Oh boy, the bears are back! They have not visited our house yet but made an appearance at the neighbors house next door early this week. Hopefully they will keep on passing through and not set up camp in our yard again this season.
Even though the weeks are monotonous we tend to keep ourselves quite busy here at the house. We have been tackling several big projects, like finishing the bedroom in the basement for future guests. We take turns as caregiver and try to each knock out something productive each day. We fill in the gaps of the day with lots of play time with the boys.
The therapy pool continues to be a blessing for Malachi’s tight muscles. We are SO THANKFUL that we were able to make that vision a reality for him. No regrets!
I wish you all could visit and watch him in person, because it is genuinely impressive to watch Malachi swim. I tried to catch a video for you this week:
We try to give each of the boys some independent time away from each other. For Malachi that meant sneaking him out for swims while Levi was napping. And for Levi, we spent a lot of time playing in the basement and jumping on the furniture (a therapy goal).
We also spent time this week watching the sunset in the tree house!
Levi is pretty on par for his age with many things, but there are a handful of physical abilities that he lacks. Jumping is a big one, but with his cerebral palsy in his ankles his hesitation makes sense. The improvements we have seen in our time stuck at the house have been shocking and encouraging.
His receptive vocabulary is continuing to grow and he is understanding so many words and sentences these days. He is still very hard to understand when he talks, but he is attempting to talk more. He is relying heavily on his sign language these days, frustrated that we don’t catch what he is trying to say immediately.
I took this video a few weeks ago of him identifying his body parts. I threw in some hard ones just to challenge him and he did great:
This morning was an exciting one as we got the chance to leave the house and attend a church service! Aside from random drives around town, the boys have not left the house since March 7th.
Our church met for the first time since quarantine at a local Christian camp for an outdoor service and a baptism. Jake and I took extra precautions to stay away from everyone else, but the group as a whole shared the same mentality and did a decent job socially distancing from one another.
We even watched the baptism from across the lake instead of joining the group.
Our church is starting the transition into the building for services so we will be keeping the boys home for a bit longer while we watch to see what happens with the virus. Stores and restaurants opened up on Friday here so we are expecting a surge soon.
Several weeks ago I had to go to the doctor for shortness of breath. They ran several tests trying to find out the cause and one of those was an EKG. The results from that were abnormal (inverted t-waves) indicating that there may be a blockage that needed to be addressed. But with no family history of early heart issues and my age the cardiologist thought it was likely just an abnormality I have had since birth that no one has caught before.
This week I completed a stress test on the treadmill to see what happened to the EKG when physical activity was added into the mix. The waves were consistently inverted and not any worse than at rest. I am waiting to hear back from the cardiologist to see if he still wants to purse a nuclear stress test when they add in nuclear meds to see what happens with activity.
As far as the boys medical appointments go, we are still doing all therapies through telemed video conferencing. Some of their specialists have reached out and started canceling appointments as they try to re-work their schedules for the summer. We are supposed to have a surgery in Cincinnati late this summer for Levi and a trip to Vanderbilt in a month to see the orthopedic surgeon for Malachi but I don’t know if those plans will change with the COVID situation.
This week I have been seeking God on some very specific things. I feel like I have been jumping all over the New Testament trying to wrap my head around several big concepts and scriptures. But one verse keeps replaying in my mind from Romans 12.
“Love must be sincere.”
It is such a simple verse but I have caught myself spending long chunks of time dwelling on those 4 words. What does “sincere” love look like? The Bible is full of instructions about love. It throws the topic around like it is something that should be easy to do, something that should come naturally when you are a Christian.
As I studied a bit I read that the word sincere is translated from a Greek word meaning “without hypocrisy”. This sincere love that the Bible mentions is a heart condition, not an action. It isn’t something we train ourselves to do, but rather it is a verb that flows from us when we start to see others through the lens of Christ.
Christ sees through all our ugliness. He can see through our defense mechanisms, our scars, our flowery words yet broken hearts. And what He sees underneath all of that “makeup” we try to paint on each blemish is a child whom He dearly and sincerely loves.
We like to put conditions on our love. When someone in public is rude to us or aggressive towards us we tend to turn away. But the eyes of Christ would see the hurting person underneath and His heart would have compassion for their brokenness.
Loving like Christ…loving sincerely…is something that only He can produce in our hearts. But as that verse says, love MUST be sincere. Not “should be”. Must be.
I will readily admit that my heart is still working on that one. I tend to love when it is easy and reciprocated. It is so incredibly easy to sincerely love my children and my husband, but does my heart sincerely love the man down the road that is harboring resentment towards me? I pray that the day will come when I start to naturally love the way Christ does, free of contingencies.
Part of being a child of God is being humble enough to see your weaknesses, the areas you still desperately need Christ in your life. There is a song that we sing to the boys often and the lyrics are:
He’s still workin’ on me,
to make me what I ought to be.
It took Him just a week to make the moon and the stars,
The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars.
How loving and patient He must be,
‘Cause He’s still workin’ on me.
Sometimes I need the reminder that I am a work in progress as a Child of God. I am not meant to master some biblical concepts, but I should always strive towards them with a passion! When things seem impossible or unattainable we tend to want to give up, but like Paul says in Philippians we must press on towards the goal. Not REACH the goal, but press on towards it.
So this week I am praying that God continues to work on my heart and that sincere love would flow from it. I pray that He gives me the eyes of Christ to see the hurting and the words of Christ to soothe those wounds.
How loving and patient He must be!