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I ran a 5k today. It is not my first time, and it will not be my last. I always enjoy running, but today was a special one. I got to run it with my dad, which is way cool that we can do that together. But I also got to run it it with Josiah. He crossed the finish line, and I wept. This boy has come so far in 6 months. He crosses another line tomorrow, and I will blog about that too. But for now, here are a few pics from today!

My wife and daughter took the pics. They did good!

Prov. 23:24 “The father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him.”

The last 18 months have been a season of more struggles than my wife and I have seen in our previous 21 years of marriage. Not struggles in our marriage, mind you, but things like the death of a close family member, failing marriages in the family, family “issues” that seem to creep up on a regular basis and then of course, our son’s accident in December. We have never experienced so much pain, sadness and frustration as we have in the last 18 months.

Now, I do not write that because I want anyone’s pity. I don’t. In fact, for the last 20+ years of my life we have been fairly sheltered from having to deal with these types of things. So, starting with getting the word that we were being laid off, we have experienced things that I never thought we would have to go through. I have never struggled to have a job. Since we were married, we have never had to live with anyone else. We have not had a lot of death or divorce to deal with in our families and we certainly have never had a child almost die in a car accident.

There have undoubtedly been moments that I have asked God “Why?” “Why do I have to go through all of this? Why can’t I find a church to pastor, why can’t I do this or that? Why is my son having to go through all of this pain?” Those are all questions that I wanted answers to. Those are questions that we all would want answers to. I believe God knows that we want those answers. I was sitting in the hospital room watching Josiah sleep one night, just thinking and being quiet before God when I got an answer.

“Why not you, Jason?” And that was it. No other answers. Nothing more specific. Just, “Why not you?”

I thought about that for several days. I never expected to be immune for bad things in life. I never held to the thinking that if I was a good and performed for God that I would somehow have a magical life. But, I also never expected these things to “happen to me.”

We have learned much over the last several months. Though many of the situations we have faced are not pleasant, we have been able to walk through them, day by day, knowing that God was in control; knowing that He has a purpose and a plan for everything. I may not know all of the “why” surrounding these struggles but I do know that through everything that God says “why not you, Jason?” that He will use it to make His name famous. He will use my struggle to allow me to be more compassionate, more loving and to be able to help others because of what we have faced. I am thankful for that.

Just this morning, I read Romans 8:35:

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?”

No matter what we face, we are not separated from the love of God. In fact, our struggles make God’s love more real and evident. Verse 37 goes on to say:

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

I am a conqueror because of the love of God. His plans and purposes advance when I ask “why not me” and I lean in to Him, and then reach out to others.

Today we had a follow-up appointment at the University of Michigan with Josiah. The doctors here have been looking at his facial paralysis over the last few months and tracking his progress. His nerves had already started growing back together. We knew that, as we could see his smile coming back. But today we received some great news! They informed us after the testing that his nerves had made significant progress, that there would definitely be no surgery needed and that he would not even have to go through this procedure again (sticking needles in his face to test the nerves).  He was thrilled about that! He still has to come back to Ann Arbor one more time for a hearing test and check up.  And he has at least one  follow-up visit at Mary Free Bed and with the eye doctor, as well as a bit of therapy to complete, but other than those visits, we think he may actually be done seeing doctors for the near future! God has continued to pour his love, grace and mercy on us in regards to Josiah and his health! We are so grateful for all that He has done! We appreciate all the prayers, kind words and notes over the last several months. Please continue to pray for the following specific things:

  • Pray that he finishes strong in school. I am so proud of his hard work to get caught up in his work so that he can graduate with his class this year.
  • Pray that his strength continues to return. He still has some weakness in his body.
  • Pray for him as he contemplates his future. His plans have been put on hold for at least 6 months to a year. That is frustrating to a teen boy who is looking forward to his independence.
  • Pray for us that we would be prepared and ready when the time comes for him to get behind the wheel to drive again. That is not something we are quite ready for and probably never will be, but it will come.

There are no words to describe the wonder, awe and humility that we feel at God’s goodness, comfort and providence in our lives. It has been an amazing road that we have walked the last few months. We look forward to seeing what God has next for Josiah and our family!

Ephesians 3:14-19

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

We got to stop at Granger Missionary Church today and let Josiah play a bit on the drums! It was awesome to see him play again. It is one passion that he has in life and something he was not sure he would be able to do again! God is so good to us!

Here is an update on Josiah as of Monday, March 21st.

  • Josiah has made quite a bit of progress in the last two weeks.  First off, he was able to start back to school. It was suggested in his psych-evaluation that he go back about three times a week for half of a day to start. We thought this would be a good idea, since he had not had to to anything for 6-8 hours straight like school.
  • When we met with the school, they suggested going back half of a day every day just to see how he would respond.  They worked with us to set up a schedule that would get most of his main class work in the morning hours, and then when he felt up to it, he would go to some labs in the afternoon that would help him get caught up in all his work. Josiah started back the day after we went to the meeting at the school and decided to start out going full day… and has done full days every day since!
  • This kid has amazed me with his ability to go above and beyond what is expected. I am so proud of him for working so hard. When he breaks for Spring break here in a couple of weeks, he should be almost caught up with all of the work that he missed and on schedule to graduate on time.
  • We also celebrated his birthday… with him! I cannot even put into words the feelings of having another birthday with him. God has blessed us, that is for sure!
  • His smile is getting bigger! The right side of his face is coming alive.  It is slow healing, but we are glad to see the progress. An answer to prayer for sure!
  • We took some time for him to go and play on the drums a bit just to see how it felt. He was nervous and unsure of his ability, which made it difficult for him to play, but from what I heard, he will be back at it in no time!

We still have some specific requests that we are praying for and would be grateful if you would join us.

  • Pray that his face will completely heal. It will still take some time for that to happen, but it will happen!
  • Pray that he continues to do great in his schooling.
  • Pray that we would have clarity as we dream and plan for the future.
  • Pray that God gives us the opportunity to use Josiah’s story as a mark of God’s grace, love and goodness.

1 Timothy 1:14 “The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”