Consider It All Joy

The Carroll clan is Covid free and so incredibly thankful to be on the other side of it. I ended up going for another Covid test and added on an antibody test to see if there was a chance I had already had it. It came back positive for IgG meaning I had it in the last three months and negative for the IgM meaning I have not had it in the last three weeks. I must have been an asymptomatic carrier at some point, which completely baffles us. But it does explain how I wasn’t getting it this time around!

Malachi’s seizures essentially paused while he had Covid. He had some of his mild ones each day but nothing significant. But this week they ramped back up worse than ever before. We have been up until 5am several nights this week trying to manage seizures. We keep a “rescue” medication on hand that we are to use if his seizures go longer than 5 minutes, but it slows his respiratory rate so we have to call 911 when we give it. In the second half of this week he had 3 seizures that lasted longer than 5 minutes but I still felt like he was safe enough to not administer the meds. He was having some major tummy aches which were causing the seizures so we made some formula changes to see if we could get it back under control. While he is doing better we haven’t found the perfect solution yet.

When we go through hard nights like these, especially several in a row, we throw all schedules out the window and just focus on daily survival mode. Obviously we are all mentally and emotionally exhausted. But now that Malachi is bigger my muscles take a beating as I try to physically hold him in a safe place through his larger seizures. He is insanely strong during seizures and keeping him from hurting himself or smothering himself is quite a challenge. I feel bad even talking about my physical discomfort knowing that Malachi’s has to be much worse! I can’t imagine what his body must feel like the next day.

But overall Malachi has had a wonderful week. He has been so happy, finding joy in everything around him.

We have been doing lots of family game nights and watching his competitive spirit come alive is so fun. Right now Mouse Trap is his favorite game. He always puts me in the mouse trap when he gets the chance, and steals cheese from Levi or dad. I took a video this week so you could see how well he communicates his wishes to us.

Levi’s energy level seems to increase by the minute. It is fascinating and horrifying all at the same time.

With Jake back at work we do a lot of car naps for Levi. It is only when he is strapped in and has nothing else to do that he will surrender and close his eyes for a much needed nap!

The weather here in east Tennessee was beautiful this week so we spent hours and hours outside. We spent so much time outside on Wednesday that we accidentally got sunburned!

Malachi’s freckles made their appearance for the season. It always makes me smile to see those freckles appear.

We invited friends over to play on the playground and swim in the pool and it was the happiest I have seen both of my boys in a very long time. At one point Malachi was laughing so hard that the neighbor came over to tell us she could hear him all the way on her back porch! I videoed him as he was laughing the deepest chuckle we have ever heard from him.

There are days when I feel like just a caregiver. There are days I feel like a nurse. And there are very rare days I just get to feel like a mom. This week I had lots of “just mom” moments and they were so refreshing to my heart.

Watching my boys play with other children… everyone feeling included and “seen” with effortless inclusion…it brought such a big smile to my face.

Seeing joy pour from the hearts and faces of my boys is something I never tire of. I am so thankful that God gifted Malachi with the ability to communicate his emotions so clearly to us. This life would be much more challenging without affirmations from him.

As I mentioned last week, Jake and I tackled lots of projects in the house while we waited impatiently for Covid to leave. We were able to gather enough materials around the house to bring one of my ideas to life that had been on my heart for a long time.

We spend lots of hours in our main living area. Many of those hours are mentally challenging and my emotions can wander all over the place. It is the room that sees the most variety in my emotions and takes the brunt of my anger. To combat the hard moments we have tried to saturate the room in scripture to help me refocus. There has been a space on the main wall that I stare at often, and I knew there was message I needed to place there with something challenging but couldn’t settle on what it might be.

This week we gave legs to the project and knocked it out with some of the pallet wood from the boys playground crate, some stencil paper, and some extra pant. The sign is absolutely giant at 9 feet long and serves its purpose of catching my eyes and distracting me from negativity.

James 1:2-4 “Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

The devil grows stronger in pity parties, and the more you feed your disappointment with thoughts the more it has potential to separate you further from Christ. I have found this to be so incredibly true in my own life.

But when I take the time to look past the current struggle and see what it is producing in my life I start to see purpose in the pain. Trials can defeat you or trials can build endurance in your faith. You can choose to view yourself as a victim in your trials, or you can view yourself as an athlete training yourself for something even greater.

Consider it all joy. It is one of the most unnatural things you may ever ask your mind to do, but it can transform your perspective if you allow it. I know that it does exactly that for me on a daily basis. And I hope that one day it becomes more natural that I don’t find myself saying it two dozen times a day!

Thank you for so strongly lifting my family up in prayer over the last few weeks. We are so blessed to have an army of support to lean on. We truly love you all and recognize the part that prayers had in the healing of our boys.

Sincerely,

Leah

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