God of Miracles

Sometimes it doesn’t look like an immediate reversal in a symptom or disease. Sometimes it’s protection. Sometimes it’s favor. Sometimes it’s everything falling into place when it shouldn’t.

It feels like we have been given a shower of hope this week. During the first month when Kate became ill we had a lot of doctors proclaim some pretty rough stuff over her life. These doctors spoke about broken systems and lack of functioning and a grim future and we listened. We cried, we asked questions, we took it in. Then we started praying pretty specifically that all the gloom and doom talk would serve a purpose. That her progress would one day blow the doctors away and that they’d be pointing to the miraculous vs their own strength. 

Kate has been on a slow and steady incline, it seems her body chooses areas to focus on healing. Last week Kate started moving her toes, feet and legs consistently and unprovoked. Friday, Kate’s vocal chords started working some. Sunday one of our pastors prayed specifically for Kate’s healing at church during the service. Monday  she got her highest rating (17) yet. Tuesday that same pastor felt compelled to pray specifically for her toes/feet/legs without knowing that they had started to move. Wednesday a few friends sat in her Physical Therapy session and SHE STOOD UP. Someone was helping to steady her but her weight was on her legs and they didn’t buckle. 

Sometimes miracles look like an immediate healing. Sometimes they look like a room full of therapists cheering on the 32-year-old woman with little kids at home as she stands for the first time in almost three months. Sometimes it looks like people committing to visit weekly come hell or high water in their own lives. Sometimes it looks like insurance bending rules. Frankly, sometimes it looks like your three year old telling her little cousin “God loves you, He’s inside your heart and He wants to make your mommy feel all better. He loves to heal people”. Sometimes it’s all you need to hear coming from the back row of the minivan. Yes, He loves you. He wants to heal. He is healing more than Kate. He’s healing all of us and we’re so thankful to be let in on the journey and to watch the doctors be blown away.

A Rambling Update

About nine months ago a few of my friends from college decided we would go to the Belong Tour In Philly. (The funny thing is three of us live in the same neighborhood and walk to each other’s houses. Step 1:go to college, step 2: buy houses in 1/2 mile radius so you can pretend you never are leaving  college) Anyway, a few of us really love Jen Hatmaker and it seemed like the perfect reason to take 24 hours and be us again without our families. Fast forward to a really bad summer and I was looking forward to the short trip away. 

By Friday of last week I was not a puddle but a river of tears. Id been trying to visit Kate for a full week and it just seemed like the entire world was plotting against me. Our tenant decided to tell us he was breaking our lease, we found out we needed to have our sewer line replaced in our rental, a thousand schedule issues came up and by Friday I was a mess. I finally asked a friend to watch Elle and Jay and I were off to visit my sister.

There’s something about the drive to see her. I sob the whole time. It’s a mix of anxiety about the whole situation, I’m reminded of how normal we were when we were at the OBX a few short months ago when all of this happened. (I vow to never set foot there again.) I think about the loss I feel daily, how I miss her. I think about her kids and husband and pray for them. I pray that when I show up something would be different or cool or we’d have some type of neat connection. I sometimes tell the story in my mind of the last few months to see what new things have happened since the last time I visited. Then I try my very hardest to give Kate to God. I feel like Abraham offering Isaac over and over to God and it doesn’t get easier. The hardest part is it doesn’t feel yet like he’s told me to stop.

Anyway, I strapped Judah into the ergo, kiss his sweet head as he sucks his thumb and snuggles into my chest. Then we start the walk in to visit. We sign in and get the dumb visitor tag then turn all of the turns to get to her room. Deep breath in and I see her in her wheelchair. I look over and my dad is talking to the PT. as always I introduce myself and she says as everyone does “you look alike”. I smile and think ‘Kate loves when people say I look older’ so just for Kate I tell her I’m younger and wink. She’s rolling her eyes on the inside, I know it.

Then I ask the PT how she did today and the PT tells me a miracle. She doesn’t tell me it’s a miracle, of course, but it is. Something that wasnn’t going to ever heal is healing and they’ve done nothing to help; its just working now when it didn’t before. Of course I cry again. I bend down to Kate with my Jay in my arms and tell her how awesome it is that Gods healing her day by day. It was a good Friday.

Before I knew it we were on the road to Philly. We go to the tour on Friday and at breakfast Saturday we decide next time we go away we want no agenda, just time away with honesty and tears and maybe a beach. We go to day two of the conference and it was fine, nothing blowing us away. Jen Hatmaker ended up not being able to attend our specific conference in the tour (gasp!) but they had someone else. Glennon Doyle Melton was there! A friend just sent me her book, Love Warrior, last week and she just acted like we were having a conversation across a table from one another!

Have you ever had one of those days that everything changes? You were living your life and them BAM nothing will ever be the same?

Yep. June 26th

Do you have some kind of pain that has just rerouted your life and you have the opportunity to walk toward it or run?

Why, yes. Everyday

I suggest you walk toward it, here’s why…*

It was craziness. I sobbed for the entire presentation. Her pain is different; a betrayal, a marriage collapsing, it’s not the same. But pain is pain and I was just with her, hanging on to every word! I felt like God sent her to that conference just for me and I was so grateful. 

We left the conference, spilled our guts some on the way home. I got home to a sick baby, by Sunday night had two sick kids.

I spent a few hours this morning pushing my kids in the stroller at the mall while I made phone calls to ten different plumbers trying to get quotes for the sewer. My dad texted me that Kate went up FIVE POINTS in the coma recovery scale in the last ten days. She’s dropped a few the week before but she is still 4 points more than she has ever been before and it seems like God is just hollering, “you better keep watch or you’re going to miss it!”

So I’m exhausted. Trying to not get sick and starting another crazy week. 

Rambling-over. 


*my paraphrase 

September

Oh how I have been dreading September. It started with my brother-in-laws birthday, days later it will be he and Kate’s sixth wedding anniversary, their daughters birthday, both of my parents birthdays. It feels brutal. Suffocating. It’s hard to celebrate in the midst of so much sorrow. A few weeks after Kate became so ill one of our pastors spoke on celebration as a spiritual discipline and I think we took a collective sigh of relief knowing that September was on its way. We do need to celebrate, we need to remember that we have huge reasons to celebrate and that Kate would want us to celebrate! Once you start, you know it’s so right and good. These people and milestones deserve to be celebrated and who doesn’t love cake! 

I’ve been reading Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts and while her writing style grates on my nerves the point of the book is not lost on me. Especially when so much feels wrong and cruel, I have to meet God with thanksgiving for everything. If I ever want to experience joy I need to celebrate and name our victories and blessings, whereever I find them. And we have so many.

Just this week my sweet nephew has been sharing memories with me when I remind him of Kate. The silly things I say, the way I tell them not to announce their gas in public, etc. I’ve been so thankful that I remind the kids of their mommy, that I’m in a position to be able to spend so much time with them, that I feel strengthened in hard moments to talk about Kate and stop what we’re doing to pray for her. I can’t wish this season away, as much as I’d like to! September is here, coma emersion is a long process and we’re in it for the long hall, little minds have questions and somehow over the last two months I haven’t totally botched any responses. We’re forced to stay present, there is no other option to do this thing well, so we might as well be thankful along the way.

And now for an update on Kate! I asked for specific prayers last week that she’d grow two points on her emersion scale, and she did! And another point this week!

She’s started pointing to a board with the words “yes” and “no” to answer questions and she’s getting all the answers right! This is so good! My mom asked her the other day about birthday gifts for Nevin. She said “no” to an H&M gift card and “yes” to JCrew. (Clearly she’s of sound mind!) But seriously, the answers she’s giving give us so much hope that although she can’t communicate with her voice she still knows who we are and the right store for her husbands birthday gift. Your prayers are so important to us, God is moving mountains! I’m serious, mountains! We have a really long road to go. We don’t know what Kate will go through and be like and be able to accomplish in the next year or two. We are so hopeful that she will be restored to us. She probably won’t be exactly the same, by Gods grace none of us will ever be the same. For now we are so thankful for small victories that show up weekly and we just keep praying for the mountains to be moved.


Healing While We Wait

We’ve had a weird week. Kate is on a coma emergence scale and has been increasing pretty steadily but this last Friday she went down a few points. Not sure why, the staff where she is all say it’s normal but it’s so hard to witness. On top of that D and I were supposed to be at a church leadership retreat for 36hours and after 12 I left due to some rough food poisoning. That on top of some ringworm made for a rough Friday. I was scared I had more than food poisoning so I forced myself to stay away from Kate for the weekend. Enter:meltdown. 

It’s a tough thing knowing there are times of day that she doesn’t have visitors. We don’t know what she’s thinking or feeling and it’s easy to assume the worst. D and I are going to the beach with his family for a long weekend, our annual trip. I’m equally desperate to get out of town and guilt ridden to be leaving. I’ve set up literally fifteen people to visit Kate in my absence but it still doesn’t feel like enough. Never enough.

In the last week I’ve come to terms with some ideas I didn’t realize I had about God. Being an American, I truly had an American picture of God and that has been blown to smithereens. I don’t think I realized that I had made God synonymous with the word protected. In Jen Hatmakers book,  For the Love, she says “If it isn’t also true for a poor single Christian mom in Haiti, it isn’t true”. She wasn’t promised her spouse, or a certain salary, or food whenever she wants it, so I can’t believe they are promised at all. 

The last two months it has been clear that God doesn’t promise an easy road. He promises His presence along the way and nothing more. God loves Kate and her precious husband and babies more than I could and that is true whether or not she is in a coma. Still, I found myself screaming “YOU HAVE THE POWER! YOU CAN STOP THIS”. He does and He can. But He hasn’t. When I’m done stomping around and being angry it’s so clear that He has provided in ways I didn’t ask for but that we needed. Money for pre-school for the kids, broken family relationships being restored, drawing people to Him as they pray with Kate and experience spiritual giftings outside of their norm. We still believe He will restore Kate while she’s on this earth. We also believe he will walk with all of us no matter what we go through. 

In the meantime experiencing a lack of fear in the midst of such turmoil is nothing short of miraculous. Feeling like I’m definitely walking through one of my worst case scenarios but I’m still somehow surviving, able to experience joy, able to have fun with these sweet kids while they’re in my care. Jay had a checkup today and I told his doctor about Kate as she asked about any changes at home. She sobbed with me. Lost her cool completely and asked how I was doing and how Elle was responding to it all. I told her that when Elle asks about aunt Katie I tell her she’s sick right now but God loves to heal people so we’re just going to keep praying and asking Him to do that and I believe  He will. I hope you believe that with me. Please don’t give up hoping and praying. Please pray specifically that her coma number goes up two points by Friday.

As I pray continually, I keep thinking of this scripture:

Isaiah 49:15-17New International Version (NIV)

15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! 16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands”


Here’s Two of our babies chowing down at Monday night dinner.

Dont forget to check out Hope Heals!

Hope Heals (really)

So a few weeks after Kate became ill I was folding about five baskets of laundry and turned on my favorite podcast, The Happy Hour. Her (Jamie Ivey’s) interview that day was with someone named Katherine Wolf (episode 96 if you want to check it out). Katherine has a terrible stroke at the age of 26 while her six month old napped in the other room. She and her husband Jay wrote a book called Hope Heals about their dramatic road to healing against all odds and the role that Hope in the Lord played in their journey. Cue the tears.

Nice timing, right? A few days later a friend texted me about this speaker at her daughters church named Katherine Wolf who had lived through a traumatic brain injury. The same Katherine Wolf, of course. So she suggested I email Katherine and see if she’d write a message back. And boy did she!

Katherine and I have been emailing back and forth for almost a month now. As I asked her a few questions I sheepishly confessed that I was totally scared to read her book. It’s one thing to walk through hell and pray for healing but it’s another thing to know what that healing could look and feel like and still pray for it, knowing how terribly hard the road may be. She of course, totally understood but sent me a book and some other fun things in the mail which was such a special treat to open! She hand wrote me a note and autographed the book which sent me into nap-time sobs. Oh I hope Katie can write one day!

The book couldn’t just sit on the end table. I devoured it in a few days, sending paragraphs to my tribe as things I’ve said practically WORD FOR WORD were sprawled on these lovely pages. Things her husband Jay wrote were thoughts I had constantly. Don’t get me wrong, the book was incredibly painful to read at times, we just don’t know what Kate will be like in the coming months and years. Some of the setbacks that Katherine lived through sometimes forced me to sit the book down and simply weep. But overall the book gave me such incredible Hope and comfort. It was sweet to be reminded that God performs miracles still. That doctors think a lot of things but only God knows how the story ends. And that people have felt the same feelings we feel today and every day as we wait for Kate’s story to fully unfold. 

This book was just a huge blessing.  If you’re interested in reading it, the kindle version is on sale for $1.99 today

In the mean time, keep praying for  Kate! Every Friday she gets a rating on the coma emergence scale. Her ratings keep getting better. Please join us as we pray for her recovery to warrant higher ratings and to blow the doctors away! We want every person who has cared for her since this began to be shouting “what a miracle!!”.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B010RB5YX4/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1471284112&sr=1-1

The Waiting and Waiting and Waiting

My sister has begun emerging from a coma. Oh what a week. We’ve head great joy as we’ve gotten to witness Kate making some strides. She’s moving in the right direction and progress is progress no matter how slow. I think we’re also starting to piece together a really big picture of the mountains that are ahead of us. Kate in her healing, us as we wait and try to support her and each other. 

It’s so weird the way you learn things about yourself in the midst of trauma. Apparently I have stress-induced online shopping tendencies. Two pairs of shoes, ten pairs of undies later and I clearly don’t feel any better. Doesn’t matter what my feet look like in the midst of this chaos.

My desire to simplify my home has reached all-time highs. So as I buy more stuff I want less stuff around me. 

Then there’s the outrageous desire to bail. I want to pick up and leave. Vacation, go on a long drive, a restaurant without little kids around me. I want out of here. Now. But no matter where I go and what trip I plan I still wake up at 4 am to the picture of my sister and can barely catch my breath. There is no escaping this. There are little babes and family members that need me to stick it out. We don’t have an option to bail. Only big girl  (new!) undies here. The hardest place to be is sitting in that hospital room. Begging, looking for glimmers, demanding responses that sometimes come. But to leave is a different pain. Relief but guilt. You never want to leave her but you have to eat dinner and be with the littles and live life while we wait. But being there means being faced with the reality of our current situation. So much unknown but a relentless hope like I’ve never known. Being so sure of her recovering and desperate to know what that will look like. We want Kate restored to our family right this minute fully knowing none of us will ever be the same.

My D played Kate this song last night on his guitar. Her nurse came running in telling us she loved that song, plays guitar, and wanted to jump in. Such a sweet moment. God has not left us, not for a single moment. He’s sending little pieces of hope and encouragement and we are His.

If you’re wondering what you could do, PRAY! And once you’re done praying consider donating to help with medical costs.