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 www.biblegateway.com.

As hard as this all is...it 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 on...my 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 me...to 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!!!