Saturday, July 11, 2009

Still healing...

Saturday Night - good day.

Jacob's vitals continue to be good: blood pressue, heart rate, temp and oxygen. They do this test on his lungs and try to suction his lungs. Jake hates it and shakes his head back and forth. Where before they were suctioning cloudy liquid it is now clear. Also he seems to be taking in more of the nutrients from the brown goop to his stomach so they are weaning him from the white goop to his veins. I know, I'm using technical terms.

Concerns to pray for:
- wound infections
- continued healing in lungs
- .healing of arm
- rest/rejuvination of family
- wisdom and skill of doctors and nurses
- we would reflect godliness to those around us and love them

Rejoice and praise God. Treat those you meet with love and compassion first


Love and peace, thanks for joining the journey.

Tom

Healing...

“The eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him – on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you.” Ps 33:20-22

Two big praises for gradual improvement: 1. Jacob is needing less assistance in his breathing this morning - his lungs are healing. 2. Jacob is getting more nutrients from the food (brown group in a bag) that they are giving him.

They are still adjusting the paralytic medicine and pain medicine. One of the things they are talking about is changing the pain med to a different one that has less confusion and "hang-over" effects.

That is it for now.

Love and peace

Tom

Friday, July 10, 2009

Resting in today for courage

While they have been doing some adjusting to Jacob's medications, reducing the paralytic and increasing the pain medication, we continue to have as our goal as rest and healing. Healing is gauged by the health of his lungs - how much oxygen he needs to assist his breathing and keep his actual intake above 90% and how much oxygen is in the blood when they take samples. The measures are indicating that he is healing. "Lord, breathe your breath that created life to restore the lungs of my son."

I long to see my Jacob with his eyes open and his mouth without tubes able to speak -to hear the crazy things he ponders and makes up. I wish that this were one of his tricks and that we could laugh and it would be all over. The road before us is daunting if we look forward too far. Today, living in the present moment holds tremendous power. If I am not present, I miss the time I got to spend today with Jensen as I picked him up from a friends house. We got to go swimming and walked to get some dinner. Oh the joy of life that he holds. Enjoy the moment for moments do change.

The day before Jacob's injury I wrote this in my journal.

Today, O Lord, I sit in full confidence
not confidence in my ability or my fortune
no, this confidence is fully and wholly in you - in your son -
"in Him and through him we may approach God with freedom and confidence" (Eph 3:12)

Tomorrow, I will doubt and awaken in fear,
this fear will drive me to panic and desperate planning
apparent confidence in myself will mask this fear
I will mourn deep within my soul, seeing victories as mine

Yet today, I rest in you; I approach you
that is so crazy that I: defiant, schemer, cheater
I can approach the throne of the most high, holy, majestic creator
not just bowing but crawling into your lap and embracing you

Tomorrow is tomorrow - today I will hold on to you
being in your presence is all that is important
tomorrow has enough to worry about - I will focus on today
that I might catch a bit more of your unsearchable

All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord
and all the families of the nation will bow down before Him
They will proclaim His righteousness to a people yet unborn
for He has done it. (Ps 22:27, 31)

What I fear most is that what I which I cannot control;
trusting enough to release the illusion of control takes tremendous courage
a loving community builds courage and eliminates fear
we have such a loving community surrounding us, surrounding Jacob

Peace and love

Tom

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Living in the moment...


Quick disclaimer:
There will be a benefit show for Jacob on the 22nd of this month at Santa Cruz Bible Church!!! It is going to be amazing. There are many individuals and businesses that are offering their support to put on this event. PLEASE, please check out the website made for the concert at the link above, as well as here: http://www.journeythroughfire.com/index.html
.
I am really excited about this, I hope that as many of you as possible can come. Also, if you have recently been following this blog or if you haven't checked it in awhile, please look at the column on the left to see ways you can help, financial or otherwise. Numbers 3 and 5 are especially close to my heart, because they are setting up a monument of love for Jake that he will be overwhelmed with when he wakes up. Please do what you can. Regarding number 3, we still need a lot of pictures for our friend to make a book for Jake. Please read.



Never before have I better experienced this idea: "living in the moment." What has happened isn't important. What will happen in the future is irrelevant. For now, we are zeroed in on sustaining Jake in this moment.

My (words fail me here) "beloved" brother Jacob is resting well. He is stable. He is excreting well (yes it means what you think). Like the last post said, the surgery was fine. They will probably not operate again until Tuesday because they are comfortable with his current state. I am hoping that in this time we will see some real improvement, that the paralytic medication could be reduced, and that his lungs would see rapid improvement. Tuesday is 5 days away... 5 days to pray and rest.
I have been telling people that the reality of how long this process will be is finally starting to settle in. For example, they are a little worried about nerve damage in his arm that will possibly limit the use of his right arm. His recovery process will be unimaginable. Even emotionally. He will go through more physical, mental and spiritual pain than I think any of us have gone through so far. As much as I want to see him as a helpless child who I need to sacrifice myself for in order for him to recover, I need to realize that he is going through a journey in his own right, and that he has his own responsibility to recover. We can't do it for him. So far I think "Jacob's Journey" is a bad title because it has been what we all are going through for his sake. It is a mixed bag of not wanting him to go through more pain, but knowing that he must continue on this journey more than ever before when he wakes up. PRAY FOR HIM.
After he wakes up he will need prayer more than ever before. I encourage all of you to not expend your powers of support before that day. Although I am convinced that you have been sustaining him in your all-night prayers and daily petitions, GET REST. This will be a process with no end in sight. Learn what it means to rely on others and be sustained in this moment.

There is so much I could say. But there is hardly I need... in this community that is rallying around me, in the ways that God is working, I am actually experiencing so many things that were previously just theories. And its like I never knew anything at all.

For instance, the idea of viewing everything through the lens of Christ, and seeing God's Kingdom as being HERE and NOW, not just some vague spiritual "place" where we get to go when we die if only we can believe the right things. Wouldn't this life have much more value and purpose if we saw the message of Christ as bringing God's restoration and message of hope NOW? I have always had a passion for looking into this, making theories about what this meant. And now I am seeing it happen, because of who Jacob is. God is here, and we are becoming what Christ intended- a body of people together for the sake of love, reacting violently to this message of love... a song by The Ember Days says "Your Bride is coming to you... united in your arms." And we are. It's not about a post-death destination. It is all about loving God and loving others right now. At this moment. Seeing the love of the Father, realizing the reality of the Kingdom, and reacting extremely, violently.

May what has happened with Jacob not just be something that has happened, resolves itself and then forgotten. May it be a constant reminder for our entire lives of love. For the rest of our lives, may we intensify our community with others, and reach out all the more to bring others into this community. A Bride who is being prepared for her groom, being beautified and perfected. (weird imagery, i know, but humor my aesthetic tendencies :).

I will end with a prayer I wrote down this afternoon:

Father, forgive the great sin of my pride.
I assume, in my own ivory tower of self-made spirituality, that I am the closest to you. That I have all the answers. That I no one else knows as well as I do. That no one else understands fully. That I love you the most.
I confess this egregious sin.
And I excuse it all by claiming, "I am somehow one of the elect, better off than the rest, superior."
But just look at you! The Great Elect, who made himself not-elect to be with us, who covered himself in the filth of my own waste and excrement. This prideful spirituality is so far from who you are, from your Way. It is a far greater sin than those little things I see in others and condemn them for, that I wag my finger and my tongue at. If I am not accepting of the unaccepted, if I don't see myself as no better off than those that I label sinners in their brokenness, then I am a greater sinner because of my self-made righteousness.
The love of God is patient.
The love of God is kind.
The love o God does not boast.
The love of God does not envy.
The love of God does not insist on its own way.
The love of God is sacrificing.
The love of God is humiliation.
The love of God is agony to a holy God.
The love of God is insane! (mentally deranged?)
The love of God is divine, because in its perfection it becomes imperfect, proving its perfectly divine nature.

In the love of God I SELAH... I rest... I welcome it... I give up my ivory tower building project... I rest by loving others... I allow room for the Spirit to build his temple, which is US, the Bride.


What would it look like if our resting was synonymous with loving God and others?

-Robbie

Cautiously Optimistic

The doctor just came out. Jacob did well in surgery. Deep breathe...thank you Lord.

"Surgery went well" meant that they were able to remove 95% of the dead tissue and muscle from the underarm and back region. Jacob's body and especially lungs were able to handle an hour and a half of surgery. They also cleaned up his head not going as far as the skull.

The doctor said that if he survives all this - and he is cautiously optimistic - they need to see if there is nerve damage to the hand. This is a huge reminder that Jacob is still not out of the woods regarding surviving all this and that we have a long road ahead of us. Today's surgery is also a huge confirmation that we are moving in the right direction. This includes: incredibly talented and competent staff, family and friends and a growing community of support, and prayerful petitions of the God of the universe.

We are not looking at surgery again until Tuesday. The priority at this point is to focus on the lungs continuing to heal and his body doing some work. I asked if we would be able to wake him up soon. While I long to see my son's eyes and to talk to him, I am also so scared for him to realize the shape of this journey. The doctor said it will still be some time until we wake him. Keeping him down like this helps his body to heal. Prayerfully we call upon God over these next few days to put his healing touch upon Jake. I know that God was working on him.

There is dead bone on the skull that at some point will need to be removed and replaced with a metal plate. We are still very concerned about his arm but dealing with the hand and thumb are not the crucial areas right now. The doctor said that there will need to be some extensive reconstructive surgery for the hand but that is not a life-threatening issue and can wait. Jacob's injury there is very close to the main artery to the arm and major nerves running to the hand. That will come.

Life is fragile. We all know this but in the midst of this moment we are brutally reminded of this. I almost hugged some very cute kids today at breakfast and tell the mother to treasure each moment but thought I might get arrested. I am so incredibly blessed in my three sons. Each one though different is a gift to me, to God and to those that know him. I get to sit back and ride on their coattails.

As we continue to join in prayer over the next few days and weeks, once again I am so thankful for so many of you joining us on this journey. I cannot even begin to express the growing strength from your prayers, support and encouragement.

Love, peace, prayer...

Tom
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He said "awesome"

I think I figured out how to do quick updates fom my blackbey. Although the "r" does not always work. :) or is it wok.

I just needed to quickly share this. Debbie was in the room when the entouage of lung specialists came through. One of the said "awesome" as they looked at Jake. Amazed they are getting ready for surgery. Yes our God is an "awesome" God. Journey continues.

Dad

Stability and Jr Gaurds

Good morning. I just wanted to give you a quick update this morning. Jacob had a continued stable night... "thank you, thank you, Lord." He is fourth on the docket for surgery today. We expect that it will be after noon. So of course our prayer is for stability - and continued healing - restoration.

Ps 32:6-7
Therefore, let everyone who is godly
pray to you while you may be found;
surely when the might waters rise
they will not reach him.
You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.

Today and tomorrow the Jr Lifeguards in Capitola have asked to do some raffles and stuff in Jacob's honor. Four years ago Jacob participated in the program. It is a great program. I woke up this morning thinking about hundreds of kids participating in a program that grounds them in principles that can help to save lives and teaches them how to be safe in the ocean. Make a difference in a life...

More to come...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Praise for stability...

"So then,
just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord,
continue to live in him,
rooted and built up in him,
strengthened in the faith as you were taught,
and overflowing with thankfulness."
Col 2:6-7

Jacob is still on the schedule for surgery tomorrow. As we sit here on Wednesday evening, we are so thankful for a stable day. That is what we have all been hoping and praying for - so many prayers - so many encouragments. Though Debbie and I are both tired, we are...not sure what word to use...thankful, content, hopeful.... What a contrast from yesterday which began so hopeful and then digressed into a gray fog.

Baby steps forward - God is working. Your continued, ceaseless prayers are so amazing. The community around us, our families and the nurses and doctors are such a blessing.
Jacob's vital signs have been consistent. He has moved from 100% dependence on oxygen to under 50%. His blood pressure remains consistent as well. This is so important for Jacob to get into surgery to do more debridement (removal of dead skin). They are trying to wean him off of the paralytic medicine and increasing the pain medication. The body gets use to the paralytic meds which means they need to increase it over time to keep his limbs immobile. Pray that remains peaceful and stable. That he does not flail his arms and head around needing to increase the paralytic meds.

In the midst of this 9 day roller coaster (or has it been 10), we have moved back and forth through so many emotions. I have cried out in anger, fear, confusion, pleading to God for some sort of mercy - a little ray of hope. We have rejoiced, laughed, teased, and cried. Up and down - despair - hope - anxiety - guilt. Day by day; hour by hour. Not sure if we should plan appointments for tomorrow because we do not know where the roller coaster will take us. And yet...

Each step of the way, God has not abandoned us but continues to guide and strengthen us for this ride. With each step of the way He is there and is placing amazing people around us and directly in our path. In our weakness we are strengthened.

Philippians 2 has always blown me away. Here is a portion of it.
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.

I have never ever read that verse with such a realization of the power of community that God brings around giving strength to trudge through this tragedy one step at a time.

On June 22nd I wrote this in my journal: "Today O, Lord take me as I am. I humble myself before you and I seek the path of faith which is expressed in your love, your power, your hope. Produce in me fruit that reflects all that is you: love, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." I see this being demonstrated right before my eyes. What would the Church be like if we were truly demonstrating the character of Christ.
Please pray for continued stability of his breathing - healing to his lungs - and a peaceful night for Jacob. Pray that we continue to trust and hope and place our faith in God and demonstrate a character like Christ.
Love and peace
Tom

Stop and praise for lungs!

The pulmonary doctor came through and told us the Jacob had a good night. His lungs are doing better. He is hoping that if Jacob has a good day today we will be able to get him back into surgery tomorrow.

Yes, we can praise God for this miracle.

For those of us on this journey, lets stop and be thankful.

The roller coaster continues. It is a slow rise but it is a rise. There is more to come as we stand firm in our trust that God is not done yet with our boy. True trust comes hand in hand with vulnerability which opens us up to pain. We have tremendous hope.

-Tom

Quick addition from Robbie:
I was just telling people around me at work how we have no idea how long it could be before Jacob's lungs improve and he can go into surgery. I told them it could be a day, it could be weeks. Just the possibility of him going into surgery as soon as tomorrow, although small, is a huge answer to prayer. Thank you all for praying. Please, let as all take a break from petitioning God, and REST by means of praising him. Rest in this obvious manifestation of how he hears our cries. He knows our hearts. He mourns right along with us, and rejoices right along with us. I picture us all as a part of this staduim that is filled beyond capacity with heavenly creatures as well as all of us, surrounding Jacob's hospital bed, crying when things get worse and roaring when things improve.

Father, we know you are holding Jacob. We ask you to hold us as well. We can never do enough to make it all right. Show us what true rest is. Lead us into your Spirit. How great are your works! How awesome that Jacob's lungs are getting better! You hear us and love us. And we love you.

Sustained through the night...

Good morning to all of you who found rest last night and to those of you who were kept up in prayer for us. Although it pains me to hear that people are losing sleep because of Jacob, it is also an encouragement that he is being sustained by you through the night.

Jacob had a "good" night. Nothing really to speak of. My mom just got to the hospital. My dad and I are going to breakfast to relax with each other before I head to work. He is resting.

The lyrics from the song "Burn in me" by the band The Glorious Unseen are amazing. I will simply finish the lyrics from that song that the song left out, because it is where I have been at the last few days:

I'm crying...

How I long to be broken
How I long to be near you
How my heart skips beats when
Your love accepts me as I am.

-Robbie

Glimpses of God

I told Debbie as we left the hospital tonight that it felt like we had 3 days today. We entered this morning with such hopes of another surgery and thus another step of getting Jacob's wounds cleaned up, thus moving closer to some healing. It was quite a set back to have the surgery simply discover that his lungs were damaged. I am so thankful though that they made this discover - another uncovering of what his body needs in order to heal.

His lungs need to heal on their own - His lungs need the healing touch of God. There are no medical, no surgical, no human way to help. It is all in the hands of the body that God has created and the hands of the creator/healer God.

I would like to share with you two beautiful glimpses of God, two experiences of revelation of the Kingdom of God.

Tonight Debbie and I were able to attend a support group in the hospital for burn victims. Blew me away. I was very reluctant yet Debbie's determination to go caused me to follow like a scared puppy. Incredible stories of survival in the midst of struggle and victory - to see those who have overcome so much. As we shared around the table our stories we were the only ones in the midst of hospitalization. After we shared a bit about Jacob - the next man who had come in late said that he was there for us. He pulled out two things - one an article from the paper about Jacob. The other a picture of himself in the hospital. He had suffered high voltage burns several years ago and was in the same bed as Jacob. His recovery story is his and I will not try to share it but it includes an encounter with the Kingdom of God and God's healing touch. It was of course an encouragement - needed quenching of our spirits.

Last night I arranged for Debbie to get a massage. She has been standing at Jacob's bed and both her neck and feet were sore. There was only one appointment left for the day and it was at 8 o'clock. As she lay there speaking to the massage therapist amidst the tears she discovered that she has had her own journey which included a time in the same burn unit with a story of one of the same nurses. They talked well after the appointment. This morning our new friend came by the hospital delivering Debbie some shoes and a hug for both of us. Jesus came and washer our feet.

Even in the midst of our deepest pain - longest days - there are glimpses of the touch of our savior. God has our back. He has not abandoned us. Jacob is alive and fighting. The Kingdom of God is at hand and your voices are ringing loud and clear.


This is from a song by Glorious Unseen called Burn in Me...

Breath of God
Breathe on me
Hold me in your hands
Take my life
This offering
And use me where I am

Come carry me now
I'm crying out
For someone I can not see
Come carry me now
I'm crying


In the midst of Jacob's Journey we have our own - I pray in the midst of this we catch a glimps of God, a touch of the savior, a taste of His Kingdom.

T

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Cries of the Broken

Jacob's lungs are "very sick." Like the last blog said, he has confirmed burn damage on his lungs. The lungs do have the ability to heal themselves. We are just waiting now for the lungs to get better. Who knows how long it will be.
Pray for his rest. And pray for his lungs, that they would find complete healing. Jacob is breathing with broken lungs... the comforting part is he is at least still breathing. And pray for my family, that we would camp on the fact that it is a miracle that he is alive.




PLEASE READ: There will be a benefit concert held for Jacob on the 22nd of this month, featuring a local band called Samaria (one of Jacob's friends is a member of the band). Doors open at 7. $12. At Santa Cruz Bible Church. It should be an amazing time of community and prayer. There are already tons of people helping out and offering their support. It is truly amazing what is happening. Pray that God makes this a time of incessant prayer and longing and crying out for Jacob, and that WE ARE ALL BROUGHT CLOSER TO HIM THROUGH THIS NIGHT. Pray that it is a night of the community coming together for the sake of love of God and each other. ALL THE INFORMATION IS HERE: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/event.php?eid=99494029639&ref=mf
Especially those of you in the Santa Cruz Community, please pass along word of this event to all whom you know. Hopefully we will get a digital copy of a flyer that we can circulate.


There is so much I could say, but I have no idea where to begin. The Kingdom of God is huge. It is crossing social lines, political lines, ideological lines, religious lines, psychological lines, etc. Use your imagination: It breaks down ALL of the barriers that we erect in order to feel that we are safe in our own little kingdoms, safe in our own worlds where we are right and those who don't agree with us are wrong, where God loves us because we say the right things, make the right motions, are theologically astute, because we attend a church building on sundays, and because we somehow feel that we have adequately professed belief in all the right things. What would happen if we really got it into our heads that this is not what the Kingdom of God is about? In fact it is far from it! It is a literal engagement, an intimate friendship, a deep knowing of the Creator of the Universe who has stooped down, made himself like us, because he WANTS to be with us! If we really believed this, the world would change. (And I'm not just speaking to Christians here).
I think of Jacob in that hospital bed with tubes running into seemingly every pore. God made himself even worse than that. God became human. The Divine filthied himself. He put himself in such a horrid state, that while hanging on the cross, Jesus felt rejected by God. "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" Have you ever felt forsaken by God? Jesus can identify with that.
God is mourning right along with us for what has happened to Jacob. For all of the confusing, stupid pain that we have in our lives. That is how much he loves us. He isn't trying to get our attention by inflicting us with blows, like Job's friend tried to convince him. God isn't waiting in some etherreal place with his arms crossed for us to finally realize that we need to escape to him. HE COMES TO US. He looks deep into our eyes, past all the grime, muck and filthiness, and sees the good in us. The love in us. The longing in us. And he comes to us for that, despite the fact that he has to dirty himself to get there. Even though Jacob is physically broken, God comes and envelopes him in his arms.
We know that Christ came for the broken, for the social outcasts, but we don't quite take it far enough. He came for those who were spiritually broken. For those who didn't even know where to begin in a relationship with God, who felt abandoned by God because they were considered "cursed by God" by those who considered themselves religiously and spiritually astute. But God literaly came right into their lives. He loved them so much that he became like them. He took up their burdens with them.
O, God I ask this for Jacob. Take up his burden. We praise you for being here. Though we are unholy, we are in the midst of the holy. Yet how can you be holy while associating with the unholy? That is how we know you love us - you make yourself unholy. Yet somehow in all that prove yourself to be holy because of your mind-blowing love.
Every night before I leave Jacob's bed I ask God to take something from me and give it to him. After writing the above paragraph, I realized something even more humbling - like Christ did for us, I want to take up Jacob's burden. But I can't. I am helpless. And so in exhaustion and release, I fall gently backwards into the arms of my Creator. And Jacob is laying there right next to me.

As we are a community, however vague our ties are... take up each other's burdens. Reach out and extend our community... that annoying person at work. The bum on the street corner. The awkward neighbor. The spiritually destitute, who have been labeled as failures. Do not entomb yourself in an ivory tower of intellectual enterprise and social domination. Humble yourself. Bear with others in love.

Jonah cried out from the belly of the great fish:
"I am driven away from your sight; Yet I shall look again upon your holy temple."

We may feel forsaken by God. The truth is, he has never been closer. Even though we are destitue, driven from his sight, we still have the choice to look to him, to his dwelling place. Which, because of Christ, is with man.
Revelation 21:3: Behold, he dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be is people, and God himself wil be with them as their God."

Fire is coming
Our hearts are ablaze
The agony of love
In a beautiful face

Descend upon Jacob. Consume his spirit. Envelope his heart. Breath your breath in his lungs.
Lord, this is going to take a long time. I lay it before you.

-Robbie



Breathe oh Lord

Jacob came out of surgery number 3.

They were not able to get to more wound cleaning as his lungs took priority. His breathing reacted badly when they were moving him onto the table. They brought the pulmonary doctor in and they scoped with a camera his lungs. They found damage from the electricity. The roller coaster continues. Jacob's lungs need to heal themselves and of course will take time. This of course take priority. He is back resting in his room. His blood pressure remains strong and they have changed his paralytic medicine.

At this point their is nothing additional the doctors can do. But we know that there is a God who is fully in control and can heal Jacob's lungs. We know how to pray.

Lord heal my son, heal his lungs, grant us mercy - may Your glory shine forth in radiant splendor. Through the chorus of the saints throughout the world, we lift up our cries to You. More than anything Lord, we ask your presence to be with Jacob that He may know you are there. Hear our cries Lord, Hear our plea.

Surgery #3


It is just after 9AM and I right now am going to keep this simple...Jacob is heading into surgery again. He had a hard night of thrashing. This was a new nurse for us but she echoed what they all have been saying, "he is strong." Atta boy. Keep fighting. Keep longing for that perfect wave. Many are praying all over the world. My prayer has continued to be that God would envelop Jacob in His loving arms - though I cannot hold him, God can - he is much stronger, much wiser, much more sufficient than I. Though I am so weak and weary, God is strong and able.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Humbled by love

Today has been pretty much prep and watch for Jacob's surgery. They just finished changing his bedding and bandages which is for this nursing shift about an hour and a half process. They added a brace to his right arm that looks like a shield under his arm, pit and down his side. It is to keep the arm up and help the skin heal.

It is 9:45 and I am sitting here alone in the room with my boy. I actually am treasuring this moment. I want so badly to talk to him and yet I do not want him to be awake and to get frustrated and feel the pain. The realization of what has happened and what is yet to come. Enjoy the present moment.

There is so much we take for granted with our children - so many treasured moments I have missed. As parents there is a fine balance between hovering over them and guiding and releasing them as they mature. Our goal is that as they grow and mature they increase in responsibility and match that with independence. Now suddenly Jacob in one responsibly moment is quite dependent.

Debbie and I are so very blessed. Thank you Lord for the gift of our children. Thank you Lord for the gift of Jacob, Robbie and Jensen

As I was driving back to the hospital I thought about how cloudy and dark this journey can be. Two very real things light the path. One is that God is alive and moving and we have seen his hand print in many ways. Two we are not alone on this journey. Besides God we have a tremendous and growing network of support. Family, friends, churches, people I have not yet even met. On this journey, as Jacob's family, we are not alone. I thank God each time I think of you. Each time I read a message. Stories are getting back to us of this growing network of people joining Jacob on this journey. Thank you for seeking us out and praying to God on Jacob's behalf. We are so very humbled by your love.

Phil 2:1-2
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.

Tomorrow another surgery.

Goodnight Jacob.

direct to the heart

It is 4:30 and I just got back from running some errands - getting our own pills from the pharmacy and depositing some blessings from Corralitos Community Church. Such a humbling blessing. Their goal today is to work on Jacob's nutrients.

As I write they are doing a surgical procedure inserting a pick line above his heart to drip medicine and/or nutrients directly to his heart. This will allow the meds and nutrients to get more quickly in his system. Ultimate fast food - and fat free. Waiting is so very hard. It is so easy to get use to quick solutions and answers as we live in this fast-food-internet world. Webster has been replaced by Google. Cell phones have made pay phones almost obsolete. There is a lot to learn as we wait, as we stop, as we listen.

Ps 27:13-14
I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.

Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.



Tom

PS it is now 5:45...I just came out. Pick line is in. Baby steps.

Two Eggs, Bacon, Toast

Jacob needs to eat. He is not getting enough nutrients. Okay I know you all want to rush over and bring him his favorite food: Betty's Burger, Chocolate Pudding, Strawberries...but right now Jacob gets to eat a brownish colored goop in a bag. Who knows how it tastes - he doesn't the feeding tube goes right through his nose to his stomach. They might have to push the tube a little farther past the stomach so that more goes to his large intestines. I long to make him his favorite breakfast: eggs, fried potatoes (Auntie Julie makes 'em best), Jimmy Dean sausage or bacon,and toast. He makes it often and never cleans up all the yoke which I yell at him for. Yeah you guessed it...longing to clean up a little yoke.

Pray he gets the nutrients.

Pray also that all things continue to be stable: heart rate, temperature, oxygen level. All are doing well right now. Stable is good - he needs his strength for surgery again tomorrow. We are looking at this routine right now of surgery every other day for the next couple of weeks. Each time they have a priority of what they are focusing on - the area that is most important to operate on to eliminate as much dead skin. The nature of an electrical burn is different that a surface burn - internal burn continues, is inconsistent as to the path it travels, and is varied throughout he body. Internal organs may be damaged that we cannot see the evidence of right now.

Doctors reminded us this morning that we are in this for the long haul. Right now we will step up and forward today and praise God that Jacob is alive and we are making progress. Like in the movie "What about Bob?" - baby steps.

Jacob's Dad

Monday Morning 7/6

Robbie took Debbie to the hospital this morning and then headed to work. I am getting going now and need to run some errands. Debbie called and things seem to be okay this morning with Jacob. She is waiting for the doctor. They usually change the bandages and bedding about now. She said there was a lot of bleeding overnight where they operated yesterday (back, underarm and foot). It seemed to stop on its own. We did get some sleep last night and woke early. Thanks for those that did not get much sleep and kept up the prayers for Jake and for us.

So far right now please pray for a day of stability - that his vitals would continue to be steady and that the infection in his lungs would continue to improve. And yes do pray for healing, restoration, and protection. Pray also for recognition of God's Kingdom in the midst of tragedy and triumph.

This morning I read 2 Chronicles 10-11, Colossians 1, and Psalm 31 - really cool combination. (By the way if you want to join me in reading through the Bible in a year here is the link for our church website Bible reading plan: http://www.whatisgenesis.com/247-about/) There is a lot in there I could write about but here is one verse that jumped out to me in the midst of Jacob's Journey.

Ps 31:21-22
Praise be to the Lord,
for he showed his wonderful love to me
when I was in a besieged city.
In my alarm I said,
"I am cut off from your sight!"
Yet you heard my cry for mercy
when I called to you for help.


I thank God for your prayers, your hope, your spirit joining with God and the chorus of angels on behalf of Jacob. Please do not underestimate how much your prayers matter. vs 24 says "Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord."

In the Grip of God,

Tom

End of week (weak) number one...

It is midnight - hard to get into bed to go to sleep.

We left the hospital tonight at about 10:30. Robbie was about 15 minutes ahead of us. By the time we left, Jacob's blood pressure stabilized. I pray that in the midst of the medication, wires, tubes, tape, wrapping, splints that he is finding rest.

I actually feel a little haunted right now - grabbed by thoughts I think. It is midnight and I really need to get some sleep. A week ago at this time I was standing in the ER in Santa Cruz in shock and trying to really understand what had happened to my son. I really did not understand a week ago the gravity of what is unfolding into this journey. I still do not fully realize what is before me. If I think to far into the future, I worry about so many things to come. If I look into the past too much, I focus on the pain and horror of my son being electrocuted. Faith keeps me present in today that I might not only be there for one son but for three.

I do need to look forward in hope. I do need to look back and learn - grow. But I need to function in the present; not frozen in the past or preoccupied with the future. Function in the present.

The reality of the suffering of my son has reminded me of the suffering of God's son. Jesus suffering was not just worse - it was purposeful. Jesus, as God's son, solved the problem of how sinful man could dwell in the presence of Holy God. This was not just who would go to heaven in the future but who could dwell with God now. Jesus said that the Kingdom of God was at hand - present and future. The life, death and Resurrection altered how we can approach God.

Oh, what pain the father felt as he saw the pain the son endured. The grace and mercy of God provided in great pain a way for man to get to God - through a relationship with his son. I do not really have any idea right now why Jacob is going through this - what God fully has in mind. But I do see one thing: Kingdom of God is at hand. I see it as I talk to people, hear their stories, hear their hearts, watch love poured out. God does not change - God is good - in the midst of triumph as well as tragedy. I see it as we cross boundaries to rally around a prayer of hope and restoration.

The beauty of God's Kingdom is what we are longing for: a love that is patient, kind, gentle, etc. It holds integrity, caring, and sacrifice. This is about loving God and loving people in a way that the character of God is reflected through us. What would it be like if the people who followed God actually treated each other as God desires us to? What would it be like if I chose just one day at a time to treat people with Godly love: patient, kind, gentle, not envious, forgiving, caring. It starts with me - it starts with us living in the presence of God.

I can go to sleep now.
Sleep well my Jacob, I love you.

Daddy.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Prayers for rest...

We all need rest. All of us (addressed to all of you). We need to rest in God's love. Trust in his healing power. Petition for miracles, glimpses of the divine invasion into our bodies, the surgical removal of unholiness.
Jacob is recovering and resting from his surgery today. The nurses in the Burn Unit are a bit concerned for his high blood pressure, although he did just have all of his dressings changed, and he hates that. Typically his BP and heart rate go up after that happens. But please pray that his BP will stabilize, that tomorrow would be a day of rest (for all of us...?) and that he would be fully prepared for the next operation. Again, either human or divine.
My mom is having a hard time leaving tonight because of the high blood pressure. Also I think the reality of how long a haul this will be is setting in. Pray that my parents would entrust Jacob's body and spirit into the loving arms of the Father.

In about 30 minutes from now it will be a week since my parents and I got the phone call from Rachel at our house. Almost a full week in the Burn Unit with Jacob in deep narcotic and paralytic state.

Today is Sunday. Our "Christian Sabbath."
Especially now, and even a lot before this week, I have thought a lot about community. What it means to truly engage the body of Christ. I would like you all to do the same. Evaluate what it means to truly be the Body of Christ. This goes so far beyond going to a "church building" on a Sunday. If anything, I am wondering if our "Christian Sabbath," our day devoted to the Lord, should be a day devoted to what Christ called us to do. And is that not to love, to reach out to the broken, to turn the other cheek, to serve, to be self-sacrificing?
So true Christian community should be what we are constantly engaged in. What we are saturated in, and integrated into that is constantly breaking our boundaries to show others what true love is: a love that would die.
I am truly seeing this body, this constant community, from all of you. A lot of little things that add up. A lot of encouragement, and a whole lot of love. Existence in the presence of God.

Good night.


-Robbie

Progression...

Jacob is doing well. The doctors are actually seeing a small increase in the condition of his lungs, even after the surgery today. The doctors said the surgery went well... they did a lot of work on his right foot, which is in bad shape, and think they got all the dead tissue out of his right armpit/arm. However, the doctor did say that these type of electrical wounds tend to evolve, so they will be constantly going back and rechecking for more. There is no exact promise of what the surgeries will look like, but the doctor estimated that he will be in surgery every 48 hours for the next couple of weeks, as long as his lung condition allows. But as far as the surgery today, the doctor accomplished his goal without pushing the limits of his body too much (Jacob's body, that is).

That is probably a good enough update for now. Please pray for his rest through the next day, and preparation of his body for further surgery. It is going to be an overwhelming recovery process.
I am sitting in the hospital room at the moment with my grandfather and aunt. My mom is taking a nap. Pray that she gets rest and can allow others to be vigilant. She tends to wake up in the middle of the night and those type of things. My dad even got her to turn her cell phone off while she naps.
At the moment they are giving Jacob oxygen treatment. Whenever they do his heart rate tends to go up and he twitches around a little bit. My dad doesn't like seeing it, because I think the convulsions scare my dad. But it is
comforting for me to see the vitality in him.

If you read no further in this blog, please at least read the following and pass the word on:

A friend of Jacob's that is in a band called Samaria, along with a number of Jacob's friends, are working to organize a benefit concert for Jacob on Wednesday, July 22nd. This is the for sure date. The venue is not for sure yet, but as things progress you will be updated on specifics. This is a huge movement that is happening in the Santa Cruz community as there will be sponsors, 4 bands playing and merchandise made for Jacob. I am praying that he is awake by the time this happens so he can see the amount of love pouring out toward him. There should also be a worship gathering before the show. Please, for now, just save the date, Wednesday, July 22nd, and in your prayers offer up this event as a landmark, a monument to what God is doing through this process: bringing people from all walks of life together for the sake of love.

I have been camping in Isaiah 30. If you have the time, please read. This morning I read Isaiah 30 and piggy-backed that on Mark 13, which is typically viewed as Jesus speaking of the "end times," some vague future point from where we are now in history. However, when you read, lay all of your preconceptions aside, and focus on what it could mean when it is all (Isaiah 30 + Mark 13) centered around Christ, the concept of God-made-man/God-dying-human (the incarnation has been blowing my mind recently!). View these passages as the promises of God that are currently being manifested, as the Kingdom of God which is being brought by the act of Christ dying on the cross, which is constantly breaking into our lives. In light of this, try reading both these passages, then maybe listen to my following prayer from this morning:


"O gracious, merciful, unutterable, unanswerable, Holy One of Jacob! You are the Rock. Your Son is Mount Zion where we rest in the shadow, out of which is now flowing abundant water, out of which is now shining the light of seven suns, who is now and forever will be coming on the clouds, "the breath of the Lord," which kindles the burning place which is made ready for the king.
O great mystery! the Breath, the Word, The Son, the Spirit, the Father, blowing our ragged sails, moving our capsized vessel, whispering in our ears the way to go.
You have not abandoned. In fact, I am even more sure of this than before this tragedy; because this tragedy means that you are closer than ever before.
Even beyond Jake's tragedy, things will get worse. Crap will happen. Because I want you, not blessings. you have opened the floodgates. Fire is falling from heaven, hail is striking, the earth trembles, the sky darkens. But it ALL IS YOUR SPIRIT. The fire purifies. The hail nourishes. The quakes rearrange our unholy states. The sky darkens and you light up the world.
Your promises still remain. Christ has already weathered the ultimate tragedy. God died as a human. And now he is alive. The world quietly changed, was turned upside down, in those three days of hell.

And so, even this journey is God's Kingdom coming. ESPECIALLY this journey, if we come to understand what it really means to exist with God.


I just finished the book The Furious Longing of God by Brennan Manning. I encourage you to pick it up. Everything in it that I have read since Sunday has been God speaking truth into my life. Manning has prophetic words toward what it really means to exist with God.
Last night at 9:30 PM I went for a walk and sat on a bench. I was overwhelmed by the replaying of the night we got the phone call. I sat down and asked myself why I heard a bunch of bangings. I said "Oh, it's the 4th of July. Thanks for Independence I guess, God...?"
Anyway, I read the last chapter of Manning's book. I was stunned. It is titled "Unimaginable Love:"

"Perhaps the gut issue is not how much theology we have studied or how much Scripture we have memorized. All that really matters is this: Have you experienced the furious longing of God or not?
This very question provoked the brilliant Karl Rahner to prophesy:

In the days ahead, you will either be a mystic
(one who has experienced God for real)
or nothing at all.

In times of persecution, theoretical Christianity will collapse.

Contemplation of the furious longing of God is elevated to a dramatic level in those rare and unforgettable moments when our faith, hope and love are raised to an unprecedented level by the Holy Spirit's active intervention, much like being in that boat as the storm hits. We are plunged into mystery, or what Heschel called "radical amazement." Self-consciousness and self-awareness disappear. We are in the presence of the ineffable Mystery above all creatures and beyond all telling.
These are moments of truth. You are alone with The Alone. God's tender feelings for you are no longer dry knowledge. You experience a certainty of God's longing for intimacy unlike anything you've felt in hand-clapping worship or anointed Scripture-studies. Too many of us have received knowledge without appreciation, facts without enthusiasm. Yet, when the scholarly investigations were over, we were struck by the insignificance of it all. It just didn't matter.
When the night is bad and my nerves are shattered and the waves break over the sides, Infinity speaks. God Almighty shares through His Son the depth of His feelings for me, His love flashes into my soul, and I am overtaken by mystery. These are moments of "kairos" - the decisive inbreak of God's fury into my personal life's story.
It is then I face momentous decision. Shivering in the rags of my seventy-four years, I have two choices. I can escape below into skepticism and intellectualism, hanging on for dear life. Or, with radical amazement, I can stay on deck and boldly stand in surrendered faith to the truth of my belovedness, caught up in the reckless raging fury that they call the love of God. And learn to pray.


These are prophetic words for all of us.
Praying for you, Jake.
-Robbie

2nd Surgery is underway

Urgent update,
Jake is as of now in his 2nd surgery. It will probably last a few hours. He had a rough night with the paralytic medication last night as they were changing his dressing etc., but apparently not enough to stop the Surgeon from keeping up His work. For my own heart, this is a huge answer to prayer. It is the second surgery in two days, which is the best possible thing at this point. He is in incredibly bad shape; we keep seeing new facets of this ever growing iceberg as we begin to ponder the gravity of his internal damage. But all that can be done is being done right now.
If you feel so led and have the ability, remain prayerfully vigilant until you hear the word that he is out of surgery. I know some of you that are already doing so, so if you don't have the emotional means (or otherwise) at the moment, do not feel guilty. We have a huge network going on here. We are a body that is rallying behind Jake, but we also are here to support each other. That is a necessary part of being a Body. Don't think that any of you daily problems or hardships are "small compared to the Kirkendall's." In a body where each member is completely dependent on the whole, there is no such thing as a small problem.
In the undying, mystical words of Zach Effron: "We're all in this together."

Continue to pray for miracles, medical or otherwise.

-Robbie


Colossians 3:12-17 -

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

One Week

Good Morning -

Debbie and I both woke around 6 - she left for the hospital I am here with Rob and Jensen who are still asleep. Debbie called about 40 minutes ago and said that we are still waiting to hear what time Jake's surgery will be today. He had an okay night - they were changing his bandages and bedding. He still fights them - does not like the intrusion. We all love hearing the nurses tell us how strong he is and that is so good for what is ahead of him.

I can't believe that tonight it will be a week since we got the phone call from Rachel calling us down the hill.

I was thinking about many of you going to church this morning and that in your hearts you will be praying for Jacob. There is something so amazingly comforting to me about so many joining this journey with us. We have incredible family who are surrounding us and supporting us; incredible friends, watching waiting, ready at a moments notice to jump in and help; and so many others who are focused prayerful caring for my son. So truly humbling.

This is the first verse I read this morning: "...the Lord has said that He would dwell in a dark cloud." 2 Chron 6:1 Solomon said that as they were finishing and dedicating the temple.

Then I read, "And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus." Phil 4:19 Paul wrote this from prison. (Check out Phil 1:9-11 too.)

Then God set this before me...
Ps 30:8
To you, O Lord, I cried for mercy;
what gain is there in my destruction,
in my going down into the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it proclaim your faithfulness?
Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me;
O Lord, be my help.
You turned my wailing into dancing;
You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy
that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.


There are more cries for mercy to come - hardship, confusion, anger, joy. In the darkness of the cloud God is right there. When Solomon was finished dedicating the temple the glory of the Lord filled the temple - to the point that the priests could not enter the temple. "When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the Lord above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying: 'He is good; his love endures forever.'" (see 2 Chron 7:1-3)

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

More to come...

Jacob's Daddy