Thursday, June 14, 2012

Times of Celebration

In the midst of our struggles, we had the opportunity to celebrate God's work in David's life twice in the past week.  On Saturday, June 9, David played the violin in his first recital.  He was the youngest participant by far and did a wonderful job making us very proud of him and his accomplishments this year as he learned how to play the violin.

On Tuesday, June 12, he graduated from Kindergarten.  We have watched him blossom and grow academically, spiritually, and personally this year.  God has given him a wonderful spirit that has been a true blessing to us as parents, to our family, and to his teacher and classmates.  He was awarded the Gentle Character Award on Friday, June 8 by his teacher for his gentle spirit and responses during this school year.
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We praise God for the wonderful gift of David Isaiah Russell!  With the intense battles this little child has had to face already in his short 5 years of life and his non-complaining spirit and determined disposition, we know that God has some amazing plans in store for this young man.  We are excited to watch God continue to mold and shape him according to His plan.  We feel blessed to be part of the process.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Under the Siege of the Lion

And the saga continues....The woes of the Russell household continue.  Things continue to be extremely difficult with Joshua and his battles with Autism and mental health issues.  We are constantly emotionally and physically drained by his all-consuming behaviors and melt-downs.  Nothing we do seems to help.  He's fully aware of his own struggles and is now coming to his own faith-crisis saying that he keeps praying and asking for God's help to make good choices but "God's not helping him" or "God doesn't seem to care."  Nothing we say seems to get through to him.  This week, Josh ended up being suspended for a day from school because his behavior got so out of control.  It is becoming so difficult to cling to any source of hope in this situation.


David's most recent infection is finally behind us, but he is back on a prophylactic antibiotic despite the weekly antibody treatments.  We are in limbo with the specialists now because the ENT felt that it would not be a good idea to proceed with the tonsillectomy now because of his condition even though for the past year this same ENT had been pressuring us to have the surgery done.  Instead he wants to do a weekly rotation of antibiotics where David will be on a different class of antibiotics every week for 4 weeks then repeat each month.  It's kind of a new, more complex idea of a prophylactic antibiotic treatment.  We are waiting to hear back from David's immune specialist to get his opinion on the matter.  Otherwise, we will need to go for a second opinion with another ENT.  The past several days David has become extremely emotional and easily upset/angered.  We are wondering if he is again starting to not feel well (this tends to be a going trend for him) or if everything going on with Joshua is finally starting to affect David since David has had to witness way too many traumatic events for a sweet, innocent 5 year old.

Not surprisingly, the headaches for me have become more intense, but with the amount of stress I've been up against, it's no wonder.  We also are not getting good sleep as often Josh or David are waking us up in the night, so sleep deprivation isn't helping either.

We have finally come to the conclusion that we are not just up against simple trials in which God is trying to teach us a lesson.  We are under direct attack from the Evil One, and he is working overtime to be relentless!  We have fallen under the siege of the Lion!  Each time we seriously pursued missions within the past 2 years, Satan has directly attacked our family hindering our ability to further pursue missions at that time.  As things had calmed down last Fall, we revisited the idea once again, and the next day, I woke up with the severe migraine pain in my head that has yet to fully leave.  In April, we were excited about the ways in which God revealed to us how we could serve doing short term work encouraging and building up believers through short term mission trips.  As soon as we made ourselves available to God for this work, the lion attacked us from all angles and has not let up!  It is easy to understand why the devil does not want the Gospel to go forth.

Jesus was aware of the evil one and prayed for His disciples to be protected from the evil one as He had sent them into the world (John 17:15).  The devil wants to attack everyone and anyone who is a servant of God because he hates righteousness.  Peter commands and warns:
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen."  (1 Peter 5:6-11 ESV)
Yes, the lion is trying to devour our family.  We are doing all we can to resist him, standing firm in our faith.  We are heavily relying on God's grace to sustain us and look forward to the day that He will restore and strengthen us.  Never before have we prayed so earnestly for Christ to return for His Bride!  We long for our eternal home where there will be no more pain or sorrow or suffering, and we can spend our days in God's presence worshiping at the feet of Jesus.

Until then, we must endure.  We must finish the race that has been set before us.  We must press on.  We can't do it alone.  We need the prayers of the saints, our brothers and sisters in Christ.  James 5:16 says, "...The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working."  We need everyone to rally around us and pray that this cloud of darkness be lifted from over our household, that the power of Satan be weakened over our family, and that we be released from the stronghold of the lion.  Will you join us in this battle against the evil one and rejoice with us in the victory that is ours because we serve the Lion of Judah who has conquered (Revelation 5:5), and "we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us" (Romans 8:31-39)?