Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Fog of War...

"Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror,
but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. 
All that I know now is partial and incomplete,
but then I will know everything completely,
just as God now knows me completely."
[1 Corinthians 13:12, NLT]

What do you when you are driving down the road at night and come upon an area of dense fog? 

Do you put the petal to the metal in hopes of getting through the valley as quickly as possible?  Do you stop, pull over, or abandon your vehicle because you are paralyzed by fear? respond as you have been taught.  You slow down.  Reduce your headlights.  Engage your fog lights - if you are equipped.  Hold the wheel firmly with a loose grip.  Focus your perspective on the white line, which acts as your guide through the unknown, uncertain and uncomfortable circumstance. 

That is exactly what we have done the last 3 weeks.  In the fog of war...we had to throttle down.  Disengage our high beams.  Seek out our fog lights (aka "wise counsel").  And focus our perspective on the guide line of our journey - the Perfect, Timeless and Absolute Truth of God's Word. 
Y'all...we were out of gas.  Our marathon was not just the last month of Jackson's surgery and now recovery.  The last 3 years of our journey have taken a devastating toll on our family physically, mentally, financially and spiritually - but in an awesome way!  Our God has taught us so much with each step...each mile...and each race!  And it has only just begun...
The Holy Spirit has nourished us through this Valley in ways that we never could have imagined!  Not just because Jackson has miraculously come through his fetal and 3 open heart surgeries and recoveries, but God's nourishment to Kelly and I has also come in the quiet unknowns and stillness of the fog.  
His Presence is our Peace.  Not His Works. 
His Promise is our Joy.  Not His Gifts.
His Power is our continued Hope, because the journey is NOT over! 

Our "wait" continues.  The reality is...Jackson only has half a heart, with a right ventricle that may eventually fail.  The uncertainty remains.  Yet we Praise God because He is our Peace, Joy and Hope!  We worship God not because of what He has done, but because of who He is!  We don't just Love the Gift...we Love the Giver! 
The world teaches us to look for a light at the end of the tunnel.  God teaches us to let His light shine IN the tunnel!  We need to stop searching for a spot light, and find peace in the candle light.  We need to stop following the flood light, and draw close to the lamp light of God's Word that guides our feet and provides true light to our path.  [Psalm 119:105]

The only way that we can be the light "in the tunnel" is to allow the Holy Spirit to restore and replenish our soul.  And this has been the priority for Kelly and I over the last two weeks since we returned home to Charlotte.  And I must share that it has been an incredible time of "replenishment". 

Don't get me wrong...these first 3 weeks of 6 in Jackson's recovery period of no running, playing, wrestling, bike or pool in 95-105 degree heat have not been easy!  But it has been a time where God has met us again and again in our weakness, brokenness and exhaustion, while providing nourishment beyond our imagination. 

Nourishment through moments of stillness - even with 3 kids in perpetual motion, and the 4th arriving in November!
Nourishment through moments of silence - even with questions being fired continually.   
Nourishment through moments of solitude - even with the demands of an ever knocking world. 

If we are to slow down in the midst of fog, we must learn to take our foot off the accelerator...and that is not always easy, especially for this young man!  We must stop trying to dig in or spend our way out of the hole that we are in.   We (and again, I am included in the "we") must stop striving to cover our weakness with our strengths, talents and abilities.  We must remain focused on the truth that only God's Grace is sufficient! 
God's power works best in our weakness...doesn't it?  Today, give your soul some replenishment found in the timeless truth of 2 Corinthians 12:9..."that I am glad to boast about my weakness, so that the power of Christ can work through me." 

The world had first crack at us, teaching us to hide our weakness, cover our brokenness, and destroy our insecurities by boasting in our strengths.  God taught us to slow down, focus and follow His Truth. 

Our limited perspective is a "puzzling reflection"...but God's Grace is sufficient!  That is why it is "All Eyes on Jesus"...

Jackson Update:
Honestly - Jackson is doing great!  A little stir crazy with cabin fever, but he is doing extremely well in his physical recovery.  Kelly and I continue to stand amazed at how the Lord continues to show favor upon our young warrior - especially in his recovery speed!  You would look at him today, and never be able to pick him out of a crowd as the one who just had open-heart surgery a month ago.  Jackson has a follow up appointment with his cardiologist in a couple of weeks, and our hope is to get the "all clear" so we can embrace our "new normal"! 

The isolation in this time of recovery has not been easy, and probably the most difficult restriction is not being able to go to church together as a family - as Jackson is not able to be in the nursery until August 1.  Our little worship leader is definitely wanting to go to "urch" and see his friends! 

{Sing me a song piano man...}

{Carter's preferred method of "replenishing"}

{When it's too hot to play gotta get creative!} 

To be honest...our TV blew up while we were in PA for Jack's surgery, so we had to purchase a new TV upon our return home.  No - the kids did not get their prayers answered for a 3-D TV!  Technically they did...but, "NO" was not the answer they were hoping for! 

{This is the only time our little man is ever "still"...}

{Jackson's favorite meal...a hot dog at 5 Guys!}

{Sporting our new "Heart Camp" T-shirts...thanks Nurse Jo-Jo!}

{Our little superheros!  Yes - Elmo is a superhero in this house...} 

{Even though Jackson can't go to the pool, you can't keep these 2 "fishes" away...}

Looking at these pictures reminds me of our good friend's (who is a dentist) perspective and "theory" that "there are those who heal well and those who don't, and Jackson is definitely one who heals well!" Though that may be true...we believe it has everything to do with the power of prayer! So to all of you who are continuing to cover Jack-Jack in prayer...Thank You!  God is hearing and answering our prayers! 

All Eyes on Jesus... 

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