Tuesday, August 26, 2014

8 Weeks

Today, almost to the moment, marks the 8-week anniversary of all the insanity that has been our lives as of late.  Even typing that seems surreal - 8 weeks?  Really?

Throughout, God has been faithful and the church - specifically our church - has been amazing.  In the days to come, I hope to be able to process some of the things I saw and in doing so learn something along with you.

Here are the big prayers requests of the week:

1.  The doctors have officially announced that Thursday, August 28th, is Homecoming.  Not with mums and uncomfortable manchildren in suits dancing to music whose lyrics are indiscernible.  We get to come home.  It's like March 5th all over again.  You can pray it happens (and against no weirdness to prevent it) and that the transition is smooth.

2.  The Big Three have gotten off to school two days in a row without much incident.  Maybe we're not so terrible parents after all.  But then again, it's only been two days...

3.  The Queen and I both carry a sense, now that the alleged finish line is in sight, that we are tired down in our bones.  I don't know how to recoup from that.  But we'll need to - physically, emotionally, spiritually, relationally, and every-other-ly you can think of.  She, who has blogged so eloquently lately, may be carrying more than me.

4.  We will have to continue both rehab (for an extended period of time) and nursing skills (for 2 1/2 more weeks) for the Minion when she gets home.  Specifically, we will continue on IV antibiotics for those 2 1/2 weeks.  It's a new skill set we'll need to learn and not mess up.  Pray that we can get the details right and pull together the schedule of rehab appointments.

Thanks to all.  We seem so close.  Talitha Kum.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Kind of a Big Wednesday

Today is the day that two pretty important things happen:

1.  The Minion will get her next MRI.

2.  We will have a family conference, the meeting wherein we see how we're doing, when we might get discharged, etc.

Here are specific ways you can pray for our Wednesday...

First, that Maggie's MRI will show that her brain and body are doing what they are supposed to do - reduced swelling, reduced cyst-like area where the bleed was, etc.  All good news, that's what we're praying for.

Second, that we get a clear picture of what does indeed lie ahead.  And that the communication between the various bodies of people will be clear.  The Queen has already had to address that issue with someone who might be involved in ongoing care.

Third, that the Big Three will hang in there, along with their parents.

Thanks to all.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Quick Update and Prayer Requests

Thanks for praying along with us.  Maggie seems to be getting better and better, though certainly it's a process (and sometimes a slow one).  I think in some strange combination of my medical ignorance and my natural inclination toward optimism, I was hoping we'd stun the docs with the pace of recovery.

Looks like I'm going to have to settle for stunning the docs with the fact of recovery, just not its pace. I'll be grateful for the former.  That she's recovering at all is a testimony to God's power in little bodies, medically attested to by docs who have seen her and never thought they'd see her in as good a shape as she's in.

We have a medical conference with everyone on Wednesday.  That's the big prayer request for the week.  We want good information, a solid plan, clear communication, and so forth.

Ongoing prayers for her white blood cell count and left-side recovery are always appreciated.  Thank you for walking with us, not giving up, and staying in the fight for our girl.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A father thinks about Iraq while sitting in a hospital

NOTE:  I wrote this a few days ago, but my thoughts haven't changed any.  I thought they might over the week but it hasn't happened.  It's published as originally written.

There has been so much going on family-wise that outside a comment in the sermon on Sunday, I haven't weighed in on the Iraq situation.  I'm not sure that anyone is waiting with bated breath for me to do so, but there have been a few thoughts that have stuck with me and I can't shake them.  And selfishly it's cathartic to think about something outside the room I'm currently occupying.

Okay, so here goes:

1.  This is not a political problem.  It's not a religious problem.  It's not an arabic problem.  This is a moral problem.  There is evil in the world and these people are perpetuating it.  There is an Evil One in the world and these people are serving him.  The more clearly we have that fixed in our minds, the more clearly we can think about addressing the issue.  And it has to start with using clarifying moral language:  this is evil.

2.  Some have questioned whether or not children are being beheaded in Iraq like the adults are.  It does seem like a fair enough question since there is a single source to the story.  Apparently some Senators have seen more pictures than we have.  However, what's not in question is that there are adults dying in gruesome ways at the hands of evil men.  It's also not in question that children are dying of starvation and dehydration as they flee the evil men.  It is ugly.  Moreover, having spent the last umpteen weeks in a children's hospital, my senses are acutely attuned to the suffering of kiddos.  Kyrie eleison.

3.  Christians have to do more than post about it on social media.  My humble suggestions:

(a) Pray for them - that their faith would be sustained and their suffering wouldn't lack purpose.
(b) Give - here's a legitimate list of legitimate avenues LINK
(c) Live - I argued on Sunday that the martyrdom of Antipas in Pergamum steeled the believers in Pergamum, inspiring them to live worthy of Christ.  Can these deaths in Iraq do less for us today?

4.  What took the U.S. government so long to engage?  Would it have been different with a different president?  Would it have been different if they had started with oil fields instead of people?  Instead of Christians?  I'm enough of a cynic to ask...enough of a patriot to hope not.

5.  I'm no geopoliticist, but it sure looks like Iraq should be 2-3 different countries, divided by ethnicity.  Our own country struggled with this.  They have neither a philosophical entrenchment from which to fight for unity nor an Abraham Lincoln to lead that fight.  We're way past We are the World and I'd like to Buy the World a Coke.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Six Long Weeks

It has been six weeks, almost to the minute from when I'm typing this, from the point where the Queen's best friend in the whole wide world Bec called my phone.  We had just made the switch at TCH and I was on the way home with the Big Three.  Her words were haunting:

"Trent, you need to get home and get a shower and get the kids settled.  And then you need to come back up here right away.  It looks like Maggie has had a stroke."

Ever tried driving when you can't see and can't breathe and everything is tingly?

In these six weeks, we have seen God prove Himself faithful to us.  We have seen Him work miracles, attested to by doctors' descriptions and statements like, "I never would've thought..."  We have seen the church rise up.  We have seen friends become family.  We have seen love get practical without losing its heart.

We have laughed some.  We have cried.  My how we have cried.  We have sat in very dark places.  We have seen sunlight peak over the horizon.  We have prayed boldly and barely prayed.

Somehow, in strength that God supplies and with infused courage from Framily, we have taken step after step, one at a time.

Thank you for walking with us.  Through it all, Jesus reigns over everything.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Monday Morning Update and Prayer Requests

The blogs have slowed down in pace because there hasn't been much new to report.  The fact that so many of you have expressed interest, care, concern, and desire to know more means the world to us.  Thank you.

The Minion is overall doing well.  She continues to recover and work at becoming the kiddo we brought to the hospital, a heart cry of ours from the start - that we'd bring home the same little girl that we brought up here.  Her left side is returning steadily.  Her vision seems to be better too, though I personally still think she has to work on focusing sometimes.

I saw her neurosurgeon in the hall a couple of days ago during his lunch break.  I reintroduced myself and he replied that he knew exactly who I was.  Then he said, "You haven't seen me because you haven't needed to."  That is encouraging.

I had a good conversation with a friend last night (he happened to be traveling on the Left Coast, so it was his afternoon) who asked how I was doing - really doing - and I told him this:  we are so grateful for where we've come and recognize that we have a long way to go yet.  I won't speak for the Queen, but depending on which moment you catch me in, you see me full of gratitude or in search of the strength and courage to continue the path.

The initial thought by the rehab team was to aim for late August for a discharge.  That's a floating date, we understand, and will be nailed down as we see progress.  So there are still prayers to pray and work to be done.

On that note, here are some prayer requests for the week:

1.  Ongoing recovery with her left side.  And no plateaus - just a steady climb out of this back to normal.

2.  That the God-designed body process that is dealing with the lesions in her brain will continue to do exactly what God designed them to do.

3.  For the Big Three to hang in there.

4.  For the Queen and I to continue to do what we need to do, to stay as connected as possible, and remind ourselves there's a day coming when all six people will sleep under one roof again.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Monday Morning and a Shared Email of Encouragement

It's been a few days since posting with good news to report.  The Queen has done the weekend updates, so if you missed anything you can find them on her blog here:  4 U Ruthie.

As to the Monday morning update, the Minion is doing great.  She's increasing in strength and keeps winning on the cognitive front.  Her vocabulary is back and she's even picked up a few new words.  She can identity people by name (the Big Three especially) and asks for things in ways that are understandable.  You can pray for ongoing healing, strength, recovery, and protection.

Everything keeps going up and to the right, and for this we're grateful.  I'm sitting on the rehab floor where other families are not experiencing the same.  It's a stark reminder that we're entitled to nothing.

A friend of mine sent me this the other day.  His name shall be held in confidence to protect the innocent, but he's a dear friend and good brother and always thoughtful.  His email has been edited below, but you'll get the gist.  I hope it encourages you.  Share as you see fit.


I wanted to write you to correct you (just a little) because you had an error in logic in your sermon on Sunday (referring to 7.27).  You said something to the effect that if God had brought Maggie this far, surely He would see her through to the end.  Your point was well-taken that past movements of God inspire faith for a new movement of God.

While I contend that the probability is high that the end is not so soon due to the high prayer volume and value, the high probability of substantial positive Kingdom impact, etc., I do not think your logic applies here.

Why?  Because the scales that weigh this are wrecked by the value of The Good over the value of The Expenditures.

Expenditures:  prayer, money, time, gut-wrenching waiting, hair-pulling bureaucracy, people who think y'all are crazy, and others in a long line.  Tack on the train wreck of emotions, potential long-term harm to your family, and other costs that have been evident these past few weeks, the expenditure line is ridiculously high.

Good:  only one item goes here.  She had doctors.  She had caregivers.  But she didn't have the loving arms of her father around her.  Remember the picture you sent me when all this broke and we were on vacation?  It was you holding her.  Her father had his arms around her.

If you put that on the scale and look for a return on investment, it crushes the scale.  Breaks it.  Wrecks it.  It's over.

I tell you that to tell you this:  you have already won.  In a moment, y'all have conquered the naysayers, the world's valuation of sick orphans, the Chinese valuation of women, and many other things.  You have already won.

If you zoom in to see the broken side of the scale, you see a church on her knees.  You see daily sermons via blogs and witness to many who are lost.  You see moments of biblical clarity that are breath-taking.  You see people learning to live out their faith through their service.  You see people remembering and sharing the truths that help them through dark days.  The list is endless.  And there are new things to see each day.

But I never needed to see more than a single, priceless treasure of her in your arms.

As you pay the real and terrible price each day, please don't experience the price without looking again on what was purchased and clearly see what y'all purchased for her.

With ongoing prayers and overflowing thanks for the victory that is Maggie,

Your friend