He is coming!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

It's the week before Thanksgiving. Christmas is right around the corner, and it's time for me to begin planning our family's Advent season. This morning, before school, I was telling Liam how many days of school are left before Thanksgiving break. Then I told him it will be Advent! He asked "what is Advent?" This gave me pause. He's six, so he hasn't heard the word thrown around by itself--only with the terms Advent Calendar and Advent Activities. So, I explained, Advent is us waiting. We are waiting for Jesus to be born. Waiting for Him to come to save the world. He looked at me and smiled and scampered off.

"I don't want a Christmas you can buy. I don't want a Christmas you can make. What I want is a Christmas you can hold. A Christmas that holds me, makes me, revives me. I want a Christmas that whispers, Jesus" Ann Voskamp

Yes. This. This is what I want for our Advent season. I want our actions to whisper His name, to get us excited that He is coming. Bill and I talked about buying a Wii U for the boys and for Bill for Christmas this year. For our family, that kind of gift is considered fairly extravagant. We figured out a way to get the extra money without it causing a burden to our budget. Yet, I felt unease. Please don't misunderstand me, I think it's fine to buy extravagant gifts at Christmas. Last year, my goal was to blow Bill's mind with presents because gifts are his love language. However, I don't think Christmas needs to focus on outdoing the previous year. We decided now is not the time to give them this present. Instead, now is the time to teach my munchkins the joy of giving--the character building of waiting for something, saving for it, wanting it. I want to teach them about the opportunity to be counter-cultural. More than anything, I want them to be waiting for Jesus.

Stay tuned for the beginning of Advent!

Brendan and the Knee

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ever since I have known Bill, he has suffered from arthritis. He told me that he had Juvenile Arthritis as a child. Every spring and fall I watch him quietly dealing with the pain in his knees, ankles, and hands. He tosses and turns at night while he tries to "steal my heat" to bring warmth to his aching joints.

Almost two weeks ago, Brendan complained about his knee aching. We looked at it and it was swollen. We assumed he had hurt it somehow, and gave him some ibuprofen and iced it. He managed to trick or treat on Thursday, but I ended up carrying him for the second half of it but that's not unusual. He loves to be carried and since he's my baby, I will oblige until I cannot any longer. There's a good chance I'm going to end up with a bicep  on my right arm to rival Arnold Schwarzenegger and scoliosis from him sitting on my hip, but it's worth it.

His knee stayed swollen but he didn't complain about it. Monday, Bill's mom noticed he grimaced as he got up and called Bill to tell him it was really swollen (we were both at work). Bill got him a doctor's appointment and I visited Dr. Google. The very first thing to come up was Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. My heart sank. I think God was preparing me for what the pediatrician had to say. After looking him over, she was confident it was juvenile arthritis and referred us to a pediatric rheumatologist at the Children's hospital.

I called and made an appointment. They couldn't get us in until the middle of January. Our pediatrician called and got us in within 2 days. My heart cried out to Jesus, our Great Physician, that he would heal my baby boy. I asked my friends and family to do the same. I didn't want to watch my baby suffer the way his Papa has. The day before his appointment I had to carry him around much of the day. His knee hurt and he even said to me at one point, "I hate this day." My heart hurt and my worry increased.

We went to the rheumatologist and she looked him over and said it was too early to diagnose him with arthritis--he needed to be swollen for 6 weeks. She requested a million blood tests (which he was A CHAMP for) and X-rays, and also insisted that we see an ophthalmologist because it shows up in the eyes as well. They told us we might not get the results back for 1-3 weeks. Normally this would have made my anxiety level skyrocket. However, I truly believe that God gave me peace during the waiting. The only sign of stress was an increase in eating my feelings--I may have had a few pieces of Halloween candy, the best cupcake known to man, and a giant plate of pulled pork nachos. What can I say?...Trust me, it could've been much much worse. We continued to pray and I knew there was a possibility that God would choose not to heal him. But, I knew that no matter what happened, God was good and He was the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. We went to the ophthamologist and everything looked good. His leg, however, stayed swollen.

Yesterday I got a call from the nurse. He told me that Brendan's blood tested positive for a bacterial organism that causes infectious arthritis. A round of strong antibiotics should knock it out. It may take a few weeks for the swelling to go down, but it should completely clear up. I am so incredibly thankful that it's not Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. I can see God's hand in all of this--from getting us in to see the doctor so quickly (we found out while we were there that a conference the rheumatologist was going to was cancelled, so she decided to have office hours--thus us getting in so quickly), to them testing for the right bacteria, to the results coming back quickly and being treatable. I am thankful that God chose to heal him. And more than anything, I am thankful that God has given me friends who love Him, that I can go to and ask to meet me at His Throne.

Is that not the cutest face you've ever seen?