I broke both of my arms last Spring and was unable to do anything for myself, my family or my home for several weeks. I was a little out of it from the pain medicine and completely forgot to pay Connor’s insurance policy. Connor was attending a school for kids on the Autism spectrum that cost over $4,000 a month. We only paid a portion of the monthly fee because his health insurance paid for the rest of it. Connor was on a Cobra policy and was immediately dropped from the policy when they didn’t receive payment. I was devastated! I began crying out to the Lord for help and praying for wisdom as to what to do with Connor.
It was during this time that we took him to see a Functional Neurologist in Dallas in July 2015. He diagnosed Connor with PANDAS, which, according to the PANDAS network:
“PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections) occurs when strep triggers a misdirected immune response results in inflammation on a child’s brain. In turn, the child quickly begins to exhibit life-changing symptoms such as OCD, anxiety, tics, personality changes, a decline in math and handwriting abilities, sensory sensitivities, restrictive eating, and more. PANDAS Network estimates that PANDAS/PANS affects as many as 1 in 200 children.”
Connor was also diagnosed with Autoimmune Encephalitis. The Autoimmune Encephalitis Alliance defines it as “a rare and serious condition in which the immune system attacks the brain, resulting in impaired brain function.”
The part brain of Connor’s brain that was affected is the part that controls his motor function. His gross motor, fine motor, speech, and language were all affected. We also learned that Connor had about nine different eye conditions. He couldn’t focus, his eyes weren’t equally yoked, and he couldn’t visually track just to name a few problems.
The most heartbreaking part of all of this is that he had been living with all of this for 15 years! He did not get diagnosed until the age of 16. After years of going to doctor after doctor, Connor was misdiagnosed with PDD-NOS, an Autism spectrum disorder. We are so thankful for the brilliant doctor who finally correctly diagnosed Connor, and we began treatment shortly thereafter.
Connor began weekly IVIG treatments. According to Medscape, “Immune globulin products from human plasma were first used in 1952 to treat immune deficiency. Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) contains the pooled immunoglobulin G (IgG) immunoglobulins from the plasma of approximately a thousand or more blood donors. Initially, immune globulin products were administered by intramuscular injection.”
IVIG is a miraculous drug! Connor received weekly home infusions, and we started to notice a difference in Connor almost immediately. IVIG is a very expensive drug, to the tune of almost $6,000 a month and it is not covered by insurance. For Connor’s condition, it is considered to be an experimental treatment.
After six months of treatment, Connor had his last treatment on Mother’s Day 2016. He has to be off the medicine for 8 weeks before he can be re-tested to see if the antibody is still present in his brain. In the interim, Connor is in Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Vision Therapy, swimming and golf lessons.
Connor is an entirely different person then he was a year ago. We are so thankful for the accurate diagnosis and treatment that he has received. Please continue to pray for our sweet little man and that Connor’s brain would be completely healed. To God be the glory!
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us!” -Ephesians 3:20
Last weekend, I cleaned out my closet. I don’t know why the prospect of cleaning it out is so hard for me, or why I waited so long to actually clean it! My closet was a disaster. I could barely hang anything in it, and there were clothes and shoes strewn all around.
Sometimes, I really have a hard time letting go of things that belong to me.
Maybe it has something to do with growing up with a post-depression era Mother. As a child growing up, we didn’t have a lot of excesses, and I can still hear my mom say, “Don’t throw that away. We may need it someday.” I think that is the attitude that I still have toward my clothing. Maybe I will wear it again, or if I just lose a few pounds that outfit will fit really nice. “Don’t get rid of it, you might want to wear that again someday,” I tell myself. And sometimes, that someday never comes, and so things are there taking up space, making it difficult for me to find things I really want to wear because I can’t see through the clutter.
How many times in life do we miss out on God’s best for our life, because we clench things so tightly with our fists that we don’t let go and make room for God to bless us?
I wonder what blessings that I have missed out along the way because I was holding on too tightly to things, or feelings and emotions, or sins like jealousy or envy.
Back to my closet: My husband and boys helped me clean out my closet. They would pick things up, and say “Mom, the 90’s called and they want their clothes back!” It was straightforward for them to see what was faded, stained, or things I no longer wear. It took us the entire day to clean out my closet. Wouldn’t it have been easier on the whole family if I would’ve just periodically cleaned out my closet along the way? Or take a hard look at what was cluttering my closet?
On a different level, what about the sin that is cluttering my heart and my life?
It’s easy for us to make judgments toward other people. It’s easy to compare ourselves and say “well, I am better than that person because I don’t _____.” But our own sin clouds our hearts and minds and keeps us from living the abundant life God has called us to live.
” Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” -Matthew 7:3-5
Just like cleaning out my closet, sometimes it is easier for other people to see what I don’t see. Lord, please help me to see what is obvious to others, help me to let go of whatever holds me back from living for You completely. Help me deal with the sin in my heart, before it gets so cluttered that I can’t contain the mess.
Cleaning out my closet was a very liberating experience. I can now walk in and find exactly what I am looking for, and I also have room left to add a few new pieces. The Bible is full of verses detailing God’s great blessings for our lives.
For example, in Philippians 4:19 (ESV), Paul writes, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
If God will take care of everything I need according to his riches, then why would I want to hold on so tightly to things, attitudes, behavior, sin, that keep me from God’s best in my life?
Lord, help me not to judge others but help me become a better judge of my own condition!
Last week, a terrible storm blew through Houston, and it left many people who live in my area of Northwest Houston devastated by flood waters. Hundreds of people had to be evacuated by boat in this historic storm. Many homes were inundated by several feet of water. This unnamed storm seemed to come out of nowhere, and the damage took everyone by surprise. The storms in life will come, and when they do, how will we respond?
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” – James 1
We are to be joyful, even in the midst of our trials. I witnessed exactly that this weekend in the aftermath of last week’s devastating storms. My son Ian and I were sent out with a prayer team from our church to pray for and with flood victims. I was amazed to see a man who a few days early had two feet of water in his home, and all of his family’s belongings destroyed to have a smile on his face. He was joyful, in spite of his circumstances, because he knew that the Lord was faithful and that He would carry them through the trials and tribulations of life.
Our church sent over a 1000 people out into the community on Saturday to love on people, pray with people, share the gospel, and help them tear out sheetrock, carpet, baseboards, and ruined furniture. Teams were sent out to all areas of town to help people in the affected neighborhoods. I am so grateful to be a part of a church that loves God and loves people—love them in their need and where they are hurting. We were being given T-shirts that said: “The Church has left the building.” What a beautiful picture of the hands and feet of Jesus!
It is the trials that we face, that test our faith, and that testing produces steadfastness, and when it has its full effect, we lack nothing. So my question for you, friend, is this: how will you respond when the storms of life take you by surprise? Will you count it all joy?
Raucous thunder and electrifying lightning filled the sky here in the Houston area on Sunday evening. The light show it produced and the amount of noise felt like we were on the front lines of a major battle. The storms were relentless. After many hours with no electricity and by the time the rain finally subsided we were left with a city ravaged by flood waters. It made me think about Noah—I can’t imagine experiencing the wrath of God for 40 days of constant destructive storms.
God told Noah to built a boat, and in Genesis 7:5 it says, “And Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him.” The Lord saw that men were wicked and evil, and He was sorry that he made man. God found favor with Noah because Noah lived his life differently than everyone else in the world at that time. So God made a covenant with Noah, spared the earth from complete destruction, and promised that He would never destroy the world with flood waters again. Thank you God!
There are many lessons that we can learn from the story of Noah. Noah lived counter-culturally, and because he did, God spared the entire world! The evil people perished, and God saved a remnant of Noah’s family, spared the animals’ lives, and did not completely destroy the earth all because of Noah. Noah was far from perfect, but Noah was faithful.
In our world today we are again at a point in time where there is much evil, and atrocities are occurring across the globe at breakneck speed. In the midst of this perverse generation, we need more people like Noah. People who are faithful to God, people who listen to God and are obedient to God. Not perfect people, not people that don’t mess up or have it all together, but people who are willing to listen to God and obey.
After 40 days and 40 nights of torrential rain, the flood subsides and God remembers Noah, but the flood waters were not abated for another 150 days. So Noah waited on God. He trusted God’s faithfulness, and knew that God would guide him. The storms of life will come. How will we respond?
It is my prayer that I will learn to listen and obey God more everyday. That I would care less about what the others think or what they do, and choose to live my life in obedience to God, even if that means living counter-cultural and doing things that other people think are weird. That I would follow hard after Him, and that I would be found faithful.
My friend, are you listening for that still small voice in a world screams loud? Will you be found faithful? And will you wait on God through the storms of life?
After spending the night away with my husband Peter at a nearby retreat. I awoke to a beautiful sunrise and headed home bright and early to start the day with my children. We live near a major city and morning traffic can be pretty hectic. In fact, we have terrible traffic almost any time of the day or night! As I admired the beautiful landscape God created for me to enjoy in the sky that morning, I noticed that I was low on gas, but I was in a hurry to get home to my kids.
I got home and spent a few precious moments with my eldest son before he headed out the door to school. I cherish each moment I have with him because I know they are fleeting. He is a junior in the Honor’s College of a local University, where he carries a full load of classes and heads up several extra-curricular activities all the while juggling an internship at a consulting firm, and the affections of a young lady.
Shortly after he leaves, my youngest son gets up and comes downstairs to snuggle up next to me on the sofa. There he finds me under my favorite fuzzy blanket enjoying a piping hot cup of coffee. We enjoy some snuggle time, and then I start working on a bible study I am piloting for a sweet friend of mine before she sends it out to be published. He leaves me to enjoy my quiet time and begins working on his homeschooling.
Becoming engrossed in the biblical truths that God is revealing to me, time flies by. I love to study God’s word. I am somewhat of a bible study geek. Meanwhile, my middle son is upstairs hibernating in his bed like bear battening down for a long winter’s nap. He is a seventeen-year-old with special needs, and requires a lot of sleep, and is generally pretty slow rolling in the morning.
Ian informs me that it is already 10:30. We both realize that we have just a few minutes to fly out the door to get Connor to his weekly 11:00 o’clock therapy appointment. Remember, I said we live in a major city, and there is substantial traffic all the time, and the facility he receives therapy at is 17 miles away from our house.
Ian and I work together to help Connor get up and dressed and out the door in record time. We jump in the car, and off we go. As I set the navigation system for Connor’s therapy facility, it tells me we should arrive a few minutes late. The dinging sound on my dashboards reminds me that I have only 28 miles of gas left. I know we don’t have time to stop, we are already running late. I reason that we have 28 miles of gas, and we only 17 miles to go and that we can get gas on our way home.
I drop Connor off for his therapy appointment, an hour later Connor comes out to the car with his therapist, and she tells us what a great job he did today, and she gives us a few things we can work on at home.
Headed home to grab some lunch, and finish up our schoolwork for the day, we get back on the congested tollway that takes us home. I begin thinking, what are we going to have for lunch? Since I was gone the night before, I hadn’t taken the time to plan out our lunch.
Just then the phone rings, and it is my husband. He calls to tell me about the leadership meeting he attended that morning. We are chatting away, and before you know it, we are almost home. We catch a train near our house, and while we are sitting there, I decided that I am going to take the kids to the club for lunch near our house. We like eating at the club. The food is good, it is never crowded, and it is only .08 miles from the house.
I pull into the parking lot, tell my husband I love him and to enjoy his lunch, and hang up the phone. I get a great parking spot, but I am parked a little crooked. So I go to back up and attempt to park a little straighter, but the car dies. What? Why did my car die? I have a new car that is pretty maintenance free. It gives me a powertrain warning on my dashboard. I panic, and call my husband back, as I am trying to explain to him what is going on, it hits me. I have run out of gas!
I had driven 35 miles on the freeway to therapy and back, sat in my car with it running for over an hour, all with less than 28 miles of gas. I completely forgot to get gas, and here I was safe and sound in a parking spot. God had perfectly provided a safe arrival for the boys and I. We did not get stranded along the road, entering or exiting on the freeway, at a toll booth or the at the train tracks. In God’s perfect provision, his angels watched over us, and we arrived safe and sound.
“For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” – Psalm 91:11
Isn’t good to know that God’s angels watch over you?