I am so happy to tell you that we officially have a therapy pool for Malachi! It was quite the process but it was fun watching God align all of the plans for us to make it possible. A local grant was able to contribute a significant portion of the cost and some very dear friends have donated the labor to prep the yard for us. We will have the electric installed this week and then we will be ready to fill that sucker up!
It will take a little work to figure out the best way to make it accessible, but we have lots of ideas brewing. We also have some backfilling to do this week!
On Monday morning the concrete truck came and Malachi was overflowing with excitement when he heard that big truck.
He is so incredibly aware and very excited about the pool. He also loved the day the crane came to deliver it.
Levi loves to see Malachi happy. When Malachi starts laughing, Levi wants to be near him and simply watches him with a smile on his face, clearly sharing the joy with his brother. Levi showers Malachi with kisses all day long on the top of his head in such an endearing way. He sure does love his brother.
We are also seeing all the many ways in which Levi takes the extra steps to include Malachi. He brings toys over to him and plays with them next to Malachi to make him smile. Like the fart machine…
He also is so aware of the things that make Malachi happy. Like when the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse song comes on, Levi stops everything he is doing and races over to Malachi to help him do the infamous hot dog dance at the end of every episode. He knows that makes his big brother smile.
Here is a sweet video of Levi saying “please”. He has been talking so much lately and his words are getting more clear.
We have officially settled into the routine of self-isolation. Jake has to continue creating virtual lessons for his students but he thinks he has found a way to do it from home on our very painfully slow internet. And other than a quick trip to the church office to check messages and upload sermons onto the church web page, I have not left the house this week. As I left the house and saw this view again I was reminded of how blessed our family truly is.
We are trying to create routines for the boys so there is some level of order in the chaos each day can bring.
Jake has been sleeping in the master bedroom with Levi and Malachi and I sleep in one of the other bedrooms. Their schedules are not in sync right now so separating seems to be the most logical option. Levi goes to sleep around 9:30p and stays asleep until 7a. Malachi has been staying up until at least midnight each night, sometimes 2a and sleeps until 6:33 on the dot. Thankfully I usually take the afternoon nap with Levi to make up for the lack of sleep.
Each night around 6:30 we go play in the driveway and the boys go on a wagon ride with Jake. We were able to rig it up for one of Malachi’s adaptive seats and they love going on “lion hunts” each evening.
The sun hides behind the house enough to shade the area for Malachi and I take his switch adapted toys out there for him to play with.
Levi has discovered the joy of playing in the rocks and loves to ride his bike.
He is also really loving bubbles!
Levi keeps us on our toes in so many ways. This week he has been obsessed with the fridge and freezer, specifically the ice cream. I know when it gets quiet to go looking for him in the kitchen. At least 6 times a day we find him with his head in a carton of ice cream.
We have also started tele-medicine sessions with each of the boys therapists. It’s a little different and unique trying to do therapy through a screen but simply letting the boys see some friendly faces makes their day.
Speaking of tele-med sessions, tomorrow morning I will be speaking with the cardiologist over the computer and working to get a nuclear stress test ordered. My breathing was great the first half of the week but started acting up again on Thursday evening through Saturday. I am eager to find out what is going on, but also want to avoid all medical environments right now.
We officially have three cases in our small county, and 21 cases in the county we do all of our errands and shopping in. The county we take the boys to for their medical trips has 74 cases and 4 deaths from the virus. We are continuing to pray Psalm 91 over our family and friends and are trying really hard to practice faith over fear.
I always try very hard to be honest on these posts, so tonight I am going to share some things that have been swirling in my heart this week. They definitely won’t put me in the faith hall of fame, but in my moments of weakness maybe you can draw more strength for your battles.
I know I have talked about this before with you all, but I remember being a young teenager and reading the book of Job. I was floored that Job lived such a righteous life that God noticed him and actually bragged on him to the devil. I remember reading the intro to that story and praying that I could catch God’s eye in the same way. I prayed that I would develop righteousness and be a topic of conversation between Him and the devil.
But as we see in the story of Job, righteousness does not always equal an easy and problem free life. In fact, it was the righteousness of Job that the devil detested and the reason he brought horrific attacks on Job’s family.
I don’t know that I fully understood the weight of those prayers and sincere ambitions all those years ago.
I have watched God write a Job story for my life over the last 15 years. As we raced to the operating room to bring a tiny, lifeless Malachi into the world at 24 weeks I remember praying the words of Job “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” I was so scared that my Job story would also include losing my children and was trying to brace myself to continue to try and pursue that righteousness that makes the devil cringe.
If you continue to read through the story of Job you will see that he passed the first several waves of trials that came his way. And he never cursed God, even though the devil’s attacks were brutal.
God continued to brag on Job’s righteousness and the devil turned up his attacks a notch. God said to the devil, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.” While this sounds like God was flippantly careless with his righteous servant, instead it shows how much confidence he had in Job’s faith.
Although I have very clearly seen God’s hand of protection over me through each and every trial, life has been challenging. I have always found so much comfort in reading this part of Job’s story and reminding myself that God determines the day I leave this earth, not the devil. The devil may attack me, he may wound me, but he cannot take my life. He doesn’t hold that power.
When God gave me these two special boys I felt so deep in my heart that He wouldn’t call me to this big task and not protect me in it. I always had this confidence that, like Job, God would keep the devil from taking my life.
But with these recent health issues and a less than perfect EKG, likely caused by the stress of this hard life, it has started to make me second guess that confidence I have always carried. I started to wonder, what if I am not really a Job? What if I am one of Job’s kids- someone that dies to help create someone else’s Job story?
What if Jake is the Job in this story and part of his trials will be losing his wife and raising two special needs kids alone? Has God put parameters on the devils attacks in my life and health?
These thoughts put me in a dark place this week. As that confidence in God’s preservation of my role and life started to waver I started to allow fear to creep in.
I felt it creeping in, and for the first time ever I wondered if it was warranted fear. My faith has not been shaken, my belief that God holds me in His hand has not changed, and I fully believe that God has numbered my days and I won’t make my exit until the day He has determined. But I started to wonder if that day was going to be sooner than I imagined it would be. Who would take care of Malachi? Who would meet the medical needs of Levi and advocate for him?
In Philippians we read,”the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” So this week I have been praying for the peace of God to enter me and trump my thoughts (both irrational and rational).
None of us can predict the mysterious ways of God. And many of us will drive ourselves crazy trying to do that very thing…to use context clues and gut-feelings to try to see into our own futures. But part of faith is allowing your heart to experience the peace of God and allowing it to do it’s job at guarding our heart and minds.
Job says something really powerful to his wife in chapter 2 that keeps playing in my head:
“Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”
The good things in life can strengthen our faith in a mighty way. But the trouble in life has exponential power to strengthen our faith in ways we can’t fathom.
It’s when we are truly able to accept both the good and the bad from God that we start to develop that righteousness God likes to brag on.
Clearly I am not there yet, as I am having a hard time accepting the trouble right now. But that’s what prayer and the peace of God is for.
Please keep our family in your prayers this week as we continue to try to stay out of the path of this virus.