Day 15 – post #2

I’m brought to tears by how many people, who don’t even know Justus, are praying for him! It’s amazing! It’s awe-inspiring! It’s a blessing! And it’s life giving! I thought it would be fun to give those of you that don’t know Justus a quick Justus story. I’m biased, but he’s a “one of a kind” kid. I don’t think it’s an accident God decided to use him for this mission! My nephew Tony Thompson, 29 (pictured with Justus), is close to most of my kids, especially my oldest son, Tavita. But when Justus came along, quickly he began to rival Tavita as Tony’s closest friend in our family! Recently,Tony was visiting Alyse and Jason in Nashville. They went to a BBQ at one of Jason’s co-worker’s house. When they arrived, Justus (age 3) grabbed Tony’s hand and said, “Come on in back.” Then he proceeded to walk Tony through the house and into the backyard where this large group of adults were hanging out. Upon entering the backyard, Justus shouts, “HEY EVERYONE. THHHHHIS IS MY UNCLE TONY!” That’s just the kind of kid he is. So from the bottom of my heart and on behalf of Alyse and Jason, I want to continue to say thank-you for praying for this kid. I can’t wait till you meet him!!!

We’ve now entered our third week at the hospital. Tonight our prayer is for an incredibly boring night!!! Nearly two full weeks in the Pediatric ICU or PICU (Pick-you) as it is referred to here at Doernbecher’s. I don’t know if you’ve ever had occasion to spend time at a place like the PICU. Honestly, I could have gone my whole life without spending time in a PICU and that would have been just fine with me. But I need to tell you, the people that work in the PICU are amazing. They know what they are doing, they do it very well, and the way they work together and pass on the baton from shift to shift is really fun to watch. The nurses, especially those that care for our grandson as he lay there in a coma because he’s unable to do anything on his own, are gifted. They watch numbers and calculate amounts and do certain checks on Justus all aimed at keeping him alive and healthy.

A new word I’ve learned because of this experience is “titrate”. When I looked up the definition, the definition was as hard to understand as the word itself. So here’s the definition for dummies. As Justus lays there, his body’s ability to regulate itself (temperature, blood pressure, heart rate etc.) is compromised. In addition, he’s taking medication that directly affects his normal bodily functions. The doctors know how much of each drug they want to start him off with, but often it isn’t the exact amount. My understanding of the word titrate is what they do next as they adjust the amount of a drug up or down in order to get the results they want while keeping the patient alive. It truly is an art to watch these skilled nurses do their job. But it got me thinking (which is dangerous, I know).

It’s a lot like us in life. We get to a place where we kind of know where we want to go and what we believe about getting there. Then life happens and because of busyness or crisis or kids, we can find ourselves wandering off the road. For example, when you drive at night and start to doze off and your car runs over those little bumps on the side of the road. I’m sure I’m taking enormous liberties with the word, but I’m calling the act of adjusting the car to keep it between the lines as titrating (my nursing friends are probably dying right now). Life becomes a process of figuring out where God wants you to go and then setting a path for that place. Along the way, we have to learn how to “titrate” and make small adjustments to get back on track.

I think events like Justus are catalysts for doing another titration (you probably can’t even use that word). Please don’t miss what God is doing here. Surely you don’t think God allowed all this #TeamJustus to happen, just so a little four-year-old boy in Portland, OR would know he is loved? (Actually, God is so amazing He probably would do that, but I don’t think He did!) No, God is using Justus’ trials as the catalyst to titrate your life. The key is not to let it wander back to where it was! Don’t let this moment pass in vain. I pray that one day our family we’ll be able to look back and see how God used this journey to shape our lives, as well. God has something for you. And guess what, there will be other times in your future where you’ll need to titrate again. So often these moments in our life can be so painful. But if we will step into those moments and embrace what God is doing, they can be incredible seasons of growth and change. Right now, Jason and Alyse are just trying to weather the storm. But pray that one day it will feel differently.

Would you also pray for us to be ready for whatever is next? We are so encouraged by today and the small progress we made. But we don’t know what is happening in his brain. We have no idea what the next month, or week, or day holds for them. If things go super well with Justus over the next couple of days, we want to accept that news with enormous grace. And should it be hard, then all the more reason we’d ask God to prepare us. Remember, we don’t know what God’s intentions are and it’s dangerous to assume we know. Instead we continue to pray for God to heal Justus. He did better today, but there is still swelling, we don’t know the significance of the damage to his brain, and they’re concerned about the seizures. So please keep praying as you have been doing so faithfully. We love and appreciate you all so much.

Finally, you might have seen the #TeamJustus wristbands. We had someone generously pay for all of them so that we could give them away for free. So now if you want one, there is no charge – you simply pay shipping and handling. For those that have already paid, I’m sorry. But we are going to send you an extra bracelet as if your money went to shipping. So if you’d like a band, they are free. Go to order.