Sitting By the Brook

The school germs won their battle this week as we worked through our first sickness. I am thrilled to report that this round seems to be mild and Malachi is feeling much better. He started running a low grade fever on Wednesday paired with sneezing and a snotty nose. That same morning I noticed a major increase in seizures and had a suspicion something was brewing, but it took us until dinnertime that day to confirm it.

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Last night was the first night that we took him off medication (Claritin) and he was up literally every hour with junky breathing and coughing. We re-started the medication this morning so we will just have to see how tonight goes.

Pre-sickness, Malachi has had a great week. He was so excited to go back to school on Monday and liked that we were back into a routine he understood and knew. Monday morning he and I went to a local organization to speak on behalf of the United Way. They distribute donated money to several organizations that Malachi is involved in (horse therapy, Boehm birth defects center, etc) so they sometimes call us when they need a guest speaker.

I absolutely love sharing Malachi’s testimony with people. His story is just so unique and powerful and I feel that when I look at him I am truly looking at a miracle. It is always a challenge when I have the opportunity to share his story with a non-Christ centered setting as I have to rely strictly on medical facts and statistics, leaving God out of the equation. My prayer is that those who need to see God through Malachi’s story will find it, even in those setting where I can’t directly point it out to them.

The soccer season has officially begun! For anyone new reading this, Jake and I are the high school girl’s soccer coaches in our county. While I would love to say that our sole motivation is our love for soccer (which does play a huge factor) we also have a practical side to holding this job as it is a paid position. Jake draws the head coach “salary” and I am able to draw as the assistant coach.

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Tuesday was our first big match day and the game was over an hour and a half away from home. We obviously take Malachi to every single one of the games and my mother usually accompanies us to sit with him while we coach. I hesitated going to this one, as we are on travel restrictions and are not to travel too far from the hospital, but this game happened to be in the direction of our emergency hospital if something goes wrong with baby Levi.

Malachi loves going to the games and hearing daddy and mommy yell on the sidelines. This week we learned that baby Levi loves it just as much as big brother! He spent most of the game jumping around like a wild man and kicking at my belly. His kicks have grown so strong that they startle me!

It is so much fun seeing a bond already between the two boys. When we are at home, I often play praise and worship music for Malachi. This week as I played the music Malachi would do his happy dance, but Levi would come to life inside me, seeming to almost dance to the music. Every time it made me smile as I thought about the other things these two boys would share over their lifetime.

While little Levi was dancing, I took Malachi’s hand and put it on my belly and talked to him about his baby brother. I explained to him that baby Levi “was in mommy’s tummy” and he just looked at me with wide eyes. We firmly believe that Malachi understands more than we credit him for, but I knew this was a foreign concept for him (as it would be with most 4 year olds). But for the next hour, every chance I verbally addressed Malachi he would take his little fist and pull up his shirt to show me his tummy. I don’t necessarily think that he made the connection  by any means, but it was so fun seeing him try to relate to me about the tummies.

Malachi remained in good spirits even through his sickness but we kept him at the house for the remainder of the week. Yesterday evening we decided to venture out to give his brain some stimulation and went to a local restaurant to grab some dinner. After we finished eating I asked Malachi if he was ready to go home to which he swiftly made his “NO” face. Thinking it was a fluke, I asked him again and again he told me “No”. The third time I asked I got the same reply and I started to understand that he just wasn’t in the mood to sit at the house any longer! I asked him if he would rather go to the playground with his daddy and he abandoned his no face for a happy dance! Off to the playground we went!

I’m not going to lie- the tiny break that this sickness brought into our schedule was pretty refreshing. Having no appointments and no school to go to was nice, but I can definitely see that Malachi missed his busyness. He will get the chaos back this week as he will go back to school (Tuesday due to the eclipse), go to get fitted for his AFOs, attend horse therapy, and join momma on a Levi appointment. We will also have two away soccer games to go to in our evenings and will get back to all of our church activities with the youth.

Mommy is still attending school with Malachi for now. We may try this week to ease him into a routine where I leave him there for one hour, then two, then three, depending on the comfort level of the staff. I did leave him for one hour on Wednesday as a trial and they all seemed to do well during that time- even with Malachi having a medium seizure.

He even has his first school picture day on Wednesday! I am very curious how this will go with possibly impatient photographers. We prepped for the day with a haircut this weekend! And a side note- Malachi’s new nutritional drink seems to be helping him thicken up a bit.

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I have been working hard lately at getting back into God’s word, and let me tell you all…it has been so incredibly refreshing. I am reading passages I have read hundreds of times, and God is finding things in these passages that He wants to bring to my attention.

I have been going back and forth all week about which one to share with you all, and then a new one hit me this morning. We were talking about the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 17 and how God called him to go live by a brook in the desert. The Bible doesn’t tell us how long he stayed there but it does tell us that he drank from the brook and God commanded the ravens to bring him bread and meat every morning and every night.

I found myself dwelling on the provision of God we see in this story. I think about how loved Elijah must have felt each and every time God sent a creature of the earth to bring him nourishment. And then I think about the next part…”It happened after a while that the brook dried up…”

God didn’t warn Elijah that he was about to take away the life-sustaining source he had given him. He didn’t miraculously cause the brook to keep producing water, even though there was a drought in the land. Instead he commanded Elijah to go somewhere else, where he had other amazing plans in place for providing for him.

I think about what must have gone through Elijah’s mind in between the brook drying up and the command from God to go elsewhere.

As I read this story, I was reminded that in life there are seasons. There are times where we will be challenged greatly, and there are times of refreshing where we simply need to sit by the brook and lean on God to rejuvenate and take care of us. But it is in those moments by the brook that we often overlook the possibility of hardships in our lives. When they come back, they almost take us by surprise as life had been so comfortable and good for all that time. Then the brook dries up and we find ourselves needing to lean on God to direct the next path in our lives.

I feel that right now, the Carroll family is sitting by the brook. God is providing for us in ways that we can’t even see. He has met needs before they have become painful, and the momentum that we have right now is so refreshing. Malachi is making amazing progress and his health is improving immensely.

But I also have to remember that at some point, our brook may dry up and God will move us towards more challenges that test our faith. And I need to remind myself that that isn’t such a bad thing after all. Maybe God is leading us towards an even better brook that we can’t yet see. We may be required to cross a few deserts to get there, but that is all part of the journey he has mapped for our lives.

So for now, we will sit by the brook and marvel at his provision in our lives. Thank you God for the undeserved blessings on our family.

And a final note to end on…I am having way too much fun envisioning what little Levi is going to look like…I wouldn’t mind if he looked like his cute daddy…

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May God bless you this week,

Jake, Leah, and Malachi

 

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