May 2013 Newsletter

Dear friends,

These newsletters are a ‘safe’ place for me, as I feel comfortable just sharing real life where we are. My Weekly Thoughts are good teaching, but I reserve these newsletters to share my heart and life.

Monday morning Chris, our oldest son at 33 but mentally a 4 year old, was sitting up in his bed at the group home, and fell face first onto the hard tile floor. Due to his stroke at age 17 he has limited use of his left arm, so wasn’t able to slow his momentum. He broke off the bottom ½ of 4 front teeth, jammed 3 back into his head a bit, and fractured the bone behind his upper teeth and below his nose.

            Fortunately none of the teeth broke to the point of exposing the pulp, and the dentist believes all 4 can be capped. Chris wouldn’t allow the small x-ray plate in his mouth so no dental x-ray could be taken, though the emergency room was able to take head x-rays.

            But since Chris wouldn’t allow anyone in his mouth we have to go to a dentist that can use an IV to put him to sleep for x-rays, expected root canals, capping and other work to be done. The dentist’s cost is $1289 per hour estimated at 3-4 hours, but my purpose isn’t to fund raise, just sharing this week, though admittedly we don’t have that kind of cash sitting around.

            In Amy Grant’s excellent new album, “How Mercy Looks From Here”, she has a song entitled “If I could See (What the Angels See)”. One line from that song sums up the week: “If I could hear what angels hear, the thunderous sound of a crashing tear.” That sums it up for us. Only the Lord knows the pain a parent goes through when their child hurts.

Some of you are facing far greater challenges than we’ve had this past week, so I don’t mean to minimize any of that for our by comparatively small crisis, just sharing a bit from our world.

Sunday night I felt led to pray for protection of his teeth as I was leaving the group home – it was so strong on me to pray for protection of his teeth I said it out loud and in tongues. Then 7am the next morning this happened. Barb and I wonder how we missed it.

Should I have known more was at stake when I felt led to pray Sunday night? Should Barb and I not have read that evening before bed and instead spent it in prayer – though in truth neither of us felt a burden to pray further. Did the Lord tell Chris at the time not to do that and he disobeyed? We don’t know.

The end of Chris’ bed is under the light switch, just inside the door. He was sitting up pushing himself down to the end of the bed to turn the switch on. Two weeks ago he had fallen in the same way when we were on a trip, but had only bloodied his lip and nose a bit. Obviously we should have taken notice then and rearranged his bed away from the switch so this wouldn’t have happened. His room has since been rearranged.

            We know this didn’t catch the Lord by surprise, and perhaps my prayer Sunday night prevented something worse from happening. Still, we’ve had to lay aside the how and why, do what we can do in the natural so it doesn’t happen again, and when his dental work is done he will be home so we can care for him for a couple nights. People who care for family members who can’t care for themselves shoulder an ever-present burden that is emotionally and physically and financially, draining. Sound of a crashing tear.                      

So we asked forgiveness of the Lord for not noticing earlier and not being proactive to move his bed. Once done we have had to lay aside the how and why as unanswered and unknown, and must deal with life with the sacrifice of praise.

We are thankful for the small things that reveal the Father’s grace is present though not always obvious: It didn’t happen when we were traveling. Both Barb and I were up for the day by 6:10am that morning so were able to go immediately to the emergency room. We aren’t traveling now so we could have him home a couple nights to comfort and care for him. We were referred to good dentists. His teeth weren’t knocked completely out, they can be capped, and the fracture of the facial bone is small and self-healing. For these things we are thankful.                                                                                      

But when major things happen we all have questions that can only be answered ‘on the other side’. We all have to make the choice to look for grace where it isn’t at first apparent. We all have to consciously turn to the giving of thanks for what we do have. As Barb said this morning, “We can take comfort in the truth this is all temporary, and eternity is before us when Chris will be whole.” We look forward to the ages to come!                             

For us, if you could pray for Chris as all he knows is his teeth hurt and he needs to go to the dentist, though it is a 2-3 week process of procedures. Pray for wisdom for us and guidance in the process. Thank you for being in our lives, for we feel like the network of support and take great comfort in you, our friends.

Blessings,

John and Barb

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