August 31, 2012

Give Thanks to the Lord

Psalm 107 came to my attention recently. I read through it, and read through it again. As I read through it for the 3rd time a theme begun to jump out. "Give thanks to the Lord." It says that 4 times. I read it again, and realized that each time the people give thanks, it is in response to deliverance. "He delivered them" 4 times.

1. The Lord Delivered Them From Wandering Aimlessly (Psa 107:4-9)
"Some wandered in desert wastes" - Many people wander aimlessly through life. Not knowing where to turn or what to do with their lives. They set out in search of whatever they can find. There is no solid foundation. They believe whatever philosophy or religion feels right at the time. Truth is whatever feels good at the moment. The other day I tried to build a sandcastle at the beach. I knew the tide was still coming in, but I built close to the water anyway. It didn't take long for the waves to begin to destroy my walls. Within 30 minutes there was no trace of my work left.

When we wander aimlessly through life, that is what happens. Everything we think we have built will be destroyed by the first waves of adversity that come crashing in around us.

2. The Lord Delivered Them From Darkness (Psa 107:10-16)
"Some sat in darkness" - Other people just sit, as if blind, in their own ignorance. We allow politicians, comedians, and movie and TV producers to feed our minds. We don't think for ourselves. That's to much work. Read a book? Learn? Have my own opinion? Why would I take the time to do that when I can just get it from the latest sitcom?

The psalmist tells us that those who sat in darkness eventually "bowed their hearts down with hard labor, they fell down, with none to help." We can't let the world think for us. We mustn't just sit back and allow our hearts and minds to be influenced by worldly philosophies. We have to learn to feed ourselves, to think for ourselves, and to make wise decisions based on God's standards given to us in His Word.

3. The Lord Delivered Them From Sin (Psa 107:17-22)
"Some were fools through their sinful ways" - The ways of the world are attractive to our humanity. It's far to easy to get pulled into the sinful things of this world. If we wander aimlessly through life, if we allow the philosophies of the world to control our thinking, we will become as fools through our sinful ways.

It is so important to know and follow the commands God has given to us in His Word. God doesn't create a set of rules to make our life hard. The rules are meant to set us free! We have freedom within the boundaries of God's love for us. That should be exciting for us to know that God cares enough to give us guidelines that are meant to protect us from harm.

4. The Lord Delivered Them From The Pursuit of Worldly Wealth (Psa 107:23-31)
"Some went down to the sea in ships" - The psalmist goes on to describe the sea merchants who trade their goods in the marketplace. The Bible says "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?" (Matthew 16:26) You can spend your entire life working for wealth. But earthly wealth is fleeting. It can disappear in a vapor over night. Worldly wealth gives us a sense of ownership and entitlement. I worked hard, so I deserve it!

But the Bible teaches that we are to store up our treasures in heaven. "Where your treasure is there will your heart be also." (Matthew 6:21) Be careful that you don't get caught up in the lie of worldly wealth.

In each of these 4 examples, we see that the Lord was able to deliver! That's the good news! No matter how helpless you feel, or how hopeless it seems, the Lord will deliver you, if you will let Him! "Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress." God longs to have you join Him, to be a part of His amazing family. Through Jesus Christ we each have the opportunity to be adopted into His family. Are you feeling trapped? Do you feel like you are wandering in the desert? Sitting in darkness? Sining like a fool? Or chasing worldly wealth? Then why not stop right now and cry out to the Lord. He will deliver you, and give you strength and courage to do what's right.

"Let them thank the Lord for His steadfast love."

August 30, 2012

Another Month!

Last time I updated you we had received word that Garren's Medicaid would be extended to the end of August. Since tomorrow is the last day of August, I'm sure you're wondering what's going on? Well we have one more month! Because some of the paperwork is still in process, they are extending Medicaid coverage through the end of September. As far as I'm concerned, they can keep processing paperwork as long as they want!

We are also in the process of applying for CAP-C, which is a county level version of Medicaid (at least that's how I understand it). This extra month should buy us enough time to get through the approval process for this. Our prayer has been for uninterrupted nursing coverage for Garren, and so far that has been the answer - Praise God!

Last week we took a family vacation to the beach. Garren has been begging to go to the beach since he came home from the hospital last summer. Finally we were at a place where we could make it happen. Even though I missed a lot of time with my family due to a major church issue that I was dealing with, we had a great time.

The kids are back in school. Garren is going 5 days a week now. He has been assigned an assistant again this year. But this time Garren is mostly on his own. The assistant doesn't sit next to him in class, and doesn't escort him between classes. Garren is getting back into the social life of a high schooler. Nancy and I are very proud of the progress he is making. The other night I found out he was texting with some girls! Awesome! That's my boy!

We still continue to pray for Garren to swallow. Some encouraging news. Nancy spoke with a speech therapist a couple of weeks ago who said that she had worked with a patient several years earlier with a similar problem as Garren. She said that after 3 years, the patient started swallowing again. That gives us hope. And hope is what we all need, right?

Thanks for your prayers.

August 09, 2012

Medicaid, Moving On, and a Fire in the Oven

It's official. We got the letter in the mail yesterday:

"Medicaid for Garren will terminate effective 08/31/2012..."

What does this mean? Up until now Medicaid has been covering the costs of night nursing, medical supplies, and therapy. Our primary insurance will cover 20 therapy visits a year , and since I've been able to work with Garren at home we will be able to stretch those visits out. Nancy has already started scouring the internet for paces to buy food and other supplies at the lowest prices possible. As far as the nights go - once Garren goes to sleep, he doesn't need much attention. The big issue is that since he is unable to swallow, he could aspirate on his own saliva while sleeping. But recently he's been coughing less and less, so we are going to take turns sleeping in his room. If he needs something one of us will be right there to help.

Throughout the last 18 months, we've rejoiced when things were taken away: when they took out all the tubes and wires as they moved him out of PICU; when they took the trach out; when we cut nursing back to only nights; as we removed machines and devices from his room because they were no longer needed. We looked at those moments and were encouraged because it meant Garren was progressing. And now, we have yet another aid being removed. Our tendency is to look at this as a bad thing. But somehow I think this may be a good thing. Maybe we don't really need Medicaid any longer? Maybe this is what it takes to push us, to show us how much farther along Garren really is than we even think?

Philippians 4:19-20 says "And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen."

This promise has proven true over and over during the last 18 months. We have never once been in need. Medical expenses, pay reductions, car problems, school expenses - these have all been taken care of in amazing ways. So we can rest assured that God has whatever is next under control. He will supply every need of ours.

So I left Garren at home alone yesterday afternoon. Nancy was with her parents, and I took Kelsey with me to work. My phone rang and it was Garren calling from home.
"What's up Garren!"
"O, never mind, it's ok now."
"Garren, what do you mean never mind? What's going on?"
"O, well, I was cooking some chips in the oven, and they caught on fire. But it's ok now, the fire has been extinguished."

My mind was having trouble comprehending what I had just heard. Fire? Like a real fire? In the oven?

"Garren - is the oven off?"
"And the fire is out?"
"What were you doing?"

Apparently Garren had found a recipe on the internet that he wanted to try out. But, according to him, "It didn't work out so well." We made a new rule - no cooking when you are home alone! We are thankful that Garren is so adventurous, and that he and our home are all ok!

August 04, 2012

Medicaid...The Latest

Thanks for your continued prayers. We continue to be baffled by the system. It seems every time we talk to someone we get a slightly different answer, with a slightly different possible outcome.

Earlier this week, Nancy spoke with someone who was able to look at Garren's record in the database. According to the computer, there is no indication that Garren's Medicaid coverage will end. We submitted Garren's re-enrollment application, which is currently under review. We are told that Garren has coverage at least until August 31st, or until the review is complete and we receive a letter stating otherwise. So for now, we still have night nurses, for which we are very thankful.

I will keep you updated on the latest. Thanks for continuing to remember Garren in prayer as he continues to heal.