Saturday, August 17, 2013

14 Hours Of Miracles!

In the last 14 hours, two miracles have happened in our family.  Two Miracles.  I am overwhelmed.  The first miracle involves her:

Hopey turns 8 years old on September 5th and remains completely non-verbal.  This morning, she awoke EARLY and started playing with her angel (yep, it's a real angel that none of the rest of us can see---if you're ever around Hopey for a long period of time, you'll witness it yourself).  She was running all over the house giggling and playing when ALL OF A SUDDEN, she said:  "Where is it?"  followed by:  "There it is!"  and a whole bunch of giggles.  My heart just about popped out of my chest.  She hasn't said anything since, but God is answering our prayers.  Hopey is going to speak! 

The second miracle involves him:
who looked like THIS exactly one year ago after breaking two bones in his arm after a scrimmage:


It happened just before Caleb's junior season....he missed every game and was only able to play in a single play-off game.  Over the 3 months that it took his arm to heal, Caleb battled depression as he considered, for the first time, that his dreams of playing college football might not come true. 

But ever the athlete, he worked diligently this summer to rehabilitate (thank you Axel Burgos!):

Last night, in a full pre-season scrimmage in Tullahoma, TN, Caleb completed 12 of 15 passes and threw just shy of 300 yards in the first quarter and a half of the game.  The coach then put the second string quarterback into the game.  Caleb, in the first quarter and a half completed three touchdown throws.  The score when they pulled him was 34-3. 

The miracle wasn't the athletic feat of Caleb last night, even though that was amazing.  The miracle for me was in seeing Caleb's face after the game.  God allowed Caleb's faith to be tested last year, and while Caleb wrestled with God as he stood on the sideline last year with a cast on his arm, he ultimately made the decision to preservere with much faith, with dedication, and with hard work.....trusting God....and believing He has a plan and purpose for all things.   

For football fans, here is film from last night's miracle:    

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A Friend Called 'Harley'

You would all be proud of Natalie.  Your prayers for her are being answered.  Each time I hear from her by letter or talk to her on the phone, she speaks of how God is doing amazing things in her she is learning to place the burdens of her heart upon Him....and how she is giving herself permission to receive His healing from past abuse and neglect that happened in a Russian orphanage when she was just a little girl. 

Life is a process, isn't it?  Many days I have wished God had chosen to make us all like Samantha of 'Bewitched'.  Wouldn't it be nice to have the capability to change things or erase things with a simple wiggle of our chin?  "Wiggle"....erase the fact that I'm hurting.  "Wiggle"...erase the harsh words I just spoke.   "Wiggle"....well, you get the picture. 

But God, in His wisdom, decided we needed to learn life's lessons through the hard stuff.  And, as always, He was correct.  The heartaches we go through, indeed, are often blessings in disguise.  Those bumps in our proverbial life path are what teach us to preservere, to have faith, to cling to God, and to realize how much we NEED our Savior.  Natalie is now facing a bump in her life's path because of a friend called Harley.  Here is the story:

Recently, Natalie earned the responsibility of caring for the horses at the therapeutic boarding school where she is temporarily residing.  And with that responsibility came JOY!  It has been a long time since I've heard a spark in Natalie's voice, so when I heard it, I basked in it.  Oh, so thankful to God for those horses she was getting to care for each morning.  One particular horse, Harley, she talked about...and talked about....and talked about.  This horse followed her around like a puppy dog and would nudge her in the back whenever she would pay attention to any other horse.  Natalie giggled when she talked about Harley.  I could "hear" the smile in Natalie's voice.  I smiled with her.  I thanked God for Harley.  I even wondered how Natalie would leave the boarding school without Harley.  I began thinking of how we might need to bring Harley home WITH Natalie.  ha! ha!

This morning, I received the following email from the boarding school:

I wanted to let all of you know of something that happened this past week so if your daughter needs to talk about it with you, you will know what happened.

15 months ago today a baby horse, Harley, was born here at the school. At three months she spooked and did a back flip and hurt her neck and caused a slight vision problem. We kept hoping and praying that we could work her through this.

We did not know it at first but then came to realize that she was born with a club foot. We always wondered why she had to do a giraffe stretch to get her head down to eat grass. Her body could not stay lined up (chiropractically speaking) and this was causing constant issues and continual pains. We kept the ferrier, vet, and chiropractic vet helping her and watching her. She could not turn her head back to reach herself when she needed to itch, she could not lift her legs to help either. This past week when we went out to brush her, she could not pick up her back leg which was one of her good legs. She just drug it behind her.

It was not fair to keep her in constant sufferings. She was never going to be pain free, never going to grow out of her deformities, and never would be able to be ridden.

No matter how much we wanted to keep her and love her, it was not fair to her. We had to do what was best for her and she was put to sleep yesterday. This was a very hard decision but one that had to be done. Our house is sad but this is part of life. I wanted to let all of you know.
My heart is breaking for Natalie.  And yet I know God saw this "bump" all those days when Natalie was lovingly brushing Harley, when Harley was following her around like a puppy....and perhaps He giggled along with Natalie when Harley would nudge her back saying:  "I still want your attention!"  God sees it all.  He knows it all. 
And as I've cried a river over a horse I don't even know this morning, three things have stuck out in my head:  
1.  how awesome is it that Natalie never noticed that Harley had special needs? She never once mentioned it.   She simply loved her.  And think about it, Natalie has special needs as well.  And Harley didn't notice.  What a beautiful picture the two of them made of God's perfect love for all of us....His children!!! 
2.  I reached out to this therapeutic boarding school a little more than a year ago when Natalie first began to show the extreme signs of Reactive Attachment Disorder....and that would've been just around the time of Harley's accident.  At the time, I knew in my heart this was the place for Natalie, but I just wasn't ready to let go and let her get care so far away from home.  
3.  and what strikes me the most, is that Harley LIVED in spite of her neck injury, the problem with her eyesight, and the club foot....she lived long enough to meet and become Natalie's buddy.  The truth is, Natalie should've been at that school a year ago when the Lord first led me in that direction, but my own fear caused me to chase after avenues that were more pleasing to me....I was driven by my desire to keep Natalie either at home or as close to home as possible.  But God spared Harley.  He kept her going through all of her pain until she could meet the one she was created for.   
Some may think I am nuts, but yes, I honestly believe when God created Natalie, He saw ahead at all the struggles she would face and placed a horse called Harley on her life's path....and when Harley came into the world, I believe He whispered secrets to her about Natalie, the little girl that she was to love and follow around like a puppy.  I believe we serve a God who is that big, who is that creative, and who is that amazing.  Afterall, how else would you explain that fact that Harley is the one who helped Natalie find her spark of joy again?   
Please pray for Natalie as she grieves....and pray that she will continue to grow and blossom into the incredible young woman God created her to be.  
As for me, I will forever be grateful for Natalie's friend called "Harley".
"God gives.  God takes.  God's name be ever blessed!"  (Job 1:21)