Monday, April 14, 2008

My Arms Are Too Short To Box With God

Titus had eye surgery in Houston this morning. After sedating him, they tested the pressure on his eyes, and the levels were high. The doctor immediately went into surgery from that point. Last month, when they did surgery for the glaucoma, they put a channel on the top of his eye. With today's surgery, he installed the channel on the bottom of his eyes and installed a silicon plate at the base which will allow for future testing/relieving pressure.

Dr. Feldman noticed significant nerve damage in his left eye and does not give much hope that Titus will have much vision out of the eye. There is damage in his right eye also, but not as much. As for now, it's really too early to know the extent or depth of damage to his eyes, but we have been somewhat preparing ourselves for this message. We can tell that Titus responds to light, but he does not track objects with his eyes and his pupils don't seem to dilate.

I'll be honest - it's a bit devasting to know your child can't hear, and now to learn there's a very strong possibility that he can't see. But I know that none of this takes God by surprise. As Becky was speaking at her Mom's Group this past week, she shared how God specifically chose her to be Titus' mom knowing all the special needs that he would have. And raising a child with special needs takes time, it takes effort, and frankly it's tiring. But it's the path God has chosen for us and for Titus. And, as my title states, my arms are too short to box with God.

It's all about acceptance and submission. I've been teaching the book of Acts on Sunday morning - and a few weeks ago, as our class was discussing the conversion of Saul, I brought up the point that the Bible always tells us to accept Jesus as Lord. It does not state to accept Him as saviour. See the difference is, if Jesus is the Lord of my life, then He is my master, He is in control, He knows and shapes my life, and I must be submissive to him. Accepting Jesus as Lord puts me under his submission and control. But in our world today, we just want to accept Him as Saviour. But what does that mean - that we are saved from Hell. Jesus certainly does that, but if Jesus is just my Saviour (providing my life insurance) but never my Lord, then I'm going about my way, living my life for myself relying on His Saving Grace, but never submitting to His Lordship. Jesus has to be My Lord AND My Saviour. But, in Paul's numerous letters, he never states to confess Jesus as Saviour, but Jesus as Lord. It's why Paul wrote in Phillippians "every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father..." (Phil 2:10-11).

So, I claim Matthew 11:28-29 today "Come unto me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls..." I am tired, I am weary, but I submit to the yoke and am learning to find rest in Jesus, my Lord.

Please pray specifically for these matters:
  • Healing and recovery for Titus - the doctor expects to release him to go home tomorrow (Tuesday, April 15)
  • Rest for Becky and her mom who are at the hospital with Titus & safety while driving home from Houston
  • Titus is still on oxygen - the pulmonologist is concerned that he's not been showing much improvement. He sent us to the cardiologist last week who did rule out any heart issues. And, I might add, how awesome is God who works out the fine details allowing us to get into a pediatriac cardiologist with less than a days notice - that just does NOT happen with these types of specialists! Please pray for continued strengthening and healing in Titus lungs so that we can wean him off of oxygen.
  • Titus vision - we may not know the extent of the damage for months, but we are praying that Titus will have vision in his right eye.
  • Ministry opportunities - as a family, our lives are being opened up to a whole new team of therapists and specialists. We have ECI in our home several times a week assisting with therapy, along with numerous weekly doctor's appointments. Each person we come in contact with is an opportunity to minister to them and show them God's love - even as a family. Most are amazed when they walk in, see 2 boys working on home school, see 2 3-yr olds doing blanket time, and the only thing Becky is having to restrain is the dog (who can be a little overprotective at times). With all that is going on, we still have a peaceful household (ok - it can get a little loud with 5 boys - but it is a joyful noise!)
  • Medicaid - we have Medicaid coverage from Dec 1, 2007 through Feb. 29, 2008. But this doesn't cover the first 2 weeks Titus was born and in the hospital. We have applied for retroactive coverage - this is mainly for assistance on one bill, but the bill is $1500 and we would love to have some Medicaid coverage on it. At the same time, we are in the midst of filling out other applications for continued coverage. Dealing with all the forms and phone calls can be a full-time job (I spent 45 minutes today being sent to 4 different phone numbers and people before I finallly found someone who could answer my question). There are times I think it would be easier to hang up and just pay the bills, but then I get the bills and decide that I can sit on hold for another 45 minutes.
  • Tranforming Your World - our church has an awesome ministry opportunity on Sunday, April 27. The church is leaving the building and getting out in the community (ain't that an awesome idea!). Our class is going to take food to the NICU and PICU at Medical City Dallas and pray with families in the waiting room. The director of the class I teach (Scott & Jill Dillashaw) have spent as much time at Medical City with their children as we have with Titus - and we thought it would be an awesome opportunity to give back to other families who are going through what we have been through. Please pray that God will use that morning to minister to families who are going through some hard times with their children. While we are spending time with the parents, our kids are going to be making cards for the kids in the hospital.

One last thought - so many of you come up (or write or call) and let us know that your children continue to pray for Titus everyday. Please tell your children how thankful we are for them and that God hears their prayers and He is answering them in a mighty way. I know some kids may think when they hear about today's report that God may not be hearing their prayers - but assure them that He is. We serve a Mighty God who is in Control!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

A Father's Love

Titus had surgery this yesterday morning and he is being released this morning to come home. Praise the Lord! They had told us it would only be one night in the hospital, but generally with Titus, an overnight procedure turns into a week-long stay. We are thrilled beyond words that he can come home today. He is doing fantastic and had a good night last night.

The doctors performed several procedures on him yesterday. Dr. Peters, the ENT, cleaned out his ears, drained all the fluid, put in tubes, and then the did the ABR to test his hearing. The results from the ABR were consistent with the test results back in December - he has profound hearing loss in both ears.

Dr. Genecov, the cranio-facial surgeon, then removed the jaw distraction devices (and of course, we asked to keep them!). He was pleased with his jaw and bone growth. There was a little bit of infection that had set in on one side of his jaw, so he cleaned that up. But Dr. Genecov mentioned that his lungs were still a bit stiff - and stated the RSV really did a number on his lungs - so we will be keeping him on oxygen when we come home.

It was a bit surreal to walk back into the PICU after spending 33 days here in Jan/Feb. But, it was also comforting to know most of the nurses, respiratory therapists, physician assistants, and doctors. They have all been stopping by to check on Titus - and all comment on how much he's grown and how good he looks. We are so thankful for the caring medical staff here at Medical City and their passion/concern for Titus.

When Becky and I were married, Becky states she learned about a love of choice - and everyday she made the choice to love me. I'm thankful that she does - and that God has done the same. God's mercies are new every morning, and He continues to love me each day.

When Aidan, our oldest, we born 11 years ago, I learned Father's love - a love that was so overpowering for such a tiny, helpless infant. And as he has grown, I've learned how that father's love means that I discipline and train my son so that he will grow into the man that he is suppose to be. And, the same goes with God, He disciplines the son that He loves.

When we adopted Tucker and Cade, I learned the love of an adoptive father - to love a child not of my blood, but of my heart; to love a child that didn't immediately love me back; to love a child that was chosen to be part of my family. And, as I stood in front of the judge the day we finalized their adoption, and the judge asked me "will you love this child forever - because what you are doing is irrevocable", I realized that yes, I will love this child forever - and the same goes with God's love. His love for me is irrevocable and He promises to love me forever.

And now, with Titus, a child born with so many defects, I've learned a love that overlooks the faults and loves the child. When we were in the NICU back in January, one of the nurses described the babies as "broken babies". I didn't care for the term much at first, but since have come to embrace it. Because I've learned that we are all broken. We all have faults, we all have issues, we all have handicaps that need constant care, attention, and sometimes intensive surgery and therapy. My love for Titus over looks the defects, the brokenness, the handicaps. I see my son, my little treasure in a jar of clay - so fragile, and yet so beautiful. And, I realize that God sees me the same way - His love for me overlooks my faults and He provides healing in only the way that He can.

As it says in 2 Cor. 4 "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. . . Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

Please pray for these things this week.
  • Continued recovery from surgery, especially his breathing so that we can wean him off of oxygen
  • Continued strength and growth before his next surgery on April 14
  • Peace and Calm for Aidan, Noah, Tucker, and Cade as they stay with friends and family while Titus is recouping
  • Rest for Paul & Becky