Well, things just took a weird turn in the USA. We have a lot of international readers so in case you aren’t informed, the United States is seeing a rise of the highly contagious Coronavirus and is taking preventative measures as a country to to keep it from spreading.
In our specific area in Tennessee there has been 1 case an hour south of us and 1 case an hour north of us that has been reported. Our school system has now closed for 2 weeks but likely will be closed much longer. Churches have closed, sports have been canceled, and everyone is trying to figure out how to prepare for the next wave of this.
While the coronavirus isn’t leading to the death of children (yet), we have still made the decision to put the boys into lockdown mode. We had to do this through the winters early on with Malachi so it isn’t a foreign concept to our crew. My reasoning is that if the boys get sick with any other illness they could potentially need a hospital bed, an ER room, or a ventilator…things that other adults could truly need during this pandemic. So we are doing our part to stay out of the hospital by keeping ourselves locked in the house. We have canceled all appointments for the boys (13 appointments in 6 days).
Thankfully we still have our oxygen concentrator for emergencies and plenty of tanks in case either child needs it. We also have lots of other medical devices that can keep us away from the hospital longer, and their g-tubes provide a way of hydration. I have stocked up as much as possible on their medical supplies, medications, diapers, and formulas so we should be set for at least a month for the boys.
I also loaded up our freezer and pantry with food for Jake and I, picking up extras for the many families in our community that I know can’t afford more than a week’s worth of food at a time. I get calls all the time working in the church office from families, particularly grandparents raising small children, that just don’t ever have enough food. God has laid it on my heart to help these families out and Jake and I have provided food for them on several occasions this year.
As I felt my heart starting to need the security of food on hand I couldn’t help but picture these small children we have encountered in these dilapidated trailers in our small town. I was very blessed that my trips to the store were at times when things were being restocked so we were able to get all the essentials and some lockdown luxury items too like double stuffed oreos. We used the money we usually spend on food for our 40 teenagers on Sunday evenings and got enough to leave a bag of food on several doorsteps in town.
There is so much unknown in the nation right now and it is natural for everyone to get that anxious feeling in the pit of their belly. But there is a tiny part of my heart that is sincerely looking forward to this break for our family. We needed a reset, and this is the perfect opportunity for that. We have created a schedule for Jake and I so that we are each able to accomplish the things we have neglected over the last few weeks like devotion time, sleep, home organizing, and focused therapy exercises with the boys.
This break is especially welcomed after this past week! We had all sorts of chaos added in with a nail in the van tire and a giant water leak in the yard.
And then there is the toddler tornado that is Levi! A short story for you on this wild man…
On Tuesday I got the boys loaded up and headed to their therapy appointments. As I carried Levi into the office I felt something weird on his butt so when I passed him over to the therapist I investigated. I reached down into his pants and couldn’t find anything, but when I reached into his onesie I felt something cold and metal. I started t pull the object out and it just kept coming. He had somehow stuffed a full size dinner fork from our silverware drawer into the butt portion of his onesie for safe keeping. I was a mixture of emotions: embarrassed, impressed, and hysterically laughing.
The boys both ended up with me at the office this week; I just didn’t feel comfortable sending Malachi to school with all the statistics of this unknown illness floating around. He loves getting to watch movies while I work. And Levi loves getting into mischief while I work.
Malachi got to ride his therapy horse like Superman, one of his favorite things to do.
And of course we ended up at more soccer games throughout the week.
Levi is officially a stuffed animal kid, but he is oddly picky about which ones he attaches to. Right now he is smitten with his monkey, his elephant, and his puppy dog.
Levi’s overnight oxygen study results came back and he stayed at 96-97 most of the night. Not a single dip into dangerous levels so we are cleared to stay off overnight oxygen for the time being. I know it isn’t something he can control but I am so proud of him!
I hate to trivialize anyone else’s fears right now, but God has mentally and emotionally prepared Jake and I time and time again for things going quickly from calm to chaos. It would be easy for you to read that sentence and feel like I am bragging about our ability to deal with the hard stuff of life, but that is definitely not the case. Just give me some time to explain…
Our boot camp training in going with the flow has been paying off this week as we have had a sense of calm where others have panic…because we have had to learn to trust God in ALL things, not just the easy ones.
There have been so many times that trusting God was a very hard thing to do. Unbelievably hard.
This video is from exactly two years ago. Levi had just had his 14th (ish) surgery on his airway. They had taken a piece of his rib and propped open his airway with it to try to avoid the tracheostomy. They still didn’t know if the piece of rib would hold, and they definitely didn’t know if the surgery would be successful.
The unknowns in life will emotionally wreck you until you learn to give them over to God.
I read someone else’s post on Facebook this week and it was so beautifully written but I can’t seem to find the post again. So in an effort to summarize, the author was talking about how the children of Israel in the wilderness were provided food by God each day, manna in the morning and quail at night. They were warned not to take more than they could eat and when some of them tried the food rotted.
Reading her post led me to thinking about the story in 1 Kings 17 about Elijah, a prophet of God. He had just predicted a drought in the land for many years and God said to him:
3 “Go to the east and hide by Kerith Brook, near where it enters the Jordan River. 4 Drink from the brook and eat what the ravens bring you, for I have commanded them to bring you food.”
5 So Elijah did as the Lord told him and camped beside Kerith Brook, east of the Jordan. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat each morning and evening, and he drank from the brook.
Time and time again in the Bible we see examples of God providing supernaturally for his children. He literally dropped food from the sky for the Israelites and sent food via ravens for Elijah. But God never dropped an abundance, He instead dropped only enough to sustain them through that day.
He wanted their trust. He wanted them to look to Him each morning and each night, expectantly watching for His provisions.
How often do we look up in those moments of need? How often do we hold our hands out, expecting food to be dropped in them?
God loves our expectations because it is a fruit of our faith and trust in Him.
So as we enter a new unknown as a country I pray that your heart has the peace of God. And look for opportunities when God drops enough in your arms for you to help out someone else- maybe someone else whose arms have forgotten how to raise in expectation. Maybe, just maybe, God is using each of us to re-ignite the forgotten faith of others in a time when it is needed the most.
19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20 Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Join me in prayer this week that God opens doors for us to be the hands and feet of Jesus, giving us the power to multiply 5 loaves and 2 fish to feed his hungry children. And pray that the culture of fear and anxiousness morphs into one of confident reliance on our mighty God.
And don’t you worry about us Carrolls. We are tucked safely in at home, and more importantly tucked safely into the palm of God’s hand. There is no safer place to be!