Monday, October 17, 2011

Never Once...

I've been thinking about the word "never". It's a pretty strong word. It's final and forceful and sure.  It's solid and pure in its meaning.  "not ever, at no time, not at all, absolutely not, to no extent or degree"  There it is...strong and solid.  There is not degree of doubt or waver.  It's just never.

In our journey with Malone we are still in a finding out stage and may always be.  There are still a lot of things that are unsure and unstable.  He is not sure about some things...actually quite a few things.  He can explain things to you verbally but has great difficulty putting them on paper.  He can explain a precalculus equation but is challenged to work the problem.  He is pressing on.  He will help coach the JV basketball team and continue his junior year again and his job.

This is not the life we thought it would be.   It was not what we thought was coming on the horizon.  It was not what we dreamed was in the future.

But what I am coming to realize is that on this road we have never been alone.  God never took his eyes off Malone or forgot about him.  This is part of His Jeremiah 29:11 plan for him because "His ways are Higher" than our ways.  And while it doesn't mean that as a Mom my heart doesn't ache and yearn for this to be easier, it does mean that I can rest in knowing than my God is faithful and true.  Always! 

This past Sunday God gave me a gift in a new song at church.  I had never heard it before and in my latest contemplations of the word "never" it was like God reached down and wrapped His arms around me and whispered...this is for you!

"Never Once"

Standing on this mountaintop
Looking just how far we’ve come
Knowing that for every step
You were with us

Kneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much You’ve done
Knowing every victory
Was Your power in us

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Kneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much You’ve done
Knowing every victory
Was Your power in us

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Never once did we ever walk alone
Carried by Your constant grace
Held within Your perfect peace
Never once, no, we never walk alone

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Every step we are breathing in Your grace
Evermore we’ll be breathing out Your praise
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful 

We are still on this journey and are so grateful for God's faithfulness and the joy that each day brings.  We pray God will show us how to rejoice and that there will be continued healing.  Our prayer is also that others will hear our story and know that they are never alone.

We will rest in knowing that God NEVER leaves us, NEVER forsakes us, NEVER lets us walk alone!

Friday, October 7, 2011

A little child shall lead them....

This girl teaches me so much about how to love and how to live...

This was her last year in her school's production of Annie.  She was Molly.  She loves acting and singing and anything that goes along with the Theatre.

This season in her life there are many opportunities.  She tried out for a part in the church Christmas play.  She also got a part in the school Grandparent's day program.  She was going to try out for the school production of "Jungle Book" and when she came home from tryouts the conversation went something like this:

Me:  So how'd it go?
T: Good.  I told Mrs. Oliver I just wanted a little part.
Me:  What?
T:  I told Mrs. Oliver I just wanted a little part.  I mean I might get a big part in the church thing and I can't really do all that well.  And I might not get a part in anything at all.  But you know mom, it's really not about me.  (and here she went on to talk about how good so-and-so did and how she hoped so-and-so got a part)
Me: (In my head:  You told her what? and my flesh screamed "but you're so talented and good."

And then my spirit took over:  Hey Amy whoo hoo....yeah you! Did you even hear your child's heart?  She said "it's not about me"  She's talking about how great other people did and who she hopes gets a part.  Go back to that...encourage that...praise that!

And then my flesh said "but what if she gets nothing? what will that do to her?"

And the spirit I'm sure shook its head and threw up its hands but kept coming "Girrrllllllll....would you listen to yourself?  What if she got everything and it would be too much?  And do you not think God can handle it if she gets nothing?  And what kind of growth experience would it be for her?  Remember how much she grew when she didn't get a part in "Suessical"?

And so she got her part in Jungle Book as a wolf and as Hark in the Christmas program.  And she is beside herself.  I had the sweetest time with her last night discussing boys, life, growing up, friends, and mostly Jesus and God and the great, great love that He lavishes on us.  She had lots of questions and prayed a lot in my head for the answers God wanted her to have at this time in her life.

I am blessed and thankful!

Monday, October 3, 2011

So many reminders...and yet I have to be reminded again and again

"Day after day our God is reigning
He's never shaken
My hope is in the Lord
Time after time our God is faithful
Trustworthy Savior
My hope is in the Lord"

This past week and a half has been a difficult one emotionally.  Having the privilege to do what I do each day also means having the privilege and honor of knowing people well in some difficult times in their lives.  Not too long goes by that I'm not in the office when we divulge to a woman that her life will be forever marked by that day.   It will be a defining moment for her.  The first time she hears "it's breast cancer".

What I will assure you is that I work for two of the most compassionate medical professionals that I have ever met and they do this life changing appointment with so much grace and dignity that it is a thing of beauty if that is possible.

There are also days that people come to our office and hear that their only hope for more quantity of life and quality of life is amputation.  And again, this is handled beautifully by not only our physicians but the staff.

I wish these scenes were few and far between but as they are not I am thankful that God has given me a soft heart and tear ducts that could sometimes fix the drought in Texas I believe.  And yet, there are so many things that remind me time after time that God is faithful and trustworthy.

I met a lady who buried her daughter and a week later lost her house in the tornados last April and she said to me, "God has been good to us and is watching over us."  That is day after day faith.

I met a lady who is watched out for by her grown son that we have come to love at the office for his cheerfulness and love for his mother.  He died two weeks ago of a massive heart attack and her response was "when God says it's time, it's time."  That is day after day faith.

We have a patient who is an amputee and is always so cheerful and happy to be with us that it brightens our day.  He shines the light of Jesus even from his wheelchair.  That is day after day faith.

I want day after day faith.  Not just "when I think I need it faith."  I want to every day in every circumstance give thanks for what God has done, is doing, and is going to matter what it looks like with earthly eyes.

This morning I arrived at my office to fresh baked pumpkin muffins with a note that said.  "You are loved.  Have a great day!"  I think I know the baker but I was mostly touched that God would send that friend and that reminder my way.

We are all loved. Bought with a price, Blessed, Redeemed!  And that ought to be more than enough for day after day faith.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength" Isaiah 30:15

I have been quiet since the middle of the summer.  At least on the blog and somewhat in my spirit.  But God has been speaking loud and clear to me and showing me more and more of his faithfulness and love for me and mine. And we are almost 9 months out from the accident so I wanted to give a quick update on Malone.

The above picture Malone took today of himself for an art project for school - self-portrait. He is one amazing young man and has done incredibly well under the circumstances.  It is still so hard to explain and I haven't found anyone yet who isn't amazed by the weirdness, for lack of a better word, of the injury.  He still has long term memory issues and short term ones.  Names are especially hard for him and math.  However, he is soldiering on.   He is working two jobs.  He is cooking at Findley's and learning much from his time there and likes it a lot.  He is also running the sound board at the radio station for his high school's football games.  His career interests are leaning heavy in that direction.  He is finding his way at school and laughingly calls it his "sunior" year.  There are still moments where I watch him stare into space and totally lose focus.  Those moments may always be.  He is seeking God and listening for direction for his life.  Can't ask for much more than that!

So, I am resting and still learning to release. And listening to the Lord and he is changing me from the inside out.  We continue to covet your prayers as we walk through this season of our lives and see what the future holds for each of our 5. Two of them turn 15 this week so that's a definite new chapter!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

You'd think I'd learn...

So...Malone has been gifted a trip. It's a gift in so many ways. The past two summers he has had the incredible opportunity to travel to Orphange Emmanuel in Honduras to work. Incredible experiences with beautiful children of God. We have many pictures from both trips. Malone has no memory of either trip.

He will leave next Wednesday to return to Orphanage Emmanuel. He will be gone for 9 days. He's the only one in our family going. It's a gift because the trip was given to him all expenses paid. It's a gift just to get to go. Some people have said, "how wonderful that he might get the other memories back." To be honest, I'm just thankful he gets to make new ones.

His dad called me Monday and said, "we can't find his passport." I said,"I think it's at my house." Guess what? I couldn't find it anywhere. I looked everywhere I could think. And then I fretted. A lot.

I looked up online how to order a quick emergency replacement. Yes. That would be the best solution. Except...Malone was under 16 when he got his so you can't get an emergency one.

So last night I didn't sleep. Not much at all.

And then this morning it hit me. PRAY. So it went something like this: Lord, we know you ordained this trip and that you know he needs his passport. I also know you know where it is. So, care to share?

A few minutes later I felt told to go look under Malone's bedside table. And guess what? There was the passport!

I know God shakes his head in heaven at me a lot. That may be all the thunder lately. I'm sure he chuckles and says "my dear, why didn't you ask sooner? Would have saved you all that trouble and loss of sleep. Bless your heart!"

So maybe, just maybe next time I'll remember to pray sooner! And keep the thunder down...

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Most Important Things...

"The God who commends and cultivates our faith will sometimes lead us into painful places, into unreasonable places, and into places that simply do not make sense. Why? Because real faith has to outweigh our emotional comfort, our human logic, and our passion for understanding. When it does, the Object of our faith has become the most important thing in our lives." {Worship the King by Chris Tiegreen}

The past almost 6 months have not made much sense. Not much sense at all in a lot of ways.  For Malone in particular.  He was on his way to finishing his junior year.  His high school basketball team was headed on a track to a state championship.  He had a date to take the ACT.  We were looking towards college visits this spring and summer.  I was urging him towards prom so a girl would have a nice date. And then January 18 all that changed with a split second that seems still to make no sense, seems extremely unreasonable in the human realm.  Even now when I tell people about it, they look puzzled like I am speaking a foreign language. We now talk about "before the accident" and "since the accident".  It was a defining moment.

And then I read the quote by Chris Tiegreen and breathed a sigh and went "yeah" quietly in my soul.  It was like a gift to my heart.  I'm also listening to a podcast from Granger Community Church by Mark Beeson on "When Your World Falls Apart".  I say listening because I'm on round 3 of the podcast.  I love how sweet God is.  Mark talks about detours in your life and not wasting them.  He says what my heart has cried.  Something to the effect of "you wouldn't have chosen this, but now you wouldn't trade it."

So we are praying not to waste it.  Kinda of like that last drop of slushy that you move the straw around until it's just right so you can slurp it up.  Malone did go to Frontier Ranch in Colorado with Young Life and had an incredible experience.  He came home sure of his decision not to pursue playing varsity basketball.  It was a tough decision but he believes and I do too, the right one.  He has also been blessed with the unbelievable opportunity to return to Orphanage Emmanuel in Honduras at the end of July.  He has been twice before but has no memory of it.

The other great opportunity that has come up is for him to help with the Junior Varsity basketball team at Lee-Scott.  Coach Darden was Malone's coach and now is Simms' and asked Malone to help with practice last week and a camp and has asked if he would like to help during regular season.  One thing I love is that Simms is good with this and likes his brother being there.

Malone and I talked the other day about the challenges that he is still having.  He still has long term memory loss.  Those gaps do not bother him and he usually just shrugs when someone asks him if he remembers something.  The biggest challenge ahead is that he still has some short term memory challenges and when school starts back we will know more about what tactics he will need to combat those.  He knows he will need to work harder than he has before and need to ask his teachers for extra help probably.  Prayers in this area would be greatly appreciated.

We are forever thankful for all that God has done and continues to do.  We know that anything could have happened.  In my field, I am thankful for great healthcare.  I'm thankful for what insurance we have.  I'm thankful for all of you that have prayed and asked about him.  For all of you that have spoken to him and not cared if he recognized you or not. For the love and friendship.  For the most important things...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

1/2 is 2/3rds of 3/4ths

I was thinking about what 2/3rds looks like as we come up on the 4 month marker in the healing process from Malone's accident. What if they stopped a football game halfway through the 3rd quarter and called it?  What if you only baked a casserole for 40 of the 60 minutes it required?  What if you only dried clothes 2/3rds of the way?

I have to remind myself at times that we are 2/3rds of the way.  I have to say sometimes "it's ok he's not all the way healed yet, there's still healing to do."  I also have to say "wow! he's not all the way healed yet. That's amazing what he just did!"

Malone will do this week and next week of 2 days of therapy, so now 3 more times and then they will release him to come back as he needs them.  Yep, that's the "r" word.  Release.  We stand amazed at what God has done and continues to do.  He leaves the 27th for a week in Colorado at Frontier Ranch with Young Life.  I had to pray hard as I checked all the boxes on the release form to let him go.  There it is again...the "r" word.

Malone has given up much in this journey but gained even more.  He is a more confident young man and more sure of His relationship with God.  He is more grounded in his faith and more patient than before.  Again, this is not a journey we would have asked for but one I would not give back.  Malone quoted this the other day on his twitter "One day in retrospect the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful." Sigmund Freud.  Wisdom in that for and from a 17 year old.  He teaches his Mom a lot.

We still covet your prayers as we continue to learn to release to the One who is able to hold it all and handle it all, as we are not.  There's still at least 1/3rd left and miles to go on this journey. May your day be blessed!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Doing Valiantly

"Through God we will do valiantly."  Psalm 108:13

My longest, best friend sent me a card a few weeks ago and in it she put a copy of her daily devotional from her Billy Graham devotional.  It said this:

   "There are two ways of getting out of a trial.  One is to simply try to get rid of the trial, and be thankful when it is over.  The other is to recognize the trial as a challenge from God to claim a larger blessing than we have ever had.
   Sometimes God removes our trials, and it isn't necessarily wrong to ask Him to do that.  But often the trials remain, and when they do, we should accept them and ask God to teach us from them.
   As Peter Marshall once put it, "God will not permit any troubles to come upon us, unless He has a specific plan by which great blessing can come out of the difficulty."
   It is through the suffering, the tests and trials of life, that we can draw near to God.  A. B. Simpson once heard a man say something he never forgot:  "When God tests you, it is a good time for you to test Him by putting His promises to the proof, and claiming from Him just as much as your trials have rendered necessary."

Malone is doing valiantly through God.  He is making slow and steady progress but like the turtle "slow and steady wins the race."  There are frustrations and still obstacles yet to climb on this journey but it is a journey and he is moving forward.  So extremely much to be thankful for.  I can't help but have the song "My Redeemer is Faithful and True" stuck in my head most days.

I have said it before but need to repeat it often as I stand amazed.  Malone shared with me several weeks back that for about the first five days he didn't know who I was but knew he could trust me because I had been there.  He had to relearn how to say his ABC's and count and so many many things.  But I stand amazed in this:  he did not lose knowledge of salvation or of what Jesus did for him on the cross or of the fact that the God of the universe loves him. Brings tears to my eyes now.  Again, I stand amazed and in awe!

Mother's Day was an awesome day for me and I'm not a big Mother's Day person.  It was big because Malone cooked breakfast for me and his siblings.  Bacon and eggs and omelettes.  As Townsend says when you ask her what he cooked, "only the best bacon in the whole world."  Praise the Lord for bacon!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011



by: Laura Story
We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause What if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing through tears
And What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we can not feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd faith to believe

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
And what if trials of this life, are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win we know
The pain reminds this heart that this is not, this is not our home
It's not our home

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
And what if trials of this life, the rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts. - Isaiah 55:8-9

Heard this song today for the first time.  Fortunate to work in a place where my boss plays XM the Message all day long so I'm surrounded by great scriptural truth through song all day long.

The words so spoke what my heart has strangely felt.  This journey has been long and really hard and there have been and continue to be many tears.  Just this morning was talking with a friend about what has been lost from an earthly perspective - but what gain! Malone has taught me so much about so much.  He continues to work really hard and even when it appears to be very frustrating for him...he still pushes through.

I have never felt God closer to me or felt more able to allow Him to take control.  We've really had no choice and Malone and I continue to talk about this gift, that no one would want.  This gift that we have been entrusted with that we are called to share.  And while our thankfulness is so inadequate...we will continue to be thankful in the ways we know how.

Just a quick progress update: In my last post I reported he was doing some subtraction in his head.  Yesterday they told me he is doing prealgebra in therapy - and nailing it!  We went and got all his school books yesterday.  I could tell he was glad to be in the building.  His principal said "this place looks better with you here."  He just grinned.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Two great quotes...and some scripture.

"You are stewards of Kingdom treasures.  The faith muscle only gets stronger when it's exercised.  Right where you are - is where you need to be.  Where you are is no accident. "  Mike Glenn: Every Moment Counts

"This is not God's plan B" a friend who is extremely wise

"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."  John 33:10

We are right where we are supposed to be.  In this process, in this day, in this life.  This was not God's plan B for Malone (I so love this reminder from my new wise friend!)  Sometimes this is so hard to remember.  We all want to live in the "supposed toos".  Malone was supposed too go to prom this past weekend.  He was supposed to be finishing 11th grade.  I was supposed to be in better shape, supposed to have a cleaner house, better paying job, bigger car, nicer clothes, more newsworthy vacation.  Oh really?  Who says?  The world?  How reliable is that?

We are right where we are supposed to be.  I'm so happy to report progress and joy.  Malone is continuing to recover and find new skills along the way.  He's become quite the cook and launderer of his clothes.  He'd rather cook truth be told. 

One great example of his progress is that Katy and I were playing "Words with Friends" and she had played an incredible word and gotten ahead of me.  I asked him to check my phone to see if she had played her next turn.  He said, "don't worry mom, you're only 23 points behind Katy."  I said, "Did you figure that in your head?"  He just grinned and said "yeah"

Eight weeks ago he didn't know any numbers.  Six weeks ago he was relearning to count.  Four weeks ago he was adding on his fingers.  Now he's doing some math in his head.  He is definitely headed in the right direction.

We are 3 months out today from what I have decided is the most challenging thing that has ever happened in our lives.  If I'm really honest, it's also one of the best things as far as my walk with the Lord. 

There are still hills to climb and long trail to go on this journey.  If the experts are right, we are just halfway to recovery.  But THE EXPERT in heaven knows best what we need and how fast it will come.

We are thankful for this Plan A.

Monday, April 4, 2011

While we wait...

Sunday morning I took a notebook to church with me.  One of those empty journal type ones.  I hadn't used it in awhile.  I opened it when I sat down in the worship space and read these notes "Nothing is passive about patiently waiting for desire to turn into delight.  It doesn't mean that you do nothing.  Till faith becomes sight, trust God and do good."  Those notes were from a Beth Moore simulcast in August of 2009.  That long ago, God was teaching me truth that I would need now. Sort of makes you pay more attention doesn't it.  Never know what you will need, but the Lord does.

We went today to Spain Traumatic Brain and Injury Rehabilitation Center at UAB.  Funny though...we didn't have to wait much.  They had originally said it would be late July before we could get an appointment with Dr. Brunner.  They didn't know how many of you are praying.  They called Friday and said we had an appointment today at 1 pm.  We walked in, signed in and never got to sit down in the waiting room.  Dr. Brunner and his staff were very thorough and explained a lot of things.  They explained mostly about cell swelling and how it can take up to 6 months for the cell swelling to go away.  Dr. Brunner was very positive about Malone's progress, his plan for therapy and taking him off of all medications.

And so we wait.  Wait for more cell swelling to reduce.  Wait for more healing to take place.  Wait for more memories to return and more skills and abilities to be regained - and they are everyday.

But we are not passive.  Malone starts his 5 day a week therapy tomorrow.  So thankful for the staff at RehabWorks and their willingness to try new things and want his recovery as much as we do.  He so loves all of them.  So thankful that their office and mine are adjacent to each other so that he can come right down to my office when he is done or even to eat lunch with me sometimes when he has an hour break between therapies.

And we continue to pray and give God the glory for every little memory regained, every process relearned, every day.  It's all a gift and we are blessed.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

About to bust....

  1-2 Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked, "Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?" 3-5Jesus said, "You're asking the wrong question. You're looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do. We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines. When night falls, the workday is over. For as long as I am in the world, there is plenty of light. I am the world's Light."
 6-7He said this and then spit in the dust, made a clay paste with the saliva, rubbed the paste on the blind man's eyes, and said, "Go, wash at the Pool of Siloam" (Siloam means "Sent"). The man went and washed—and saw.  John 9

I know I went awhile and didn't post and now here come two in just over 12 hours but I'm about to bust.  I got up this morning and was curled up on the couch checking twitter and facebook updates and got finished and was just praying kinda "now what Lord? what for Malone? and why Lord? why did this happen?  I really have no blame for any person in my heart by why him? and really what now and what's next?"  and I thought to go to the story of Jesus healing the blind man with mud.  And the above verse is what I came to when I searched "Jesus mud" at

As hard as this all is for God's glory! And from the beginning Malone and I have talked about all along giving him the glory for it.  The title in the Message translation of the above passage is "True Blindness".  Sort of made me grin a bit at how blind I am about things and how much I want to make things about me in my self-centeredness when it's never about us at all - It always come back to the One and Only - the thing we were all created to do - give Glory to God!

The healing story I was thinking I was going to find was this one:

22 They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”

 24 He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”
 25 Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.   Mark 8

So next I went here and in reading this remembered how it was explained to me one time that in this story this man's healing didn't come all at once.  It took Jesus two applications.  It took steps of action.  Rehab if you will.

I was reminded in a comment on my last post by someone I've admired for more years than I can count to basically be mindful of all the small miracles. She was so wise as she always is - one of the many reasons I admire her.

Here are just a few of the things that are small miracles:
  • he knows who I am (admitted to me a few weeks ago he had know idea who I was for about probably the first 5 days, just figured he could trust me because I had been there from the beginning)
  • he can count now
  • he made a purchase over the weekend with his debit card
  • his desire to improve and get better is amazing
  • he will try whatever the therapists throw at him
  • he likes to fish now - never did that before
  • he's showing us how to not take little things for granted like being fascinated by how things work
  • he did not lose his knowledge of God or salvation
  • he loves being with his friends
  • he is still his compliant self and is routine oriented which is very helpful in his healing

The list could go on and miracle is that I'm really trying to be more focused on what's really important this side of heaven.  I think for me, it boils down to this "Love God, love people".  For now I'm trying to stick there...and be thankful for the miracles in my life.

Monday, March 28, 2011

We are still believing...

Scattered words and empty thoughts

seem to pour from my heart

I've never felt so torn before

seems I don't know where to start

but it's now that I feel Your grace falls like rain

from every fingertip, washing away my pain

I still believe in Your faithfulness

I still believe in Your truth

I still believe in Your holy word

even when I don't see, I still believe

I know I haven't updated in what feels like forever. Spring break came and went and we all needed a bit of a break from some things.  But rehab doesn't stop, nor should it.  We have found and continue to find areas of growth and healing and areas of challenge and need.  There are also some interesting personality changes.  None of them bad which is a blessing! Praise God!

Malone decided he wanted a fishing pole.  He's never had an interest before...ever.  So we set out on a trip to make that purchase and it was in that quest that I saw what had been explained to me earlier in the week about his processing challenges.  He had two gift cards and had trouble figuring out that he needed to add the two amounts together to know how much he had to spend.  He then counted on his fingers to get to the sum of $40.  As I mom, I have to admit that watching my 17 year old in the middle of Dick's Sporting Goods go through this I became quite tearful but then I was reminded that just 3 weeks ago...he couldn't even count.

We have much to be thankful for.  His team at RehabWorks in Opelika is phenomenal and their goal is to work with him as much as they can and move him forward as fast as possible.  To that end he will start having rehab 5 days a week next week for 3 hours a day and 2 of those days for 4 hours at least.

We are definitely praying for a full recovery and believe that God can do that.  We know that God loves him more than we ever could even though that is hard to fathom.

It is very hard to understand because if you spend time with him, as his friends who have would tell you, he's the same old Malone. He has pushed through some tough days and we know there are more to come.  It's hard as his mom to watch.  Hard to know when to push him more and when to let him be.  I'm praying for wisdom in that area.

I see God using this in a lot of ways...teaching rely on him and run to him first and foremost. He is big enough for all of this and more.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Small potatoes

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (The Message)
So we're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There's far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see now will last forever.

Really trying to focus on the small potatoes and think of them as french fries...even though they feel like HUGE IDAHO SPUDS!  Just came from a discussion about Malone's progress and options.  What we know is this...this is a long journey. A marathon of great proportion. Not a short sprint.

There are lots of things to consider and lots of decisions to make big and small. 

But the greatest thing we know is this:  "not a day goes by without his unfolding grace."

We have grace for today and what it brings.  Grace for the good, the bad and the ugly.  And as Mandy Smith has taught me to say "God is still God and God is still good."

Monday, March 7, 2011

Information and a confession...

We are back from Malone's appointment at Spain Traumatic Brain Injury Center for psychometric testing.  The entire appointment took just over 3 hours and was very informative.  There was some really good stuff and some stuff I wanted to stick my fingers in my ears and scream "lalalalala can't hear you!" when Dr. Wright was talking to us.

Here's the good stuff:
  • he's doing well remembering when he hears something (could repeat 14/16 words even after 30 minutes)
  • he's attending to details in drawings so no evidence of something called "neglect" in his brain
  • his ability to center things is intact (where's the middle of a line no matter the length of the line)
  • simple problem solving was average
  • he is retaining information newly given to him/newly learned (huge progress)
  • we are moving in the right direction no matter how slowly
Here are the areas of challenge:
  • on the repeating the words - he struggled if you asked him was a word in the list and gave him some that were and some that weren't
  • fine motor from a strength issue is way weaker than expected
and the one that brought me to my knees
  • on the depression testing they consider a score of 16 "depressed" and Malone's was almost doubled that (read:he's been faking it really well)
So we came home from Birmingham and I'm in the house alone and I laid on the bed and cried for bit.  Feeling totally overwhelmed by the discussion of new meds and educational decisions and therapies and just mostly brokenhearted over my boy's brokenheartedness over what has happened to him. At a time in his life when in our earthly minds we think "He should be taking college boards and asking a girl to prom and making summer plans." And what we were told today is he is having so much trouble putting pen to paper and he is so sad but hasn't talked to us about it.  And I think "what have I done wrong and where do I go from here?"

And God whispered to me "I got this."  He said, "He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young." (Isaiah 40:11) "I've got him Amy.  Malone is my lamb too and I have him close to my heart and it's ok that he is sad. You are the "those that have young.  I got this."

So my confession is this.  I'm really not ok with all this.  Let me be clear that I'm not mad or anything like that.  It's just that this is really really hard.  And it's ok for it to be hard and it's ok not be ok.  God is so teaching me to let him have this and let him have Malone.  If things were always easy, we wouldn't need to fall at Jesus feet or run to him when we are scared.  So for today, in my flesh, I'm really not ok but in my spirit...I'm choosing peace...

We will have Dr. Wright's full report by the end of the week and know more what direction to go with a plan.  We are so thankful for all the love and prayers!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

It occurred to me this morning...

Water you turned into wine, opened the eyes of the blind there's no one like you none like You!
Into the darkness you shine out of the ashes we rise there's no one like you none like You!
Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other.
Our God is Healer, Awesome in Power, Our God! Our God!

Into the darkness you shine out of the ashes we rise there's no one like you none like You!
Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other.
Our God is Healer, Awesome in Power, Our God! Our God!
Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other.
Our God is Healer, Awesome in Power, Our God! Our God!

And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us.
And if our God is with us, then what could stand against.
And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us.
And if our God is with us, then what could stand against.

What could stand against. 

We sang this song this morning at church in the service where one of my bonus kids was baptized and confirmed. (Blessing!) and this one...

So what can I say
What can I do
But offer this heart O God
Completely to You

So I'll stand
With arms high and heart abandoned
In awe of the One who gave it all

So I'll stand
My soul Lord to You surrendered
All I am is Yours

And Malone was there this morning. He wanted to go and wanted to see Mike baptized. He got a huge blessing from our friends the Waers who brought him a coveted autograph. So extremely giving and thoughtful of their oldest son Rex who could have gotten it for himself.

As I sang these songs it washed over me what has been lost in all of this and I cried during service but then God comfortedme with the reminder and knowledge of what has not been lost. Malone has not lost his knowledge of Jesus and his salvation. He has not lost the hope that is within him that God has a plan not only for this, but for Malone too. A good and gracious plan. It is not lost on Malone that he is loved with an everlasting love by a Saviour "who gave it all" for him. It is not lost on Malone that HIS God is healer and awesome in power! He may not have recognized people this morning that he has known for years but he did recognize His God and the love God shows him through his people. His spirit was lifted as we left to come home. (special thank you to Slagley and Michael)

On the where are we healing wise: Eye issues all appear to be brain related. We will be at the Spain Traumatic Brain Injury Center tomorrow for psychometric testing with Dr. Wright, Malone's neuropsychologist. It sounds to be about 3 hours of testing. After that she will schedule more educational based testing to see where we go from here on that front. Tuesday it's back to RehabWorks in Opelika to see his favorite folks who work with him there.

It also occurred to me this morning in the second song as I stood with "arms high and heart abandoned" that being in awe of the "One who gave it all" not only speaks of Christ sacrifice but of the gift that is each of my children - all of them. And in this situation, Malone really is God's and not mine. I've just been blessed with the privilege of being his mom and called out for this purpose of earthly shaping and molding, loving and holding, and then letting go. But the letting go has to happen all along and looks a little different for each child...but it has to always be done with the understanding that they really do belong to God and the trust that God loves them way more completely than we ever could imagine. I'll never truly get that...I guess that's why it's called "standing in awe"...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A brother who sticks closer than a friend...

"there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." Proverbs 18:24b

Sometimes when I don't know what to pray in situations I pray that God will show up BIG.  And then I remember that God shows up BIG always but we miss it sometimes because what we see as BIG sometimes comes in what our earthly eyes sees as small packages.  The picture above is Simms holding Townsend when she was just a little thing.  And he has always been a pretty good big brother.  A typical big brother but a pretty good one.  He messes with her and picks on her, but nobody else better mess with her because he is going to protect her at all costs.  And he's a typical in the middle child and he's ALL boy.  He's 14 and likes any sport, dirt bikes, fishing, and any animal. (He has a way with them.)  Simms, in stature has always been small for his age.  But he makes up for it in heart and spirit.  His favorite t-shirt boasts "SMALL BUT MIGHTY"

God has used him just like his shirt says.  He has been mighty through all this.  He has stuck close to Malone and been his helper in situations that no one else might understand.  When the basketball team was in the Elite Eight in Montgomery, Simms got his own ride so he could be there for Malone if he was needed.  He knew Malone doesn't do so well handling money right now so if Malone wants to go eat with friends, Simms goes too to be the money handler so it won't be awkward.  It's the little things but I can see that he is thinking about his brother in ways that he never has before.  In a way it's a role reversal.  Looking at the picture, I don't know why I'm surprised.

God continues to provide for us in BIG ways!!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Pieces of the puzzle...where are they all?

So many people have stopped me, texted me, emailed me, called me to ask how Malone is. It's so hard to describe something that is so hard to understand.  God gave me the visual in this picture of a puzzle that you put together but there are pieces that have fallen under the table and you can't find them.  You can still see the big picture on the puzzle and what it is supposed to be but it's not complete.  That's how Malone's brain is right now.  There are pieces missing.  As I've said in a previous post counting, telling time, spelling, etc.  All missing pieces.  But some pieces there.

Two short stories that tell the ironies:  Last night riding in the car he was surprised when I turned my high beams on and said "whoa those are bright, where did those come from?  How did you do that?"  But earlier when I thought he had on basketball shorts with the number 26 on them and he says "Mom, you know you can't have the number 26 as a basketball number."

All I can think is that this is fascinating.  I just wish I wasn't studying it in my own child's brain!  

So we are searching under the table for the missing pieces and we are believing God to show them to us.  Sweet Melissa posted this verse this morning "I'll stay with you, I'll protect you wherever you go, and I'll bring you back to this very ground. I'll stick with you until I've done everything I promised you."  Genesis 28:15

We believe God in this promises to bring back the ground that has been lost for Malone.  But as Malone and I talked about, in God's time.  And God's time is not our time.  So until then, we will be here...

Looking for puzzle pieces.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Day after Day

Men will try to rule the world You made
But we know power is Yours alone to give and take
A day will come when every knee will bow
And every tongue confess that You are Lord both now and forever

Day after day our God is reigning
He's never shaken
My hope is in the Lord
Time after time our God is faithful
Trustworthy Savior
My hope is in the Lord

The fear of man and what they plan will fade

When we know you alone are God of everyday
Like the flowers man will rise and fall
But you are everlasting never-ending God eternal

Let the songs of adoration rise
Our God is reigning up on high
He's worthy to receive the praise and the glory

I guess I didn't think this would be day after day.  I thought it would be a few days and then back to normal.  I think other people thought that too.  Most people.  People in the medical world and out of the medical world.   Concussion.  That's all. Headaches for a few days and he'll be alright. Ok...yeah. That'll be good.  That I can handle.  I didn't realize how shaken my boy's brain had been.

He kept saying he doesn't like school.  It's confusing and hard.  I wanted to get frustrated with him because I couldn't figure it out.  But then today his speech therapist popped in my office after his session to ask me how he learned to read the first time.  Huh? (the first time?)  So here goes...

He's having trouble reading.
He's having trouble counting.  He can get to 12.  You have to feed him 13 and then he can go to 19 and then you have to feed him 20.  and so on.
He can't tell you the months of the year.
He can't tell time.
He's got some double vision.
His neck is extremely tight.
He's got damage. Brain damage.  Not saying it's permanent.  But it's more than I've ever had and he is struggling.  A LOT. and I'm struggling as his mom.

He and I talked about it this afternoon.  He knows he has work to do.  I told him I can only imagine what he is dealing with.  Only begin to try to imagine his struggle.  But this we know...

Day after day he will do therapy and homework from therapy.
Day after day our God is reigning, He's never shaken, trustworthy savior, Our hope is in the Lord.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

There is a Hope...

Psalm 33:20
We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield

"There is a hope no matter what happens.  There is a God who's always the same.  Hope does not depend on only what is seen.  Hope is found believing in His name.  There is a hope for all of life's changes and there is a God who's overcome all.  You can stand on the promise Jesus never fails, even if the world should fall."

As Malone and I rode home from the State Championship in Montgomery yesterday where his team had been defeated this song came into my head from long ago.  It's a song from a group called Truth that was very popular when I was in high school.  I haven't heard it or sung it in years! It is true that the words we hide in our hearts come back to us; good and bad. (but that's another post for a different day)

It so spoke to my heart because we do have hope for all of this and more.  No matter what the final outcome is.  Jesus has overcome ALL...not some of it or most of it...but ALL of it.  And change IS what this is. God has given me the words that "He just had a different plan for our boy than we thought".  That really is what this path is and what God is teaching me is to open my hands and let go. A sweet friend asked me yesterday if I'm "just freaking out" and I said "I have my moments but I know that God is all over this and has been from the start and Malone needs me to point him to that hope."

So where we are is OT, PT and speech therapy three times a week for now.  Know that if you see him you may have no idea that there is anything going on.  He laughs and has fun with his brothers and sisters.  There are some memories he has no problems with and some he has absolutely no recollection at all.   We looked at pictures last night and some he was sure of and some he said "when was that?" He is ok in comfortable surroundings.  He is going to try to go to school some on days he doesn't have therapy just for some sense of normalcy.  He still gets tired very easily and bright light and loud noises are harder on him than usual. He shared with me that he wants to be normal.  It killed him not to be able to contribute to the game yesterday.  He knows this is hard for people to understand, especially some of the kids at school. We know that stress of any kind is not good for the healing process.

We are not sure what will and what won't come back.  We want it all to come back.  Every bit of it.  But above all...that God be glorified.

This is our hope!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Eyes to see into Jars of Clay

2 Corinthians 4:7

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

It's what we all are - jars of clay. Not fancy china or crystal vases but jars, full of the treasure of what God has written in each of us. I am trying so hard to be patient as I wait on the Lord to heal my child.  I thought I was a patient person.  I am patient with children and older people.  I'm patient with brownies in the oven and waiting in line or for a table at a restaurant.  I'm even patient in traffic.  The problem with this is that my child is a jar of clay and clay isn't see through so I really can't see what is going on in there.  I can't tell what the trouble is or the time line for healing.  Moms are supposed to know these things.  Supposed to be able to fix it for their kids. This is one of those things that I can't fix or make better.

We went to start rehab today at RehabWorks.  They are all so amazingly supportive and loving and knowledgeable.  Lucy is Malone's OT and Carol is his Speech Therapist.  They did some testing and what was immediately apparent to me is that this is bigger than I thought.  There are things he is missing like how many months in a year and how many days in a week.  He was having trouble with "does it take longer to put on a hat or tie your shoes?"  Several friends have texted since we got back and asked how it went and I had to be honest and say "overwhelming".  They will work with him 3 times a week and are going to add in precious Tina due to his dizziness. What Theresa explained to me is that brain injuries are so misunderstood because there is no diagnostic test (x-ray) that can show all the damage sometimes.  We feel wonderful about the care and plan that will happen because of RehabWorks but I think it just really really smacked me in the face today with the reality of all this.

I am holding here:  God is great!  He loves Malone more than I can (even though in my humanness I can not truly get my mind around that fact).  and this...
"There is love that came for us
Humbled to a sinner's cross you broke my shame and sinfulness you rose again victorious
Faithfulness none can deny through the storm and through the fire there is truth that sets me free Jesus Christ who lives in me
You are stronger you are stronger
Sin is broken you have saved me it is written Christ is risen Jesus you are Lord of all
No beginning and no end You're my hope and my defense you came to seek and save the lost you paid it all upon the cross
So let your name be lifted higher
Be lifted higher be lifted higher"

Jesus is stronger than all of this...I am not.  I will fix my eyes like flint on Him...even when I don't feel like it for He can see into the jar of clay at the treasure that is there...the treasure that is Malone...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Things I want to remember...

Seems a very funny title considering "remembering" is the base thing that Malone is struggling with at this point.  I want to journal this journey for him so that he can look back and give God the praise and see how extremely far God has and will bring him. So for the 2 or 3 of you that actually read this I apologize in advance for the ramblings that may occur here.  As some of you have remarked, "I didn't know you had a blog!" That was by design.

With respect to Malone I want to remember some of the funny/humorous stuff:
     Him asking Jack "what's a biscuit" on the Saturday after the accident
     Simms trying to convince him that "for some reason you just always like to clean my room"
     Chris Garner giving him explicit instructions on how to behave during the National Anthem in a slow calculated voice (trying to be helpful)
     Malone texted me after about two days that "there's an orange cat at the door" (it's our cat)

I know there are more. These just stand out for me.

There are also the incredible ways that the Lord has provided for us.  There really were amazing people with him that night when none of his parents were present.  The family at Lee-Scott stepped in and and "owned" him as theirs.  I'm especially thankful for Pam and Michael O'Brien who brought Malone to EAMC and Mike and Tina Rabren who brought Simms.  Ashley Mann gave me the courage to speak up on Malone's behalf. The staff on PEDs at EAMC were incredibly compassionate and loving in a way that told me "we got this" but "it's ok that you feel a bit scared and overwhelmed."  We were given the pediatrician on call that night who we had never met - Dr. Richard Glaze.  Once again, God provided there.  Dr. Glaze has been amazing.

Last evening I spoke with Dr. Glaze and while we spoke of Malone's slow progress, his main question was "How are you doing? I know this has to be tearing you up."  God knows what we all need.

We are continuing to be blessed by God in so many ways and our prayer is to give Him the glory during and after...

      ...honestly...praying for the after to get here

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

This journey

We are on a journey that we didn't expect at all. As the song says, "we are all just one phone call from our knees."  Two weeks ago I got a call as I was driving down 280 returning from my uncle's funeral that I needed to meet some incredibly compassionate wonderful people in the ER.  They had my oldest and were taking him there.  He had been playing varsity basketball and taken an elbow to the forehead and consequently the floor to the back of his head.  We spent that night in the hospital.  The nurses on PEDS could not have been more fabulous.  He was very out of it. He knew I belonged to him but could not tell you my first name.  He did not recognize his coach.  He did not recognize my mom.
He's had a headache pretty much ever since.  We've been to UAB to a neuropsychologist and to the pediatrician here.  Everyone says "this is a journey".  Everyone says "no one knows how long it is going to take."
He still has headaches.  He still has confusion.  He doesn't talk a whole lot.  He's trying to go to school but so far two classes is the maximum he can do.
This is really hard.  Harder than I thought it would be.  Harder truthfully than I want it to be.
I want my boy back.  I want his imitations of people and mimicking of characters.  I want him teasing his brothers and sisters.  I want him to ask "What's for (breakfast, lunch, dinner)?" as soon as the previous meal is over.  I want him to be able to drive.  I want him to complain about homework.  I want to tell him to get off the computer. I want to tell him to go to bed.
But we have to wait.  And somehow wait some more.
God knows how long.  God did not doze off on us.  He did not accidently look away.  He was not texting and not paying attention at the time.  He knew.  As Max Lucado says "He authors all itineraries.  He knows what is best.  No struggle will come your way apart from his purpose, presence, and permission."
Such comforting words in this season...on this journey.