Saturday, August 15, 2009

Being present

I opened my computer last night to post - but had nothing. I was very tired, but it was a good tired. There just seemed to be something right in the midst of all that is wrong. Robbie is with us for the weekend. Jensen is hanging with me before he goes back to a friends for a birthday weekend- good to hang with my sons and enjoy them - play some pool, talk, just be there with them. 15 years ago we were living in Ivory Coast as dorm parents at an international school. There is a whole lot of story that goes with this but one thing that really sticks with me and is in my mind a lot right now is about being present. One of the parents who had a high school girl in our dorm and a jr hi son in another dorm spent some time talking to me. He had helped build the dorm that we were living in and we were talking about some things that needed fixing. He was itching to help me and was talking about what he would do when he stopped short. He said, "I want to help you, I can help you but this weekend I am here to spend with my children. I will be back next month for a day to work on the dorm." Later that day I saw him sitting on a curb with his son and a couple of bottles of cola. In the midst of all of this I need to make sure that I make intentional time to be present focused on the one I am with.

As for Jacob, he is continuing to grow. He is struggling right now, wanting to get out of bed. Therapists continue to come in 3 times a day now to help him to sit up and to stand. He is shaky, confused, determined, ornery. He is pulling at tubes and pillows and trying to sneak his way out of bed. He seems at times to understand and to recognize us and pull us close for a hug and at times push us away frustrated and angry. In a sense we are recognizing his personality and yet at another level he is not yet Jacob. There is still a long road; there are still good days; there are still bad days; but he continues to grow - mature back to 17.

Doctors and are beginning to talk to us again about surgeries to come. His head; his heal; his thumb will need work - a lot of work. It is scary to think about all that is to come still. It is heart wrenching to consider what he has been through - what has happened to him. Devastating to realize that it has been almost two months. Yet we need to remain present in today. Thankful for the constant and continual comfort that so many are giving. It is so encouraging and strengthening to receive the love being poured out. Reading the blog and facebook messages knowing that prayers are continuing - that so many have not given up on us. It truly does help us to remain steadfast.

There is so much more I could say about being present but I need to go be present now - suppose to be doing other things.

God is not done, Jake is not done, we are not done...
"So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, he who is coming will come and not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back I will not be pleased with him. But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed but of those who believe and are saved. Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for." Heb 10: 35-11:1

Love, peace, hope

Tom (Dad)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Emerging...

I think I said this once before when we thought Jacob was waking up (a couple of weeks ago?). Waking up from a coma is not immediate like in movies. It is a slow emerging and slow engagement back into reality.

With Jacob's trach and feeding tube he can't talk. As he opens his eyes and explores his surroundings we gently tell him where he is, what his tubes are for, that he has had an accident that it was not his fault, that he is safe. We have a conversation of the obvious. It is obvious to us but so confusing to him. In a sense it is like going through infancy again - he is so dependent, he is exploring and touching, he is growing.

Jake's left hand is better able to be controlled than his right - more damage and muscle has been removed. But he is starting to move his right a ton more. It is hard to watch him not having full strength as he is right handed but I know that is what rehab and growth is all about. He is not done yet and though has a long road ahead - he is on that road. Debbie just called - I am with Jensen (awesome place to be) - she is with Jacob. He is exploring and moving a lot more - necessary but hard because he cannot do what Jacob should be able to do.

Much as I long for my son to just be able to talk to me and for him to do what he is suppose to be doing - God must look down on us and have such greater affection. God longs for us to just talk to him - not just praying request but sharing our hearts with him. God longs for us to be doing what we are meant to do - not gripped by fear, held back by emotions, attack by the enemies of doubt, insecurity, depression, etc. Not self engrandized by pride, superiority, oppression, etc. God longs for us to simply rest in him and trust in him and act in all we do with his heart.

God is not done; he is moving. Surrounded by this community we are able to focus on our son which helps us to focus on God's son. My deepest prayer is that as a community on this journey with Jacob we would see more clearly what God is doing in our midst and that we would reflect God to those in our community as we in increasing measure emerge in God. More than anything else God desires that we display his image - he made man to be is image-bearer.

Over and over again the Apostle Paul addresses the conduct of a Christian. Check out any of the letters Paul wrote and for those of us who claim to follow Christ we cannot escape the basic question: is our character becoming more like Christ - not the outside conduct - but the heart.

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." Col 3:1-4

That last sentence is blowing me away by it's implications. When I set my focus, my centrality on Godliness, Christ shows up, he appears and we join with him in glory - now on earth - the Kingdom of God is now, "at hand". This is not a text that is talking about heaven. It is talking about how we conduct ourselves here on planet earth in the lives we live.

Paul then says to "put to death...sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed... and get rid of anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language..." stop lying to each other and creating divisions, classes, gender and race divisions etc.

Paul is talking here to people who are following Christ - the church.

"Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

Check out Colossians 3:1-17 better yet read the whole thing.

I write this not from a place of having arrived - by no stretch of the imagination - I fall so short and have blown it so many times. I have seen and continue to see Christians I respect fall short. It is so discouraging. I have also stood with and know people - ordinary people - who deeply love God and are fully pursing him, making mistakes, making them right, and trying again. Emerging like Jacob.

I think that is more then point. That we are moving with increasing increments to be real about who we are and honest about who we are working at becoming like. The more we engage with God and spend time with him the more we become like him and putting to death those things that disgust God we embrace that which causes him to rejoice. Grace is messy - it means seeking forgiveness when we would rather cover up, restoring relationships when we may get rejected, chipping away those destructive patterns that lead us farther away from God, farther away from health.

We know that the steps we take with Jacob today will not be easy - it will be messy - but God is with us. But that is what emerging is all about - getting to where we should be. Perhaps today is a day to stand!

Love, peace, hope

Tom (Dad)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

God is moving....

I have been hanging with Jensen tonight while Debbie was in the room. They did sit Jacob up for about 20 minutes (3 times in one day) and instead of being tired he was a bit more active. He is sleeping now. Good day. So amazingly thankful.

I was asked if Jacob is aware of what is going one. My answer with a big old smile is "more and more." He is exploring, discovering and taking in information. I poked my head in the door and said hi to him and he waved. He is smiling a bit and nodding a bit. Now, understand, it is not all the time - but it is filling up - more and more. This journey is unlike any experience we have ever seen or been through - with a huge community surrounding and supporting us. I am continually amazed at God moving and showing himself to us and for a continual increase of support.

This journey is a difficult and wonderful journey...in his splendid, terrifying power.

Heb 12:18-24 You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded: "If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned." The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, "I am trembling with fear." But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, "Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens." The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our "God is a consuming fire."

Ah , the kingdom of God - that cannot be shaken - is being taken possession. That is a big part of this journey is recognizing that God is in the midst of all of this and is unfolding and revealing his kingdom - that which is growing and increasing Godliness - righteousness, holiness, the presence of God.

God is speaking and moving and revealing himself - so thankful for so much. Jake is moving as well - being restored to where God wants him - God is in this.

Love, peace, hope...

Tom (Dad)

Getting to know hope again...

It feels like this journey is beginning to move a little faster - a little more progress. They sat Jacob up twice today. I was in there for the second time and it is just so incredibly exciting to see Jacob start to emerge...

I actually find myself hesitating to get too excited - for we have known this roller coaster - we have known the ups and downs for the last two months...

He is recognizing us.
Reaching for us.
Pushing us away.
Grabbed a towel - the wet one he threw across the room - the dry one he wiped his face.
He is exploring with his hand - feeling the textures.
I see Jacob starting to emerge.
I see hope. Sometimes hope can seem like such a stranger.

Sara Groves sings this song:
It Might Be Hope
You do your work the best that you can
you put one foot in front of the other
life comes in waves and makes it's demands
you hold on as well as your able

You've been here for a long long time
Hope has a way of turning it's face to you
just when you least expect it
you walk in a room
you look out a window
and something there leaves you breathless
you say to yourself it's been a while since I felt this
but it feels like it might be hope

It's hard to recall what blew out the flame
it's been dark since you can remember
you talk it all through to find it a name
as days go on by without number

You've been here for a long long time
Hope has a way of turning it's face to you
just when you least expect it
you walk in a room
you look out a window
and something there leaves you breathless
you say to yourself it's been a while since I felt this
but it feels like it might be hope

There at times that you feel afraid to call it hope - to dare to think that things might be okay - I feel like a cowering dog, flinching at a rolled up newspaper - here it comes - it is going to hurt again. I step through the hospital doors wondering what might have happened since last I was here - hoping, praying, longing for something positive - when it comes fear is right there wondering how long it will last. "In hope, against all hope Abraham believed..."

There are times that hope can feel like such a stranger. It is very nice to get to know hope again. To get reacquainted is quite nice - I really like hanging with hope.

Tomorrow we hope to see Jacob sit and then stand - without the "standing machine".

Love, peace, hope,

Tom (Dad)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Baby Leap

Quite a day...

Jacob had a good productive day...not all easy but he is making progress. He sat up. His eyes are open more. He is moving around but even more purposeful. He is scratching his nose, using his left and to explore the splint on his right, touching his trach tube. It is so good to see him returning. Yet it is still slow; we do still have to hold him down at times; he does try to pull his tubes out. He is not fully understanding but I am confident that will come. We do not know so many things of how he will be and what will happen, but for today we rest in hope. Jacob is making baby leaps. He sat up.

I wrote this in my journal after reading Ps 4

My Lord, my God when I stop
When I slow down and think
I am amazed by you
stars in place
planets arranged
life, beauty, enormity
You are beyond great, beyond amazing
I cannot begin to describe your beauty
Your love, your mercy, your compassion envelop me
Lord, take my side; hold my hand
I am under attack
Day by day, moment by moment I'm pursued
Doubt, fear, failure, insecurity stab me
Darkness pulls me down - wants to be my friend
I'm in trouble again - rescue me
Show me God - reveal yourself today
Help me to know I'm not abandoned
Grace pour over me; swallow me whole
Hope, faith, grace, love, mercy, peace, righteousness
Make these my anchors
In the purity of your salvation
Wait - shut your lips, speak from your heart
As long as it takes, in God's timing, wait
God will answer, God will restore - just wait

God did reveal himself today big time. Not just with Jake. Answers to other specific prayers. Encouragements at just the right time. God is reminding me that waiting on him is not being passive - it is quite active - it is actively waiting and trusting on the one who is fully in control.

Lord, help Jacob to sleep well. Another day is ahead of us as we pray and trust in God to do more than we can imagine.

Love and peace

Tom (Dad)

Sitting up

What were you doing from 2:50 to 3:20? I got to see Jacob sit on the edge of his bed and for a time did not need the help of his for attebdants. He also intentionally move his groggy gaze from Mom to Dad to Papa. I am now sitting watching him with eyes open explore with his left hand the brace on his right and whatever other texture he can touch. This morning we prayed for a baby leap. This really feels like. He is not thrashing but exploring trying to figure things out. So thankful so encouraging as we continue to wait

Ps 4

Debbie sent me this text from the hospital: "Jake had a restful night. His eyes are open but groggy. God is our strength tho I am weak and tired." Thanks for prayers of rest - thanks God for meeting us here where we are - so far from perfection - from holiness - we are able to approach the perfect, holy God - who hears our cries, knows are hearts, and he cares.

Psalm 4 (The Message)~A David Psalm

When I call, give me answers. God, take my side!
Once, in a tight place, you gave me room;
Now I'm in trouble again: grace me! hear me!

You rabble—how long do I put up with your scorn?
How long will you lust after lies?
How long will you live crazed by illusion?
Look at this: look - Who got picked by God!
He listens the split second I call to him.

Complain if you must, but don't lash out.
Keep your mouth shut, and let your heart do the talking.
Build your case before God and wait for his verdict.

Why is everyone hungry for more? "More, more," they say.
"More, more."
I have God's more-than-enough,
More joy in one ordinary day
Than they get in all their shopping sprees.
At day's end I'm ready for sound sleep,
For you, God, have put my life back together.



Tom (Dad)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Just showing up is huge...

Yea, so long day. Baby steps, but long day. God was present, but long day.

This is from from journal this morning:
"Jacob is still so out of it - shaky ground - the road that seems so long has gotten longer, harder as we are on week #7. God? You There? You still got him? Is my belief in you merely wishful thinking? Are you orchestrating events? Answering prayers? Is this really what is "good", what is "best", what is "right"? Perhaps what I think is "good" is really not that "good" - from your perspective. Is all this trial, this bad, this hard time simply to glorify you and is at Jacob's sacrifice? or are you truly watching out for him?"

"Sometimes just showing up is huge. Taking one step forward. Getting out of bed. In the midst of great pain God is doing more than I can fathom. Just showing up is huge."
------
God provided me with a lot of unexpected encouragement today - words straight from the heart of God.

First a verse: Ps 34:1-4 from the Message
I bless God every chance I get; my lungs expand with his praise. I live and breathe God; if things aren't going well, hear this and be happy: Join me in spreading the news; together let's get the word out. God met me more than halfway, he freed me from my anxious fears.

Second a section of a song that a friend wrote for us:
God has given his body to you
to wrap you up and hug you
with his love, give you courage
give you hope, and walk with you
this bitter road; give you everything
you need for each new day

Third a message from some new friends we have made through Jacob. It told of their own journey and how God is speaking to them through all of this and their own stuff.

Fourth a poem called Don't Quit from Emma L. one of Jacob's posse:

Don't quit when the tide is lowest
For its just about to turn
Don't quit over doubts and questions
For there's something you may learn
Don't quit when the night is darkest
For its just a while til dawn
Don't quit when you've run the farthest
For the race is almost won
Don't quit when the hill is steepest
For your goal is almost nigh
Don't quit for your not a failure
until you fail to try

Just showing up huge.

Jake is improving and though it is not with the speed and timing that we desire - he is improving. Trusting in God is not about counting on him to do things as we dictate but in releasing to his plan and agenda which is far greater than anything else we may try to plan.

Tomorrow a lot of Jake's friends are starting school and wishing he was starting with them - don't we all. Yet God's plans and timing keeps us humble as we wait and trust in him. Debbie and I are loving Jake's friends more and more as we get to know them - many came by in the last couple of days. We are also praying for them - as often as we think of them. Yeah it is often - they are a big part of Jake's room decorations.

As we go to bed tonight - please pray for sleep for Jacob and for us. Pray for Jake's posse. Pray for more baby steps - even a baby leap?

Love and peace

Tom (Dad)
Jake had a very active night and morning. Knowing you are already praying, it still helps me to ask for prayer. Perseverence. Patience. Building grace.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Faithfulness

It is 8pm - the last hour Jake was incredibly active - while Debbie and I went to dinner - really we did not plan it that way. Jim and Kirky were very sweaty just now when I came in. He is pretty calm now - a bit of shaking and moving but not trying to get out of bed or roll over. He actually whacked my sister (Kirky) in the jaw a couple of times.

Today was a challenging day for me. Nothing major - more just feeling this pressure and sadness ...part of it is the 'long-termness" of this injury, the bills starting to hit, dealing with insurance and such, but also there is a mounting burden. I am probably ultra sensitive right now and it is not that I am dwelling on it but there is an iota of starting to try to understand the heart of God and how it breaks for us. I am hearing of new tragedies every day from injuries, to friends with Swine Flu, to marriages breaking up, to depression....I could go on.

Earlier today, watching Jacob being helped by three very small hospital staff - struggling to sit up - limp - out of it - IV tubes - breathing tubes - helmet on - I started dwelling on the realization that the road to recovery is so very long - so very difficult.

It is now after 11pm - I started writing the above and then after I left the hospital I got message from a friend who is in High School. Her family has been through their own journey she shared this song with me...

Your Faithfulness
by Brian Doerkson
I don't know what this day will bring
Will it be disappointing, filled with longed for things?
I don't know what tomorrow holds
Still I know I can trust Your faithfulness
I don't know if these clouds mean rain
If they do, will they pour down blessing or pain?
I don't know what the future holds
Still I know I can trust Your faithfulness
Certain as the rivers reach the sea
Certain as the sunrise in the east
I can rest in your faithfulness
Surer than a mother's tender love
Surer than the stars still shine above
I can rest in your faithfulness
I don't know how or when I'll die
Will it be a thief, or will I have a chance to say goodbye?
No, I don't know how much time is left
But in the end, I will know your faithfulness
When darkness overwhelms my soul
When thoughts and storms of doubt
Still I trust You are always faithful, always faithful
Certain as the rivers reach the sea
Certain as the sunrise in the east
I can rest in your faithfulness
Surer than a mother's tender love
Surer than the stars still shine above
I can rest in your faithfulness
I don't know what this day will bring
Will it be disappointing, filled with longed for things?
I don't know what tomorrow holds
Still I know I can trust Your faithfulness

I am so thankful for youth that turn me back to God. I started thinking about grace. And I think sometimes I cheapen it and tried to make it into what I want it to look like. Grace is found in the presence of God more than the absence of problems. Grace is God's faithfulness to meet me here, touch me here, to be with me through this time with Jacob. Not knowing what tomorrow may bring but fully being able to trust in God's faithfulness.


Whatever God brings tomorrow He is with us.

Peace and Love

Tom (Dad)

i will rise

Jake is active. While so much is the same. So much seems to be improving. 5 of us were able to get him hoisted into a machine thatallows him to stand. Will try to describe it later

As I stand here at his bed with my dad the iPod is playing "I will Rise" by Chris Tomlin. Very cool. Heart is breaking is so many ways this morning but am so glad for God being with us in this moment and on this journey. Strengthened by your prayers.

T-Dad

Just for today...

Debbie got home about 2 am - things were rough with Jacob - lots of movement. I am already late in heading out there but just wanted to post something quick for I know many of you have already checked the blog. I am having a hard time moving today. God keeps whispering to me just go be with Jake so I am going. I am leaving behind those things which seem so important - bills, insurance, phone calls, job search - and will return to it a little later. There is time for that.

Pray for this Monday starting week 7 as the doctors may have already come through to check on Jake. Pray for greater wisdom, greater miracles, greater restoration. Pray for peace from God to fill us and hold us. Pray for the spikes of doubt and lack of faith. Pray for steadfast holding on to the love that God pours out through his Son.

Pray for Jessica Hute too. I believe she is still critical.

Lord protect and restore our children.

Love and peace in today.

Tom (Dad)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Heart of God

It is Sunday night - not sure what to write. When that happens it is best if I keep it simple. There are too many things in my head - and not enough handles to express them with.

Jensen is back with me tonight after being with friends - he had a great time. Robbie is away at a retreat - no self-phones. (Remember what we did before cell phones!) Debbie is watching over Jacob and trying to calm him down. The last two nights it seems like around 10pm he starts to get unsettled before bed. Jake's vital signs remain strong. His temp is low. His breathing good. It is time for Jake to wake up a bit more. Time for him to come back to us. Time for Jacob to wake up.

In the church service I went to this morning they sang this song by Chris Tomlin:

You're the God of this City
You're the King of these people
You're the Lord of this nation You are

You're the Light in this darkness
You're the Hope to the hopeless
You're the Peace to the restless You are

There is no one like our God
There is no one like our God

For greater things have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this City
Greater thing have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this City

As we sang the song, they showed video footage of thousands of people walking. I found out later was an aids walk that they participated in last year.

I cried.

Now I admit I do cry a bit more often right now than I normally do - but I was so overcome with the heart of God. Not just for Jacob but for The City. And what is happening - the opportunities that people are having to see God glorified. As I hear of people turning to God, turning back to God, treating people as Christ would treat them - I hear the heart of God. Being the church and not just going to church.

As we pray for Jacob - I hope we are also praying for opportunity. Perhaps Jacob's Journey will help you to care for people with the love of God on your own journey. Though I could willingly take the Isaac's Journey as Abraham did, I do not want to miss what God is doing in the midst of Jacob's Journey. A big part of that is God molding my heart to be as his heart - that I would see the City as he sees the City. I have a long way to God but Monday begins a new opportunity to make choices that reflect the heart of God.


Praying that we would be love and peace in the midst of Jacob's Journey.

Tom (Dad)

Please also keep including others in this journey - we desperately desire that more and more would pray and join Jacob's Journey.

Reverent Submission

Somehow my Twitter update to my Facebook on Friday posted this morning on Sunday. I really am trying to be up to date on the technology but sometimes it is overwhelming. I am sure I did something wrong but it was still good information and is still true. Jacob is more intentional in his movements - many of them to get comfortable - scratch his nose - get the feeding tube out of his nose - adjust his position. He still wants to get out of bed and at one point last night just looked plain scared. That hit me pretty hard - we want so badly to save our children from harm, from fear, from tragedy. Yet reality is as we release responsibility to them as they show signs of handling it - there are dangers that we cannot control. Even the ones we think we control there are things that happen. And a parent's heart will never be the same. God's heart has an opportunity to flourish in times like these.

My time with God this morning brought me to Hebrews 5 and 6...
"During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and once made perfect he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest int he order of Melchizedek." Heb 5:7-9

So as I read it earlier I was struck by the heart of Jesus going through what we are going through now - a high priest who knows our suffering and has cried tears of begging longing for another way, a change of course, rescue from the pain. Jesus has cried to God on his behalf and continues to cry to God on our behalf. He was heard because of his reverent submission.

I really need to spend more time in these verses but I am struck with God using this time to draw us back to reverence and surrender to God - a willingness to be open to correction, training, molding by God. The author of Hebrews then really zings me because I am having a hard time fully grasping my head and heart around this and thinking about where Jacob is right now.

verse 10...
"We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn."

Yeah, ouch.

He goes on to talk about milk and solid food as an analogy to our growth. It brings in that whole idea of training - trials and suffering bring growth and training as we respond in reverent submission - as we seek God, bearing our heart and soul and remain open to his leading, his teaching, his training in righteousness.

Honestly I react and say enough God - how can we go through any more - and yet God remains faithful, God remains good, God continues to draw us into himself though at times I fight and others I whimper we learn obedience in times like these.

Hear our cry, Lord.
Heal our son.
As you heard the cry of your son,
hear our our plea.
Teach us, mold us, shape us.
With each prayer, make us like you.

Love and Peace

Tom (Dad)