Thursday, June 25, 2015

Jon's Having An Unplanned MRI....

Hello there.
Yes, you. The one who chose to read this blog, knowing it's about Jon and his brain tumor journey.  Thanks for being here.  Still.
It's been awhile since I've written on this topic.  I'm sitting here trying to figure out why that is.  It's not because there's nothing to say.  I think it's because we got tired of talking about it.  Or maybe we thought you were tired of hearing about it.  Hmmm... Not sure.  Well, regardless, we're here again, asking for prayer.

For the past little while, Jon has not been feeling his best.  Several times while walking up the stairs, he has tripped or lost his balance.  Then a few weeks ago, Jon fell off of a ladder. (Jon has always had really great balance.  I mean, he even climbed Mt Whitney last year, post surgery!  So this is not "normal" for him.)   A few days after his fall, he put in a really long, physically intense work day in Mexico where he led our church on a trip to build a house for a family in need.  Since that day, his body has been completely worn out and has not been able to recover.  Anyway, there are some other issues he has been experiencing, but the bottom line is his Neurosurgeon has decided he would like to do an MRI to see if the tumor is growing again and causing these issues.  (His routine MRI was not scheduled for several more months)
So tonight, at 9pm, Jon is going to the hospital for his MRI.

I will be honest for Jon here.  (I think he'll give me this freedom)  :)  Jon does't know which he is more scared of:
1) the possibility that they find something in the MRI
2) the possibility that they will find nothing in the MRI, but instead, they'll tell Jon this is just his 'new normal.'

Either way, he's scared.  Would you pray for him?  Ultimately, of course our prayer is that they find NOTHING bad in this MRI.  Our prayer is always that the tumor would be gone!  And at the same time, we continue to pray for healing from what is going on.  Complete healing.  Healing in Jon's balance, his endurance, his strength...  Healing for his eye, his facial paralysis, even his hearing.  God is able!

Thank you.
Thank you for praying.  Again.  And again.

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever!  Amen.  - Ephesians 3:20

Monday, June 1, 2015

One of THE Best Gifts You Can Give Your Child....

The week before my wedding, my dad and I were on a lunch date and he looked at me and said, "Deanna, is there anything you wish I would have done better as a parent?  Is there anything I need to apologize for?"  "Hmmm.." I thought for a moment, "I wish you would have put me in sports. You saw I had musical talent and so that is all you encouraged me toward.  But I wish I would have also been encouraged toward being an athlete."  He looked at me with kind eyes and said, "You're right.  I am so sorry your mom and I didn't do that.  Will you forgive me?"  I laughed a little, as clearly this wasn't something that he needed forgiveness for.  Thinking through 21 years of growing up, and my one complaint was that my parents encouraged me toward what was clearly a special gift and didn't encourage me toward what was clearly not my gift?  I'd say we were doing alright.  ;)

The profound thing in that lunchtime moment, was that the question my dad asked me was absolutely, completely normal in our home.  My dad and mom would always check in with us.  They would always be seeking to 'right' any 'wrongs.'  I have such beautiful memories of my dad or mom walking into my room, sitting on my bed, and saying, "I'm so sorry for how I reacted in ---- situation today.  Will you forgive me?"  Or "I didn't handle ---- fairly today.  I'm so sorry.  Will you forgive me?"  There was no pride.  And if there was ever a moment when pride would try to sneak in, it was openly talked about.  I remember a few times my mom was struggling to admit fault in a situation where she clearly was in the wrong.  She kind of talked in circles and I remember my dad saying, "I feel like we're on the show 'Happy Days' and The Fonz won't admit he's wrong.  You know how he has to stutter it out "I was wr-wr-wr-wr-wrong."  We all laughed and that became a "thing" in our family for my mom.  If she would ever find herself talking in circles, trying to justify something she had done, she would pause and go, "OK.  I was wr-wr-wr-wr-wrong."   We laughed. And loved. And offered grace.

As a mom of 4 today, I now marvel at the incredible display of honesty, intentionality, and humility my dad and mom parented with.  When I think of the gifts I want to pass down to my kids, these rank on the top of the list.

This past week, Jon and I called a family meeting with our party of 6.  We had been sensing tension in our home.  Not a lot of patience, bad tone of voice, getting angry quick... the list of what we were seeing/experiencing was getting long.  We were definitely in need of a re-boot.  We sat down as a family and Jon and I started out by apologizing.  We confessed the areas where we were not being the best of who we are.  (impatient, frustration turning to anger, overreacting...) We gave specific instances.  We asked for their forgiveness.  Then we talked about the tone of our home and what we were seeing in the kids interactions with each other and us.  The kids joined the conversation and talked about where they thought they could improve - even apologizing to each other and us.  We set out a new plan.  Reminded ourselves of who we want to be.  And then we prayed together, asking God to help us to live that out.

The gift of humility in parenting is so important and so beautiful.  Our kids need to know we are not perfect.  They need to know that we need forgiveness just as much as they do.  They need to know that when they mess up, we are a safe place to come to and confess it.  Because we understand the desperation for grace.
And when we prove to be a safe, loving, grace-giver, we teach them to be safe, loving, grace-givers.  And this world begins to heal.  One person at a time.  One relationship at a time.
But it starts with me.  And you.
Maybe in a family meeting in your living room.
Or maybe at a coffee shop a week before your daughter's wedding.
It's never too late.  And it's never too early.

....Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me...