Posts Tagged ‘waiting’

image4Cole is in surgery right now as I type.  We just walked down the long hallway as a family (Cole got to ride down in his bed) and then we stopped at the bubble wall.  And then it happened… I had to let go.

Leaning in for one last hug, prayer and “Daddy loves you” is a moment any parent would want to hold on to forever.  Literally and physically.  But then the moment was over and I had to let go.  We had reached the limitations of how far we could go with Cole.  We stopped, let go and watched.  He continued on.  Rounding the next corner, he looked back with his sheepish smirk that I’ve grown to love.

Letting go isn’t easy, yet life is full of letting go moments.  So now as I sit here in his pre-op room… in the silence I’m left with my thoughts, emotions and my faith.  Writing is helpful for me in these moments.  One, because I don’t want to forget them.  But two, because it’s through the words of my heart that I gain a better perspective of the world around me.

Next to the letting go of a loved one at a funeral… watching a casket lowered into the earth, for a parent, the letting go of watching your child as they are wheeled back to an operating room is probably the next most difficult letting go moment in life.  Because its in the moments that follow that you realize just how powerless you really are.

But thankfully, as a believer, that’s where we realize that whatever or whomever we are letting go of is really an eye-opening reality to what we then can hold on to.  So as I sit here praying, I may have let go of my son’s hand, but I’m powerfully reminded that I’m holding on to the hand of God.  Or better said, He is holding on to me.  Isaiah 41:13 remind me, “For I hold you by your right hand–I, the LORD your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.”  Words of life.  Words my soul can rest in right now.  Even when I’m called to let go, God never lets go.

What security we have in our relationship with God.  Through His amazing grace and awesome power we are reminded in John 10:28, “…and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”  I am loved.  I am secure.

And that’s why I can let go… in all areas, but even with my son right now.  Because He has a loving Heavenly Father that is still holding on.  And despite my love for him, there isn’t anyone else I would want holding on to Him in this moment.

So right now I have let go.  But I’ve let go to a God who never lets go.  And I can cry out in prayer right now knowing that He hears and He answers according to His good will and pleasure.

And thank you, again, for praying with us right now.  We anticipate the surgery will last about and hour and then recovery another hour after that.  And then I’ll hold Cole’s hand again.  And then we’ll update you as we know more later.  In the mean time, I’m thankful that in the letting go… I am held.  And in the letting go… I learn and experience more of the strong, love of God for me… the One who never lets go.

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All throughout this journey, days have had major significance.  There have been monumental days – diagnosis day, surgery day, cast removal day as well as seemingly more mundane days.

But I’m always reminded of what Scripture teaches us in Psalm 90:12, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”  Days are important and they aren’t guaranteed, but they are a gift.  We are admonished to number our days – to remember, cherish, celebrate and use them to the fullest.

It’s hard for us to believe that a good part of this journey is in the rear view mirror.  Some days it seems like the surgery was only yesterday and other days it seems like forever ago.  Time and this journey marches on – punctuated by check ups every six months.

Last week was one of those check ups.  We travelled to Birmingham to see Dr. Killian and have Cole’s most recent x-rays reviewed and to check on the progress of the healing of his hip.  We were encouraged to hear that Cole’s healing is progressing nicely.  The hip is continuing to grow back and there is only a little bit of old bone left that the new will push out and grow in its place.  That hip joint is growing back larger than his other joint, but this wasn’t a big concern at the moment.

Dr. Killian checked Cole’s flexibility (which is limited by the plate) and also checked him walking and running. We were glad to know that he won’t require a lift on his shoe anymore (and Cole was especially glad to hear that)!

As far as the future goes, we are on track for Cole’s next surgery being this summer.  This will be a procedure to remove the plate and six screws from his hip/leg.  The x-rays showed no indication that it would need to be removed before that time which is good news.

So, we have another countdown.  There are more days to number.  Even though we don’t have the exact date yet, we know there is a day in the future where we will be another step closer to the healing of his hip.  So until then, we’ll number our days… making the most of them by being incredibly grateful to God who has guided us on this journey.

CAM00755One year ago today might possibly have been the longest day of my life (and my family’s life) to date.  Not just because it started before the sun came up, but because one year ago today we had to trust my son Cole’s future into the capable hands of a team of doctors and nurses under the watchful eye and guidance of God.

It would be a difficult task to encapsulate all the thoughts, feelings and emotions of June 19, 2014.  If you’d like to go back like I did today and read up, just click the “Family Life” category and scroll down to the bottom.

CAM00760But here we find ourselves a year later.  A year that started with a major surgery, a long week of recovery in the hospital, a near full body cast, a summer in Birmingham, a modified wheelchair, cast removal, a regular wheelchair, an immobilizer, a walker, physical therapy, conditioning, numerous follow-up appointments and x-rays, special shoes… and that’s just the medical side.

And here we were a year ago going into this surgery not knowing what Cole’s future would hold.  Would he have to re-learn how to walk?  Would he be able to run again?  Would a ‘normal’ childhood be possible?  Would he be able to play sports?  What kind of future and life would he have?  There is no way that we could say we didn’t think about these and many more questions, but I can honestly say that we truly had a supernatural peace and confidence that we were praying to a God who not only had the answers, but was orchestrating (and still is) Cole’s life and future.

1403384286266So here we sit a year later amazed to report that not only can Cole walk, but he runs – neither without a limp – but it doesn’t seem to slow him down much at all.  Cole played on his first soccer team and had a great time (and I had a blast coaching).  He also played on his first real baseball team – and played up a league on Jake’s coach-pitch team that I had the privilege to coach.  And now this summer he has joined a swim team, which has not only been fun, but was doctor recommended as a great tool in the movement and healing process of his hip.  He started his year of Kindergarten with a walker and finished walking (on his own) across the stage to get his Kindergarten diploma.  We would have never imagined this sitting in that hospital waiting room last year.

20150110_095834  20150330_180758  cole swim

To look back on this last year is a bit overwhelming.  It has been emotional just thinking back, reading old posts and writing this one.  It has been a whirlwind of a year and none of us could have expected the outcomes of this journey.  And we’re not done yet… we still have a ways to go in this healing process.  We’ve got another surgery (hopefully only one) in our future.  We have another 4 years of healing and growth to monitor with regular visits to Dr. Killian.

But we’re here.  We didn’t know where here would be one year ago.  But the same God that flung the stars into space and rules and reigns over this world cares about a little 6 year old boy with a rare childhood disease.  And He cares about you too.  You’re not just a number in a sea of 7 billion people.  He knows you by name.  And your journey may have an unexpected diagnosis or other curves in the road.  But you can rest assured that nothing that comes our way doesn’t pass through the guiding hand of a loving Heavenly Father.  We take great confidence that He holds Cole’s future… and all of ours for that matter.

I ended today with Cole the same way we started our day one year ago today… in prayer.  Our prayer was much different tonight than it was a year ago.  But it had a common thread… “God, you are good and trustworthy and Cole is in your hands.”  That was true a year ago and that is true today.  We praise God for His faithfulness to Cole and our family over this past year.  And we are grateful to each and every one of you for standing with us, praying for us and supporting us this past year!

Walking and Running

Posted: April 23, 2015 in Family Life
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IMG_0208Seems only fitting to move from a post all about patience and waiting to one about walking and running.  Needless to say there are seasons in this life.  Ecclesiastes reminds us that “there is a season for everything.”  And sometimes those seasons overlap and sometimes they fluctuate back and forth.  We have found that to be true even in this season of waiting with Perthes disease.

Cole is in the regrowth phase that will last anywhere from 3-5 years.  The blood has begun to reflow to his femoral head and the bone is regrowing.  In fact, it is growing larger than his other hip, but as of right now, we aren’t too worried about that.  At his check-up this week, we were looking for two important signs of regrowth on the X-ray – a round femoral head and it sitting nicely in the socket (not pushing outward).  Praise God, both of these were true.

We got news that the plate is looking good and while there continues to be inflammation, it isn’t from the plate and the plate isn’t limiting his mobility too much.  It’s doing it’s job and hopefully will continue to for the upcoming year before it is removed.  Yep, still more waiting.

IMG_0206But while we are waiting, we are also walking and running.  Dr. Killian had Cole walk and then run up and down the hallway.  The limp is still pronounced – even with his special shoes.  It is more evident on the walking than the running, but Dr. Killian was encouraged by the running.  So much so that the prescription was “more walking, running and playtime.”  I have a feeling that will be an easy order for Cole to follow.  We sometimes have trouble slowing him down.  But his body does let him know when he has pushed too hard (and those are tough nights).  We are also looking forward to a lot of water therapy this summer (aka: swimming)!

Cole finished up his first ever season of soccer and we turned around and went straight for baseball.  There are tough sporting moments for sure as his disease doesn’t lend itself well for speed, but we are just rejoicing that we are able to play sports.  This time last year, we didn’t know if that would even be a possibility.

So we wait.  As Christ-followers, we are called to “be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10) and to “be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him” (Psalm 37:7a).  But these seasons of waiting aren’t always seasons of stillness.  We do wait and we are still, but we are also called to walk and to run.  And sometimes that walking or running is with a limp.  Life is most certainly not easy.  But life really does become simply putting one foot in front of the other.  The seasons of waiting are still punctuated by movement – always by the movement of God, but also the movement He invites us in to.

IMG_0207He calls us to take those steps even when we cannot see.  Sometimes we don’t see what that next step will look like or if our footing will be sure.  We know that “we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians  5:7) but we also know that “His word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).  We don’t have to stumble putting one foot in front of the other for God has given His Word to light our path.  We have found great comfort in the promises from His Word on this journey we are on.

So be encouraged today on the journey you are on.  You may find yourself like we do in a time of waiting, but know a time of walking or running may be right around the corner for you.  Don’t fear taking that step of faith.  There is a God who delights in guiding His children.  He’ll never leave or forsake us and He most certainly won’t let us fall.

image3Waiting is a hard game to play.  I can’t think of a time where waiting ever seemed like a worthwhile or pleasant experience.  Even waiting in line for the best roller coaster at the theme park is still waiting… and it’s not that enjoyable.  Then you enter in times of waiting where you are hoping and waiting for an unknown outcome… the result could be good, but it could also be bad.

I think waiting also tends to numb us to reality.  The old “out of sight out of mind” adage comes to mind (no pun intended, that would be too much use of my mind).  All that to say, that the waiting can lull us to sleep at bit.  And left unchecked can lead to bitterness, disappointment, lack of purpose, prayer or even hope.

Did I mention waiting is hard?

And to top it all off we live in a culture that doesn’t exactly lend oneself to cultivating a discipline of patience and waiting.  Whether it is food, my commute, a webpage loading, a return phone call or email – fast is the operative word.

But where does “fast” fit in the spiritual journey God calls us on?  Are we given permission to skip over the periods of “waiting”?  Scripture is replete with images of serene, peaceful and even patient times that find deep resonance in our souls… if we are able to get below the surface and connect with them.  I believe the promise of Lamentations 3:25 that, “The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks Him.”  I find resonance with the Psalmist who writes, “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I hope” (103:5).

 But how do these become practice and not mere platitudes?  How do we truly wait with hope?
Practice.  I’m sure there could be a more spiritual answer, but what I’ve found to be true is that it simply takes practice.
And nothing has given my family and I more of an opportunity to practice than on this journey with Cole.  We are in the “waiting phase” of this Perthes disease.  As if waiting through a disease isn’t hard enough, it has it’s own built in waiting phase.  And it’s a waiting without knowing.  We don’t know how the next 3-5 years of waiting will shape out.  And we most certainly can’t see the future or know the long term outcome… so we do what we really don’t do best, but are learning to do better… we wait.
For Cole, he’s having a blast during the waiting.  With some special shoes to level out his walk and run, he’s full speed ahead (with a slight limp) all the time.  We’ve gone from soccer season to baseball season and at times step back to reflect on what a miracle that is.  But then we stop for x-rays and we are reminded that… we are still waiting.  We’re waiting, but we’re waiting with hope.
We will travel to Alabama tomorrow to see how these last few months of waiting have been.  The x-rays will be read and we’ll move into the next few months… of waiting.  But we are so grateful that we wait with hope and we don’t wait alone.  And we are praying and claiming the promises of Isaiah 40:31…
“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
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We Have a Date!

Posted: July 19, 2014 in Family Life
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cole xrayTalk about anticipation.  On Thursday, Cole went to have his one month post-operation x-ray.  This would be the x-ray that gave us either the news that the cast was ready to come off or we would have to wait longer… up to two more weeks.  Thursday couldn’t come fast enough, but really the waiting to hear from the doctor couldn’t come fast enough.  

We had the x-ray overnighted to Dr. Killian in Birmingham.  We needed it to be read on Friday so we could make plans for next week.  After multiple calls on Friday, we reached the end of the working day and had heard nothing.  We even called the after hours answering service and still nothing.  We had pretty much resigned ourselves that we wouldn’t hear anything until Monday.

The phone rang this morning (Saturday) and it was Dr. Killian. He personally answered all of our questions and explained the next steps.  And then he gave us our date… THIS TUESDAY THE CAST COMES OFF!  It was the news we wanted to hear and what we, in faith, we’re praying for.  In fact, we had already made a Tuesday appointment in anticipation of this news!

image copyCole was excited.  We quickly put the date on our countdown calendar.  We will travel up to Birmingham to have the cast removed, get the leg immobilizer fitted and do some physical therapy while we are up there.  We know we still have a long journey ahead of us, but this is an awesome and very anticipated next step.  

Again, we can’t thank you enough for all the love, prayers and support.  Our journey continues… we’re back on the road again.  But we do so with an awesome Guide whose timing is always perfect and whose plan prevails!

Calendar Countdown

Posted: June 21, 2014 in Family Life
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Our boys live for the next holiday.  Usually, we finish one and the next question that follows is, “Now that we’ve had _____ what is coming next?”  There is something magical about expectation.  The anticipation and the longing often makes the celebration that much more exciting.  And while our reactions temper as we age, I’m quite certain we still possess the same feelings towards the big day – no matter what kind of big day it is.

In many ways, this is woven into the fabric of our faith.  From the very early promise to our first parents (Adam and Eve) there was a calendar countdown in play.  There was a promise of the One who would come to right all the wrongs that had just taken place.  It’s the first Gospel threaded into the Creation narrative.  Then throughout the Old Testament, God’s chosen people had calendars marked by a multiplicity of celebrations – rejoicing over what God had done, but each containing foreshadowing of the promised Messiah.  Prophet after prophet delivered continually promises and prophecies of what was and Who was to come.  But can you imagine waiting your entire lifetime?  In fact, God’s people would have to mark out thousands of years full of calendar days until the big day.

imageThis morning, Cole and I made a countdown calendar.  We crossed through two of our days we have been here in the hospital.  We filled in the day the stitches will come out (earlier than expected).  We added the day we think we will go home (tomorrow).  We haven’t been able to add the “cast removal celebration” to the calendar since we don’t know that day yet.  Cole remarked that it looks like a lot of days to go.  And it is.  But at least, like God’s people, we know there is a big day coming.  Even though we don’t know the exact date yet, we know that with the dawning of each new day means the marking through of a day completed.

Today marks a big day in his journey.  The epidural (supplying pain relief to his lower back and hip) has been removed.  All drugs have moved from IV to oral.  The pain will definitely increase and we’ll do our best to stay on top of it.  His wheelchair arrived and we have to figure out how to position him into it but it brings the hope of a journey outside of our room for the first time.

Tomorrow the calendar reads “go home”.  At least to our temporary home here in Birmingham.  It’s a day he is looking forward to and we are somewhat apprehensive about.  While it will feel good to not be so sterile, we are leaving a great place with a great support team.

Each day in the calendar countdown doesn’t promise to be easy, but each day will come… and each day will go.  And so we wait with hope.  We wait with hope for the day that is coming that will at least mark the completion of one of the more difficult parts of this journey.  A journey we have most certainly not walked alone and for that we are grateful.  We will keep walking (while Cole lays or at times rolls) but as we move forward, we move forward counting down and looking forward to the next big “X” and the promise of what is to come.