Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Thinking about community...

Today we had an appointment that was quite helpful; it was more of information really to help us as we move forward with rehabilitation. Really each choice that we are making right now is to give Jacob the best possible opportunity for recovering as much of his life as possible. He asked us tonight about the missing muscles in his back. What will that do to limit him? From what we understand it will affect his arm movement - perhaps for paddling his board. He will work at building other muscles and find ways to adapt and compensate. We have seen so many that have done so. Bethany Hamilton the young surfer who lost her arm has learned to not just surf again but surf in major competitions. That is what we move toward as parents - our children to move away from dependence on us, giving them responsibility as they can be trusted, freeing them more and more as they mature.

One thing I know is that we cannot judge others for what they do with their children. But also that we need community around us to help in the maturity process. We have been blessed with friends, pastors, teachers, who have built and are building into our boys. When difficulties rise many tend to withdraw and hide or cover up and hide. Yet in the midst of a trusted community of people we can love and support each other and carry one another's burdens. We need to find ways to strengthen this community, people you can count on.

Both Jessica and Andrew who we have been praying for are making remarkable progress. I have posted on the left column here links to those that we are praying for. I hope that it helps and makes it easier to connect to them. Read. Pray. Surround them with the same love that we are experiencing. I also received an email from an old friend Susie as well who is having surgery right before Christmas on her jaw. Pray that she will be home for Christmas!

Also, I just have to say it again: Please pray for the family of Sarah Botill. Not surprisingly, I received an email from a friend who is connected to that community, as they are so devastated by her death. Our friend told me that this family is being surrounded and loved and that you can tell that so many are praying for them. Please do not stop.

Thanks for continuing to care and support us.

Tom (Daddy)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

never put to shame

Jake and I escaped down the hill to my parents house in Los Gatos. It was 33 degrees when we left home - frost everywhere and our little fountain had a half of an inch of ice - perfect for Jensen to freeze objects (currently a Rock-em Sock-em Robot. Jensen is at Science Camp this week - could not have picked a colder week. Jake and I are trying to push through some school assignments. Everything is Internet based and we need to increase the pace a bit in order to graduate.

While Jake is working and while I wait for him to need my help, I was reading the articles about Sarah, the young Gilroy girl who passed away from alcohol poisoning and thinking about the devastation that community is going through. So completely overwhelming. Honestly, though I am removed from them, it hurts so deeply. The finality of death - the tragedy of loss. In so many respects my loss has been avoided, my tragedy is moving to victory. Though right now Jake is dependent on us for so much - we will know freedom for him.

This young 15 year old girl - in senseless, tragic loss has left a void of remorse that parents, family, friends must work through to avoid their own downward spiral working through the same questions we have worked through; why? Why Lord? You are in control and you have the ability to make a little adjustment to spare this life. I still look at Jake and ask the same questions. Why could you have not just made the damage a little less. What are you going to do through this? How are we going to be blessed and how are you going to be glorified through all of this.

These questions, I am convinced are very, very necessary. They are not questions to be feared or avoided. But they are also not questions that we should ever be satisfied with simple answers. What has happened with Jacob is an ever expanding and widening journey that continues to teach and grow us. Jacob's ministry is just beginning. I am hopeful and expectant that God can and will use these stories of suffering and tragedy to expand His community. The Andrew Sinclair and Jessica Huse communities and experiencing the suffering of coming out of a coma and moving toward steps of recovery and rehab at some point. We pray that God would continue to use it and bless them. Lord what do you have for Sarah's community. "Lord, reveal to them your presence, your hope, your purpose. Fill us with your peace - strength to make a step toward tomorrow.

Romans 10:11 As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame."

That verse comes in the context of Paul writing to a people in the midst of a cultural tragedy - a major mind-blowing paradigm shift in thinking. What they thought was the way God worked was being shown to be so much greater. They were acting a certain way to please God and were being told that the actions were nothing if the heart was not pure. Much more God was including Gentile's into his kingdom and Israel was not responding. Paul wants them and us to understand that the message of God was that simply believing in your heart and confessing with your mouth that Jesus is Lord is enough.

There is a message of hope. Even in the midst of devastating tragedy - as I remind myself often - there is still hope - God is still present - He is still good. I look at Jacob's wounds - his scars and still cringe - my heart still hurts. Yet they are are reminder that God is still good.

There are hero's among us. There are teens that remind us and reflect to us that God is still good. He is not done yet and desires that we surrender our pain into his arms and find that his strength is so much greater. As Robbie continues to remind me - it is more about releasing our pain to him - surrender - than it is about trying to figure out why.

Grace and peace,

Tom (Daddy)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Another family to pray for...

My heart is heavy right now. A friend sent me a prayer request which I posted on the Facebook Pray for Jacob Community. Apparently a girl of only 15 years old died on Saturday. The parents Mike and Michelle have already known loss - their other daughter before she reached her third birthday. I am honestly finding it hard to pray for them - this loss is so very deep. It is not right. Parents are not suppose to bury their children - it hurts my heart. I know I am feeling what so many of you have felt - what do I do for them? how do I pray for them?

The best thing that I can do is the only thing that I can do - pray. Pray for strength; pray for faith; pray for hope; pray for their community. I think that I will start to pray that Mike and Michelle will have a Jim and Sue in their life. A couple with unconditional love and acceptance that will just show up with a bottle of cold water and a hug. I will pray for their community to reach out and support them. I will pray for the churches to surround them and be there for them. I guess I will pray that they will find in the midst of their journey the similar strength that we have found in out journey.

And if God would allow us to provide something more, we will be there. But the best thing is the only thing - prayer.

This song by Leeland has been going through my head a lot this week...

Wounded and forsaken
I was shattered by the fall
Broken and forgotten
Feeling lost and all alone
Summoned by the King
Into the Master’s courts
Lifted by the Savior
And cradled in His arms

I was carried to the table
Seated where I don’t belong
Carried to the table
Swept away by His love
And I don’t see my brokenness anymore
When I’m seated at the table of the Lord
I’m carried to the table
The table of the Lord

Fighting thoughts of fear
And wondering why He called my name
Am I good enough to share this cup
This world has left me lame
Even in my weakness
The Savior called my name
In His Holy presence
I’m healed and unashamed

You carried me, my God
You carried me

Great prayer. At the table, though we do not belong, we are welcomed, healed, loved - "and I don't see my brokenness anymore."

Grace and peace,

Tom (Daddy)

Where we are at...

It is Sunday morning and it is so very very quite right now. Jake and Debbie are still asleep and Jensen spent the night at a friends. We had plans to get up and go to church this morning but it looks like it just might be me...mornings are hard for Jake to get going. I wonder too if weekends are hard for him knowing that he is still stuck with Mom and Dad. We took him down to the village last night and had a good time together but what 17 year old wants to go out on a Saturday night with his parents?

Looking back on the week I think we made some overall good steps. He is moving better and getting stronger. I have been asked some questions so I wanted to clarify some things on Jake's condition:
1. He is in school - finishing his senior year at Aptos through an internet based classroom and monitored by the independent studies teacher.
2. He is able to get up and move around - he gets back in bed when he is tired or sore or just cold but he is up and around.
3. He is not using his right hand very much right now because it is still bandaged and has pins sticking out the end of his thumb. It is looking like the graft is taking although there are still two spots doctors are watching.
4. Surgery on his head will be 4 weeks after he is off his anti-0biotics which puts us in January. They have already designed and made the piece that will be fit in under his muscle flap. That muscle flap becomes is also his skin graft. Later down the road they can do surgery for hair and such .
5. Jake has limited strength and motion in his right arm. He is missing muscle that was removed because it was damaged from electricity and is very tight do to grafting. Skin shrinks up as it heals, like leather when it is wet.
6. Jake's heel is a very tender area and he has nicked it a couple of times. Skin on bone grafts are delicate and as the wound care nurse said this week, he will always have to be especially careful with his feet. We went out looking for a good pair of shoes on Friday but were both a bit frustrated - what he considers acceptable looks-wise and what is best functional has not found an intersection yet.

We have so much to be thankful for as so many of you know. This part of the journey is hard in that we are not dealing with life and death crisis but in the long road of recovery. Emotions and attitude are such an important part of his forward progress but those are things that we cannot force. All that we can do is try to lay down the groundwork that we feel best fosters and cares for him. I would say we often fail as much as we succeed. One of the biggest blessings is touch points by friends - those friends that come and hang with him and that he feels safe with. Many of his friends feel at home enough to walk in the front door without needing to knock and help themselves to whatever they can find in the fridge. That makes my heart rejoice.

I still with all my heart know that God is in the midst of all of this. It does not go they way I think that things should go. I thought Jake would be having his head surgery this week. We have not been abandoned. The fears that continue to come up are the same fears that are always there and they involve me trying to control and figure things out rather than surrender and trust. Put the word "I" in front of anything this season and it will sell: I-phone, I-touch, I-case... and that is what I do - putting "I" in front of everything considering myself first far too often. There is a surrender that takes place in God's Kingdom, a surrender of "I". This is not all about me. God is here seeing the bigger picture and moving and acting according to his perfect design.

Christmas is here. My prayer is that I do not make this Christmas about me. That God would help me to surrender myself and in the midst of sacrificing and serving others - I would be serving Him.

Blessing and grace

Tom (Daddy)