Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Year in Review

As I reflect on Mary's song in response to God's work in her life, I find that I too can praise God as she has for the work God has done in my own life.
...“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant...
...for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
(Luke 1:46-50 ESV)
This year has been extremely full.  I started off my year successfully completing my nursing boards and getting my RN license.  By April, I had a job through Personal Health Care as a home health nurse for special needs pediatric clients.  It definitely was not the hospital maternity job I wanted, but I have come to love my job and my clients tremendously.

In April, Tim and I took a large leap of faith in our pursuit to fulfill God's call on our lives for service in missions as we went on a Vision Trip to Bulgaria to see if that is where God would have us serve Him full time.  Our time there was amazing, and we could definitely see ourselves fitting into the ministries there and into the missionary family that is already serving there.  However, through many different circumstances God has brought into our lives this year, our pursuit of missions has once again been put on hold.

Sofia, Bulgaria

Joshua, now 7 years old, has had a good year in many ways.  He has come a significant way in his therapies for his Asperger's Syndrome.  He's definitely had some really rough spots this year with increased anxiety and behavior issues causing the addition of a new medication as well as dose adjustments to both to help him with his anxiety, impulse control, and focusing ability.  The most exciting parts of his year were when we passed his food challenges for both eggs and peanuts officially allowing him to be food-allergy free and lightening my purse significantly with not having to carry benadryl and epi-pens all of the time.
Joshua, 7 yrs. old

Josh is having a great year in second grade.  We are thankful for a really great special ed team this year who work really well with Josh and treat us as equal team members keeping us very informed.  Josh met all of his behavior goals for his wraparound services who provided him with a behavior specialist and mobile therapist for help in the home as well as school.

David, now 5 years old, has had another rough year physically with his continued battle with bacterial infections due to his immune dysfunction.  He has stumped doctors in his ability to come down with tonsillitis while on Augmentin to treat another bacterial infection 2 different times!  He managed to squeak by the threat of impending surgery thankfully by his body deciding to not come down with a 6th bout of tonsillitis, for which we are thankful since he has already had to have 2 other surgeries in past years thanks to recurring bacterial infections.  We had to make the most difficult decision regarding his health late this summer when after much testing, no cause could be found for his body's inability to produce enough IgG antibodies which are needed to fight off bacterial infections.  He was given the official diagnosis of Primary Immune Deficiency Disorder, and since after being on a prophylactic antibiotic for over a year, he was still getting infections 1-2 times each month, the only other treatment option was for him to get antibody blood transfusions.  These transfusions, because they are only antibodies in plasma, are from 70+ donors instead of the usual 1 donor for whole blood.  The good thing is that because it is not whole blood, it can undergo more rigid cleansing processes.  However, the risk of a blood-borne transmission is still present.  Since we had exhausted all other options, we  decided to go through with the transfusions, and David started them at the beginning of September.  Thankfully, they are done subcutaneously with the use of a pump and take only an hour each time.  We only have to do them once a week now, so it's not too time consuming.  I am able to do the transfusions so we don't have to rely on a nurse coming to the house or having to take David to a hospital where he will be exposed to more germs.  After a couple of infections before reaching therapeutic antibody levels, David has now been infection free for almost 2 months which is the longest he has gone in his entire life!
David, 5 yrs. old

David started Kindergarten this Fall at West-Mont Christian Academy.  He has a harem of girls who follow him around at school, and he loves it!  We are thankful for his sweet spirit and his desire to make good choices to glorify God.

Tim has been thoroughly enjoying his job as financial adviser, and his job flexibility has been a blessing in light of my recent illness.  Tim has had to step up and do a lot at home to take over many of my responsibilities.  He never complains and is a real encouragement to me.  We praise the Lord for the health and strength with which He has blessed Tim.

Having a migraine for 2 months straight now is definitely taking its toll on my body and my spirit, but God has been faithful, and His grace has been sufficient.  I am still awaiting some test results and have a few more specialist appointments coming up this month.  I just weaned off of my old drug due to problematic side effects and started a new drug, so I've been dealing with a great deal of pain as a result of the weaning process and am hoping that the side effects of this new drug are less severe.  I am learning to rely on God in a deeper way and have experienced His peace on a completely broader level throughout this painful and scary time of learning about my brain lesion and going through so many tests for so many scary diseases.  Thankfully the worst possibilities have been ruled out, but we remain without answers for what it is and what is causing the migraine pain or the neurological symptoms.  Having to wait for God's timing in all of this has been hard and the temptation to despair gets stronger as time passes, but the only thing we can do is wait on the Lord and trust Him to accomplish His will in our lives.

God has taught me so much through all of this.  The promise of Philippians 4:7 has come to mean a lot to me:  "And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (ESV).  In our devotions together, Tim and I are continuing to use the Table Talk magazine, and we just finished the discussion on Philippians this month.  I was really encouraged by the reminder the writer of Dec. 23's article gave us in his discussion of Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me:" 
"Our peace amid joy and tribulation is not based on our ability to calmly face life but on the facts that we belong to Christ, that He never lets us go, and that He is faithful to give us the grace to live for Him no matter our circumstances...If we depend on our own power and character in the midst of storms, we will by no means find lasting peace.  But when we trust in Christ and seek to do everything in Him, we can serve Him faithfully.  This does not mean that our concerns do--or even should--go away; rather it means that our concerns no longer define our lives and bind us with worry.  On the contrary, we rest satisfied in the Lord no matter what happens around us."
Our prayer is not only that we not lose site of these valuable truths and our faith remains strong, but we pray that this will be so in the lives of all our families and friends so that they too can relish in God's love and perfect peace!  

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