Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th

I am tired. Robbie and Jensen and I came back to the hotel room to watch a movie and crash. Debbie stayed at the hospital with my sister, Kirky. I just called over there and we do not know yet what time for the surgery tomorrow as the Burn Unit does not normally operate on Sunday.

Honestly our emotions are up and down. All of us. I woke up this morning and was lead to this verse which seemed to carry me through the day.

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Tomorrow is another big day. Yet we are not alone. So many are praying "Lord, hold my Jacob with your arms as mine are not able. Listen to the chorus of your children. Protect him, heal him, envelope him in your presence. I love you God."

Jacob's Daddy

Beauty in ashes

Jacob has the hiccups.

At the moment, he is on 100% oxygen support and are trying to take him off of the paralytic medication. Every time they begin to wean him from it, he thrashes about trying to wrestle free. However, they cannot keep him on it for too long without damage. He is being given two pints of blood to strengthen him in preparation for.... more surgery tomorrow! Which is very good. (You can donate blood in Jacob's honor... check out the "How you can help" on the left).

The surgery yesterday went well. It lasted for two hours. They stopped not because of any specific hardship to his lungs, but just to be safe and not push him too much.
Things are still quite serious. His body is very damaged. But before we know what steps will be taken for specific recovery (such as what Dr.'s have described as "dead bone" in two spots on his head and foot). So we are still waiting for the full effects to be manifested.

So in your prayers, combined with continued petitions for healing and recovery, please praise God. Worship him for what he has done, for this monument he is setting up for HIS glory.

We are still in the midst of fire, embers, and ashes. But we have been given an increasing number of glimpses at the feathers of the Phoenix that will rise from this destruction. The rest of this blog will be description of some of those feathers.

For one, we are increasingly being shown that God is scary; He is frightening. Every time an angel appears in Scripture the people have to be told to "not be afraid." My dad puts it this way: "We ask for the presents of God. We need to ask for the presence of God." Yet this presence can be painful; it means that God will pull out of us all that is not of him. When God's light comes, darkness cannot help but flee. Which is ironic, because it feels like we have been given nothing but darkness. But that is according to the standards of this world.

This network of God that we have been experiencing is only increasing, and we are blown away by it. Regarding finding joy in all of this, a friend of mine offered this advice:
"You asked how you are supposed to find joy in all of this. Obviously, I don't think you're expected to find joy in your brother's current state. Instead, look to find joy in what all of this has triggered."

This morning, my family and I were all sitting at breakfast at a diner across the street from the hospital. In a way we were celebrating Jensen being back from Camp Hammer. Having Jensen back has been a fresh of breath air for all of us. It will be difficult for us to see him go through all of the emotions that we already have, but it is so good, so right to have him back.

My mom and dad were talking about how so many of the little things we encounter have been so meaningful regarding the Body of Christ. At Dominican hospital the first night, a security guard bought my mom a Diet Coke. Also, there is this maintenance lady who comes into Jake's room often to keep things clean. She is very quiet and reserved, yet not unaware of what is going on. She seems to be quietly watching and caring. At some point yesterday my mom struck up a small conversation with her about what is going on. This morning my mom saw her outside the hospital, and she told my mom that she had offered up a small prayer for Jacob before she went to bed. Beautiful.

Anyway, we were sitting in the diner talking about these little things. My brother had his bible open. Our waitress came by and filled our coffee cups, and asked Jensen "look up where it says something about "I must decrease and Christ must increase." I was looking for that this morning." Broken up by waiting on other tables, she started talking about trusting God, after Jensen read John 3:30 to her. She herself has an incredible testimony, and we talked about many of the things being discussed in this blog. For about a month she has been thinking about these things, especially the things I talk about when referencing "brokenness." When we left we all gave her a hug, and promised to stop by to keep her posted.

Jensen being home; Amy the waitress; Sally the janitor: signs of God's presence, not his presents. We stand amazed at the small but not insignificant gifts of God - miraculous.

Next feather: A great story was run in the Santa Cruz Sentinel this morning, which I hope is a testimony to the entire county. While I was driving through Scotts Valley to see Jensen yesterday, I felt this awareness of the presence of the Lord descending on Santa Cruz County. Check out the story here. I am hoping it in itself is another testimony, a road sign along this highway that we are on: "Community rallying behind teen injured by power line."

This next one is a huge encouragement to me. I have no details yet, but one of Jacob's friends is in a local Santa Cruz band. On the 22nd of this month, they will be hosting a benefit concert for Jake at the Catalyst! I will get you more information as it comes, but please save the date and praise God for this opportunity for us to gather together and petition God as a Body, not to mention be a beacon of hope to the community. More details soon.

Finally, I am extremely encouraged by all of you who seem to be touched and aware of God's presence in a similar way to my experience. I had an awesome conversation with a friend last night about feeling the "thickness" of God and being compelled to fall to your knees. This is something we experience far too little. The knowledge of the holy one should compel us to extreme reactions. More than the words that you say, I am comforted by who you all are and your heart for Jake in this time. We can't ever express our gratitude.


Friday, July 3, 2009

10:30 Friday Night

10:30 Friday Night

Tomorrow being the 4th of July is often a busy night at the Burn Unit. We have had the privilege of being around some of the most amazing people. Each one is unique in stature, nationality, personality etc but they share a passion, heart, and special ability to provide care - physical and emotional - in a most traumatic situation. We are tremendously thankful for them: doctors, nurses, technicians, maintenance workers as they brace for more who need their attention.

As we have read some of the comments and messages we are receiving, we are thankful for you who are joining us on this journey. Some are losing sleep to pray for us; getting up through night to check on Jacob. Wow. We are humbled - so unworthy of such caring and devotion for Jacob. We were told from the beginning eat well, drink water, exercise, sleep. Your faith and sacrifice helps me to sleep. Thank you seems so inadequate. But I need to thank you; every time I think of you I am compelled to thank the Lord for you and your ministry of love to Jacob and to us.

As the doctors spoke to us after the surgery, there was sense of relief. I was also was also overwhelmed: there is a lot more to come on this journey.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4 NKJV

James, the brother of Jesus, knew trials of various kinds. Though I do not understand, though I am scared, though have never felt such pain - God is with me and the chorus of voices of the kingdom of God is quite beautiful. It is quite unbearable to watch Jacob go through this and to think of what is to come but the God of grace is with us.

Thank you for joining us on this journey. Now lets all get some sleep. We will need our strength for tomorrow God will be up watching over our boy.

Jacob's stats are good - he is resting.

Goodnight Jacob. Sleep well, my son. I love you, Daddy.

Fund set up...

Many have asked us to set up a fund to help cover Jacob's medical costs. This is very humbling but the reality is setting in regarding the hardship and reality of his injuries. This is going to alter his life functions (but he will surf again. We are being blessed by so many which fuels our strength as we face each day.

Here is the fund information:

Jacob's Journey
c/o Bank of the West
308 N. Santa Cruz Ave
Los Gatos, CA 95030

In Hope and Grace

Jacob's Family

out of surgery #1

Thankful, very thankful.

Jacob just came out of surgery and did well. They were able to not only operate and remove some dead skin and muscle from his back and arm and buttocks. Those were the worst areas and the priority. The were able to remove some dead material from the muscle which is very badly damaged.

We are relieved - he made it through the first surgery. There is though a reality of Jacob having a long road ahead of him. More surgery, rehab etc. Thinking back to the ER in Santa Cruz we had no idea the gravity of his wounds - as the doctors said: this is a roller coaster ride.

The pulmonary doctor just came out and was very pleased and encouraged with Jacob's lungs. He made it through the first surgery. The healing of the infection in the lungs is a waiting game for the anti-biotics kicking. He said Jacob's lungs are a little bit better today and we will see them getting a little bit better tomorrow. With both pnuemonia and burn victims the lungs can fill up with fluid - so that may be next but they are watching for that.

Pray, as I know you already are, for continued healing to his lungs and the affected burn areas. We are so greatly encouraged. I know without a doubt that the chorus of cries to the Lord is ringing loud.

A little more peaceful.

Jacob's Dad

He is on his way to surgery...

1:45 PM Friday

Quickly wanted to let you know Jacob is on his way to surgery... they will do as much cleaning up of his right back muscle and arm as his body and specifically his lungs will allow. He is doing better - breathing better - thus they feel confident of the surgery. They have to position his body in a different way so please pray that he remains strong through this time.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I keep picturing the chorus of prayers ringing out in the courts of heaven on behalf of my son, Jacob.

Tom (aka Daddy Pops)

The Great Surgeon

Friday morning, July 3rd. We got to the hospital a bit ago and they are not letting us in to see Jake yet. They are changing his dressing and a group of doctors is evaluating, trying to determine what his state is for the upcoming surgery. He is currently on the roster for surgery today, but that could change at any moment. The surgery is plan A, but the doctors gave the impression that it is not likely.
He is on 40% oxygen support, which is decent news compared to the 100% that he was on last night. But as we have seen yesterday, that can quickly change. His state is still very critical.

Last night was really difficult. I was praying for a miracle. But just the fact that he is still alive is an answer to prayer. And, who knows, maybe there was a miracle last night. But God never answers prayers on our terms, on our timeframe, according to what we think is right, because he knows our true needs. He is the great maestro of the universe, that orchestrates all the instruments in the correct tune and timing, to create a beautiful, aesthetic masterpiece that we call existence, reality. So I say to you all: welcome to God's reality. Seek to be in tune with God, to sing his song that brings breaking to our hearts of stone, then healing to the newly made hearts of flesh
Last night we were praying and I fell apart. I began weeping in terror at who God is. I don't mean to presume to have had some "spiritual experience," but to whatever extent it is true, I saw God. Or at least a part of who he is. I realized that I was deathly afraid to pray "Lord, your Kingdom Come. Your presence come." Because, I am convinced that when he does come, it is frightening and painful, because it means that God will in his love divorce us from the things that are not of him. He will rip us apart until all the things that are not devoted to him have passed through his purifying fire.
So I was scared. I didn't want God to take from us anything more. I am already in so much pain, I don't know how I could handle any more of him. Which is why I offer us, as a Body, up to complete brokenness. My hope is that God has already performed a miracle in preserving Jacob's life, and all he can do from here is give - give back to us as much of Jacob as he knows best. (O Lofty Lord, don't think me presumptuous! You are lofty, but I also know that you lowered yourself to the depths for me - so I approach you in the boldness of brokenness. You know my heart).
Anyway, back to last night. I was scared. I began to confront God. I felt his presence, which was overwhelming and terrifying. I wept as my parents held me. Whatever it was that God sent, it scared the crap out of me. It scared me even more, because I was asking this same presence to come descend on Jacob. How could he go through this?! Or maybe he already has/is.

This presence, this overwhelming Thing, is the very thing that we must dive into and embrace in courage and love. It is painful and horrific. Such is this life, because we go through a lifelong process of God coming down in love to dispel darkness from us. Which is an incredibly painful process.

Pray that Jacob would undergo surgery today, whether it be human or divine. God is the great Surgeon. Surgery is an invasive process. It involved cutting, cleaning, replacing, transplants, stitching, anesthesia, etc.... but it is what we need. It is God making himself known to us, sending out his Spirit, and we are never the same. In his fervent love, he soils his holiness by pinning us down on the ground to rip out of us what is keeping us away from him; all the while we are struggling and screaming for him to stop.
This is the crazy love that you will open yourself up to if you are willing to join into the cause of the Kingdom of God. It is painful. It sucks. You will be considered a loser by the standards of this world. But God will be with you. His presence is near. His presence is here. The filthy red cross has conquered our fear.

So, in fear and reverence we raise our ragged sail, torn and ripped by storms, to the winds of God's love. We have confidence that all of this is some great surgery, some divine invasion into our spiritual Body (including ALL OF US!) in order to dispel evil and bring us into His glorious light.

One more thing. I pose this question to all of you, and am open to discussion. How in the world do I find joy out of this? Aren't we supposed to rejoice in trials? Faced with the gravity and dread of looking at Jacob's swollen torso & head, knowing that his lungs are infected, knowing that he will never be the same, knowing that everything could change every day, I don't even know what that statement means: "rejoice in trials." The funny thing is, a verse that I have held on to since I was 12 is 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 -
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness."
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly
of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ
may rest upon me.
For the sake of Christ, then, I am content
with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and
For when I am weak, then I am strong.

I don't even know what this means now. I definitely feel weak. I think we take this passage and say "when we are weak is when we become strong or find strength" and try to use it as encouragement. But maybe the truth is "weakness = strength." We are strong in Christ when we are weak. So we have to be weak.

I am going to see Jensen up at Camp Hammer today. Pray that he is emotionally ok and able to enjoy himself. Pray that I can just have a brief conversation with him about what is going on, but then that we could just hang out.

We have extreme gratitude toward all of you. Make sure you are getting rest as well - if you can't sleep, pray yourself to sleep. Rest in prayer.

As I said before, I am plenty irritated, angry, confused, and enraptured with God. I think we try to avoid this becasue we think that "God is always good, so we shouldn't be angry." But I am finding that this passionate anger is actually an outpouring of intimate love between him and I. I am angry, but I trust him. I love him more than life. He is so more than a friend.

I'll leave you with the words of C.S. Lewis through a conversation between the Pevensies and the Beavers about Aslan the lion, The King of the Wood, Son of the Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea:

"Is he - quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion."
"That you will, dearie, and no mistake," said Mrs. Beaver; "if there's anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they're either braver than most or just silly."
"Then he isn't safe?" said Lucy.
"Safe?" said Mr. Beaver; "don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good."

He's the king. He's the great surgeon.

Into Marvelous Light we are all running,
(sorry for the long post)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Pray for a healing collision: God and Jacob

I am sitting in Jacob's room - it is 10pm - we need to go get some sleep. They have told us that we need to be well rested and take care of ourselves so that we will be strong and available when Jake is awake and needing us. I am so torn. He needs us now. We are praying for another miracle. "Lord heal his lungs so that we can have surgery tomorrow to clean his skin."

Thank you for praying. That sounds so trivial but from the depths of a father's love and the anguish in my soul, I thank all of you. So many of you have joined us on this journey and from the very beginning we have been told that it is a rollercoaster ride - even for this amazing medical staff. We see hope and improvement in one instant and then despair in the next.

Right now they are giving him 100% oxygen but his body is only accepting around 90%. It keeps dipping below 90 and a warning bell goes off. Then it goes back up to 91, 92, 93. We are praying that the Jacob's Spirit will be filled with God's Spirit and that it will remain above 90.

"Say to those with feeble hearts, 'be strong, do not fear;
your God will come, he will come with vengence;
with divine retribution he will come to save you.'"
Isaiah 35:4


a p.s. from Robbie: pray for the Spirit to heal Jacob's lungs, to perform a miracle TONIGHT. He needs this so that they can operate on his potential infections. Pray incessantly and obnoxiously. Expect this of God. It is what we want. We as a family must sleep and trust through the night.

Good night Jacob.

Come, Lord Jesus

We are all exhausted, but somehow in good spirits. Me, my parents, and my two aunts are sitting in the lobby snacking on Trader Joes pariphinalia and chatting about Jake-related stuff (the conversation right now is on the topic of what to do with the press coverage). It has been a long day, and has been up and down all day.

It is still astounding to see what I am now coming to call the "network of God." It is a phrase trying to communicate something about the kingdom of God, his body, the community. "Network" works as a good metaphor for me. (Please share any meaningful ways that all of you are finding to communicate what you see happening through Jacob's Journey.) We are coming to find that our family as many connections, both from our past and from now, with several members of the staff at Valley Med. We are seeing so much love even from the people here at the hospital. Even members of staff that we had not previosuly known, such as some of the amazing nurses, are included in this outpouring of love.

That being said, I was moments ago updated on Jacob's condition, for which I am on the verge of tears, urgently desiring as many of you as possible to pray, according to whatever abilities you now have to either offer up a quick prayer or join together with loved ones for the sake of community and Jake's recovery.
We are still concerned about the state of Jacob's lungs. He has severe pneumonia, and it is possible that this pneumonia is on top of burn damage in the lungs.
They began to begin to wean him off of the sedation medication, which includes narcotics and paralytics. However, today he began to heavily thrash about, which is a typical response of strong patients to want to be free from the sedation. So they had to increase the sedation again. We are praying that they would be able to bring him out of sedation as soon as possible, because it could have long term effects on his muscles and such.
Finally, the most recent update is on his burn wounds. There is concern that the burns will start to get infected. In fact, they think it may have already set in on one of his toes. Because of the state of his lungs, the pulmonary specialists will decide in the morning whether or not he is stable enough for surgery. This process will be continued, day by day, until they decide that he is stable enough for surgery. The muscle in his back right shoulder is completely fried from the electricity. This does not necesarily mean that his arm will be unusable, but the concern is regarding infection. There is also concern about the deep wound on his backside. There are plenty more details, but those aren't really important at this point. Pray for his lungs, his weaning off of the sedation, and for the surgery tomorrow on his arm and other burns. All are important are important in the recovery of his life and livelihood.

It is so strange to hear all of the new information from doctors. It is as if they are talking about some vague, impersonal person who I don't know. It takes a few hours for the reality to set in.

In addition to all of this, please read the updated "What you can do..." column on the left hand side of this page. There are some specific things you can join in on that some friends of ours have initiated.

Oh God, Oh my God.
Oh God of fire, Oh God of water and earth;
Oh God of sorrow and God of mirth.
Oh God of the heavens, be closer than a friend.
Be what we can never be for Jacob, unto the very end.
Send your Spirit unto his soul's depths, as a dove;
And envelope your holy Body, all gathered before You,
In the fire of your love.

"Come, come, come Lord Jesus.
Come, come, come my Love.
These wounds need breathing on.
This heart needs your love song.
So come...
So come...
So come...
So come,


Here is a chapter from a book by Brennan Manning that I read last night:

"The New Oxford Dictionary contains thirty words from the Yiddish vocabulary; words like kibitz, kibbutz, goy, mensch, and of course, chutzpah.

chutzpah - Function: noun

Etymology: Yiddish khutspe, from Late Hebrew huspah

supreme self-confidence, boldness, nerve, sometimes an obnoxious aggressiveness.

Esther Schwartz was in front of a hotel in Miami with her three-year old grandson, Jacob. She absolutely adores Jacob. She bought precious little Jacob a canary yellow circular sun-hat so the sun wouldn't touch the top of Jacob's head. She also bought him a pail and shovel. Out on the beach, Esther narvels at Jacob's grace: picking up sand, putting it in the pail, picking up more sand, putting more sand in the pail.
Oh, Yahweh, thank you so much for Jacob.
Just then a tremendous wave comes in, picks up little Jacob, pail and shovel, and washes them out to sea. Esther Schwartz is very upset. She looks up at the sky and shouts, "Who do You think You are? Do You know who I am? I am Esther Schwartz. My husband, Solomon Schwartz, is a physician, and my son, Billy Schwartz, is a dentist. How dare You do that?"
Just then, a second tremendous tidal wave washes little Jacob, pail and shovel, right back to his grandmother's feet. Esther Schwartz looks up at the sky and shouts, "He had a canary yellow hat. Where's the hat?"
That, my friends, is chutzpah.

The author of the letter to the Hebrews says we are to approach the throne of grace with chutzpah, knowing we will find mercy and grace in time of need.

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace,
so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help
in time of need.
(Heb. 4:16)

Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place
by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which he inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near
with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith.
(Hebrews 10:19-22)

Years ago the professional golfer Arnold Palmer played a series of exhibition matches in Saudi Arabia. When he finished the king was so impressed with Palmer's expertise that he desired to give Palmer a gift. Palmer, a multimillionare in his own right, demurred: "It isn't raelly necessary. I just nejoyed meeting your people and playing in your country."
The king indicated his extreme displeasure at not being able to give the golf pro a gift. Palmer wisely reconsidered and said, "Well, how about a golf club? A golf club would be a wonderful memento of my visit here." The king was pleased. The following day, a messenger delivered to Palmer's hotel room the title to a golf club, thirty-six holes, trees, lakes, buildings. The moral of the story? In the presence of the king, don't ask for small gifts.
One day Jesus was walking down the road in Galilee and the blind man, Bartimaeus, called out: "Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!" The apostles trie to hush him up. But he cried louder, "Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!"
Jesus stops, turns and asks, "What do you want?"
Without hesitation, the blind man says, "I want my sight!"
And Jesus says, "Your faith has saved you."
His sight was restored immediately and then Mark notes that Bartimaeus dropped his cloak. For a blind man, the cloak represented security, as the blind in first-century Palestine were considered cursed by God. Their families threw them in the streets. Their only protection against the elements was their cloak. He dropped his cloak. He dropped all the security he had ever known to follow the one namd Jesus.
What do you want? Today, right now?
Boldly ask.

The one thing we owe absolutely to God
is never to be afraid of anything.
-Charles deFoucauld"

A Jewish prayer of healing:

May the One who blessed our ancestors --

Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,

Matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah --

bless and heal the one who is ill:

Jacob, son of Tom.

May the Holy Blessed One

overflow with compassion upon him,

to restore him,

to heal him,

to strengthen him,

to enliven him.

The One will send him, speedily,

a complete healing --

healing of the soul and healing of the body --

along with all the ill,

among the people of Israel and all humankind,



without delay,

and let us all say: Amen!

I know you are all praying like this. I praise that this morning he is doing better. Please continue in this manner.

"The question is not 'can we heal?' The question, the only question, is "will we let the healing power of the risen Jesus flow through us to reach and touch others, so that they may dream and fight and bear and run where the brave dare not to go?"

"If we as a Christian community took seriously that the sign of our love for Jesus was our love for one another, I am convinced it would change the world. We're denying to the world the one witness Jesus asked for: 'Love one another as I have loved you.'"

-Brennan Manning

I have seen this love from all of you.

-Robbie, brother of Jacob.

Dr. is amazed

Good morning.

We came in this morning a little fearful (okay a lot fearful) after the end of the day yesterday. He has been on oxygen support - last night it was at 100%. This morning it is at 30%! That means that his lungs are working more on their own than with the machines. The doctor said that she was amazed!

During the night they continued to monitor his blood oxygen level and as they saw improvement they weaned him off the machine's output. His fever also continues to come down and is at 96.4. The antibiotics seem to be working as well. They have taken x-rays of his lungs which is showing improvement.

Specifically pray for continued improvement that he might be able to have surgery on his arm today.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your prayers. I keep picturing the Israelites in Egypt crying out to God in one voice. Prayers are coming from all over the world in a beautiful chorus to God who listens and cares, a God of mercy and compassion.

I read this morning this verse which I have been holding on to:
"I would have lost heart,
unless I had believed
that I would see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living."
Ps 27:13

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Pray Now

Things are much worse with Jake.

After a CT scan of his lungs, the doctors determined that either there is an infection or damage from the electricity. As of about 7 o'clock, the pulmonary (lung) specialst team has taken the lead because this new development is life-threatening (which increases the danger to his arm) The CT scan of his chest found blackened tissue on pockets at the bottom and back of his lungs.

There are two possibilities for what the infection means: 1)he has permantent burn damage in his lungs, 2)he has pneumonia.

There are three possible things for what the blackened tissue found could be: 1)permanent burn damage 2) the infection itself 3)White blood cells attacking the infection.

His scheduled arm surgery for the morning is postponed until the pulmonary issues are worked out. Basically, they have drowned his bloodstream in antibiotics, and we are simply waiting for the antibiotics to do something.

He is very heavily sedated right now, so much so that he is not doing his little twitching thing anymore. He looks very peaceful. But there is so much going on beneath the surface. Pray that the antibiotics work, and that God heals his lungs. Maybe God works through antibiotics.

O God, our God, why have you forsaken Jake? Or have you? Are you with him? Is it possible for your presence to be with him and for him not to be healed? Do we need to pray harder? Are you withholding yourself intentionally? I know you are here. I have never felt you closer. But why? When?


No man is an island

I'm not sure where to begin. I want to give somewhat of a spiritual update on what is going through my head, because I feel like that is part of my role throughout this whole ordeal. That is the function that God will use this lowly vessel that I call "myself" for.

I feel selfish for making it about the feelings that I am having, and not about Jacob. But I like how Charlie Broxton put it: "This is about all of us."

I am astounded at what God has been doing in the community, in his body. People from across the world are bonding together to pray and show their love. It is truly overwhelming. I know that there are people whom I haven't even talked to who are somehow invested in this whole process, who are apart of this movement to rally around Jacob and his whole process - supporting him and each other as we all go through this Journey together.
This is what the "church" is supposed to be. It is sad that it takes an event of this enormity to make us actually engage that, but maybe that is the whole point - God allows trauma for the sake of the growth of his Kingdom. The Church is an amoebic movement of people who are motivated by love; it is so far from being a place that you go on Sunday mornings, where you sing songs and pretend that pain doesn't exist because "God is good." The Church is this network that we are experiencing, this bonding of people, this outpouring of love and affection, people uniting because of the far greater Love who allowed himself to be hung on a cross and damned simply because we all insisted on our own way. This has been my greatest source of encouragement: not the words said or the help given, but how all of you have gathered together to support Jacob, his family, and each other in this time. Even if you have never considered yourself a "Christian," or don't consider yourself "religious" (what do those phrases even mean now, anyway?), you can't help but be integrated into this Body, because you are coming with one motivation: love. And God is love.
The love of God is dangerous. It is furious. He loves us enough to break us away from evil, to break our hearts from having fallen in love with this world, so that we can fall in love with him. That is the dangerous part of his love - he will pour out his purifying fire on us, and in his love will break our hearts where it needs to be.
I have a specific prayer request. That God would take from us (Jacob, my family, + all of you) what is necessary for his Kingdom to come more fully, for his presence to be felt closer. My only fervent request, that I have been begging of God, is that this would not include taking Jacob's life, or his livelihood. How I long to see him surfing, biking, and laughing with friends again, and how I long to be able to wrestle with him and beat him up again. I am pleading, face down, in the throne room of God.
I am freaking pissed at God. Some people have tried to encourage me by saying how much they appreciate that I am not blaming God through all of this. My immediate response was "Well of course I blame Him! He wants all the credit, so he gets it! He's supposed to be in control, right?" (I don't mean to sound harsh, I know you meant well :). But I trust him. I have never felt his presence deeper than I do right now. Which sucks, because I have also never been in more pain. O, great paradox, O sweet irony, that our moments of deepest brokenness are the very hours of our visitation. That was the great paradox of the cross. How insane is this: The God of the Universe died a human death. Yet out of that came his presence, the promised outpouring of his Spirit, like never before. And, how insane is this: "King of the heavens; you're my closest friend."

If we haven't started to understand that God is impossible to understand, then I don't think we really know who he is at all. I love The Confessions of St. Augustine, because he constantly takes the box, formulas and theologies off of God:

"And how shall I call upon my God, my God and Lord, since, when I call for him, I shall be calling him to myself? and what room is there within me, whither my God can come into me? Whither can God come into me, God who made heaven and earth? Is there indeed, O Lord my God, aught in me that can contain thee? Do then heaven and earth, which Thou hast made, and wherein Thou hast made me, contain Thee? or, becasue nothing which exists could exist without Thee, doth therefore whatever exists contain thee? Since, then, I too exist, why do I seek that Thou shouldest enter into me, who were not, wert thou in me? Why? Because I am not gone down in hell and yet Thou art there also. For "if I go down into hell, Thou art there." I could not be then, could not be at all, wert Thou not in me; or, rather, unless I were in Thee, of Whom are all things by whom are all things, in whom are all things? Even so, Lord, even so. Whither do I call Thee, since I am in Thee? or whence canst Thou enter into me? For whither can I go beyond heaven and earth, that thence my God should come into me, Who hath said "I fill the heaven and the earth?"

O, merciful Father, enter into Jacob and his broken existence. Be present. Grant him the courage to stand before your presence in his sleeping and waking. The filthy red cross has conquered his fear. Shine your light of love, your Son, on Jacob, who is held up by this blessed network of those who love.

I just got word from my mom that Jacob is in a bit of a more serious condition. The doctors are concerned about his lungs, and the oxygen not getting to his body properly. They have been cleaning out his lungs all day, and are not sure exactly why he is having these issues. It could be that the lungs just need to flush out burned tissue. Here we come to a dip in the roller coaster. Your prayers are desperately needed. It looks like the surgery on his arm scheduled for tomorrow morning will not happen because of this condition. I am going to be with Jacob. I love you all.


4:30 PM Weds

They are taking an x-ray again of Jacob right now. I had to leave the room. I just got back dealing with insurance stuff. Was in there for a few minutes. Giving him an x-ray involves lifting him up to get the metal plate under him and bringing the x-ray machine into the room. ]

They are concerned with his lungs not getting enough oxegyn and that there may be a blood clot. Please pray...they told us on the first day that this was a roller coaster ride and it has been. They gave him additional medication to keep him from moving around. There are times that his body just seems to realize the invasion and his head, arms, legs start moving. One of the nurses acutally got on top of him to hold him down. Again he is strong - thankful for that - he is a fighter.

There is probably more to right but for now you know how to pray. Thank you.

Weds Morning

Debbie and I are here at the hospital. It is pretty quiet. Robbie is on his way...we let him sleep a bit longer. We got here and they were changing Jacob's bedding and bandages so we had to wait outside a bit before we were able to get into his room.

They took an x-ray on his chest last night and put up quiet a fight - atta boy! He remains strong and his left arm is in a soft restraint so he does not pull things out. Right now he looks so peaceful. His fever is down to 99.1 and his kidney's, though are still working, off and on they block up.

Please continue to pray for his kidney function and lowering of his temperature. I am amazed and horrified at what his body has gone through - the doctors describe it as an iceberg - we are seeing the damage on the surface but there is so much more beneath the surface.

Though this road is so very difficult - God continues to comfort. We are amazed by the staff here in the burn unit of the hospital - they are brilliant and compassionate people who continue to give us confidence and trust.

God is good in the midst of tragedy as well as triumph.

....I wrote the above over an hour ago...the doctor came in...Jacob was thrashing about a bit. The got him settled down. Debbie is there each moment soothing him and assuring him that we are here. We are still on scheduele for surgery tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tues Night

We are sitting here in Jacob's room as it approaches 10 pm. Robbie, Debbie and I. I am typing with rubber gloves...each time we enter we have to wash our hands and put on rubber gloves and then throw them out and wash again. Not a problem...

Just a few minutes ago he thrashed a bit. His body is in such pain. Sometimes his body just reacts to the invasion of the tubes and wires and wrappings and braces. They had to put a restraint on his left hand to keep him from accidentally pulling out a tube - or in Jacob's case it might be on purpose...he is a little ornery. The nurses like that as it will be a positive in rehab. Also he is strong. All that surfing. Oh Lord get him back on the waves again.

His right arm in a brace and elevated, hanging with a long tube of gauze...pray for his right arm. Lord heal his right arm.

I read this Psalm this morning and then to Jacob just a bit ago.

Ps 24
the earth is the Lord's, and all its fullness
the world and those who dwell therin
for He has founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the waters
who may ascend into the hill of the Lord
or who may stand in His holy place?
he who has clean hands and a pure heart
who has not lifted up his soul to an idol
nor sworn deceitfully
he shall receive blessing from the Lord
and righteousness from the God of his salvation
this is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him
who seek Your face, selah
lift up your heads, O you gates
and be lifted up, you everlasting doors
who is the King of glory?
the Lord strong and mighty
the Lord mighty in battle
lift up your heads, o you gates
lift up you everlasting doors
and the King of glory shall come in
who is the King of glory?
the Lord of hosts
He is the King of glory
5:30 PM Tuesday.

Overall things are good. His temperature is down to 102 and the urinalysis continues to show improvement. He remains in critical condition, and we are still quite concerned for his arm. The doctor told us this morning that if his body continues to function well and they believe his body can handle it, there is a possibility of surgery on Thursday to clean up the skin on his right arm. They will use skin from a cadaver and lay it over the burned arm and hand to see if Jacob's skin will start to regenerate itself to avoid or at least lessen the skin grafts. Please pray that they will be able to save his right thumb somehow. Not to mention his arm.

We slept last night - which was much needed. We keep going in and out of Jacob's room. Debbie is able to stay in there longer. I have a hard time sitting still. We talk to him and pray with him and ask the Lord to heal our special son. The Auntie's my sister, Kirky, and Debbie's sister, Julie have been here most of the time and my parents have come in and out.

There is a growing out-pouring of love. There has been one Santa Cruz Sentinel article ( search for Jacob Kirkendall). People that we know and that we do not know are asking what they can do for us practically. We will keep you posted. Right now we are loving the prayers and support. It is encouraging our spirit. I received this from a pastor/police officer in Georgia that I read when I woke up.

Your Cross
The everlasting God has in His wisdom
foreseen from eternity the cross
that He now presents to you
as a gift from His inmost heart
This cross He now sends you
He has considered with His all-knowing eyes,
understood with His divine mind,
tested with His wise justice,
warmed with His loving arms
and weighed with His own hands
to see that it be not one inch too large
and not one ounce too heavy for you
He has blessed it with His holy name,
anointed it with His consolation,
taken one last glance at you
and your courage, and then sent it
to you from heaven,
a special greeting from God to you,
in alms of the all-merciful love of God.
St. Francis de Sales

Dad's View

I talked to Robbie earlier today about creating a blog to share what is going on with Jacob. He obviously got excited and gave a lot of himself to create this tool. It really is a tool for us and for you. A way to connect with the journey.

Even calling it Jacob's Journey holds truth that is important for me. This is not where he will be tomorrow. It is where he is right now at this moment but the journey will continue. My prayer is for miracles. Just 24 hours ago we were in the emergency room at Dominican Hospital first grasping the magnitude of this injury. A kindly older Dr. looked at us and oozed about the miracles that took place. I hold on the the miracle that Jacob did not die from this injury and now I pray for more miracles that will move forward on this journey.

I was getting my laptop out tonight to start to google more information about what is going on with Jake's body. Mike Conly was there with me and encouraged me to be careful because of the magnitude of the stories that are out there. Jacob's story is unique and he has an amazing medical team around him.

Deut 29:29 says that "the secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words according to the law." There are things going on that we cannot see in Jacob. That which can be seen are being taken care of by the doctors and nurses in this Burn Unit. But that which is secret - that which is unseen is for us who walk in the Kingdom of Light belong to God. I am so incredibly thankful for the the outpouring of prayer support that seems to expand across California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Australia, to the world. The voices of those who walk according to the hope of the Kingdom of God which is now and at hand.

I stood at Jacob's bed tonight and wept out tears of gratitude, confusion, and hope. As I said goodnight, I wrestled with a desire to stay and the fact that I needed to get some sleep. It is now midnight and I am falling asleep as I write this. I trust that Almighty God is holding on to Jake where I cannot.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Quick Update

Just a quick update on Jake's condition...
He is heavily sedated - completely asleep - and will be so for at least a couple days. We are not entirely sure what the Dr.'s will look for before they start to wake him up. But they are doing this, for one, because he would be in extreme pain were he awake. Also, I think it is easier for them to monitor his internal organs, move him around to dress wounds, etc.
I was told he has a fever, but that this is a normal reaction. They are moving him into a bed with cooling blankets.
Making sure his kidneys are fully functional is a key ingredient in his recovery. The electric currents coursing through his body killed a lot of muscle tissue (I suppose it could be called internal burns), which the body then has to break down and filter out in the urine. His boy is sending out HUGE amounts of this chemical. A normal amount is 200, and last night his count was at 20,000. But, by the end of today the amount of this chemical in his urine was under 17,000, which is really good news because, as the doctor said, he is hopefully in the "downward spiral" of flushing out his internal injuries.
However, the healing of his wounds, both internal and external, is only the first step. Basically, we are now simply waiting for the full ramifications of the accident to work themselves out, and then the doctors will see where that leads and go from there in his recovery. And, we are slowly realizing that "recovery" might really mean living with a lifetime of difficulties. However, we really have no idea. That is the crazy part about the nature of his injuries; it is not like a broken bone where the Dr.'s know exactly what to do to set it and get it on the right path. It will be a much larger process of ups and downs, working out a lot of little and big details caused by his accident.
I feel like I should be praying for his physical recovery. And I know that so many of you are. However, I keep coming back to desiring God to truly meet him in this process. God's plan for restoration and salvation looks so much different than anything we can imagine or formulate.
I was truly blessed and brought to tears by this text from my good friends in Idaho, the Travis'. Their young daughters were praying for Jacob:

"Sydney prayed for Jacob tonight...
she asked God to come talk to him in his dreams
so that he wouldn't be scared.
Syd also asked God to try really hard to fix him...
Kalie then told Syd that anything God tries works.
Syd said she was praying really fast in her head so that Jacob would
get better really fast."


p.s. just heard from my dad that while they were moving Jake onto the cooling blanket bed, he woke up a little and acknowledged what they were doing :)


Last night, June 28, our world was rocked pretty hard. We met Jacob at the hospital, and through various accounts from him and from people on the scene, we pieced together a still murky picture of what happened. Apparently at Rio Del Mar beach, at the flats, where he was having a bonfire with a group of friends, they heard a crash and ran over to see downed trees and power lines in the trees across the road. While with his group of friends, Jake attempted to put out a small fire on part of a tree, which was when his friends heard something they describe as an explosion and what was like fire coursing down his whole body. He suffered a concussion and severe electrocution, causing burn spots on his head, neck, hands, arms, chest, feet, and backside, all ranging in severity, with mostly 2nd and 3rd degree burns.
He was taken to Dominican, where the doctors made sure we knew that it was a miracle that he was alive, let alone was conscious and could communicate with us. It is remarkable what a blow his body has taken yet how functional he still is. He is, of course, an ornery and difficult patient. He kept wanting to sit up and his bandages kept coming off. He was extremely thirsty, but the doctors didn't want to put anything in his stomach. He therefore began to bribe and try to weasel his way into getting some water, and eventually got some. He was supposed to just rinse his mouth, but my dad watched him sneak a sip.
His sense of humor was still intact (although I'm sure it was a lot of the drugs talking). The humor even went over the nurses heads. He looked down at his chest at one point and said "Where's my nipple? I want a new nipple." (His nipple was a little red and swollen. It's not gone.)
Later he mentioned that he felt like a had a "Barney sitting on his chest." We asked him "What do you mean by Barney?" He replied: "A big purple dinosaur."

At 3 AM this morning he was transferred from Dominican to the burn center at Valley Medical. The assessment at the burn center by the doctors expressed that his state is much worse than initially expected. The visible wounds are only tips of icebergs. Just a few hours ago they performed surgery on his arm to relieve swelling of the muscle; there is a potential of losing his arm. His kidney's are being constantly monitored for possible failure because of all the interior scar tissue that is being filtered by his body. He has a tube going straight to his heart for medication in the event of heart failure/a heart condition. In some areas, it is possible that he has interior burns similar to those exterior. In the doctor's own words: "He will be fighting for his arm, and for his life."
It is going to be a long haul. There is already a team of at least 5 doctors, psychologists, and therapists that will work with not only Jacob but also my parents. I am deathly afraid that this will not be over by the time i need to be back at college. It will be a roller coaster; he will be better one day and worse the next. And yet God sustains.
Emotions are rampant in my family and our close friends. Our entire world now is contained inside of sterilized walls. My heart is for my fallen brother. I want nothing less than to see him confronted with the crazy, foolhardy, savage, desperate love of God.
Here is a snipet from my journal entry the morning before this all happened:

"How crazy and mind-blowing it is when we take the "Love is..." statements in 1 Corinthians 13 and apply those to GOD! Since God is love, 1 Corinthians 13, from God's point of view, thus says: MY LOVE is patient and kind. MY LOVE does not envy or boast. MY LOVE is not arrogant or rude. (This next one blows my mind...) MY LOVE does not insist on its own way. MY LOVE is not irritable or resentful. MY LOVE does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoiced with truth. MY LOVE bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
MY LOVE never ends.
So, God says: "This is who I am. This is what I do for you. My arms are always wide open. Always. I want your love. I fervently, furiously long for it."
How foolish is God's way! how foolish is his love! It does not insist on it's own way! We assume that O, it is God, the Supreme Being, the King of the Universe - what he wants done is done, he has a will and purpose that always happens. Is it? Or, out of love, does he make sacrifices for us? Do we truly understand the crazy, scandalous, earth-shattering idea, that the God of the Universe MAKES SACRIFICES FOR US??!!
I am convinced that it is harder to understand the love of God than the existence of God. It is far more important. Yet somehow it also makes more sense.
Jesus went to the cross. He was anxious about it. He didn't want to do it. He felt, and WAS, forsaken by God. This is the sacrifice that the God if the Universe made for us. He did not insist on his own way, but took the route that we selfishly demanded.
How different is this God of love, than the God who we understand to always orchestrate things, who sits in the clouds and judges, rebukes and punishes us, who demands that we "do things right." O, crazy paradox - it is the opposite! The God if the Universe is humble, makes sacrifices just to be with me.
O, how he loves us so."

For whatever reason, this is my heart for Jake right now. That this love would be made apparent to him. That this brokenness he is experiencing would be the very hour of his visitation.
I can't bear to think about what Jacob's body went through, is going through and will go through. But without brokenness, we will never be consummated in God's love. Unless God breaks our hearts that have fallen in love with the world, we cannot fall in love with him.

Some meaningful quotes during this time:
"How I long to be broken. How I long to be near you. How my heart skips beats when your love accepts me where I am."
"How long till your voice speaks clearly? How long till you arms envelope me? I cry, be my strength when I am weak. O Lord, have mercy on me please."
-The Glorious Unseen
"I know that it is a miracle that he is just alive. But now we need more miracle. Kind of like more cowbell."
-Tom Kirkendall
"I promise I won't be that friend that tells you that this is all because you are a sinner."
-Charlie Broxton to Tom K
"Wait, it's not all about me?"
-Tom K to Charlie B
"When, then, eternal Father, did you create this creature of yours?... You show me that you made us for one reason only: in your light you saw yourself compelled by the fire of your love to give us being in spite of the evil we would commit against you, eternal Father. It was fire, then, that compelled you. Oh, unutterable love, even though you saw all the evils your creatures would commit against your infinite goodness, you acted as if you did not see and set your eye only on the beauty of your creature, with whom you had fallen in love like one drunk and crazy with love... You are the fire, nothing but a fire of love, crazy over what you have made."
-Catherine of Siena

As you pray for my brother Jacob, may you bask in the love of the Father. The Lord bless you and keep you.
-Rob Kirkendall