Monday, April 1, 2013

Thatcher Caleb Foundation

Hey Everyone!

So, we know it's been a long time since we posted anything, and for that we are sorry, however, God has been busy making Himself known in little and big ways alike.  As many of you remember, when Thatcher passed away we wanted to set up a memorial, a foundation, a vehicle in which Thatcher (at least his name) would still be able to bring glory to God.  A ton of you actually donated and prayed for this foundation that big things would happen and that God would be brought glory.  Well, we've got some really great news.  We had our first official board of directors meeting this evening!!  We are officially incorporated in the state of Texas and we got together this evening to put the final touches on our 501c3 application, we will be sending that one off in the coming days/weeks.  With that said, God has put together such an incredible team of God fearing, prayerful servants, and we are so excited to serve with them and to see what God has in store for us and for His glory.  Here is the first official picture of the Thatcher Caleb Foundation.


From left to right: Jessica Allen, Casey Hedges, Whitney Paul, Eric Paul, Erica Stidham along with her family.

We will be setting up a separate blog/website for the Thatcher Caleb Foundation soon, so we will have this linked to it, however we will be using that blog/website to provide updates and everything about the Foundation.  Thank you all for your prayers, we look forward to the big things God has planned.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Yikes! It's been a while...

Yikes! It has been a while since I last posted.  I have a bunch of random journal entries from the past couple of months, perhaps I'll mash all of those together into one big "word vomit" post here to catch everybody up. 

I don't really have much to share at the moment, BUT I wanted to stop by real quick and share something.

I heard this song on the radio a couple of weeks ago and it blessed my socks off.  I have kind of been obsessed with it, and thought perhaps it might bless someone else out there in blogger land.  Soo, here you go

 
 Meredith Andrews - Not For A Moment
Verse 1
You were reaching through the storm
walking on the water
even when I could not see
in the middle of it all
when I thought You were a thousand miles away
not for a moment did You forsake me
not for a moment did You forsake me
CHORUS

after all You are constant
after all You are only good
after all You are sovereign
not for a moment will You forsake me
not for a moment will You forsake me
Verse 2

You were singing in the dark
whispering Your promise
even when I could not hear
I was held in Your arms
carried for a thousand miles to show
Not for a moment did You forsake me
CHORUS

and every step every breath you are there

every tear every cry every prayer
in my hurt at my worst
when my world falls down
not for a moment will You forsake me
even in the dark
even when it's hard
you will never leave me
after all
CHORUS

not for a moment will You forsake me

What a wonderful proclamation, right?  This is absolutely where I am right now.   I wouldn't consider losing a child "a storm" because you never, really stop grieving your child.  I do feel (at least for this week) my head is being lifted out of the fog and I realize that not for a moment has God left our side.  Not while we got the devastating news that our baby's life would not be what we dreamed of, not while we were in the hospital, or the wonderful week we were at home, or after our Heavenly Father took Thatcher home and we were left here to make sense of the pieces of our lives.  No, God has been by our side this whole time, holding, loving and tenderly guiding us along this journey!  'Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.'  Psalm 31:3  
Praise be to our Almighty God whose sovereignty and love is beyond our comprehension!!!

'You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right had are pleasures forevermore.'  Psalm 16:11 NKJV
 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Etched On My Heart



There are pivotal moments in your life that change you in an instant, and in that moment you are forever changed.  For me, those moments are:
  • the moment I committed my life to my Lord and Savior 
  • the moment I said "I do"
  • the moment I became a mom 
  • my baby's last breath 
If I were to meet you on the street for the first time, my second "moment" would be obvious by the ring on my finger and most likely the man who's arm I am hanging on.  I pray my first "moment" would be evident to you by the end of our conversation.  But, you see, my last two moments would go unnoticed.  You would leave our conversation not knowing a HUGE part of who I am.
My struggle with how to handle being changed (socially and emotionally) by Thatcher can be read in a much more eloquent post entitled "What's a Mommy To Do?"  If I figure out how to link that post to this one, I will insert it here What's a mommy to do.  If I don't figure it out, you can go find it yourself... sorry, I do not possess the gift of tech savviness.
Thatcher has changed me for forever and I have struggled since day 1 without him with how to show that he has altered my life.  The morning after Thatcher took his last breath, after I posted "What's a Mommy To Do?"  I looked up at my husband and family who were scattered all over the floor in our bedroom (side note: they weren't supposed to be there.  Eric and I set up our bedroom to be our "safe place" for us to retreat to when we felt overwhelmed and wanted to get away from people but my family would just follow me. It would start with someone popping his/her head in to check on me then they would trickle in one by one ... they never seem to follow the rules!  Don't tell them, but I don't mind, I have some really precious memories from those days with them littered on our bedroom floor.)  I looked up and said "I am getting a tattoo. I am absolutely getting a tattoo"  It may seem silly to you, but I needed a permanent, physical change to mirror the change in my heart.  And what is more is more permanent than a tattoo?  Eric smiled through tears and agreed that he had been thinking the same thing ...  and one by one my family members agreed that they needed a tattoo as well :) Although, my dad's said tattoo got smaller as the days passed from "THATCHER CALEB" to "LION" to "GRR" then he settled on getting a dot of courage.
Two weeks passed and Eric and I were out at dinner for my birthday when we landed on the discussion how God used Thatcher to change our lives.  We asked you all how he changed yours but Eric and I had yet to put into words how exactly Thatcher changed us.  I thought for a minute then began to explain that from the day I saw THE 2 pink lines God began to urge me to trust Him.  With a miscarriage the month before, God emphasized my faith did not belong in HCG or progesterone numbers, or even ultrasounds but in Him.  God and God alone was going to take care of this baby growing inside of me.  My need to trust in Him alone was magnified when we found out that Thatcher had major brain issues and even more when we were in the hospital.   God also used Thatcher to teach me how to have courage through Him.  Taking a stand against doctors and nurses, having to find my own voice and know what/who to listen to was hard, especially so when you are a people pleaser like myself.  Looking back there were confrontations I had to have, challenges we had to face, endless nights in the Ronald McDonald House, unspeakable things I would not have been able to face had they not been for my son.  God used Thatcher to take my heart captive and show me how to Trust and take Courage in Him.  As I said these things aloud to Eric, I realized these attributes God used Thatcher to teach me were also my sweet baby boy's Initials: Thatcher Caleb, Trust Courage, T C.  I knew without a doubt that was what I wanted as my tattoo.  A physical, and permanent reminder of how God forever changed my life and who He used.  So, last Monday, my sister, brother, Eric and myself put our words into action and got our tattoos!

 Here's my tattoo... 
just replace the unmade bed with a beautiful professional background


All 4 tattoos! 
Top left: Eric's, it says "trust and take courage" in Hebrew. 
Top Right: mine
Bottom left: Robin's 
Bottom Right: Nate's, it's a face of a lion with the words "Thatcher, Caleb, Trust, Courage" hidden in it








The sweet people who came out to be apart/support us! (minus Eric who was getting his tattoo during the picture, and Robin who was taking it)


 Here's a better picture of Eric's


So, if we happen to run into each other at the gas station or grocery store and you see a little ink peaking out above my shoe, just pretend you didn't read this blog post and feel free to ask me about it.  Because I would LOVE to share with you about the amazing little baby that changed my life! 


~ Whit








Friday, November 16, 2012

Thankfully, We Trudge Along ... trudge along, trudge along

It's kind of funny that our blog title isn't "Eric, Whitney plus one on the way"  or "Life with Thatcher" or something like that.  I mean, there are plenty of blogs out there that are specifically titled about growing families even those with disabled children, which is exactly what I thought ours would become.  For some reason, when we decided it'd be easier to share our family information with all of you via blogform I pictured us hiking, on a journey, knowing from that moment on our lives as "The Paul's" would never be the same.  Of course, I didn't think at the time we'd be continuing our journey without Thatcher, just that our lives would be different than the little family fantasies we once dreamt about.  One of the many random things I thought of after Thatcher left us was "well, at least we don't have to continue the blog."  A thought that brought both sadness and relief.  Relief because neither Eric nor I attribute ourselves to be writers and it takes HOURS to pick through a single post before we feel it makes sense enough to actually share it with you (not kidding, we have numerous posts that are just sitting around on phones, computers, even saved in blogger but we never posted because after reading them, we were like "wait, what?!?! that doesn't even make sense").  Sadness because a) it means we no longer have Thatcher updates to share with you b)I've enjoyed the sense of community I've gotten from knowing people are walking alongside of us.  As soon as I had that thought, a little voice responded "Why should you be finished sharing?  Your blog is titled "The Paul Family Journey".  Is your journey over?"  Since, we find ourselves still trucking along, I guess our journey isn't over therefore we will continue to share via the blog from time to time (I say time to time, because before Thatcher came along we actually had another blog and we posted a total of 8 times over 2 years. So, I'm not going to say something like "we'll post every week" because that's just a lie). 

Anyways, one of my wonderful pastors, Kyle Dunn, ( he was my college pastor, but I continue to listen to his sermons via podcasts and videos... I'm apparently liking 'via' today... so he's still "my" pastor, plus Thatcher liked listening to his sermons in the hospital, so he'll always be special to me now!)  asked Eric and I to write a little something to be included in a sermon he was sharing regarding death.  If you want to see/hear his actual sermon, you can find it here:
http://www.highlandbc.org/college/sermons/2012/Roots  (it's part 5)  He asked us to write something so it forced me to sit down and sort through my thoughts and emotions.  As much as I didn't want to, I'm glad he asked because it brought some clarity of mind.  Since, it's November and everyone is on this "thankful thought a day" kick, I thought I might share with you all some of what was shared with him.
Sooo, here you go


What I’ve learned so far along this unexpected road our family is on is how important it is to be thankful in all situations.  During Thatcher’s life and especially afterwards what I have struggled most with is a sense of betrayal.  It was such an unexpected emotion but came (still does come, and I imagine it will for a very long time) in huge waves.   As awful as it is to have to admit, I felt betrayed by God, partially because I felt I did what was asked of me.  I felt the Lord urging us to pray and cover our little baby growing in my tummy so that’s what we did, around the clock.  When we found out Thatcher had significant brain damage, and they didn’t expect him to make it through delivery, we didn’t cower in fear, we prayed.  After he was born, and the doctors said he couldn’t hear, understand, or breathe without help, we didn’t crumble, we prayed and many of you joined us.  After God pulled us out of the mire so many times with Thatcher, why would He just take him one summer Friday night?  We did what we felt God urging us to do, so then why take our child?  I felt betrayed every time I looked at friends’ pictures on facebook, of their little families, knowing God has promised me a family yet both of my babies are not on this earth.  I felt betrayed thinking we had been through enough after losing our first baby to a miscarriage and with Thatcher, so sick with seizures, wasn’t it our turn to experience healing?  What is easy to see when the explanations are written, but what was so hard to make myself believe is that my feelings of “betrayal” hold no ground.  I have forced myself to declare this over and over but only recently do I feel like I truly believe it.  An acquaintance from Baylor lost her brother-in-law suddenly, who left behind 2 kids, and my 2nd cousin and his wife awoke to find their 4 month old baby had passed away to SIDS a few weeks ago.  Tragedy happens everywhere, all the time, why did I feel it shouldn’t happen to me?  God never promised I wouldn’t go through the fire, but lucky for us He did promise He wouldn’t leave us no matter what we are going through.  God is not human, therefore does not think as we do, which I am so thankful for!  He does not have silly and fickle emotions that I struggle with every day.  My Lord is constant, He is good, He is sovereign; these are the promises I have had to declare on a daily basis.  There are some days where I don’t want to believe them, but I know those are just my emotions getting in the way. I know these things to be true, I believe them not just in my heart, but with my life!  I know His word is true.  I am the one who sways and tumbles, not Him, and therefore I have to believe what He tells me, not what I’m telling myself.  His word tells me to be thankful at ALL times, and I have found thankfulness is the best weapon I have against the feeling of betrayal.  When I feel myself begin to slip into self-pity and feel betrayed for this road we are on, I pull myself out of my thoughts and begin to list what I am thankful for (sometimes out loud, or written, or just in my head).  At first it was only: “the time we got to love on Thatcher” and I had to repeat it over and over.  Slowly I have been able to add things to the list, even things I wouldn’t imagine I would ever admit to being thankful for, such as, the way He used Thatcher’s life to bring others to Him.  As hard as it is to admit, I know had Thatcher not had so many issues, and not struggled so much with life on this side of Heaven, there would not have been as many people on their knees petitioning the Lord on our behalf, so many others finding God again because of the strength of our sweet, baby boy and his life’s testimony.  It has taken awhile, and trust me there are many days I take it back, but I am thankful God used Thatcher to bring people all over the world closer to Him.  I am thankful that even though I now struggle with feelings of betrayal, self-pity, anxiety and doubt on a daily basis, my heavenly father is patient and quietly urges me to bring these things to Him.   These feelings that I wake up with that could easily throw me into a downward spiral, when I bring them to my Lord and Savior, He casts them out and instead covers me in His peace, and for that I am incredibly thankful.  I am most thankful that I know without a doubt my baby boy is exactly where He wants to be, will never know what pain is ever again, and one day I will get to join him again!!  God showed me through His word that thankfulness would essentially be “my lifeline” during this part of our journey.  Thankfulness has allowed me to cling to Him, to His Word and therefore it has allowed me to hope in a time when I am scared to death.  See, there is nothing scarier than waking up, realizing your life is completely turned upside down but you are left to deal with the pieces.  Yes, losing our sweet baby boy was the most terrifying thing we have ever gone through, and every experience since Thatcher left us has been and will continue to be bittersweet because he’s not here with us.  Life is a daily struggle, but thankfulness has allowed us to pick up the pieces of daily life.  So when you go though a fire, as everyone will, whether it be health related, monetary related, or something else, find something to be thankful for.   Trust that God is constant and He will reveal things and people to be thankful for to help get you through each day.

PS, I cranked this post out in about 30 minutes and I'm a little rusty with blogging so I apologize if it's full of grammatical and syntactical errors.  

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Thatcher Caleb Memorial Pt. II ... (6/26)

We just wanted to say thank you to everyone who was able to attend Thatcher's memorial service, everyone who wrote on a card how Thatcher had impacted their lives, everyone who has donated to the Thatcher Caleb Memorial, and everyone who has prayed for Thatcher and continues to pray for us.  We appreciate it more than you know, and more than our words can express.  Below is the slideshow that was played during the service.  (it's about 10 minutes long)




We have found encouragement in the words that were written on the scrap book paper, here are a few of the many that blessed our hearts:

"Thatcher changed the way I pray... All glory to our loving, sweet, faithful Jesus"
"It's so hard to find the right words to express the impact your son, Thatcher Caleb, has had on me and my family.  Even through I never had the privilege to meet your precious angel, he has changed the way I think, pray and praise our lord!  During the past 3 months I have found that I pray harder and turn to God much more quickly than before.  How it it that an infant, an angel of God, has had such a perfect impact?  It is because God is perfect and that is what I saw in baby Thatcher... perfection"
"God used His servant, Thatcher, in so many incredible ways.
    - to unite a community in prayer and compassion
    - to encourage my girls to use their gifts to bless others
    - to soften our hearts for the 'least of these'
    - to fight diligently for the things of the Lord
    - to urge and mommy and daddy to seize every moment
    - to hope in the Lord always
    - to loosen our grip of earthly things, when the Lord calls us home" 
"(from a 6 yr. old)  I think Thatcher is sweet.  I prayed for him a lot.  I love him."
"Thatcher has showed me how precious life truly is.  No matter how many days we are here on this human earth, we are capable of impacting millions.  We can move mountains.  He brought believers in Christ closer to God, and he has brought non-believers to their knees..."

Believe us, the list goes on and on, and don't get us wrong, this is not about what Thatcher did, this is about what God was able to do through our precious son.  As the first one here says (and so many others) all glory to our God.

As parents, however, we have certainly found encouragement and hope in your notes as we can tangibly see the impact that God used Thatcher to make on this world.  We'd love to hear from those who were not able to be there, it is truly incredible to see how God was able to use Thatcher's life to bring glory to God.  We would love to hear specific stories of when God used Thatcher's life in your life.  To be able to see exactly how God moved in a situation, or how God orchestrated a situation in which Thatcher's life and his story became a jumping point of talking about God's grace, or God's goodness, that's what we would love to hear about, that's what we as a church need to be observant of.  We need to seek God's hand in everything, we need to seek His face, and attribute to Him the praise He deserves for what He is doing among us and in our lives.

With that said, we wanted to let everyone know that we are working on the Thatcher Caleb Memorial, we are trying to understand all the in's and out's that it entails in terms of paperwork and documentation and all that jazz, but more than that we are seeking God's will in terms of what our mission and goal will be, and how we go about achieving that.  Please be patient with us as we seek God's will for the Thatcher Caleb Memorial, and please pray for us that we would be good stewards, and that we would be wise, and that we would honor God.  And thank you so much to everyone who has donated!


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Thatcher's Memorial Service

We will be holding a memorial service in honor of Thatcher Caleb Paul:

Wednesday, June 13th
11:00 am
Crossroads Baptist Church
5000 College Park Drive - The Woodlands, TX 77384

This service is open to all who wish to celebrate Thatcher's life with us.  Please do not feel the need to wear black.  Yes, we are beyond saddened and hurting that our baby boy is no longer in our arms, but we are choosing to celebrate the 2 months and 29 days we got to spend with Thatcher, for each and every one of those days was a miracle.  We are also celebrating that our prayers have been answered, of course not in the way we would have chosen, BUT our sweet baby is forever healed, no more pain will he feel... ever again.  In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Thatcher Caleb Memorial.   Thank you all again for your prayers, love, encouragement, and support.

The service will be followed by a small private graveside service.

(The Thatcher Caleb Memorial is in the process of being developed into a charity, but as we are in the early stages it is not a fully tax deductible organization, but simply an account set up in his name.  Once this process is completed, and the foundation is approved, the money will be used in Thatcher Caleb's name to continue to bring God glory by helping people in similar situations)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Our hope... (6/9)

Some of you may know, others may not.  Thatcher made the long ambulance ride home with us last Thursday (a little over a week ago now).  We spent 8 beautiful days together as a family in our home, and last night at 9:12 pm Thatcher Caleb went to his real home.  Jesus is holding him now, with his older brother or sister.  He has finally gotten to meet Caleb, the man he was named after and who we read to him about every night.  We know that he is singing God's praises loud, and is in no more pain.  He will never have another seizure, and never struggle to breathe ever again.  Our sweet baby boy is home with his Father, and is being held and loved better than we ever could here.  We are so thankful for the time that we got to spend with him, and we are so thankful that we got to spend the last week here at home with him.  Thank you everyone for your prayers and support.  There will be a memorial service to celebrate Thatcher's life some time this week, we will post more information as we figure it out.  Thank you all for your love and encouragement but as we are still incredibly overwhelmed we'd like to limit visitors to just our families.

Father, thank you for blessing us with a child as amazing as Thatcher, and though we don't get it, and we're mad and angry, and sad and hurt and we don't understand how this is for our good or for your glory, we still trust you.  Our hope is still in You, and we will still praise you, for the 2 months and 29 days that we got to spend with Your child and servant.  God, please be gentle with us, please give us comfort that surpasses understanding, please hold Thatcher tight and let him know that we love him so much, and we miss him more than life itself.  Please kiss him for us, please squeeze his hand, please brush his hair and put him in some really great heavenly robes, and he really likes physical therapy, though he doesn't need it anymore and You already knew that.  God please be near, and hold us too... we need you, we miss him, we want to be close to him, we want to worry about alarms going off, we want to worry that he is breathing, we want him here to care for him, we want him here to love on him, we want him here to sing over, and pray over, and read to...


What's a mommy to do? ... (6/9)

     When a girl finds out she's going to be a mommy her world begins to change.  Some changes happen in an instant, some happen slowly over time.  When I found out you were in my tummy my love for you come in an instant and my presence changed too.  People were left wondering why there was a new twinkle in my eye, and a new bounce to my step, as if I was carrying around a wonderful secret.  I was, you! Slowly, they began to tell what was different.  My body began to change.  You changed my tummy, my hips, the size of my feet and fingers, even the size of my nose!  But other changes occurred as well.  You became more important than me in an instant so I changed the way I ate, moved, even the way I slept.  Celebrity gossip, sitcoms, and the news no longer mattered, but rather the the latest findings on immunizations, consumer reports on car seats, and how to learn your cries became my choice of late night entertainment.  When I found out you were sick, God showed me what the term "momma bear" really means, and how it's okay to say no to the world's mentality of convenience and selfishness, and yes to fighting for life no matter how it looks, to speaking for you no matter who or what I was up against because you needed me to, you depended on me to.  The night you were born my love for you exploded in an instant.  Over the next few months I learned you.  I learned I could be so in tune with another being I knew what was wrong by a single grunt.  I knew something had happened by the way my heart fluttered and tummy ached when I wasn't even in the same room as you.  You taught me that simply watching you or making sure you were you were handled with care, your meds were on time, you were fed at an angle, and not touched for at least 20 minutes afterwards, you weren't positioned in a way you disliked, not too much noise was surrounding you, and you were not ignored when you showed you needed help were more important than food, showering, dressing even sleeping.  My need to do things for you came in an instant.  The process of learning the best thing I could do is pray took a long time and no other baby could have made me pray as passionately or desperately or allowed me to feel God's peace the way you did.  My love for you has grown and changed who I am. 
     A baby changes a girl into a mommy some times quickly, some times slowly, some ways gracefully, some ways it's rough.  Baby boy, you have changed me to my very core ... but now you are gone and what's a mommy to do?  You took 12 months to teach me how to be a mommy but then you left me in an instant.  What's a mommy to do?  I still carry around a secret, a different secret now, the precious memory of you.  My body will be forever changed, no longer the youthful tightness, rather the markings of endurance only a mommy experiences.  But a mommy body without a baby in her arms feels so wrong.  What's a mommy to do?  You changed the way I slept, ate and moved but now you are gone.  I have all the time to sleep, there's no reason to stop and think about what I eat, and coffee is no longer something for me to dream about.  But my body requires less sleep, and doesn't like coffee or junk food now.  What's a mommy to do?  Now that you're gone no one is going to ask me how long breastmilk can sit out, or what's the best way to soothe an overstimulated baby.  Now I have this wealth of knowledge I can't use.  What's a mommy to do?  The need for this new strength you gave me to fight for you left with you.  A momma bear spirit with no baby cub manifests itself as a cranky, old grizzly.  That's not the way I want to come across, it's just that you're gone now and I don't know what to do with this passion and left over fierceness.  What's a mommy to do?  I have this constant ache in my tummy and flutter in my heart, but now you're gone and I have no one to check on.  What's a mommy to do?  For three months, I spent every waking hour by your side making sure you were okay.  Now you're gone and the hours painfully inch by.  What's a mommy to do?  You taught me the importance of quiet and stillness but without your "accessories" going off, it's too quiet.  When people get loud I have this need to tell them to quiet down but you're not here for them to be queit for.  What's a mommy to do?  You became the center of my world.  You became the forefront of my every action, thought, intention.  You changed me, I am no longer just a girl.  You made me a mommy in every definition of the word, but now you are gone and I am left forever changed.  A childless mother, it just feels awkward and so wrong.  I can never go back to who I was and I am so thankful to you for that  You have forever changed me, my baby boy, but now you have left me . . . 
What's a mommy to do?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Pomp and Circumstance... (5/26)

First, we would like to acknowledge the fact that it has been way to long since we have updated, and we are very sorry for that, and we thank all of you who have continued to pray for Thatcher and his healing and have prayed for us and our family, we really appreciate it.  The encouragement that we have continued to receive from all of you has come at the perfect time more than once.  On days where we felt defeated and beaten up we would receive a picture of a daughter's prayer request for healing and just remind us of the faith we are to have in our God.  Or we would receive a text message or a facebook message that was exactly the scripture we needed to hear, or exactly the encouragement we needed that day, and always reminding us that we are not alone in this.  So thank you all for allowing God to use you to encourage us on our journey.

Today we find ourselves in circumstances that we never thought we would be in, we never thought we'd be here years ago, and we never thought we would be here a week ago.  Our circumstances seem to change daily, today we are looking at Thatcher and he is resting peacefully on his bed, struggling to breathe here and there, but responding well when we shift his position or stimulate him to breathe again.  Last night we found ourselves terrified every time he seized, because there was a good chance that his entire body would go rigid, every muscle flexed and tensed and his airway would clamp down.  He would turn blue and not respond to any amount of stimulation and he would need to be bagged to be brought out of the episode.  That happened 7 times in a 24 hour period.  A couple days prior we were watching helplessly as Thatcher had over 70 seizures in a 12 hour period that would cause him to stop breathing, and we couldn't do anything until the seizures were over and then we could help him breathe.  Prior to that we were praying to have a tube removed.  Prior to that we were praying for reflux to stop, prior to that we were praying for a safe delivery.  Our prayers have changed with each circumstance we find ourselves in, and that seems fitting, but we have to acknowledge that our God never changes.  Thank you, God that you never change.  Unfortunately, with the ever shifting circumstances we find ourselves thinking about the future, wondering what it's going to look like for Thatcher, for our family, when will we be going home, how will we be going home, and with these questions came fear and uncertainty.  The future is not ours to hold, it is in God's hands.  We are here, now, we live in this moment, the furthest our interaction with the future goes is deciding to let God handle it, to follow where He leads.  Fear and uncertainty are not from God, the peace that transcends understanding does not include fear and uncertainty, these feelings are a lie that have shaken our confidence in God's will, and in what the future holds.  Our confidence is not in the idea that Thatcher will be completely healed because God is able to do so, our confidence is not in our desire or our wish, or even our prayers.  Our confidence is that God is in control, and that God never changes.  This is the same God that causes all things to work for the good of those who love Him.  This is the same God who is victorious over death and temptation.  This is the same God who created the heavens and the earth.  This is the same God that every good and perfect gift is from.  God is good and that will never change.

God help us to be thankful for each moment, for the mercies of each new day, help us to rejoice and be glad for today and not worry about tomorrow because tomorrow is in your hands, help us to be thankful for each breath, help us to rely on You for each breath.  Lord, thank you for where we find ourselves today because You have brought us exactly here, and You will not leave or forsake us, You will lead us to Your glory and to our good.  Help us to trust you, and help our unbelief.  When Thatcher seizes, or he stops breathing, let us rely on you, do not let us become fearful for You are in control.  God, we humbly ask for Thatcher's healing.  That you would cause the seizures to cease, and that you would allow him to breathe with ease, that You would simply hold him and raise him up.  We proclaim Your praise, Your goodness, Your faithfulness, and Your love for us, God thank You for who You are.  We love You, Lord, we thank you, and we praise you.  Would you be lifted high, and Your name praised throughout the earth.  Father, above all, would Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Our 2 Month Birthday... (5/11)

Well, Thatcher turned 2 months yesterday, and he had a really good birthday, atleast in the end.  First of all, thank you all for praying, God answers prayer.  We have seen that time and time again on this journey, and it's pretty rediculous for us to ever think otherwise, or that He is not in control, or that He doesn't hear us given where we've come from and been through.  Thatcher got out of surgery on Monday, and we were told everything went swimmingly.  There were no complications, no issues, he handled anesthesia well, very straight forward.  Well, come friday we are still on the ventilator and his belly is leaking stomach contents around the g-tube.  By friday afternoon he was gagging constantly due to his ventilator tube, and his gagging had caused the leaking to turn into more of a consistent dripping.  The site grew very red and irritated, until finally the dripping turned into more of a pouring of stomach fluid.  Thus irritating his skin more, causing him to squirm, causing the tube in his throat to move slightly, causing irritation in his throat (reminding him a tube was there), causing him to gag and start the whole process over again.  It was a terrible cycle to watch, and made even worse by the fact that we couldn't really do anything to step in and help so we just had to watch and pray.  Well, Thatcher realized that that was all he could do to...
"God, please let them take this tube out... I really don't like it, and I know you can help.  You helped before, and You can do it again.  Amen."
Anyways, he threw praying into the mix and when he was calm in between these cycles he would pray.  So what can you do as parents but join him?  So we prayed, we prayed that the doctors would take the tube out, that he would stop gagging once it was removed, that his stomach would stop leaking and would heal quickly.  We prayed for strong breathing, we prayed for healing, and we prayed for God's will to be done.  Around 10 or so, a member of the surgery team came by to look at the leakage and decided that he should be taken off of feeds and his stomach vented to relieve presure and hopefully ease the leakage.  He even considered taking him off of feeds and putting him on an IV (well, he would have had to have the IV in his head, and that's the only place we can hold him to calm him down from his seizures, so we prayed that wouldn't happen).  It did help with his gagging and the leakage to stop the feeds and vent his stomach and then, last night around 11:30 Thatcher was finally taken off of the vent!  He took a second to realize what the change meant for him, that he had to breathe on his own, and he desatted twice right away, but since then he has been doing great with very sporadic yet manageable desats.  He has restarted his feeds and his G-tube looks much better.  God has answered our prayers, and He is absolutely in control.  Join us in praising the Father for his goodness!

Speaking of goodness, some of yall have been asking about our friends we asked yall to pray for.  Well, the last we heard is that the surgery was a huge success.  That Addie started producing urine while she was still in the operating room, that she was off of the vent after 1 day when they expected her to be on for 4 days, and momma is doing well too, dealing with some pain and nausea, but she is in good spirits and praising God for where they are in their journey.  Thank you all for praying with us for them.

Again, we proclaim it, we believe it, God answers prayer.  Prayer is powerful and effective.

Father, thank you for where we are today.  Two months in, Lord and you have been with us every step of the way.  Help us to remember where we've come from, what obstacles and mountains you've already carried us through, we don't want to take your mercies for granted, Lord.  Thank you.  Thank you for the answered prayers, thank you for the "little" miracles, thank you for the reminders that you are with us and you are for us, that you are with Thatcher and holding his right hand.  Thank you that we are back on nasal canula, thank you that his G-Tube seems to be working and he seems less irritated, thank you for answering our prayers.  God we pray that you would stay present, we need your presence, we desire your presence, thank you for your peace that your presence provides, thank you for the confidence we have in You Lord, that you will never leave nor forsake us.  You are good.  You are so good.  You hear us! You provide for us!  You are here for us!  God would you be glorified through Thatcher, through us, through our journey.  Be lifted high in all the earth.  Lord, we lift Thatcher up to You, we ask for healing, complete healing.  Lord would you remove the hindrance in his brain and allow it to grow and develop, would you cast out the seizures that torment him, allow his windpipe to strengthen and grow, and help his stomach to handle eating with ease, Lord.  We trust you, God.  We trust that you are healing him, we know that you are able, and we believe that you will and that you are, thank you.  Help us to rest in your will, and in your presence, knowing that it is good and perfect, knowing that you will hold us up, we can have full confidence in that truth.  God be praised.  To you be all the glory and honor and praise, to you who is able to do abundantly more than we can ask or imagine, Lord.  We are asking to be amazed... and You never fail to do so.  Thank you for who you are, thank you for what you are doing.  We love you, we praise you, and we trust you.  It is in the powerful name of Jesus that we pray.
-Amen