Saturday, August 1, 2009

God is moving beyond this...

I wanted to share this message I recieved from a high school friend. I wanted to share it with you all. Check out the comments on the blog too - nurses and friends who are experiencing God.
Hi Tom,

It is so awesome to know that so many kids are acting out of faith and love. I have been reading all of your blogs and they are inspiring.Although we could not attend the benefit concert, my daughter's and I, Brooke and Brittany went online and ordered a tee shirt for each one of us.

On Thursday, my youngest, Brittany wanted to wear her tee shirt and we were going to proceed to do some fun things with my nephews who are visiting us from the bay area. On that particular day, before we left, Brittany appeared to go into a seizure and we had to call 911. This is something that has been happening for about the past four years now and the doctor's are not quite sure that she is even experiencing what they consider a typical "seizure". Nonetheless, she is fine now. But, as we traveled in the ambulance and arrived at the hospital, people commented on Brittany's tee shirt. We shared Jacob's story with one of the paramedics, as well as the nurse's in the hospital. What a testimony of faith and love.

I marvel at the way that people in God's world who have never met one another continue to unite in faith and love because of Jacob's journey. We continue to pray for healing for Jacob and your family.


Saturday Night

I really wish I could post something new - but at this point it is still a continual waiting, watching, adjusting meds, decreasing, increasing, trying to find the balance that keeps acceptable thrashing with rate of reduction. Electricity is not a normal burn. It moves from inside out and moves in unpredictable patterns. Jacob has been resting more today, a lot more than yesterday. Right now as I write they are bringing down one the sedatives to see how he does - to see if they can lower it and have him continue to rest. Wisdom Lord for the doctors and nurses tonight.

It is so easy to pray for what I want God to do and yet within the prayer I need to also release my trust to that God is fully in control and that he sees what needs to happen so much more clearly. Too often, especially now, my prayers have been surrounding what I think should happen and what my desires are - noble, loving, honorable as they are...yet first and formost prayer is about standing in the presence of God with wonderment. Perhaps in our prayers tonight we simply worship God for who he is - he does know our burderns and our prayers already. Listen, waiting and seek to understand the God who loves you - is allpowerful, allknowing, fully able to do more than we can imagine.

I can feel my eyes getting tired so thinks will get more confusing as I write so I will stop.

Love and peace

Tom (Dad)

Crock Pot

Debbie is at the hospital and just called me and I wanted to pass this on...part of the thrashing around last night was Jacob banging his head on the bed. I knew he was messing with his head dressing because it had come off yesterday. There is concern still that he will hurt himself. The plan has moved from keeping Jacob at a threshold of pain to an even slower decrease over the next week (or two) of bringing him off the meds. So for those that have committed to this journey with us - "patience and long-suffering and joy" will be placed into a crock pot and placed on very low.

Placing Jacob in the mighty arms of God -
my faith has known no greater weakness
with this weak faith, I will trust Your more
when trust is lacking your still there
belief takes over with hope setting sail
Lord God my savior it is well with my soul
placing this burdern in the might arms of God

Love and peace

Tom (Dad)

Friday, July 31, 2009

Slowing Down

Friday night and we actually left the hospital a little earlier than normal. Jake was resting when we left. He was thrashing so much today that there was concern that he would hurt himself. So instead of continuing to continue the same momentum it was determined that things need to slow down more. So they are upping some meds to allow Jacob to wake up slower...this is not a set-back it is part of the balancing act to keep his body in the proper threshold. I was able to trim his left hand fingernails tonight. That is the one thing the nurses cannot do. But we can. His index finger was very damaged just a week ago - looked so much better. In fact his left hand is healing so nicely. He was so peaceful and handsome when we left.

I have been reading through the comments on the blog and am in awe of what God is doing. Stories that are encouraging me and stories of the community being encouraged. I think it is amazing to see that we are not alone in our struggles - that we each have them - no one is perfect - no one is without heartache. The pressure we put on ourselves is enormous - trying to figure out what we need to change to get different results. There is a Larry Crabb book I have read a couple of times now. A friend gave it to me and I realized I had already read it a couple of years earlier. It is called The Pressures Off. I highly recommend it. I am not going to try to summarize it here but it really helps to explain this modern fundamental pressure that we put forth and how to modify that perspective. How quickly we fall away from grace and freedom to rules and expectations.

Galatians 5:6b says "the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself in love." The only thing. Not anything else that we think is so important... it is not going to church that counts the most it is how come from church. It is not about gathering together to be pious but being at work, school, play with faith that expresses itself in love. Honestly I do not know that we could do that in the midst of this time with Jacob without those around us that are demonstrating their faith to us through love. The pouring out is amazing.

Tonight Jacob's friends put together a silent-auction. These are students - amazing, loving, do-not-dare-look-down-on-them-because-they-are-young, teenagers. Totally amazing. Just think what God is preparing for them to do next. Maybe not bigger, maybe not better, maybe just one more opportunity to demonstrate their faith in love. Faith is being demonstrated by the works they perform. The Kingdom of God on display through children - sounds ridiculous - doesn't it? What if God started a transformation and it came through a handful of students that just wanted to show their faith by the love in their hearts.

That is my prayer tonight. Of course I am still praying for Jacob but most of the day I have been thanking God for Jacob's friends and tonight I am challenged to pray for what they will in love. God is already in their midst using them for declaring His glory.

This all to say

Just a flesh wound...

It is just after noon. I just came out of Jacob's room - holding him down for about an hour. I have to use both my arms to hold him down. He thrashed so much that his head bandage slipped off exposing the wound on his head - almost the whole left side of his head is missing skin. Skin that was damaged and removed in the last operation. As I struggled today to hold Jacob's arm down, one of his IVs came out - blood squirting across his body. He has no idea that what he is doing makes things worse for him. Ever see the Monte Python movie where the night has his limbs cut off and continues trying to fight saying "it is just a flesh wound"? Jacob has an enormous flesh wound. He was thrashing about rubbing it on the bed - so hard to see such pain.

The are changing Jacob's bandages now - Debbie went in for it - I came out. She wants to be there to help - I wanted to but can't.

In moments of praise today I remembered the doctor in the ER room telling us it is truly a miracle that Jacob survived. A couple of days ago our doctor said that she was not sure he would make it through the lung damage week. We are no longer wondering if he will survive but how he will survive - what will he be like, what damage will there be, how will he overcome? He continues to be tremendously strong - he will do that which seems impossible. God is holding him and healing him.

The nurses are changing Jacob's bandages now - Debbie went in for it - I came out. She wants to be there to help - I wanted to but can't.

I have a new picture of angels from my experience here. I no longer see them as winged superhumans in white dresses. They are medical attendants: nurses, therapists, doctors, janitors - all gathering in attendance waiting on Jacob - watching - cleaning up - meeting his needs - guiding - directing - challenging - correcting. Their attention is fully on Jacob and their whole goal is to guide him toward restoration - functioning - healing. They have deep tender hearts - their own experiences shaping who they are and what they do.

As you pray - the word stability continues to come to my mind. One of the difficulties is the instability that we face - rather that Jacob faces - each day - each hour - each moment. We desire consistent, stable, predictable improvement but each improvement holds its own setbacks, cautions, worries. Stabilize Jacob's brain, wounds, fever. Sustain his heart-rate, blood pressure, breathing. Hold him God. Hold us all.

Love and peace

Tom (Dad)

The Centurion

Debbie Just left for the hospital. She had written this out last Monday and asked me to post it. I admit I did not do it. Debbie writes it out and I have to type it in - not much for dictation. So the below is from Monday - a long day for me - MRI, EEG, etc. As she left this morning she told me that this one was important to her so I need to post it - word for word - there is a lot that can be said in this but this is right from her heart so I will not comment...

I am pretending to go "off planet" today. I dropped Tom off at the hospital a while ago and will be taking Jensen to meet friends for a day at the Boardwalk. So much of me cannot believe I am "abandoning" Jacob. (this was the day he was getting is MRI.)

I am here in the hotel bathroom in Campbell letting Jensen sleep-in, knowing that at 12 years of age he is too big for me to hold in my lap - I confessed that when he's with us over this past month and I wake early to go to hospital, I kiss his little (big!) bare feet from the blanket. He gets totally grossed out. He's a "bright light" through all of this - being so loved and welcdomed by friends and family and most of all he's being given "fun" things to do. He is also so very accomodating in his personality that if he does even request something we want to listen wit hour hearts. Tom said it first and I am trying to tell myself over and over that it's time for me to be with Jensen - it is good for me to be with Jensen - he brings such joy.

Tjhe other day the Bible part came to me about the Centurion and Jesus - it has been flowing on my brain and heart as I wait for Jensen to wake so we can get moving (of course as is normal I am not even showered and ready yet and our McD's bkfst is getting cold - I have been married 24 years and still don't do dinners (poor Tom) - back to the Bible part. It took me 10 minutes but I found it: Matthew 8:5-13...

"When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to Him, appealing to Him, "Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly." And Jesus said to him, "I will come and heal him." But the centurion replied, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man under authority with soldiers under me and I so to one, "go" and he goes and to another, "come" and he comes, and to my servant "do this," and he does it."

When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, "truly, I tell you, with no one in Isael have I found such faith....and Jesus said to the centurion, "go, let it be done for you as you have believed."

nuff said - "I release Jake to you today God."


Morning from D-Mom

This is the first morning in almost 5 weeks that I have not gone straight to the hospital to be with Jacob - it is killing me. Jensen (12yrs) is snoozing still on the pull-out bed in our hotel room. Tom has gone to get clothes that I am out of - his mom and dad have been doing our laundry, taking care of our dog, being at the hospital, committed, faithful and loving to us all along the way. One nurse even mentioned to me that when Papa (Tom's dad) is alone in Jake's room, there is a quiet strength and peace about him - I quite agree.

I have my once a month headache - it is right on one temple and down my left neck to my pinched nerve in left shoulder blade that acts up every now and then. I'll take my drugs and be ok...what truly gets me is thinking of all the pain and confusion and frustration etc that Jakey must be going thru @ some levels. He works so hard at squirming/thrashing out of the hospital bed - which we're told is fairly common - that at times it's almost comical but at other times it's devastating for my heart.

I do believe that in those hazy, foggy baby blues of his Jacob has had a little light of recognition go off twice when he has "seen" me. I've not known what rejoicing really is until I've seen that little light and his eyes widen a bit and his eyebrows raise and he leans toward me...I've kissed his face a few times over now and I swear he gave me a lopsided slight grin once yesterday when I took off my mask.

Have I mentioned that I'm trying to be sleeping here this morning? Instead I am all wound-up and writing this - "no one's" there with Jake yet...not family...he is never alone and yet I am so anxious. When Jake is some day out of that bed, I keep telling Dr's and nurses that I am going to climb into it and stay there. I do not know why I say that - guess it's quote I keep thinking about from Evanovich novels, "stick a fork in me, I'm done." But better yet is God's quote that he keeps whispering to me, "this is the path I have for you, now walk in still and know that I am God...I will never forsake you or leave you...behold I am making all things new."

So many more - for which I am so grateful...staying sane one breath at a time.

D - mom

Thursday, July 30, 2009


I wish that you could be here to experience some of this with us. Though it is hard - really, really hard - there is also the celebration that comes with little victories. I am not sure if we told you but a couple of days ago we had to start wearing gowns, masks, and head-coverings along with our gloves. Poor Jacob - in his confused vision to gaze at Halloween costumes must be very disorienting.

I just had a conversation with the head doctor of the burn unit...more of the same but also good news. More of the same is patiently day-by-day balancing the lowering of Jake's meds to a threshold where he is not over-thrashing. (Obviously not a direct quote from the doctor.) On the good-news side they are looking for other reasons why he is not waking up more and why his fever is persisting. Earlier today they tapped fluid from Jacob's spine to test for meningitis. While we have not heard the official report from the neurologist the preliminary report shows that the white blood cells and other stuff in there is at normal levels. ("Others stuff" again is not a quote from anyone with medical knowledge - just a dad.)

Today "long-suffering" has been spinning around in my mind. In the midst of this journey we are learning dependent patience, and really long suffering. Long-suffering being endurance it seems like it goes hand-in-hand with waiting on God. Patient-endurance. Patience is the action of bearing under difficulty, endurance (long-suffering) is the attitude or frame of mind we choose in this difficulty. Patience alone means (to me) that I stay physically in the hardship and do not flee or fight but stay standing. Endurance alone (again to me) is the attitude that display or the frame of mind I have. Together it would seem that patient-endurance is a key to surviving. So then I read this verse below...

For this reason,
since the day we heard about you,
we have not stopped praying for you
and asking God to fill you
with the knowledge of his will
through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
And we pray this in order that you
may live a life worthy of the Lord
and may please him in every way:
bearing fruit in every good work,
growing in the knowledge of God,
being strengthened with all power
according to his glorious might
so that you may have great
endurance and patience,
and joyfully giving thanks to the Father,
who has qualified you to share
in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.
Col 1:9-12

So in light of what Paul says there is an opportunity to not only have patient-endurance but to joyfully give thanks to God. Remember how James says to "consider it joy" as we face "trials of various kinds"? Allowing God to fill me with spiritual understanding and wisdom and living a life patterned after Jesus - producing righteous fruit in my life - leads us into the presence of God the inheritance of God and even greater enduring-patient-joy...okay I am think I just confused myself and probably everyone else...

It just seems to me that there is opportunity to experience God in the midst of what we are each going through that we consider difficulty, trial, hardship. It is more than just positive thinking or being remaining calm. We can actually thrive. Honestly I am not fully there - not even sure I am half there. In the midst of the moment I often feel numb - yet God provides encouragement which often times comes for those of you who have joined this journey with us.

Okay so this has really been more about me but what about Jacob? How does he experience God in the midst of this horrendous moment. His pain and ability to stand in the midst of this is beyond my understanding.... I think it must begin by praying the above prayer for Jacob. That God would in the midst of this moment -day by difficult day - breathing physical and spiritual breath into him, holding him, and being the source of his enduring-patient-joy.

So many of you have not stopped praying for us - more people than I even know or fathom. Waking up in the middle of the night and remembering. Crying and rejoicing right along with us. May God continue to fill each of us with His Spirit and may this trial we endure move us to be Christ to those we come into contact with. Not just be nice to people but to actually be Christ to them: enduring-patient-joy.

All of this leads me to the big question: Does the pattern of my life display the conviction of my heart?

Thanks for patiently enduring my ramblings.

Peace and love

Tom (Dad)
Quick update: busy morning on the roller coaster. A lot more agitation, recognition and movement. At one point Jake had his long spindly leg on Debbie's shoulder. Focus is still on bringing him off meds and trying to figure out why his fever still hamgs from 99 to 103+ Holding strong, holding on crying out to God in one voice.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Baby Steps to the Elevator

Baby steps to the elevator... a quote from What About Bob, of course, but also the goal of the burn unit: to get Jacob to walk out of there, and down to the elevator off of his floor.
I will give the more somber news first, because the steps taking today by Jake somewhat outweigh negativity: they are more concerned about his brain activity. They have had several neurologists come in, they scanned his brain waves, and we will hear back later. They are fairly certain that whatever did happen to his brain is affecting his ability to wake up right now. He is off of his medications a lot, to the point where they would expect him to be waking up. It seems to be a blend of an induced coma and his own physical disability to wake up. It is a bit more like a real coma, where he has to work at recovering simple motor skills again. It will be a long process of recovering him from his unconscious state, basically. So "waking up" really means this longer process, very slow, of regaining full cognition.
All that said, some excellent steps were taken today. When I can get my mom to write it down, I will convey to you her experience of the event. But, today the nurses got him into a sitting position. While still looking quite vegetative, once in the sitting position he actually held some of his own weight, and seemed ready to try and sit up farther. His eyes were open in the same manner they have normally been off and on - his eyeballs don't actually move, but he vaguely opens his eyelids. So my mom bent over into his face, took off her mask covering her face, and said hi to Jake. According to her and the nurses, his face lifted a bit, he opened his eyes a little more... showing at least a little bit of recognition. And of course, since there were only women in the room (my mom and a few nurses), they had a cow, clapping and giggling and whatnot... typical woman stuff. (I hope you can read into my sarcasm.)
Also, just within the last hour, my dad told me that Jake began to show some more signs of awareness. Jake was doing his little move-around-open-eyes thing... but this time, when my dad asked Jake to squeeze his hand, he did. Or at least showed, according to my dad, some response. Trying to communicate. This is a big step.
The wound on his butt is looking really good. His skin grafts are healing nicely. He keeps kicking off the bandage on his right toe. For a couple of days now the breathing machine has been pumping air from the room, not pure oxygen. And it is on low support. Last night he breathed a lot on his own. He may have brain damage. He has bacteria in his lungs that appears resistant to most antibiotics. His range of motion is good, he can sit up, he may be put in a chair in the coming days for a little while. Still has fluctuating fever and withdrawals.

So that is the current state of things. I don't even know what He is saying, and I don't know why he is saying what he is, but God is speaking to us through this. The Living Word of restoration is being breathed onto us by Jacob's functioning lungs. The Presence of the Lord is being realized in the midst of Jacob's horrific burns. The Kingdom of God is being realized in those supporting and guiding him to recovery... wise doctors, AMAZING nurses (they are way cool), skillful technicians, emotional support, baked goods, loving friends, etc....
Yes, miracles happen. Yes God works mightily. But it does not have to be this vague supernatural event that we tend to expect of an all-powerful God who could snap his fingers and make everything alright. That's not the point. The point is that he is making everything "alright" in and through everything that happens. The supernatural occurs in the mundane, in the ordinary. In that godly waitress at the diner. In that story of someone being restored through Jacob's story. By the glory of the benefit concert! The whole point is not that this life sucks and therefore the "eternal" or "heavenly" life is all that we seek through meditation and deep thought, forsaking the "physical." It goes much deeper than that. The whole point is that God is in this earthly life, he has come to us, and we are being restored. Isn't that the whole idea of the incarnation? Of God made man? That the divine, the heavenly, the Indescribable is somehow described and manifested through the earthly, the lowly, the broken? And thus our restoration is not necessarily after sorrow or brokenness, but in the midst of it?
All that to say, I see God. I see the Un-see-able. I know the Unknowable, through this hell. In this torrential downpour. I see glimpses of restoration. Jacob's breath. God's breath, breathing on Jacob's wounds. And it reminds me of what a wreck I am. What a wreck humanity is. And the Heavenly enters into that wretchedness with us, to show us his Love.

Far greater than Jacob's physical journey will be his spiritual one. O how we he needs restoration.

Rob (brother)

Breathing the breath

We let Jacob last night at about 10:45. At that time he had been breathing completely on his own for 3 hours. Minnie, his nurse, said she thought that she would leave him on for about 15 more minutes and was quite pleased with Jake's progress. He had earlier been on his own for an hour. Debbie called me a little while ago and said that he actually made it most of the night breathing on his own. Can I say it just a little louder? "BREATHING ON HIS OWN."

I put a link last night on the side bar of this blog to an on line Bible program and also to the Bible reading plan that our church community is diving in together with that takes us through God's Word in one year. This morning it is Job 1-3. I wrote these verses in my personal journal:
Job 1:20-22
"At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head.
Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:
"Naked I came from my mother's womb,
and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised."
In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrong doing."

Matt Redman wrote the song Blessed Be Your Name which has been a continual source of encouragement over the last 5 years through hills and valleys. It is a very appropriate prayer.

Blessed Be Your Name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

Blessed Be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name
Every blessing You pour out I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say
Blessed be the name of the Lord

Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name
Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be'
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name
Every blessing You pour out I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say
Blessed be the name of the Lord

Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name
You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

I share this with all of you this morning because one of the continual things I struggle with is that though our current "great pain" is horrible as we watch Jacob in excruciating pain and recovery it does not lessen or diminish your pain, trial, issue. I have known depression - mornings where I felt like I could not get out of bed to look for a job. Where I actually felt like my shoulders were being pushed down into the bed. I truly believe that it takes great faith, great heroism just to get out of bed and move forward with our day. Whatever pain or trial we face is not on a sliding scale with God as to greatness. Christ meets us right where we are in the midst of what we are going through and has the capacity and desire to take on our burden and love us through that. I really think that is why James says there are "trials of various kinds."

We have an opportunity to connect with God through his son Jesus, Christ and to lay our burdens at his feet. As we have been surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses in our journey through fire so to we desire to surround each other - that is what our community this community is all about. Loving each other, drawing each other closer to God, and finding peace in the arms of a savior who loves us. It crosses all ethnic, social, denominational walls that seem to separate us. It allows us to take deeper breaths which feeds our veins, giving strength to the body. Either way - in times of blessing, times of great pain, Lord blessed be your name.

Love and peace

Tom (Dad)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Good News/Hard News and a prayer

It is Tuesday night at 8 am - wow - amazing how easy it is to be at the hospital all day.

Good news/hard news:
The MRI discovered that the small dark mark they are now calling a "bruise" that was discovered on the CT Scan last week has healed. But the MRI also discovered another "bruise" a little farther forward on the left side of the brain. It is way too soon to know if it will heal or how it will heal but it is causing a bit of concern. Rehab doctors and neurologists are overseeing him and giving feedback as to medication and changes in treatment.

We are basically continuing in the same direction but a bit more aggressively reducing his medications and working at getting to breath on his own. There is basically a lot of concern still that he is not responding enough yet on his own. Though he is opening his eyes more and is more active in his movements it is not fully Jacob intentionally moving toward a goal, rather it is more involuntary reactions.

My heart is heavy. I cry through the sense of dread and then am able to grab on to a handle of hope. Praying earnestly that God would grab hold to my sons weak and tattered frame and knit him back together. How amazing is life in the first place? Eyesight, hearing, heartbeat, lungs breathing in air to oxygenate blood and send it throughout the body, hands that grab, feet that run an amazing example of God's handiwork, his intelligent design. Life is so amazing, so valuable.
Prayer for Jacob
(from PS 139:13-18)
Lord, I praise you
for as Jacob was knit together in Debbie's womb
he was fearfully and wonderfully made.
Your works are amazingly wonderful we all know that full well.
Jacob's frame was never hidden from you when he was created in the secret place.
When Jake was woven together in the depths of the earth
your eyes, O God, saw his unformed body.
As he lies wounded and bruised, your eyes never left him.
Each and every one of his days were ordained for him
written in your book before one of those days came to be.
You knew each step, each laugh, each wave - both the good and the tragic.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.
As Jacob sleeps, your eyes are still upon him.
He remains in your care in your thoughts.
And when he awakens he is still with you.
Lord, fearfully and wonderfully re-make Jacob

Love and Peace
Tom (Dad)

Baby Steps on Roller Coasters?

I was actually quite overwhelmed walking into the hospital today. Part of it is a strange sense of routine, familiarity of coming here everyday for the last 4 weeks. It is not a routine, familiarity that any of us desire. Another part of it is hearing and seeing glimpses of other's tragedies - the loud speaking announcing a trauma alert, patients being wheeled by us, new burn victims arriving. The major part of course is my boy - I miss my boy, hate seeing him struggling and wounded, long for our family to be whole again.

Yet in the midst of all of this there are movements forward, movements toward healing, movements toward restoration. It is back and forth - and as we have always said - baby steps and roller coaster. (baby steps on roller coasters?) But we are moving forward.

We now have to wear masks, head coverings, and body coverings because his infections are less covered for healing purposes and there is a bacterial infection in his lungs. They are reducing the amount of air support he is getting down to 12% and will further reduce it to 6% and for awhile have him breathe on his own. This is all part of the reconditioning of his diaphragm and lungs. This is amazingly awesome because it is an obvious step toward healing but also stepping toward getting the trach out. They are also going to be moving him to a chair today for a while getting to see if he is more comfortable but also part of conditioning his body that there is a night and day and not just night. They already started feeding him not just continuously all day but major binge feedings three times a day. Still the brown good - not a Betty's Burger yet.

So though I am overwhelmed - all of us are - we are renewed day by day as we see movement.

I was reading 2 Timothy this morning. Paul encourages Timothy: do not give up, do not give in, keep going. You have a deep and sincere faith abiding in you; you have also been gifted in the power of the Spirit of God through he laying on of hands. Paul says to Timothy to fan that gift that small ember into a burning flame. "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline."

It is so easy to be overwhelmed and weary in this "journey through fire" allowing all that is going on and all that we are afraid might help us to keep us in a place of timidity. I picture myself curled up in a ball crying hysterically. Paul says, "do not be ashamed...step up, step forward and join me in suffering for the gospel." But he does not just say this as a pep talk at half time to a football team trying to pump up their adrenaline and positive thinking. Paul says next that what we are facing, we face with the power of God - who saved us and called us to holy living not because of anything we have done but according to his purpose and grace.

So there is this strange confusion of our action and inaction. Again as I have probably said before there is this active waiting that we go through. Releasing to God and allowing him to empower. Timidity is replaced by the power of God, an ability for us to love and be loved, and discipline of being able to choose what is right and resist what is wrong.

Baby steps on a roller coaster then is not overwhelming - it is grounded in the grace of God who is not just in the midst of this but is still fully in control and good. God knows far more and is much more capable and has not/will not abandon us.

Love and peace

Tom (Dad)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Crying out

I have been in the room with Jake for a couple of hours now. He had an MRI earlier, which showed nothing new - no bleeding or swelling in the brain. Which is pretty incredible. However, they are fairly sure that whatever damage may have been done to the brain, whether the visible gray spot mentioned earlier or things that are unnoticeable, it is most likely affecting his ability to wake up at this point. The nurses would have expected him to able to respond to commands and such at this point, but he is not. The movements he makes and responses he shows are mostly unconscious reactions. He is not processing his outward senses much.
So we wait and see. Wait. Wait. Wait. I can't help but be irritated. He has come so far this past month... but has so much farther to go. Talking with a good friend in the room earlier today, we came to the conclusion that his cognizant spiritual journey will very likely far outweigh his physical recovery.
He is extremely restless and active right now. He opens his eyes every now and then in a hazy way. Still does not respond to commands. Lifts his head off the pillow. Activates his gag reflex. Moves his legs. He has a splint on that is keeping his right arm at a 90-ish degree angle, and he has bent that down so it is almost parallel with his body. His fever is very high. Squirming a lot.
People have told me that they cannot fathom what we are going through. Well, I can't even fathom what I am going through. Most of the hours of any given day I have no idea how I feel. Although I attempt to describe it when asked. But I really can't imagine what Jacob is, has and will go through. Cannot imagine. I feel like I should be more emotional than I am when faced with this, but honestly at this point have almost no reaction. It just is. And whatever it is, it sucks.

Isaiah 64

Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down,
that the mountains might quake at your presence—
as when fire kindles brushwood
and the fire causes water to boil—
to make your name known to your adversaries,
and that the nations might tremble at your presence!

The fact is, this is a promise that was fulfilled at the incarnation. At God-made-man. At the event of Immanuel (God-with-us), the earth was changed - the heavens were torn apart, the mountains uprooted... all the imagery you can think of in the Bible that conveys a "world-ending disaster" picture. The Israelites were crying out that God's would be restored to the temple, in the midst of the people, as it was in the days of the reign of David and Solomon... where Israel was being a light to the nations, and the nations recognized the might of the Lord. They were begging the Lord to break through, to bring his presence down in fire and light and fury of love for them.
And it happened. The heavens were torn apart, and God broke through. But not as they expected. It happened in the most perfectly paradoxical and mysterious way possible - the incarnation. God being put to death. God entering hell, the pit, humiliating himself out of love. The world was turned upside down.
And it is still happening. God is coming (in the active sense) down to us in a similar way - in a Spirit-incarnated, paradoxically humanistic way. The world is shaken, the heavens are torn in two, as we witness the presence of the love of God coming; hence, brokenness. We see him in the small interactions we have. In these moments of physical and emotional torment. God is still denying himself to be with us, out of love. The divine and the earthly perfectly intertwined, perfectly in union. It is indescribable. It is tragic, and glorious, and earth-shattering.
It is happening in Jake. I am seeing God in this sucky situation. More than ever before. But, may I reiterate a word I have thus used three times, it SUCKS! But its good. Try to figure that one out :). His promises of steadfast love still remain. The heavens of our hearts as a Body break at his coming.

By the end of Isaiah 64, the author is still crying out to God!

But now, O LORD, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
Be not so terribly angry, O LORD,
and remember not iniquity forever.
Behold, please look, we are all your people.
Your holy cities have become a wilderness;
Zion has become a wilderness,
Jerusalem a desolation.
Our holy and beautiful house,
where our fathers praised you,
has been burned by fire,
and all our pleasant places have become ruins.
Will you restrain yourself at these things, O LORD?
Will you keep silent, and afflict us so terribly?

I have asked God, "Will you pour out?" Maybe he already has. And maybe he already is. And maybe he always will. And I have aksed God, "When?" Maybe the answer is "now."

He is a little calmer. One more night, and one more morning of being sustained.


The eyes have it...

First, I thought I would share some picture of some of the people we are thankful for and cannot even begin to thank. I met the fireman who saved my son at the benefit and was totally without anything to say...all are hero's in my heart.

At 10 am this morning Jacob opened his eyes when we asked him to - again at 1 pm he did the same. Waking up from this drug-induced coma is not like the movies - it takes a long time for the fog to clear. His eyes though looking dazed and distant were looking at me. He actually seemed to calm a bit too. Maybe my wishful thinking but it made my heart so glad. As he rouses and as he moves in pain, we remind him over and over again that he was in an accident, it was not his fault, he is getting better, he is safe. We try to soothe him so as not to fight and get out of bed. He almost shoved me across the room and he actually started sliding out of bed. He is dazed and confused but he is coming around.

So they are right now getting him ready for an MRI and changing his dressing. For this they raise the sedation and will have to keep him still for the MRI. I have had MRI's it is not easy - especially when laying in that position causes pain. Part of the pain is from where they removed skin from his leg for the grafts. There will be more... but for today...the eyes have it.

Love and Peace

Tom (Dad)

Just got this text from Robbie:

isaiah 64: "oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at your presence..." he is rending our heavens.

Jake is resting. Temp is resting for now. This is a day of continuing to reduce meds. MRI and EKG on the docket for today. Slow, steady emerging from the fog. Peace and love in the midst of this day.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

healing skin...

This afternoon they did a "take down" on Jacob. Basically they took all of his bandages off to examine the wounds and apply fresh dressings. Every 8 hours now (was 6) they are changing his dressings but with the "take down" they unwrap all the bandages and examine the skin grafts to see if they are sticking. The skin is growing back. The cadaver was taken off as well - this was basically serving as a bandage to see if his own skin would grow back. It did. Very, very good news. His skin is healing. He is also almost completely off the sedative: pray and hope that he remains relatively still tonight so that the skin continues to heal and they will not have to raise the sedative.

Slow process but we are seeing improvement. His temperature continues to move up and the Tylenol, Motrin and ice help to bring it down. Longing to see his eyes and to see his smile we take each day as it comes. We are not sure what is next for tomorrow - when more surgery will come - when he will open his eyes - how his body will react. But we can treasure the hope that comes from movement in the right direction. Trusting in God with all our heart, not leaning on our own understanding, but each day, each step of this journey allowing God to make this path straight...relying on his peace and joy to keep us rooted.

In the midst of this journey we have been confronted with the depth of sorrow that squeezes the heart. It confronts everything we are, everything we believe and everything for which we hope. Reality of the moment confronts the longing of our heart - the security of our soul. Is the faith that which we hold able to sustain us? I would honestly say "no". It is great to have faith but the object of that faith is much more important. That may seem obvious on the surface and yet difficult in practice.

I have been praying and believing (in faith) that God will heal our son. I have seen some miracles from God - I have seen skilled professionals as well. God has not fully healed as I have prayed. And yet the presence of God is right here. Faith is only as strong as the object of that faith; I have been asking myself this question, "do I have enough faith to withstand answers to my prayers that I do not like?" "Do I trust in God, the object of my faith, enough to put him above my son being healed or is my faith merely wishful thinking? It would seem to me that faith is about waiting in eager expectation of seeing the glory of God fully on display. It is about releasing control as we lay down our wounded, fractured, desperate souls into the hands of the one who we can fully trust.

Lord, we will not stop our prayers for healing, sleep, peace -
begging, crying, pleading for restoration.
With faith fully in you, the only one fully able to answer,
we wait in eager, desperate expectation.
Waiting not just for answers,
but that we might catch a glimpse of You moving in our midst.

Love and peace in eager expectation,

Tom (Dad)

Mom reflects

Debbie left this for me on my laptop this morning. She is already at the hospital. She just sent me a text: "Jake had a restless night but is quiet now. They are trying to wean him off the Propopol (sedative) to get him more able to wake up - another step forward." I keep reminding myself that this is the necessary pain.
here is the note that Deb wanted me to share with you:

Last Sunday in July 2009. One month since Jacob was wounded - he's "almost died" @ least a few times since then - "should have died" from the initial hit(s) by downed power lines.

Words cannot express the heartbreaking pain we have/are going through as his mom, family, friends, even strangers via internet and word of mouth. There also have been so many miracles - God showing himself - through the housekeeping woman at Valley Med Burn Unit who quietly cleans Jacob's room and quietly watched words of compassion caring hurt - amazing "angels in disguise" if not sent to comfort Jake then to help me get through all this and try to be available to my son no matter what. I am awed and amazed a the talent, passion and caring of the Dr's, nurses, therapists that have all touched our lives as they care for Jake and us. Obviously I never really knew this Burn Unit world even existed but I know none of us would be "alive" right now if it weren't for them. God is good to provide what he knows we need.

I wish with everything I have that Jake could have "just" broken his leg at rollerskating that night or "just" burned his hand in the fire pit at the beach. It's a horrifying nightmare. I pray daily he will not remember that night nor this past month - at least not remember the pain and suffering. I totally and completely long for hm to know the love and caring and outpouring of help he's been getting from so many: his friends who called 911 and their parents who jumped in their cars, the youth group at the beach that night, the incredibly courageous firefighter/medic who risked his own life to get to Jake's hurt body, ambulance drivers, ER's, nurses who spoke to him and listened to him as they had him in the "tub room" cleaning his initial wounds, surgeons, respiratory therapists, doctors, specialists, Papa and Lala, Aunt Kirky, Auntie Julie, Jim and Sue, Child's family, Lisa, Robbie, Jensen and those who have given Jensen a home over the past many others who have formed a loving community (worldwide) around Jake and us as we persevere with God's help...

I started this writing, intending only to share 2Corinthians 12:9. I hope it is not totally out of context, I'm not the Bible scholar, but I know it is about Paul being given a thorn int he flesh of some kind. He pleaded with the Lord three times that it should leave him and God's response was (and still is today): "my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore (Paul says) I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness, 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 calamities. for when I am weak, then I am strong."

I know people are praying for Jake and for us - and for me specifically or I'd not be "surviving". Thank you and please don't stop. Pray God's glory shines in and through Jake somehow.

Debbie (Mom)