Overdue Update on The Fam

So sorry to have left everyone hanging after our trip to Tampa. Life hit us hard when we returned, and there hasn’t been a lot of time for gathering thoughts and getting them down.

I got very sick after we returned home, and was off my feet for over a week, and subpar for a total of about three weeks. That has happened twice now since the beginning of the year and is really unusual for me. I’m really hoping that will be it for my couch-time for many years now. It doesn’t work so well with this big family.

Nathan had his leg surgery just before we left for Tampa, and we all anticipated that he would be back into his prosthesis and in full swing within four to six weeks. Unfortunately, he is now at almost ten weeks post-op and pain is still making it impossible for him to tolerate being in his prosthesis for more than a few hours each day — at best. This has been a blow to the family, and we are so thankful that Erin is now fully functional again. His surgeon and his prosthetist are working on a solution, but . . .

Meghan, who was born with some relatively mild deformities in both hands and feet, had hand surgery just last week on her right hand as we try to alleviate the pain and gradual loss of function and strength that she has been experiencing for several months. Although she isn’t off of her feet like Nathan and Erin have been, she is still “limping along” because her arm will be in a cast for four weeks.

As we’ve said before, it takes our whole team to keep things flowing smoothly here, and it’s been very hard to keep things moving along during the past few months as our older kids have undergone their own challenges. They are also feeling discouraged and anxious to be back into a more normal routine.

In addition to these unplanned surgeries, we just learned last week that Carlin has developed reflux in both ureters, which is forcing urine from her bladder back up to her kidneys. This is a dangerous situation that can result in damage to her already-compromised kidneys, so she will have to undergo surgery as soon as it can be scheduled to correct this problem. We don’t, yet, know just how involved this surgery will be or how much it will disrupt daily life here.

Scott and I were so blessed (beyond description) to have a few days away together to rest and try to reconnect with each other. Marriage is hard under the best of circumstances, and it can become so challenging after months of relentless stress. We were so thankful for this little retreat and the refueling it provided for us — as a couple, as parents to this brood, and as directors of TSC.

The cabin that provided the quiet respite Scott's and my hearts were craving

The cabin that provided the quiet respite Scott’s and my hearts were craving

Time hiking in the woods around Hocking Hills was incredibly therapeutic. (We took our youngest dog along to make it easier for the crew back here at home.)

Time hiking in the woods around Hocking Hills was incredibly therapeutic. (We took our youngest dog along to make it easier for the crew back here at home.)

Scrumptious meals for two while we were away. Wow! Cooking for only two is SO EASY!

Scrumptious meals for two while we were away. Wow! Cooking for only two is SO EASY!

I feel sometimes like we spend a lot of time whining in our updates to all of you, but we are tired. We were so excited about a year of rest from surgeries when Lilyan’s spine surgeon decided he needed to postpone doing operations on her back. So these almost back-to-back unplanned and unexpected illnesses and surgeries have kind of beaten us down a bit. And they have kept us from being able to get back to our church family as we had hoped we would be able to do.

We are now trying hard to just trust where God is taking us and know that He has a plan for all of the things that appear to us to be unplanned. They are not surprises to Him, although we had pictured a completely different winter and spring. We would so much appreciate your prayers as we keep trying to learn to trust God more fully.

In my quiet time this morning, I read the following quote from Octavius Winslow. It puts things so much into perspective, and I was thankful to stumble across it.

“If God were perfectly comprehensible in His being and government to a finite mind, then either He must forego His claim to divinity, or we must cease to be human. And yet in nothing, scarcely, is the Christian more at fault than in attempting to fathom those dispensations of His government in which He conceals His purposes and enshrouds Himself; and failing, questions the wisdom and rectitude of His procedure! But how gently does the result rebuke and confound our misapprehension and distrust. When from the secret place of thunder He utters His voice; when, in His dealings. darkness is under His feet; when He makes darkness His secret place, His pavilion round about Him dark waters and thick clouds of the skies — even then He is but making a way for His love to us, which shall appear all the more real and precious by the very cloud-chariot in which it travels. The believer in Christ has nothing slavishly to dread, but everything filially to hope from God. So fully is he pardoned, so completely is he justified, so perfectly is he reconciled to God, the darkest dispensations in which He hides Himself shall presently unvail the brightest views of His character and love; and thus the lowering cloud that deepened in its darkness and grew larger as it approached, shall dissolve and vanish, leaving no object visible to the eye but Him whose essence and name is Love. Oh, it is because we have such shallow views of God’s love that we have such defective views of God’s dealings. We blindly interpret the symbols of His providence, because we so imperfectly read the engraving of His heart. Faith finds it difficult to spell the word ‘Love,’ as written in the shaded characters of its discipline; to believe that the cloud which looks so sombre and threatening is the love-chariot of Him who for our ransom gave Himself unto the death, because He so loved us!” 

We so long to move past this place where “we have such shallow views of God’s love that we have such defective views of God’s dealings.” But the way to reach this deeper understanding lies directly along the paths God ordains for us. Please pray that we will not lose sight of this during our times of weariness. 

If you want to read more about these current challenges and our wrestlings with God from the perspective of our hearts, you can read my most recent blog post, “You Not the Boss! I the Boss!” on my personal blog. It is dedicated to our daughter, Meghan, and shares some of what I’ve learned through parenting her.

In closing, I want to thank all of you, again, for the ways in which you bless our family. During the holiday season, we were showered with financial blessings that made it possible for us to replenish our desperately-needy towels and sheets supply, buy new shoes for the children, repair our van, replace our fence which has been falling apart for several years now, and take this getaway for the two of us. And just this afternoon, Scott and I ran to the church to pick up the material blessings (paper products, food, grocery staples, etc.) that our church family regularly provides for our family through the program they call “Just One More.” How can we possibly communicate to everyone involved — and proclaim to a world looking in from the outside — just how much these very tangible expressions of love mean to us? We are so blessed.

Have a beautiful, blessed Easter week. We hope to see those of you in our church family this coming Sunday.

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