Saturday, January 9, 2010

pressing on toward the goal...

I am following Natalie's progress, Andrew's progress, Keller Boys, David, Brandon, and some others that have asked us to pray. Some of sent it to pass on to those in Jake's community...some that ask me to just pray. Honestly to be asked to pray is such a privilege, isn't it? Yet I feel so inadequate in my prayer life. I feel so unworthy and so selfish walking into the presence of God and saying - here you go do this. For so long I have seen prayer more as just fellowship with God, spending time with him. And frankly I really do not thing I have done that great a job of it. Yet in the midst of the shadow of death, fearing evil, I cried out to God and begged for mercy, for healing, for Jacob to be healed.

I am realizing that it is not enough for me to get on my computer and just follow the progress of my friends for that keeps them as virtual. I want to physically be transported into the hospital room and pour my heart out to God. Now I do not really need to do that - by the nature of God - it is up to me to enter the presence of God with that very passion that same heart that I prayed with in the bathroom at Valley Medical Center in San Jose is available here and now. I can pray for David in Idaho, Natalie in Southern Cal, the Keller's in San Francisco... So amazing that we have a God who hears our hearts, knows our passion, and loves our prayers.
Perhaps my prayer first should be that I have more passion. Not just a desire but a broken heart of surrender that pleads with God for what is on my heart and that I sense is on his heart - healing is very close to the heart of God.
Paul from prison shared share his passion this way...
"I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his suffering, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all of this, or have been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that which Christ took hold of me."
Even in the midst of suffering and uncertainty going on around him Paul desperately sought knowing Christ. He was mesmerized by the power that was unleashed in the Messiah rising from the dead. He knew that suffering was more than just an individual drama but it held a fellowship - a common bond - that connected us to Christ. Paul made this weird statement that is I think easy to glance over but is highly, dreadfully deep. Living our lives in a way that sees the spiritual connection of suffering and the power of resurrection, radically transforms us.
Jacob will never, ever be exactly the same. What happened to him - his near death experience - changed him. He has scars and wounds that will heal but that alter him physically. The choices he will have in life will now be made in the context of an altered body. We are still waiting, watching, working through rehab to but it also affects him mentally and spiritually. Each time I read other's journals I relate to what we have and are going through this Jake. There is fellowship in suffering - a common bond - a relationship because of the shaping of character.

Okay here we go - Paul next says this: "I take hold of that which Christ took hold of me." There is a correlation between suffering and taking hold of Christ. Not just because we cling to God in the foxhole begging to be spared from death but because Jesus, the Son of God when through tremendous suffering to the point of death on a cross (see Phil 2) and in complete humility took on suffering and then demonstrated the power of God through resurrection - not just to say God is more powerful - but to establish this ability for forgiveness of our sins. The suffering ushers in redemption.
The suffering or tragedy has the power to take hold of us and change us. We choose if that is going to draw us closer to God or away from him. Even now in this midst of this long road of recovery - though we are not facing death - we are facing suffering - does it draw me closer to God - to the power of the resurrection?
A little further in Phil 3 Paul says: "forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
We are not done yet. Thanks for hanging with us and for praying for Jacob and so many others in the fellowship of suffering.
Tom (daddy)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Pressure Garments and such...

Just wanted to do a quick post to update on a Jake. Today we had a rather long day of appointments. First with the Occupational Therapist which is really very good. I think Jacob does not like it a lot but is willing to tolerate it as she is a very nice person and she cares a lot about Jake. We go into her room which is in Pediatric Therapy. So there are children's chairs, table and toys. He got to play feed the monkey. She pushes him a bit to move to the next level in rehab always trying to find "what is next". She is trying to get him to use his right hand more. This is difficult because of the mental barrier but also because it is in a hard plastic splint formed around his thumb.

The next appointment was a long wait to recieve his pressure garments. These are heavy duty nylons that squeeze his graft sites as they press the fibers together and smooth out the skin. His skin seems like it is healing more rapidly than ever. The pressure garments are not the most comfortable to wear, but we know that wearing them now will quicken the process of healing.

Our last appointment of the day was meeting with the infectious disease doctor who is monitoring Jakes antibiotics. This is a baby bottle with a bubble inside that pushes the antibiotic out into the picc line in his left arm over a 2 hour period. This is done twice a day. We are still waiting for Jake to be free of infection (from his thumb right now) to get on with the head surgery. We are still hoping for the end of the month which would be a huge leap to get the piece back covering his brain. The news today was great in that all the tests show he is doing great. With the thumb still showing a sign of infection we are on a week to week basis. So while we were hoping to be off the antibiotics on Monday we would rather be free of infection. So we will be on a week to week basis. Tuesday we will see the plastic surgeon, Wednesday get his blood test, and Thursday see the infectious disease doctor to evaluate if we will be on another week or not.

So we still pray for his thumb and focus specifically on infection being completely gone.

Also please continue to hold up the other journey's that we are praying for. I have them listed on the left side of this page. Please especially hold up David Carson in your prayers as he is not doing well. Miracles do still happen - we have seen it - but more than anything pray for comfort and peace for his wife and family.

Shalom - we pursue justice on earth and God grants peace from it is in heaven so shall it be on earth.

Tom (daddy)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Prayer and expanding community

I did not really like the movie Bruce Almighty. But just now sitting here at the computer I thought of a scene where he is receiving all the prayers from people all over the world. I think he is actually on a computer and decides just to grant all the requests - and if I remember it right things really get out of whack. Can you imagine if God decided to answer our requests just as we wanted them to be? What if two people are praying for opposing outcomes? What if the answer actually makes things worse?

Anyway I was thinking about this as I am receiving more and more prayer requests...all of them touch me deep in my heart and are cries to the savior for restoration and deep need. I am feeling so inadequate in the amount of time I spend praying at all - and here they come. I can hypocritically just pass them on to so many that have been praying for us without even leaving the comfort of my computer. These request hurt because of the deep hurting that so many are going through. And yet I offer them to God and invite others to join me in offering them to God..."be anxious for nothing but in everything in prayer and petition let your request's be made known to God and the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord." Debbie and I memorized that verse before we were even dating. Simply offer them to God. Join God in the moment of compassion and hurt with a person...hurt with God. God already knows, already cares, and yet we have been invited to join him.
I have not been praying for Jacob's thumb as I had been. I did last night as I fell asleep and as I realized this. I have been just assuming that God was moving things in his direction and in his time. Yet I have not been joining with him in prayer for Jacob's thumb - what was the focus and special burden. The miracle thumb that we thought would be removed and is still there and is still healing. Not yet perfect - "I am here God praying again for Jacob's thumb."
I am trying to figure out how to continue to pass on these prayer requests that I receive. I want so badly to be a part of expanding this community that we have experienced, that we have enjoyed, that we have been empowered by, that has been a part of these miracles. How can we do this? Create a response initiative that when a tragedy strikes the community responds... the CHURCH responds. Oh that we might BE the church in the lives of others just as we have experienced in Jacob’s Journey. I think that God is already doing this. The community is already there - it just needs us to come alongside and support them. We do so in prayer - sitting with God - petitioning God for healing, for restoration, for His presence.
There is more to come. God is leading us to more. Though we do not totally see the shape of it, we will continue to respond to each need as we are able that we might reflect Christ to each other. Though this journey has been horrible in many ways - there is such beauty.
As for us and Jake, yes we do need prayers too. Tomorrow we meet with Jake's infection doctor to understand what the next couple of weeks will look like. We continue to some therapy tomorrow as well. Please join us in just asking for peace, patience and enough understanding to make it through each day. I told Jacob the other day that I stress about two things almost constantly: time and money. Jake looked at me and scoffed, "why worry? We do not have either." Though I stress over that which I have no control, God continues to provide in his time and in his way.
Thanks for hanging with us.

Tom (daddy)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Keller Boys - a story we have been following

I thought tonight I would just share the posting from Monty and Ruedi's website. We could all use a little blessing of some good news. It made my heart glad.

“I need to surf” said Monty to Meg today in his whisper-lev​el speech. He said “Hi Danno” when I walked into the ICU, and when Papa Ruedi said “I love you”, Monty mouthed “I love you” back. When Papa kissed Monty’s forehead, Monty puckered up to kiss Papa’s cheek. After a coughing spell, Monty was able to hold the suction tube with his right hand and place the tip in his mouth to remove “junk” that came up from his lungs. He enjoys holding hands, and at one point he pinned my thumb, as in thumb wrestling.

Monty does have obvious deficits, which is to be expected after this trauma and coming off a coma of more than 10 days. He was not able to swallow during his first test by the speech therapist. He is confused and often says things that are nonsensical or unintelligi​ble. Also, when not asleep today Monty was agitated and constantly flexing and extending his arms and legs. He would slide himself down the reclined bed, then when asked would push himself back up again. He pulled out his feeding tube and tried to put his finger pulse oximeter into his mouth to bite it off his finger.

Monty is breathing on his own, though he is assisted with a cannula delivering a percentage of oxygen to his nose. His breathing is not deep, and he coughs fairly frequently.​ The coughs are not strong and are not generally productive to remove much “junk” from his lungs. Our prayer is that his breathing would grow deeper and his coughs stronger so that his lungs might clean up quickly.

Vital signs were all good today, with no fever. We will get another white blood count tomorrow morning, probably.

A​t the instruction of the family’s insurance carrier, Monty has been moved this evening to ICU at California Pacific Medical Center, Pacific Campus. I will let you know as soon as I have his room number and visiting hours. He may be moved from the ICU to a lesser intensive monitoring room tomorrow or Wednesday. Our prayer is that he can be moved to rehab by Friday.

 Rue​di continues to do well in his therapy. Walking was good today, and Ruedi got onto the hospital’s public computer and did some FaceBooking.​ By Friday we hope to have an understandi​ng of when Ruedi can move home and continue therapy on an outpatient basis.

Than​k you all for your continued prayers, calls, e-mails, visits, cards, meals, etc, etc!

I took photos of the car this afternoon. Our breath was taken away as we drove up and recognized what once was an automobile.​ On firm advice of police friends, however, we will refrain from posting the photos. Once posted, they could be re-posted in many places, with the unfortunate potential effect of reminding the boys of the accident over and over again.

Than​ks and blessings, Uncle Dan

Great news. Miracles continue. Thank you Lord for Monty and Reudi and for the community around them.

Tom (JK Daddy)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Be Christ, Be Blessing, Be Joy

Honestly, I feel a bit like tremendous winds are blowing toward me right now. I continue to receive requests to pass on prayer requests for those that have joined Jacob's Journey to pray. They are not lighthearted prayers and they tug at my heart as so many remind me of where we have walked. I do not know if I am doing the right thing but as much as I can I pass on the information through Facebook and through the blog. I feel so inadequate in that they overwhelm me – and so I am so thankful that I have so many who have lifted us up in prayer, now lifting up others.

Tonight I received a request for prayer for David Carson. He is in ICU in a coma up in Idaho. I am praying for his wife and son. A year ago at this time they lost a baby at only 3 weeks. I am sitting here and have nothing really to write – such horrible pain. This hurts so much. Last night I went to sleep praying for Natalie – tonight I am sure it will be David. We have been praying for the Keller boys – God is doing amazing things – amazing things. Jessica is still fighting and waking up more and more.

"We are not done yet." For me that is an important statement. I think the Apostle Paul said we are not of those that shrink back. Each day we face what is before us with hope and confidence that God is with us and will join with us in this fight. This morning in church I was encouraged with the message that agreed with my own longing – that I fight to find joy in 2010. Not that all things will work out the way I think that they should but that no matter what happens – in awesome blessings and bitter frustrations – I would choose joy, find joy, and be joyful.

One of my prayers is that we would continue to develop some sort of network where churches, individuals and groups would rise up and surround those facing tragedy and BE CHRIST, BE BLESSING, BE JOY to those who are wounded. What we have received from those in this Jacob's Journey community might be duplicated. I know that 2010 will bring steps of faith for us as we move to where God is leading us. But we do not do it alone. Church is not meant to be simply a place to gather one day a week and sing songs and listen to a motivational talk. The Church is called the body of Christ – He is the head – and we are the hands of feet doing what he has called us to do – love, mend, restore, bridge, connect, care….etc etc etc.

We were able to talk to a man today who I have respected from a distance for some time. I do not really know him well. He was sharing with us (Robbie, Jacob, Debbie and me) how he had been touched by our journey. It led him to write a song that will soon come out on an album. It totally floors me to think about that. We were able to just get a taste of how God had been moving even in the pulling together of the song. It was crazy, overwhelming and wonderful. Jacob takes it all in with seemingly little affect. But in the midst of it I know God is shaping and using all of this to move Jacob according to his purpose. God is doing stuff in me but I cannot put that on Jacob. My role is to continue to come around and support him, guide him, and direct him to become who God intends Jacob to be.

That is what we do as the hands and feet of Christ in our community. Continue to guide, support, and direct others to be who God intended them to be – not fit into who we think they should be. That is my continued prayer as we move forward with this community – what we have seen, heard, experienced might continue and that we would be the Church to those around us: loving, caring and directing others to the heart of God.

As you pray for Jacob this week, please pray for perseverance. We have typical appointments for wound care on his thumb, physical therapy, occupational therapy. I need to make some phone calls to clarify and understand what some things as we move closer to surgery. We also have a lot of school to get through as we try to catch up. Pray for perseverance – that Jacob would not get discouraged but walk through the week boldly. He truly is getting better and better each day – not leaps and bounds but steady and sure.

Thanks for hanging with us through all of this. You are a blessing.

Grace and peace,

Tom (Daddy)