Just three months ago we were not sure we would see him make his 18th birthday. But God spared his life, has healed him and has something great planned for Josiah’s life. Josiah is a kind a caring young man who loves Jesus and is not ashamed to make that known. I am proud of him. I am thankful we have another birthday to celebrate with him.
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Today we took another trip up to Grand Rapids to see Josiah’s opthamologist. Though he did not lose vision, he was quite limited right after the accident in his ability to focus both eyes together (which caused double-vision) and he had limited range in his right eye. He had made quite a bit of progress before he ever left the rehab hospital, but the doctor was very encouraging today at his progress. His vision is great and the issues he had with range in his right eye are gone. Great news to hear! He still cannot close the right eye all the way, which has caused some irritation on the eye. He has to have an eye lubricant at night and drops three times a day at this point. This should also clear up as his nerve damage heals
This was all great news, but the best part of the day was something we noticed as the eye doctor was examining him. When he smiles, we usually get just half a smile because of the damage on the right side of his face. But today he smiled and the right side of his mouth curled up into a slight smile as well! This is the first movement that we have seen from that side. At the risk of sounding pathetically soft and emotional, it literally made me cry. God has been so good to answer every prayer that we have offered up on Josiah’s behalf. We do not take that, or your prayers lightly. Josiah is a walking trophy of God’s grace and power, and we pray that others will see this as they hear and follow his story.
We continue to ask for these specific requests:
- Pray that Josiah will continue to make progress and get back in school here very soon so he can graduate on time.
- Pray that Josiah’s face will continue to heal! His lack of control in his face is the most frustrating thing he deals with at this point, so I know that seeing even the slightest improvement like we did today is exciting to him.
- Pray that we are able to lift up the name of Jesus to those around us. I know I have said this before, we would never have asked for this for our son and family, but we would also never want to limit or take away the opportunity for God to work the way He has. It is humbling to know that God chose us and is allowing us to be a channel of His grace and love.
2 Corinthians 4:15 “All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.”
Today we took another trip to Grand Rapids to have the 6 week checkup since he was released from Mary Free Bed. We did not expect to learn a lot of “new” things at this visit primarily because we have been with him every step of the way, and we were just checking in with them. There were some questions that we got answers to about his future, which directly affects our direction as well.
He is progressing very well. There is no doubt about it, as every doctor that we talk to basically says the kid is a walking miracle. We know that he is. God has been good to Josiah and to us as we have walked through this.
Of course, Josiah thinks he should be making a quicker recovery on the things that are left. He knows and understands that time is what is needed, but no teenage boy wants to be told that he still cannot drive, cannot work, cannot move out right after graduation and other things of that sort. He wants everything to right back on track with the plans he had before his accident. He will get to that point, but it will likely all be delayed by about a year. He will still get to graduate, but driving will be at least put off until late summer, and work will have to come after school is under control. It just all takes time.
There are some things that we are specifically praying for. We would be honored if you would take the time to pray for him in these areas:
- Pray for the right side of his face. Nerve damage takes quite some time to heal. We are starting to see some tone come back into his face, and the right side of his mouth is starting to move better as well. So, PROGRESS!
- We are also praying for him to get back into school here soon. He has been cleared by all the doctors, but we have to walk through all the hoops of getting what is called and IEP (basically a helper for him in classes). He will start out part time to see how he keeps up, and will slowly get into a full time schedule.
- Pray for the brain to continue to heal. It takes up to 18 months for complete healing to take place. That seems like a LONG time to him, but we know it will go by fast.
- Next week we go back up to Grand Rapids for an eye exam to see how his vision is healing. Pray for the travel and testing.
- Pray that we can be an encouragement and blessing to those that we meet and those that may happen to come across our story on this blog. More than anything we want people to be drawn to God through this. We truly believe this has happened so that God would be made big!
1 Corinthians 14:25 “they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”
We spent last night and most of today back in Grand Rapids at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital with Josiah. He had a Neuro-Psychological evaluation to see how he has progressed since he was released. He got started at 8AM and was actually finished early because he did so well on the testing. According to the doctor, he scored in the top 10-15% of patients that he has seen and is healing much quicker than most that have had his type of injury.
Here are a few of the things we learned today:
- Josiah does not have any memory issues.
- He also does not have any significant issues with concentration. He is not longer easily distracted, which is something that is necessary for him to go back to school.
- His main issues are: processing speed, doing more than one thing at a time and doing complex things like taking carburetors apart (which is not anything he has ever done anyways).
- For the most part, everything that needs to heal on Josiah now is dependent upon time passing so the body can heal itself. There are a few things that he has to work hard on as well, but time is the biggest healer at this point.
- The doctor pretty much cleared him to start being integrated back into the school system. He also said that it would be best for him to get fully back into school before going back to work and that he should not drive for at least another 6-8 weeks. Those last two are not issues with us at all since we think he should get his schooling caught up and that he should not be driving for another 10 years or so.
- Overall, this was just another great report for Josiah. We visited with some families that we had met while staying at the hospital. They are still there and still waiting for their children to get well enough to go home. Some of them have waited for months and will have another two weeks and then months of outpatient rehab to go through. We are humbled at God’s favor on our son in his healing.
We still have some things that we are need of prayer for. Yes, they are suppose to heal in time, but we are still asking God for the following:
- Pray that Josiah’s nerve damage on the right side of his face will heal soon. The doctors say we should see improvement in the next 6-8 weeks.
- Pray that Josiah will be able to catch up in all of his school work and graduate this Spring. This will be a great accomplishment for him after all he has been through.
- Pray that he will be able to return to work as well. There is no time table for us on this, but I know he would like to be able to be working again just to do something normal.
- Pray that he has patience through all of this. He does get frustrated at things that he knows he should be able to do, but yet it just comes a little slow for him right now. I am proud of how he has handled himself to this point. He has shown spiritual and emotional strength through all of this.
- Pray that we are able to leave lasting impact in the lives of those we meet through all of this and that they see the love of Jesus in our lives.
Psalm 18:6, 31-32 “I was in terrible trouble when I called out to you, but from your temple you heard me and answered my prayer. You alone are God! Only you are a mighty rock. You give me strength and guide me right.”
Here is an update on Josiah as of Tuesday evening, February 8th.
Josiah continues to make some great strides as he walks down his road of recovery.
He continues to have therapy 2-3 times a week at the local Y (where the Lakeland Rehab facility is). He also works out every day at home doing weight lifting and other exercises from Mary Free Bed.
- He has been working very hard and is also doing very well with his studies here at home.
- He was sitting on the couch last week and all of a sudden he says, “Hey, I just got my hearing back in my right ear!” We were expecting this to happen, we just never knew when it would!
We still have some very specific things that we are praying for. Please remember these as you pray for him:
- Pray for us as we travel to the University of Michigan this Thursday to meet with the specialist there about the nerve damage on the right side of his face. We are still praying and expecting a complete healing there as well, hopefully without the need for surgery.
- Also, pray for us next Tuesday and Wednesday as we go back up to Mary Free Bed for some evaluations on his progress. We should also find out then if he can start being integrated back into the school soon.
- Pray that as he starts to integrate back into the school system that he handles it well and is able to do the work that is necessary fro him to graduate.
- We received news that Josiah qualifies for a special program here in Michigan for children with special health care needs. When he is accepted into enrollment, this program will help pay for his ongoing medical needs and other things that his current coverage likely would not cover, including extra rehab services as needed. This will be huge for him!
- Josiah has faced this situation in his life with incredible courage and faith for his age. He continues to work hard, but it also will take time for much of the healing. Please pray that he has the patience to cope with what at times can be hopelessly frustrating for him.
- Pray for us as well that we will be open to speak into the lives of those that God brings to us in this journey.
Thanks again for praying!
Psalm 5:11 “Let all who run to you for protection always sing joyful songs. Provide shelter for those who truly love you and let them rejoice.”