Saturday, April 5, 2008

Well, my dear friends, I have set the record this year…it’s been almost 2 months since I have updated! That’s the longest I have ever gone without updating. Oh believe me, I think about needing to do it every day, but these past couple of months have been pretty crazy around here. We have been incredibly busy, trying to accomplish many things on top of the usual load of schooling that always keeps us busy during the school year. More than being incredibly busy, these past couple of months have been incredibly emotional for me in many different ways that I will share with you. So between all of that, if I actually had time to sit down and update, I was just too exhausted that I went to bed. Not a great excuse, but it’s reality for me right now. So I hope you haven’t given up on me and I thank you for coming back to check on Jonathan and see how he is doing. God has been good, even in the midst of all the busyness and changes that we have been through and are experiencing. When I feel like I’m getting overwhelmed with life as I have so many times over the last couple of months, I just remember where we have been and I thank God that we are where we are…not in a hospital somewhere, but at home, living this overwhelming life that He has allowed us the opportunity to live. So with all that said, let me fill you in on what has been going on in Jonathan’s life and in the life of our family. It may take me so long to share everything with you that it might take you two hours to read it!
Well, first of all, Jonathan had an endocrine appointment back at the end of February. He is, and has been doing pretty well with his diabetes. We were a little disappointed with his weight results this time. He seems to have gain back quite a bit of his weight, according to their scales. However, his doctor did not seem bothered by that. We have not done nearly as well with our diet and exercise this year as we did last year at this time. We need a new plan. We are tired and our bodies have grown accustomed to what we have been doing for the last year, and it is not have any effect on any of us at the present time. I have a possible plan in mind, but I have to have the time to sit down and research it and put it into practice. That is proving to be very difficult for me right now. It is interesting, however, that even though Jonathan has gained some of his weight back, he seems to be wearing smaller clothes than he was at the beginning of last year. Someone suggested to me that he might have gained muscle as opposed to fat, which I had not thought of. Anyway, overall, he had a good doctor visit in February. Since then, we have had some difficulty keep his blood sugars within normal range. He started being high on a regular basis instead of the normal that we had been experiencing. I changed his insulin/carb ratio which means that he is getting more insulin at his meals than he was before. I hate giving him more insulin, because I don’t want his body to get accustomed to it, not absorb it effectively, causing him to store it, it turns to fat, meaning he gains more weight, etc. It’s also very difficult to figure out why his blood sugar does what it does. I can get very frustrated with this disease. But we just keep working at it, keep trying things and keep praying that God will take care of Jonathan’s body like it needs to be taken care of. Over the last couple of weeks, I have finally been able to take to the time to pursue getting insurance information and visits from three of the pump companies that we are most interested in. The excitement and anticipation of using the pump almost came to a screeching halt once I heard back from the first company about our out of pocket costs to use the pump. Because the pump and all of the supplies (it seems) are covered under the durable medical equipment (dme), no matter who we decide to go with, in order to just get the unit and start using it, it will cost us over $1000. Since it is so late in the year, this year, we would not meet the max covered by the insurance, but next year, we would start out the year with another $1000 payment and end it with a $750, making us pay somewhere around $3000 just for the pump supplies. That doesn’t even include his insulin, or test strips that we have to buy as well. Needless to say, I was pretty disappointed and a little discouraged by all of that news. But again, because of some of the things I have recently experienced, I was able to quickly remember that the God who takes care of Jonathan and has always taken care of Jonathan is sovereign. His plan is perfect. It is my job to do the work to try and discern His will and when I figure it out, to accept it and do it, knowing that His plan is the one we want to follow. I talked with Jonathan about this as well. I told him that I was not giving up on the idea just yet, and that I would continue to inquire and gather facts about the pump, and then based on what we find out, we will make a decision about whether or not we will use it. I told him that when he prayed about it, to pray that if it was God’s will for us that he get the pump, that He would work out all the details and provide the money that we will need to purchase it. I told him to pray that if it was not God’s will for us to use the pump right now, that God would help him accept that will and that He would show us what we need to pursue in being a good steward of taking care of his diabetes to the best of our ability. So for now, I will continue to gather facts and talk to as many people as I can to find out how they do it, talk to the insurance and verify our benefits, etc. Please pray that we will know exactly what God’s will is regarding Jonathan using the pump. For those of you who have the pump, if you can share anything with me that would help me in this process, I would greatly appreciate your input. I have heard from many of you on occasion regarding your experiences with diabetes, and I always welcome your insight. Thank you for taking the time to share with me.
Well, the beginning of this year has been one of the most emotional times of my life, since we have been on this journey with Jonathan. Most of my emotional times have been because of some difficulty we were going through, but this one has been different. This year, we have had to turn the page on one of the most blessed chapters of Jonathan’s life. Jonathan officially completed Upward Basketball this year. Each game of this season was awesome! Jonathan’s team finished this season undefeated! Every practice, every game was so precious to us. Upward Basketball has been one of God’s most precious blessings in our lives. It has brought so much healing, so much hope, so much joy to Jonathan and to those of us who have watched him grow over these last three years. From the moment I told Doug Jackson three years ago that we wanted Jonathan to play, until the moment we said good-bye to his team, to this wonderful blessing on March 3, 2008, we have seen God’s divine hand choose and orchestrate every person and every experience for Jonathan’s good. It has been one of the most phenomenal things I have ever witnessed. This year, I saw so much growth, not just in Jonathan, but in every guy on his entire team. I have shared with many people that even though these guys are only 11-12 years old, they are my heroes. Tell me how many 6th grade guys you can say that about! These guys are different. They were always kind, not just to Jonathan, but to each other. They never hesitated to help Jonathan remember where he was supposed to be so he could play his best in each game. They always encouraged him giving him high-fives, pats on the back, and “Way to go!” every time he did something good. There was never any selfishness on their part. They truly set into action the Scripture that says to think of others as more important than yourselves. This team was amazing. I had a chance to put together a power point presentation of the journey of this team over the last three years. It was my desire to honor these guys and to thank them for their important role in Jonathan’s life. Elizabeth, Sarah and I had the chance to sing a song that night for them that I think expressed just what they meant to Jonathan and to us as his family. Hopefully, we will be able to put it out here for you to watch, one of these days. As much as I tried to make it about this team, as soon as I was done, they turned it around and honored Jonathan once again. Coach Doug and Coach Ben presented Jonathan with the Iron Man Trophy for the Most Courageous Player. Jonathan is incredibly proud of this trophy. He got to thank his coaches, his teammates and all those who have prayed for him and helped him get to where he is today. It was such a beautiful moment. So you see why this has been such a hard thing for me turn the page on. I just don’t want to let go of this precious blessing. I probably cried off and on for a month as I worked on the power point for the team, but I had to force myself to keep it together as much as possible. I managed to do that until the day after awards night. I think I cried the entire day. I am going to miss this team of guys, these coaches, and the joy of watching Jonathan play basketball in such a wonderful organization as Upward Basketball. But I know that this is just a small piece of all that God has planned for Jonathan’s life.
In the middle of all of this emotion, God brought another blessing to our family. Elizabeth and Sarah attended Disciple Now with our church back in February. Over that weekend, in answer to so many of my prayers, Sarah came to know the Lord as her personal Savior. She had made a decision when she was 7 years old and was baptized at that time, but this time, she really settled that matter once and for all with the Lord. She was baptized the day before awards night, so you can see why this has been such an emotional time for me. Not only did she start her spiritual journey this year, but Elizabeth celebrated her 7th spiritual birthday on March 24, and Jonathan celebrated his 4th spiritual birthday on March 28. What a blessing to know that your children have committed their lives to follow the Lord Jesus.
Well, there are other things I could share with you, but those are the most important. Thank you for waiting on me to update. I apologize for taking so long to share with you. Thank you for your continued prayers for Jonathan and for our family. I know that you are faithful to pray and I am so thankful for each of you. Please keep praying about Jonathan’s weight loss, exercise, his blood sugars, and the decision about the pump. He is doing incredibly well in school and Awana. I see growth and improvement every day. He continues to play the drums and loves every minute of that. He is back at horse therapy for the spring session and in just three weeks, I have seen much growth and improvement since the fall. God is so good and continues to do great things in Jonathan’s life.
I want to leave you with one last experience I have had, just in the last two weeks. On March 26, my dear friend and choir partner lost her daughter who was 32 years old and her beautiful granddaughter who was 6 weeks from being born. It is very rare these days to lose a mother and a baby in childbirth, but in a matter of a couple of hours, both mother and baby were in the presence of Jesus. My dear friend, her husband, this daughter and her husband are all members of the choir, so needless to say, our choir was devastated that night with this incredible loss. Last Saturday, we sang for the funeral of this dear girl. We sang about heaven and pictured her walking on those golden streets, running with the angels, resting with her sweet little girl in the place that God has prepared for those who love Him. At church on Sunday, we heard about and studied the sovereignty of God. Over these last three years, I have learned about the sovereignty of God. I no longer just talk about it. It is a vital part of my faith. In the days that followed Jennifer’s death, I tried to think of some profound thing that I could say to my friend that would bring comfort to her in this difficult time. Before I had a chance to speak to her, she was the one who brought comfort and perspective to me. This is what was printed on the back of the funeral program:

There is nothing – no circumstance, no trouble, no testing that can ever touch me until first of all it has gone past God and past Christ, right through to me. If it has come that far, it has come with a great purpose, which I may not understand at the moment. But as I refuse to become panicky, I lift up my eyes to Him; and accept it as coming from the throne of God for some great purpose of blessing to my own heart. No sorrow will ever disturb me, no trial will ever disarm me, and no circumstance will cause me to fret, for I shall rest in the joy of what my Lord is…That is the “rest” of Victory. “The will of God will not lead you, where the grace of God cannot keep you.”

Our pastor said the next day that when a believer fails, changes, dies, or the unexpected happens, nothing of God fails, changes, dies, or is unexpected. Nothing happens by chance. God will accomplish His purpose and His will in the lives of His creation. I don’t know about you, but that brings me great comfort and peace. Thank you for loving us. May God grant you His incredible peace as you rest in His unchanging sovereignty. We dearly love you all.

I Peter 1: 3-9 - Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.