Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Prayer Requests--12/04/07

I wanted to give everyone an update on our situation with James (sorry it has been so long).

1. About a month or two ago James got pneumonia. We caught it before it got bad and so the healing process didn't take very long. However, he learned to despise food during the time when he was sick. About two weeks after healing from pneumonia it seemed like he was starting to like eating agian. However, this was short lived. Right now we are struggling to get him to eat more than 8 ounces of milk a day (he should be eating this much in one meal). We try and push the baby food, but he refuses that as well. His eating has gotten much worse over the past 3 days or so--he will drink maybe two ounces at a feeding. As soon as he eats the little that he does, he starts flaking out as if his limbs were being ripped from his body. We are going to contact the speech pathologist to see if there is anything that can be done. We are not sure why he is rejecting food like he is. We are not sure if it hurts to eat and swallow, or whatever. Pray that the Lord would help James in this area.

2. Because James is eating so little in the day, he is waking in the middle of the night at least 5 times a week. He usually goes to sleep at about 10:00 pm or so, wakes up around 2:30 am for about an hour and a half to only eat an ounce, and then goes back to sleep until about 6:30 am to be up for the day. I am in the thick of school--my finals are next week and so Kristal and I both are really getting worn out. On average we both get about 4-6 hours of sleep every night. At night we have tried to force feed him so that he will sleep the whole night, but as you may know, this is just making him hate his food more and more. Especially pray that the Lord would grant Kristal rest. She is such a good mom--she is so good with James, but she is getting worn thin.

3. Also, James refuses to eat or sleep with anyone but Kristal. For some reason, he simply will not eat or sleep when anyone else is holding him. This means that when he wakes up in the middle of the night, if Kristal is not holding him he completely unravels and is up screaming for hours. The other day Kristal and I left to go on a date and had to come home two hours after leaving because James literally wouldn't settle down. We are happy that James finally has something that sooths him (his mom), but Kristal is getting run down. Pray for Kristal and I that we might get more sleep. Especially pray for Kristal--I am the sort who sleeps heavy and so I need less sleep--she is a light sleeper and so requires much more than me.

4. Also, pray for James' head size. Since day 1 the doctors have been telling us that James is at high risk for having slow development. This is already a reality considering the fact that he is almost 8 months old and can barely lift his own head. One of the concerns has been that the brain injury could cause his brain to not grow as it should. Every time we go to the doctor they measure his head. It appears as if his head growth is starting to sort of plateau a little more than they would like. Ultimately, we do not know what this means. If his brain growth continues to plateau it could mean more development problems later in life. The thing is that they have no way of knowing how his brain will grow from this point forward. Since day one, the doctors have been telling us that James' progress and development is completely up to him (and the Lord)--there is nothing the doctors can do, and there is nothing that the doctors can predict. This is something that Kristal and I have been praying about, but it is not something that we let bother us, because there is nothing we can do about it anyway.

5. Pray for our marriage. Our struggles and trials with James have drawn us closer together. One of the effects of the fall is weariness. I have learned that nothing reveals sin in our hearts like two people working together while being dog tired. When I get my sleep I am a happy-go-lucky ultra-corny husband, but when my tank is running on empty frustration, shortness, and irritation surface. Every time I get short or irritated with Kristal I always IMMEDIATELY confess it to her and ask forgiveness. Please pray that I would never take this side of me lightly. Pray that the Lord would grant me the grace to not express frustration, and that He would continue to help me to confess it when I do. I have noticed that frustration generally subsides when it is dealt with on the spot. Also, Kristal and I desperately desire the ability to go on dates, but have been prevented because of James' refusal to be happy without mommy. Pray that the Lord would make this a possibility again. We haven't had a date since before James had pneumonia. This is not a necessity, but it sure would be nice.

6. James is officially off his muscle relaxer medicine. It took nearly two months to ween him off the stuff because it is so addictive. Much of his eating and sleep problems could very well be from withdrawals. The medicine has a half life and so is not yet completely out of his system and won't be for another week or so. Pray that his withdrawals would calm down. He usually cries and screams at night from about 5-9 pm.

7. Pray for me this next week as I have finals to take. My decision to transfer to Liberty University has proved to be a good one. I have thoroughly enjoyed my classes, and am excited to take more next semester.

8. We do have some praises:
-James is completely off his muscle relaxer medicine
-James is more active being off the medicine than he was before, and is using his muscles more. He also now desires to life his head, look around, kick his legs, and touch things.
-James is also recognizes faces better, and is now able to know when someone is talking to him.
-We are thankful for his doctors and physical therapist.
-Kristal and I have found a church and are feeling at home there.

9. The Lord has truly given Kristal and I a task by giving us James. I thank the Lord that He blessed us with James. I am especially thankful that Kristal is his mom--I am not sure I would trust many women with a child with needs like his. She is an outstanding mother with a boat-load of a love and compassion for James. I was tempted to not put any of my thoughts or prayer requests up on the blog for our situation with James because I do not want to appear as if we think we have a parenting experience worse than everyone else. I don't want to appear as though I am complaining. Truly, some of James' issues are normal 8 month old issues, however James has a lot stacked against him physically and is still in need of mega prayer. Because of James unique situation (with his brain injury), many of the things that seem like "normal" baby issues are not normal. Surely, many 8 month olds don't sleep, but the reason for why they don't sleep is completely different than the reason why James doesn't sleep. James has had an injury to the brain and, as the the doctors warned us, is suffering many side effects.

10. Kristal and I know that the Lord has given us this situation for a good reason. Maybe someday I can sit down and write all of the things I have learned through our situation with James. This has not been a wasted trial. I do not love trials--I HATE TRIALS, but I love what they bring about. I love thinking about that day when I will stand in glory to hear the Father reveal all the work that was accomplished through James and his situation.

11. One of the biggest things that I have learned is to not assume that I know how bad others have got it. I have a tendency to down play others pain and suffering. The Lord has given me this trial to teach me compassion and silence (by silence, I mean that He has taught me to stop trying to immediately identify with those in pain, but rather to simply listen, pray, and hurt with them).

12. Thank you all for your constant prayers for James. You have all been a huge blessing to us. Please continue to pray. Pray for Kristal and I as well.


Jessy said...

(Paul's thorn)
"Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me,
'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness,'
Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. Forwhen I am weak, then I am strong." - 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

I read that yesterday morning and it hit me like a ton of bricks. That command is absolutely impossible but by the grace of God. I understand your concern in revealing your requests because people tend to have all the answers and advice instead of compassion and sympathy, at least I know that that is usually my temptation.
When I go through my trials, I have to remind myself that there is always someone who has it worse - your family being one of them (by worse, I mean more trying). That helps me rejoice in what I do have instead of what I don't, which leads to self-pity. I am so encouraged to hear of your honesty and of Krystal's tenderness toward James.
We will pray.
I encourage you to keep attempting your dates, and maybe one time you'll be surprised. Maybe that is one way the Lord will choose to answer our prayers.
Keep up the 'good work' of being self-sacrificing..it is a real testament of Christ's work in your lives. Afterall, it's all about Him, amen?
With Love!

JG said...


Thanks for the update. I try to keep people here in Hannibal updated on your life (Dr. Nelson, Dr. Bergen among others) and they are praying for the Snowden's. There is nothing like not being able to comfort your own child, but keep on trying. Glad to here you are enjoying Liberty, and I like the picture of the first snow, I am jealous (in a good way).

Josh Gottman

Katie said...

Thank you so much for the updates! We will continue to pray. I am reminded again that "His thoughts are not our thoughts & His ways are not our ways." As you said, you would not have chosen this trial but God is being glorified in it.

When you guys are weary and feel like you can't go on, I pray that your eyes will be lifted to the cross to see the sufficiency of Christ. God has met your greatest need there in satisfying God's wrath and He will continue to supply all the grace that you need to honor Him in this trial.

I smile to think of the glory that is being brought to the Father by the way that you & Kristal are reflecting Christ & the Church through your marriage, even in the midst of the challenges.

p.s.-As I'm up often in the night for trips to the r.r. and soon will be up with a newborn, I commit to praying for Kristal at those times as she is worn and pouring out her life to care for the little guy.