but that I will acknowledge God and honor Him in my conversation with her. Pray that I will not fret or be anxious about this, but that I will trust my God who is faithful. Because we are going to VBS this week, they are letting us take the diabetes class that you are suppose to take before your doctor visit in a couple of weeks. Also be in prayer for Jonathan as he goes to his Scottish Rite visit on Monday, July 16 at 9 am. I have no idea what to expect at this appointment. I am praying that God will provide a way for Jonathan’s foot to be corrected without surgery. Above all, I want God’s will to be done. Please pray that God will give me the grace to accept that will, especially if it is not what I am asking for. Pray that I will not be anxious about this appointment either. You would think that as much as we have been through, the incredible things that God has brought us through and the amazing prayers that He has answered in our lives that it would be easy for me to trust Him with these issues that are coming up. I wish I could say that I’ve got that down real well, but the truth is that I am bombarded with anxious thoughts as we approach these appointments. Knowing that you are praying for me, for Jonathan and for the doctors that we will be seeing brings me a great deal of comfort. So thank you for praying for us about these upcoming appointments. Thank you for checking on us, for loving us and for lifting us up in prayer. You are a blessing to us. I look forward to sharing with you all that God is doing in our family as we continue our journey through this experience. Thank you for making the journey with us. We love each and every one of you.

Philippians 4:6-7 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.