Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Lawrence Update - 2.5 weeks Out

Friends - Jeff and Nan and all three boys are still in San Diego and Mike is continuing to slowly heal. Precious insight from an e-mail Nan wrote a couple of days ago -

I was asking God to bring himself to us. It's no longer the question, "Can the God of the universe do it?", it's "What will He do?" I don't feel anxious about provisions, I don't feel like I have to "plan" out our day, I don't feel like or even want to control what each day holds.

And then, He swam among us. A few days ago there were hundreds (yes hundreds) of leopard sharks that came close to the shore line. Since we spent the last eight months going online to study sea creatures (in preparation for our vacation) we knew leopard sharks were harmless. We took Mike and Luke out, holding them close to our chests and walked waist deep into the water. The water was calm, remarkably almost no waves. And clear, so clear you could see the finest detail of the sharks fins. They swam so close they brushed against our legs. As we stood out there we thanked God for his creation. And if sharks were not enough, giant sea turtles with shells four feet across appeared out of nowhere and slowly swam to the deep. As the sea turtles disturbed the sand, frisbee sized sting rays arose and glided by. It was an orchestra of sea life in perfect harmony for our family to enjoy.

We spent the next few days talking about God's creation and what a remarkable gift it was that He allowed us to see a picture of His creativity in the wild.

And then yesterday, as Luke would say, "God brought us a whale". It's not whale season. We were told they don't ever come this early and never ever that close. Well, our little family seems to be defying the odds lately. And so, God, once again, brought Himself to us. We looked out our window and there it was. So close you could see the details of the hump and fins as it played in the water. For hours, it stayed in front of our room, going back and forth along the shoreline, never out of sight. Once again, we picked Mike up, gathered the other kids, sat on the sand and marveled at our God. Others were grabbing scuba gear and I, in my excitement, too rushed out in the water to swim with the whale.

He walks among us, with us and He is here orchestrating everything from the fall to the whale.

So many have asked, wanted to give you a couple of ways to keep up with the Lawrence family.

For photos and updates, go here, and to sign up for meals and prayer go to their care calendar. For the calendar, use these codes:

Monday, October 13, 2008

What I'm Learning This Week...

- Never underestimate a pink-plastic-high-heel-wearing two-year-old with an enormous planter of dirt

- Rhinestone necklaces and high heels and taking a break to teach ballet are critical elements for a family bike ride

- No such thing as enough photos of my girls with Cappy

- Long-lasting friendships really are golden (happy birthday, Paulette!)

- I'm finding contentment in watching Branson (top right-blonde) bloom where he's planted...

- Hudson is slow and steady and meticulous with just about everything he works at...

- Purdy brightens any room, any situation (we've known this for awhile)

- Always expect the unexpected with Uncle Trey's surprises

- I always, always want to be known as Bill's daughter and Trey's little sister (and Corbin's wife and Hudson's mom...)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Lawrence Update - A week out

A quick update on Mike Lawrence through an e-mail from Jeff & Nan -

Today (Saturday) is day seven at the hospital in San Diego. Mike is doing well under the circumstances and in good spirits most of the time. He's out of ICU, and he's been much more active over the last few days. We met with the doctor yesterday, and they still expect a full recovery, which is absolutely miraculous. The doctor said it very bluntly, "Most kids that have a fall like that are looking at death. He's very lucky." We would call "luck" something else, and we are still blown away and grateful to God that our boy is doing so well, even though there is a long road still ahead.

Mike has a serious liver injury that will take some time to heal. His liver is badly lacerated (basically deeply cracked in multiple places), but should not need surgery as long as things continue to move in the right direction over the next few months. The location of the cracks is in a dangerous place (near the biggest vein in the body going to the heart), so the main concerns are reopening the cracks and internal bleeding if Mike were to fall, be bumped, be run into, be hit, kicked, catch a ball wrong, or basically anything that would cause pressure to that organ until it completely heals. It is the internal injury that the doctors are most concerned about and why we will be in CA for a month. Once cleared to travel, Mike will still be on "house arrest" for another three months. Also, Mike's arm is broken, and he's in a cast from hand to shoulder. We'll have follow-up X-rays next week to make sure it is set properly, and then he'll get a more permanent cast. Main concern here is that the growth plate heals well. He also has a facial fracture but this is not something that needs surgery. His bumps, bruises, etc are looking better now with the swelling and bruising beginning to dissipate.

We are scheduled to leave the hospital on Sunday, Oct 12th, and then we will stay together as a family in La Jolla (San Diego), CA for another three weeks. The hotel moved us to the other end of the property and into new rooms. We will be more or less confined to the hotel room, except for short, slow, safe walks (seriously, is that really possible with three little boys??). We've spoken with several specialists who have recommended that we all stay together as a family for this time, so we are going to make that happen. After that, we'll return to North Carolina. There we will try to resume life as "normal" as we can with the added change of Mike's new schedule (still no running, sports, rough play, climbing, etc for those three months). We aren't sure what all that will mean, but we are starting to make the necessary adjustments for life on the other side.

-- physically: liver heals as it should with no new injuries; arm sets and heals as it should, esp no growth plate problems down the road; no surprises along the way; sleep for all of us
-- relationally: that we would love one another even when tired, stressed, bored, jealous, sore, etc. over the next few weeks and beyond
-- emotionally: the trauma of the last week takes a toll that is not measurable but is real nonetheless
-- practically: that we would discover how to make life happen in a hotel room in ways that are stimulating and fun and relationship building for our boys and for us
-- spiritually: that God walk with us and work through us in all things
-- Also, pray for Jan and her son, Jack, who is in the hospital down the hall. Jan is a single mom that Nan has gotten to know over the last few days. She is caring for her sick son. Those of you that have sent food have been feeding her too, she is very grateful.

I'll continue to post updates and prayer requests... Jeff and Nan have expressed multiple times how HUGE it is to be surrounded by such great friends in the midst of this experience. Thanks for your interest and comments here as well - very encouraging.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wednesday Wonder - A Miracle for Mike

Hudson, would you like to pray for Mike?
"Mom, sometimes things are too sad for me to pray for out loud.
This is one of those times."

Our friends Jeff and Nan Lawrence and their family are suffering a tragedy this week.
Their nearly six-year-old son, Mike, tripped and pummeled out of a vacation condo window, falling three stories onto a concrete staircase. Jeff and Nan and Mike's two brothers saw him fall, and everyone looked down to see him lying on the concrete below, unmoving and not breathing.
That's about all we knew Sunday morning as I asked Hudson if he wanted to pray. E-mails and phone calls and texts frenetically traced Mike's constantly changing diagnosis through Sunday's afternoon and evening hours.

I spoke with Nan on the phone Sunday morning shortly after they'd gotten Mike to the emergency room. Listening to her scattered, rambling description of Mike's fall and thinking of the ER physicians working to save his broken and bleeding body seemed incomprehensible. The few times I'd spent with little Mike and his twin brother Luke flashed through my mind: Nan lugging both infant carriers, one in each arm, into my den, and laughing as the baby boys watched the whilrwind of superhero-clad Branson and Hudson prancing over and around their little carriers. A couple of years later, Mike and Luke's highchairs side by side in a Fort Worth restaurant, the boys literally covered each other with bright blue jello. And again I watched Nan cradle one boy in each arm like footballs, carrying them to the restaurant's bathroom and then emerge with clean but faint blue smurfs.

I met Nan through my friend Jude my freshman year at Baylor. Nan was a sophomore - really smart, really beautiful, and really original. She didn't take much time or energy to worry about impressing people. One of my first impressions of Nan was seeing her on a street corner as Jude and I drove to church one Sunday morning. In shorts and a t-shirt with her long blond hair tied back in a loose ponytail, Nan laughed and talked with a handful of young African American boys. Rather than spend her Sunday mornings in a church pew, Nan got to know the neighborhood kids by showing up each week on a street corner with an enormous box of doughnuts.
It wasn't long after that Sunday morning that Nan called me out of the blue.
"TJ, I've been thinking about University High School."
"Uh huh?"
"Yeah, and how there's no Young Life, no Campus Crusade, no ministries on the campus at all."
"Uh huh?"
"So I've been thinking about University High, and all these inner-city kids, and I keep thinking about you."
"Uh huh?"
So the next day I found myself sitting in Nan's car in University High's empty parking lot, praying with her for teachers and coaches and instrumental leaders the Lord might use to bring these kids into a relationship with Him.
And the next three and a half years I found myself volunteering as the cheerleading coach for the freshman, JV and Varsity girls.
A little Nan goes a long way.

Nan has influenced many, many lives, and along the way has endured her own share of crazy trials. I'm talking, crazy. I won't expound here, but she's an open book if you can catch her for coffee. Her years of walking with the Lord have been deep and difficult and rich and startling and glorious and pain-filled all mixed together. But through the marvelous seasons and through the miserable ones, the Lord is producing in Nan a strong and stable and steadfast heart that longs for Him. I have seen that when her flesh and her heart fail, the Lord provides her strength and hope.

Back to Mike.
The happy update is that God is choosing to spare this precious little guy. After scans and x-rays and surgery (and who knows what else), Mike remains in the ICU in a San Diego hospital with broken bones and some serious internal injuries but a clear MRI. I'm overwhelmed with God's grace for Nan & her family, for Mike's life. Evidently so are the doctors. Mike has a long road to recovery, but at this point his physicians anticipate a full recovery.

The real Wonder here is not Nan or even Mike, but the Lord who named himself Jehovah Sabaoth - our Protector - and Jehovah Rapha - the God who heals. That a six-year-old boy can fall three stories head-first onto concrete, and via God's protection and healing can that very day ask a nurse to move away from in front of the tv because "I can't see through you" - now that's a miracle.

Jeff and Nan (pictured next to me, second-to-right) live in NC, where Jeff pastors a church and Nan explores their forested back yard with her three boys. They had just arrived in San Diego Saturday night for a family vacation and anticipated celebrating their twins' 6th birthdays on La Jolla beach and at Legoland.

Thank you, Lord, for Mike, that his life will be celebrated as never before on his 6th birthday tomorrow. We will never understand the implications of your provision. Thank you for Nan, for creating her into the capable and perfect mommy to these three active and tender-hearted boys and as the perfect compliment for Jeff. For the friend she is to so many, and for her heart that overflows with you. We trust you!