Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Are You Listening?

Last Saturday, I posted on Gavin's Facebook page that one of the hardest things I have experienced in my recent walk with Jesus is that I struggle to hear what God is telling me. They were facing difficult decisions and I found Proverbs 3: 5-6 which tells us that if we trust in Him and submit to Him, He will lay the path out for us.

Well, I think I missed His voice again. Monday afternoon, when Carly posted about Gavin's celebration of life on Thursday, Carly said Gavin would like for people to get together and just be together. I started to get a feeling that Kelsea and I were supposed to go out there. However, I kept pushing it away and coming up with every reason that we couldn't make it work. Finals week/end of semester, Hayden, possible bad weather this weekend, Tucker, money, and just about everything else I could think of. I am not sure if this was God telling me we should go and I resisted or if it was me thinking we should go and God telling me it wasn't the right time. Either way,I will probably never know, but the important part is that I am listening.

For whatever reason, Kelsea and I will not be in Washington tomorrow. However, along with thousands of others, I can promise you that our minds, spirit, prayers, and love will be at Bethany Baptist with everybody else. Kelsea posted tonight that she was saddened because Gavin and Hayden never got to meet each other. However, I reminded her that just like our lives here on Earth, that is only temporary. They might not have been able to meet according to our plans, but when God feels the time is right, they will be causing mischief in God's kingdom for eternity. Until that time draws near, I will be looking forward to us getting to hear Carly and Ryan tell Hayden all about Gavin in person!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Really, in ALL Circumstances?

Anybody can praise God when things are going good. I did it several times over the past couple of weeks. There is evidence on my Facebook page. There is evidence on Gavin Christiansen's Support and Update Page. There is evidence in text messages to Kelsea, and phone calls to Mom and Dad and conversations with coworkers in the hallways at school.

Casting Crowns - Praise You In This Storm (Live) from casting-crowns on GodTube.

However, what about when things aren't going as planned? Well, first off it depends on whose "plan" you are referencing. Yours? Mine? A strangers? God's plan?

1 Thessalonians 5:18 says the following:
"give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

ALL CIRCUMSTANCES. That is a pretty strong Bible verse that really does not require any translation. It is not up for interpretation. It is what it is. God says to praise Him no matter what happens. This is where things get tough. Right now, many, and I mean MANY people not only on the West coast, but around the United States and I'm pretty certain around the globe, have heavy hearts and are grieving the loss of a little boy, whose life was way too short. Even though we are grieving, it is easy for us on the outside to say, "This day sucks, but we still need to praise God for showing us what love is and for sending this child of His to spread love hope to people around the globe."

However, we are all selfish and praising God for what He has given us in a moment like this, is not easy. In fact, it might be the hardest thing I have ever done. And as I sit here, I can't even begin to imagine what his parents are experiencing. On one hand, I am happy because I know Gavin is crawling up in Heaven, with nothing attached to him, happy that there is no beeping of the heart monitor or pulse oximeter, no annoying alarms because one of his IV's has ended and the nurse needs to come in and reset it, no suctioning the vent that was helping him breathe, no sticks in the foot for daily lab draws, and no doctors thinking they know what's best for  him! However, on the other hand, and in reality, I am heart broken because I don't want his parents to experience this pain. I have wanted them to experience everything Kelsea and I have for the past few months. I have hoped and prayed that everything we have posted on Facebook they would soon get to experience as well.

At first sight, the reality sucks. How can God calling this beautiful little boy to Heaven be a much better plan that ours? Well, it might be a long time before we realize it, but His plan IS better. Being selfish, we wanted Gavin here on Earth longer than he was. However he is now sitting next to God, spending eternity in a much better place.

We can only imagine what it will be like, but Gavin is getting to experience it now! Looking at pictures that his mom had posted over the past 9 months, sometimes I smiled, sometimes I cried but no matter what, I feel that I have been blessed that our lives crossed paths with this little fighter and his family.

God places people in each other's paths for reasons we don't understand. It might be clear someday, but today it is still a mystery. One thing I do know for certain is that God brought us together for a reason and I know one day, Ryan and I are going to drink that beer(s) that we talked about. Although right now, the ending is not what we expected or hoped for, it is not the ending either.

Just because things have changed, it doesn't mean we are going to do things differently. There is an army of people around the globe who now have a stronger relationship with God and who have improved their communication skills with Him, drawing them closer and who have reevaluated their lives and their outlook on life.Just because things have changed, it doesn't mean we are going to forget everything that has happened in the past year. This family needs us and our prayers now more than ever. The decisions they have to make, the feelings they are going to experience over the next few days, weeks, months, and even years are things most of us have never experienced, but nonetheless, they need us to continue to intercede on their behalf and continue to pray that God's will, will be done.

God's plan, not ours.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Prayers to Seattle

As many of you have seen, either on my Facebook posts, Kelsea's, or my dad's, we have been asking for a lot of prayers lately, and they haven't been for us. They have been for our good friends, which we met through the Mother's of Omphalocele's  Facebook page, the Christiansen's out in Washington. I have mentioned quite a few times before and have briefly told their story and asked for the occasional prayer for them.

Well, lately, I have been asking for more than the occasional prayer. I have been asking all of our friends and family for full fledged, all-out, hard core prayers for them. A week and a half ago, their 10 month old son, after spending the first 60 days in the NICU and the past 133 days in the ICU at Seattle Children's, they had a day no parent wants to experience. They were losing their son Gavin and didn't think he was going to make it. At first, Carly didn't really say how bad things were, but I told Kelsea that I had a sinking feeling things were worse than what she was letting on in her Facebook page where she updates us all about Gavin. Through the week, her posts became more grave and serious and things were not looking good. Although nobody was ready to give up on him, I think many of us thought God was ready to call Gavin home.

It was last week that the call for prayers went out and they spread like a wildfire. It was amazing, rejuvenating, and comforting to see our friends and family, complete strangers to Carly and Ryan, put them at the front of their thoughts, even if it was for just a minute during the day. Slowly, prayers started to be answered. Over the past few days, Gavin has made remarkable strides. It was so great to even see a picture of him today. I know Gavin has not looked like himself and that is one of the hardest things for a parent to see. You child hurting and not even looking like themselves. Gavin still has a long way to go and he is by no means out of the woods yet, HOWEVER, he's fighting to get there.

We don't know what God's plan is, but I am asking each and every single one of you to please say a prayer, or continue to say a prayer for Carly, Ryan, their son Gavin, the doctors, nurses, and everybody else who has a hand on this child.  Ryan is trying to get away from work with FMLA and Carly has been in Grad school. They are an hour away from home, family, dogs and are living the hospital life. Please also pray that it be a part of God's plan that he help them financially so they can be together as a family and not worry about financial matters.

Although they have had some positive steps forward, the first in MANY days, they need more. I know they are struggling and they are worn. Even reading the positive posts, the song "Worn" comes to mind.

I am praying that God shows them a sign. Greater signs than what He has already shown them this week and let them know that God's plan is great and to continue to trust in Him.

On June 28th, 2013, I was worn. However, in my darkest hour. At my weakest point. God took care of things and showed me a glimpse of His plan. Please take a minute and read my post from that day. June 28th - Big Brother and God

I am also finishing today with by including Carly's latest posts from today. I haven't asked her for permission to repost these, but right now, I don't care if she tells me no! The following that Gavin is getting, the prayers and love that is being sent out to him, the connections and conversations people are having with our Heavenly Father are far too important. Now, as Bob brought up the other night, hopefully Gavin won't look me up in a few years with some HIPAA lawsuit!

Facebook Post from 12/10
Gavin has had a great 24 hours. He tolerated all of the medication and oscillator weans with flying colors today. Some medications were totally stopped and the labs that measure how he is doing with the oscillator weans have been great. The plan is to keep weaning as he tolerates. It would be so great to get him off of the oscillator because we will be able to get him off of the medication that keeps him paralyzed. All in all it was a 24 hour period that is worth celebrating. The medical staff has slowly started smiling more and I even saw Ryan get a high five from one of our favorite ICU doctors. We are amazed at the miracle we have been witnessing. We pray the progress continues!

Facebook post from earlier today - 12/11

This photo is Gavin's IV pole! The significance of the photo is that some of them are not lit up! Sunday they didn't have enough access for all of the meds he was on. This is visible progress. We just finished up morning rounds and everybody continues to be happy. We are making two more vent weans today as long as he tolerates them. Gavin also made the most urine he has made since this all started last week, which is so encouraging. He continues to just look so much better. His skin is pink and his pulses are better than they were last week. Also, last week his omphalocele was huge, swollen, and angry looking. Today it is smaller and less angry looking. There is a hypothesis starting that the C Diff (bacteria that causes digestive illness) Gavin tested positive for might have ca...used this. If this is true, there is even more of a miracle going on because Saturday morning I woke up and just felt like Gavin needed to go on a specific antibiotic, which just happens to treat C Diff. We had a phenomenal attending on Saturday and she listened to my intuition and put him on it. Unfortunately he didn't get a dose until late Saturday, but either way he had been getting better and Dr. Brogan said he would hedge his bets on the antibiotic I felt he needed. Everybody agrees he is getting better. Monday will be a huge milestone of the progress is still going on. Ryan and I are just blown away by this kid. He is tough as nails.

 Even though this post isn't about us, here is a picture from a few weeks ago....only because it has been so long since I have given an update on Hayden. I promise one will make it before Christmas (or New Year's Eve)!