I want to start this blog off by sharing some updates on my sweet Malachi.
After Malachi’s recent procedure we have had to start some new daily rituals, many of which are not pleasant. He has a cough assist machine that we are supposed to use each morning after a breathing treatment with a nebulizer, and it truly looks like a torture device. It has a mask that fits over the area right under his eyes all the way to his chin and you have to press it on hard enough to suction to his face.
Then when the machine starts it waits for him to breathe in and shoots air down into his lungs. On the exhale it pulsate suctions to bring things up from the lungs and out. Malachi absolutely hates this machine, and therefore I hate the machine. But we do notice a difference with his breathing when we use it and we have been educated about the long term benefits to daily use.
And this leads us to one of the hardest parts of parenting medically complex children. We are often expected and required to do painful things to our children to help keep them alive. We have to hold them down for catheterizations and blood draws. We have to distract during IV placements and shots. When Malachi was a baby I had to give him shots twice a day for several months. We drive them to the surgery days, we change them into the hospital gowns, and we smile and try to reassure them that everything is okay. But inside my heart is crinkling with pain and a strong desire to take their hurt away.
Each morning when I do these new breathing regiments Malachi signs no with his mouth. And each morning we work together to try and build our relationship through the hard things. I wait for him to sign to me that he is ready before I put the mask on his face and we celebrate together each day when he finishes the treatment. I am so proud of his bravery and his understanding.
But I have to admit that this is creating some angst in me. I have to look away in guilt from his panicky eyes as the machine does what it is designed to do. When I look at my hands holding the mask to his face and inflicting such a scary thing on him I am showered in this strange guilt. My mind argues with itself, the emotional side of me yelling STOP and the logistical side encouraging me to keep going.
But Malachi never holds it against me and we both relish the sweet cuddles and celebratory dance after.
This boy has such a hard life, but he continues to smile and shine the joy of the Lord.
Malachi doesn’t handle weather changes very well, and particularly when seasonal allergies hit. It is making him vomit in the mornings when we don’t use the cough assist machine and keeping his seizure meds down was a challenge this week.
Levi also seems to be struggling with allergies and his breathing has gotten much louder at night. I called his surgeons in Cincinnati to schedule his surgery with them in June and mentioned we may need to talk about removing his tonsils and adenoids like we discussed last time. This would involve an inpatient admission which I would love to avoid, but I am worried his airway isn’t large enough to continue doing nothing. He is waking himself up several times at night due to his noisy breathing.
Levi’s glasses came in this week and I have to say that he looks awfully cute in them. Today at lunch he said ”I have glasses like my daddy!”
Jake and I have been planning a pretty elaborate overnight retreat over the last several months for our youth group and Friday was the day! As we continued to plan I felt such a peace from God over the details and such a clear direction for the lessons we were hoping they would learn.
We ran an underground church simulation at a local church camp facility for them to help them understand what a privilege it is to worship God freely. They had to hold several secret Bible studies and find the missionaries assigned to their group. They had to try to defend their faith to someone who didn’t believe in God. A portion of it tested their ability to “convert” a secret policeman (a church member playing the role) by walking them through the gospel. And as the final task they had to be led through the woods to the secret church, a chapel in the woods where we held a worship service and had a guest speaker share.
Watching kids fall in love with Jesus is one of my favorite things to witness. It makes me reflect on my own walk with God and flashback to some of the pivotal God moments I experienced at their age. This particular group of teens is very clearly being sanctified and set apart to do some mighty things in their lives. They love God without hesitation and many of them are cultivating a faith that I am praying the devil won’t be able to shake.
2 Timothy 2:20-21 ”Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.”
There are many times when I do not feel qualified to share my faith with others. I feel like an ordinary vessel of wood or earthenware instead of a gold or silver one. But even the ordinary vessels can strive for sanctification (separation from sin and being set apart to serve God) and do the work of God.
Don’t let the devil allow you to believe that you are not qualified enough to talk to others about Jesus.
1 Corinthians 3:5-7 ”What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.”
We are all called to plant seeds of faith everywhere we go, and we are called to water seeds that others have planted. But the glory of the growth rests on God. And when I remember that it makes the faith journey- the pursuit of God- in someone else such a beautiful thing to witness.
Have a blessed week!