Saturday, August 22, 2009

Handles for the journey

Jacob had a bath - not a sponge bath mind you but a bath - they brought in a special gurney-bath thingy and were able to wash him up. Looking Marvelous. So get this - the doctors nurses were talking about getting him completely off the ventilator today since he did not need it anymore - it was there as a warning measuring his air inhale and exhale but not helping him to breath. So I guess Debbie started talking about that to him happening today and he listened and decided it was time. So he pulled it off. Debbie ran out to get the doctor who was still outside of his room and they came in and said, "okay, it's time." So the trach is still there but no hoses attached. He will also be hooked up to it at night for help and precaution until he is stronger and we are assured that he does not need it.

Big big steps moving forward.

During the bath and bandage change the doctors were also able to examine the wounds and are talking about surgery on Monday for his head and thumb. I am not yet sure what that means yet but apparently the heel can wait. I have been specifically praying for healing to both of those areas. Big steps forward.

Oh and with the trach out he should be able to begin to make some sounds - start to be able to talk to us.

I was thinking about how hard it must be for him to not be able to communicate to us what he is feeling - thinking - wondering about. I wonder if part of his tears and frustration involves that as well - only being able to mouth words - to weakly try to communicate through his lips. His voice will return and there will be time in the next few days for some sound but right now it remains frustrating - for him and for us. There have been times on this journey I felt like I had no voice - moving my lips with nothing coming out - trying my best but the wrong things coming out. Crying out in the dark; frustrated by utterances; words without sounds.

I felt that this morning. I received news of a friend who had met with tragedy. I had not seen him in many, many years - our paths diverged a long time ago. He was more than a friend - he was a mentor - a spiritual guide. He decided he was done here. Even writing that is hard, it pierces my soul - I have no idea what his journey had held the last 15 years that lead him to this choice. My prayer right now is for the family he left behind. That in the midst of this they would find a handle on hope - faith - love. A friend yesterday reminded me of what I have thought about for a while. Those three are deeply connected: hope/faith/love - layers around our heart that keep us from embitterment and despair - hardening of our heart. Those three tell us we are treasured, purposeful, remembered. In a limited sense they come to us through others but in unlimited power are available through God.

With Jacob and all this on my mind I was listening to a song this morning that reminded me of the Psalms that so often take about our "enemies." Most of us do not have people that we would consider enemies. More likely for us the enemies that we have are within us: memories, voices, feelings - those things that attack and drag us down. In the midst of Jacob's journey, I have received messages that have talked about these enemies; and I know them too. These enemies lead us to a hardening that wages attacks - leading us to the depths. The hardest person to forgive is ourselves.

Grace and forgiveness are the weapons that God has given us to fight back - so that we can walk in hope-faith-love. It can be so elusive and the enemy is always right there to pull us down and stab us. The enemy finds another way to get in - to remind us of our errors - question forgiveness - dilute grace.

God's forgiveness and grace is available; it restores our voice.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Eph 2:1-10

As I long to hear the voice of my son - God longs to hear our voice - for us to speak to him - cry to him - sing to him. Yes with the same voice we curse and praise God - James talks about the power of the tongue and compares it to fire - words hold such tremendous power - inflict such pain. Faith-hope-love is that voice. In the midst of this journey those are the handles that God has given us - reminded us. The miracles we have seen lead us back to these. Grace and forgiveness is ample and sustaining. It is not always clear - rarely easy - but walking with God is far more sustaining than walking alone.

Tomorrow when despair tries to grab us again on this roller coaster- I know that many will remind me to hold on to faith-love-hope on this journey.

Tom (Dad)


Anonymous said...


Jake has come so far from "just wanting him to wake up". He may be able to speak soon. This is amazing to me. I am so happy. And on a personal note, nothing can compare to a good bath. I imagine he feels so much better.

Anonymous said...

Dear Jacob,

You are one cool guy!!! All of us out here. . . moms, dads, sisters, brothers, friends, cousins, all feel for you and your family and are really pulling for you kid! Keep it up, and be good to yourself. . . be patient, and smile any chance you get; it's great therapy. Life is good.

Judy Littlefield said...

Tom and Debbie, I just came from TLC's service tonight on RESTORING YOUR HOPE delivered by Mark Spurlock. You and your family were on my mind most of the time and the main part of the message was; Rely on the person of God, Rely on the power of God and Rely on the promises of God. It was so moving and Mark quoted from Ezekiel. The vision of the valley full of bones, and the Lord telling Ezekiel to prophesy over them. Tendons and flesh coming upon them and covering them with skin, putting breath in them. It made me think of Jacob and how he is being restored. Love to you all

Debbie said...

Tom--yours and Debbie's continuing ability to "find handles" in all that you face moment by moment is astounding. I am so grateful to have read yours and your families words these last 7 weeks, I haven't missed a day. I have been heart-broken, inspired, saddened, comforted, humbled, overjoyed and in a sense...awakened and renewed myself in my own journey with God.

Thank you for continuing to lead all of us that are following your family's journey to such a rich place of faith-love-hope and promise, that God is and will be a very present help in times of trouble.

We are thrilled that the new hospital has been good, thrilled Jacob is waking up, thrilled the trach is on it's way out (oh Jacob...) and that soon he will be able to speak to you. We will continue to pray for his fear as his understanding becomes clearer and continued healing and success with the upcoming surgery.

All our love and prayers...the Childs :]

Anonymous said...

This journey you ALL are on...its increasing my Faith daily! I can't explain what Jacob's miracles do for me! God gets bigger everyday!! Jacob...we are so proud of you! You are loved beyond words...God is loving so many people through you. And God's love for you continues to be poured out each day. I can't wait for you to see this journey you have been on that may not know is/has happened! Thank you.
Jess Travis

eternity driven said...

Praise God for the huge steps! Oh, how beautifully this was written and explained. I loved "Those three are deeply connected: hope/faith/love - layers around our heart that keep us from embitterment and despair - hardening of our heart. Those three tell us we are treasured, purposeful, remembered. In a limited sense they come to us through others but in unlimited power are available through God."
Truly life-changing thinking! I thank God for you and your family's faith and this blog! I'm praying daily for you someone you've never met. God bless are ministering even as you're going through it!!

Anonymous said...

Jacob - once again you prove what a fighter you are; and how stubborn you can be!!! ;) Over and over again I see AJ in you, and am thrilled for you, while feeling for your doctors, nurses, and parents!!! But I suspect that they feel as I do: so glad for that same fighting spirit and stubbornness. It is what will bring you through this and push you to return to all that you can possibly reach.

I'm so excited to hear that you're nearly off the trach. That's such a huge step. I can't wait to hear what your first words are (and suspect that, as a teenage boy, they'll be something about food or a girl. ;D).

Humbly watching in amazement as God continues to work in your life,
Christy Draves Grant

Todd said...

Hello Kirkendall family.
I am praying that Jacobs first bath was as nice as my first post burn bath. It brought happy tears to my eyes. You would think the burnt skin would hurt when water is applied but it was quite soothing.
As I recover from surgery #7 I am grateful for LIFE, Jacobs LIFE and Life in HIM
Sincerely, Todd

Allison said...

Great news! And for today's entry about the words! I know we haven't met but this journal continues to be such an encouragement to me. You are touching so many lives here - only God truly knows (and gets the glory for...) the extent of His grace and mercy being poured out daily on these pages. I needed to hear these words today as my heart was in danger of hardening over something very trivial (in the long run). Thanks for the perspective on Hope-Faith and Love...
Blessings and prayers-