Two more weeks. Jake goes back to school in just two more weeks and I have already started the mourning process. Having him home for the summer is an indescribable blessing and gives me a burst of respite care.
We had a week of adventure in the Carroll house as Jake’s family traveled down for a visit. We had a dozen people staying in our home and both of the kids thoroughly loved the cousin time. We held our first annual “Cousin Olympics” with temporary tattoos, seven events, and an awards ceremony at the end. The older cousins took turns helping Malachi compete in all of the events and he had such a great time. He even earned a 2nd place medal in the Sock Ball contest.
And of course, it wouldn’t be a cousin adventure without some sunset s’mores!
Jake’s family rented a giant 25ft water slide for the weekend and the whole drive over we talked it up to the boys, their excitement growing the closer we got. But when we got there we realized that it may be a little dangerous to try, especially with trying to protect Malachi’s body. But after all the hype we had given it we knew we had to make it work for him! We turned off the water portion and sent him down with Jake.
I took a brief video so you could see his sweet smile at the end:
Little Levi, on the other hand, was not a fan.
We have been working with Shiloh this week on retrieving things for Malachi. We have been watching both dogs to see which one has a better temperament for service and Shiloh seems to be the winner over Tuck. He and Malachi have a connection and he always wants to be close to him. He sits very still next to him to allow Malachi to take his time petting him. They are 70 pounds each now and 6 months old and we love having them in our world.
Malachi and I will leave next week for Nashville and I have been trying to map out a few fun things to do along the way in between appointments. He is very excited about getting to go on a trip with mom, and it is fueled by Levi’s tears as he screams that he wants to go too.
I started Malachi on a new medication this week called oral baclofen which we are hoping to use to reduce his seizures and help him sleep. It’s main use for kids with CP is to help tight muscles loosen so that is an added bonus but not the primary purpose for us. He was actually prescribed this in February but came down with COVID that same week so I put it on the shelf until I felt comfortable. The problem is that I really really really hate starting him on new medications. New medications tend to steal his personality from us a bit and then if they aren’t the right fit, weaning him off of a new med can take months. I finally felt like the time was right to start it, so here we go. He has been on it for 3 days and while he has been extra emotional it doesn’t seem to be doing anything negative to his system quite yet.
Malachi also got fitted for a new wheelchair this week, and this time he went with “Electric Blue”. He tells me he wants it to be superhero themed so I am finding accessories I think I can rig on there to make it special for him. It takes a few months for it to arrive, so it will be a fun distraction until it is ready for him.
One of my favorite chunks of scripture in the Bible is Isaiah 40. I am such an imaginative person and it paints such a beautiful picture of God. I memorized a chunk of this chapter in college and I didn’t realize how much it would ring true later on in my life.
”Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”
I think weary is a perfect word for me. Our days require 100% from us, and because of the nature of caregiving I cannot simply take a day off. I haven’t had a full nights sleep in 8 years and the sleep I do get is littered with lots of wake ups to make sure the kids are still breathing and to check feeding pumps.
But as tired as I often get I have watched God take a limp and lifeless Leah and ask more from me. God doesn’t need my energy. He doesn’t need my best. There is nothing that God NEEDS from me. He simply desires my willingness.
In my own strength I cannot fulfill the expectations I have for myself. I cannot fill others expectations, or even God’s expectations with the meager portions of energy I have left each day. But it isn’t MY energy that God is looking for. He is looking for me to wait patiently on the Lord for Him to share His strength with me. That is what a real relationship looks like.
Jake and I find it humorous the things that God continues to call us to. Every time we think there isn’t anything left to give, God places another calling or task on our hearts and we walk in obedience. I often don’t talk about some of these callings because I don’t want to sound like I am soliciting glory from any of them. But I do have a point to make so stick with me!
Right now we are serving at the church as youth ministers. This involves leading Bible studies two nights a week and feeding them all in our home (30-40 of them) on Sunday evenings. I start cooking around 3pm on Sundays and finish cleaning and start blogging around midnight on. Most Sunday mornings I also serve on the worship team at church so we are go-go-go from sun up to sun down. We also do lots of events with them, including an upcoming overnight retreat for the girls in my basement.
Jake leads a men’s Bible study at the house each Saturday evening. The wives started riding along and now we have the men meet downstairs with Jake and the women meet upstairs for their own God conversations.
We are coaching the high school boys and girls soccer teams. This one is a calling, as odd as it sounds. Talking too much in detail about that doesn’t feel right, so I will leave it at that. This week they will be coming over to the house for dinner and bonding after practice.
I am still serving as the church secretary, which was most definitely something that God clearly called me to. My time in that role is coming to an end very soon, and I feel a peace about passing it on to someone new.
Even with all of these roles, all of these duties, and all of these expectations I still feel God tugging us to do more.
When you have faith in God, it also includes having faith that when He calls you to something He will also give you the resources, energy, and strength to complete the task.
When you have faith in God when he says jump, you jump…even when you don’t have any legs! God is the only one qualified enough to tell us our limits, as He created each of us with particular tasks in mind.
This rings true in my role as a mother as well as we have watched God time and time again carry me through WEEKS of three hour nights of sleep. He has carried me through over 300 days spent in hospitals at my children’s bedside.
This is obviously not written to bring any glory or compliments on Jake and I, but rather to encourage you to be a “Yes Man” to God. When the Holy Spirit tugs you in a certain direction just obey. Don’t overthink it. Don’t pros/cons list it. Don’t even give it a second thought. Obey and watch God give you a portion of His wisdom and His strength. Watching God use a lifeless Leah has built my faith and trust in Him way more than any powerful testimony I could hear.