Like many guys, when I was growing up, most people called me by my last name, Pritchard. But close friends always begin messing around with your name, so Pritchard became Itchy, which eventually led to an occasional “Itchy Mama.” Thankfully none of those nicknames ever really caught on. But Justus is the king of nicknames! Some of his aunts and uncles have nicknames they still use created by Justus. You might even call it a gift. So here is a list of some of his nicknames:
Auntie Krista – Auntie Deeks
Uncle Tana – Uncle Fana
Auntie Caroline – Auntie Carrot
Tana’s friend Max – Smacks
Auntie Kathi – Auntie Taffy
Uncle Tavita- Uncle Veets
Mind you this wasn’t just a matter of mispronunciation. He could say their names perfectly but he thought these nicknames were better. And the crazy thing is so does everyone else – so these names have stuck.
We were talking about names and knowing people today because I made the comment, “If I had a dollar for every message I’ve received that started out, ‘You don’t know me, but…’” I would be a rich man! This journey has allowed us to cross paths with so many new people and make new friends, even if those are primarily Facebook friends! But to me this comment from strangers highlights two realities. The first is the importance of community and how beautiful the sense of “we’re all in this together.” #TeamJustusisn’t just a search mechanism – it’s truly a team. If we could somehow bottle up and giveaway what we’ve experienced these last nineteen days together, it would change the world. I know I’m a little bit the “Pollyanna”, but when I think of some of these senseless killings and political fights, I do wonder, “Could there be a way to love our way out of these.” At the end of the day, this storm we have been in, resonates with everyone. When we really think about it, we realize we have far more reason to care about each other than we do to not.
I can’t tell you all what a gift you’ve been to our family…, which for some of you happens to be a family you’ve never met. I’ve said this since I’ve sensed God moving, “This is about far more than just Justus. This is truly about Just Us!” A little boy got sick and God decided he and his parents were ready to be used as a catalyst to change lives. The hard part is, no body is really ready for this; no one would ever sign up their kid for a mission like this. I’m not pretending to be a prophet; as they say I’m just calling ‘em like I see ‘em. Those of you that have started praying (some for the first time) we need you to keep praying, but God wants you to never stop.
This comment from strangers highlights a second reality. It makes me think of God, specifically, I think of the names we know Jesus by… it’s everything we need at a time like this! He’s the Lion of Judah, the Prince of Peace, He’s the Messiah, the Redeemer, the HEALER, the Good Shepherd, he’s the Alpha, the Omega, He’s the Beginning, the End, he’s the Savior, the King of Kings, the Great I Am… I could go on and on, but when I think of names, I’m flooded with who God is. But here’s what I really wanted you to hear – some of you have asked, “How are we staying so strong?” The reality is , we aren’t. Yesterday I mentioned, I had a really tense moment with the doctors. My cousins who were with me said they were afraid I was going to be Paul and write my next update from inside a prison! OK, it wasn’t quite that bad, but my dam holding back those emotions continually develop cracks. I’m constantly having to retreat with the Lord to patch up those cracks. Sometimes I don’t even know what to say and so I read your prayers comments and they become my prayers. But what holds me together is that God, with all those names – He knows my name! He knows Justus’ name. And He knows your name! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, my prayer is that one day we’ll have that conversation. It’s the key to life everlasting.
And I know this is already long, but I want to say one more thing. And I’ll warn you, some of you will struggle with this. Last night I said our battle is a spiritual battle. I believe that more now then ever before. The procedure to put a catheter in last night was not supposed to be a big deal. I don’t know for sure, but I believe God protected Justus from that procedure. Today we found out some more information that we didn’t have yesterday and now they’ve put the procedure on hold. It doesn’t mean we won’t do it. It just means it wasn’t time to do it last night. We have more information and more experts involved today. I have a picture of a guardian angel in that room keeping that doctor from being able to do something he’s done a hundred times. Again, I’m just calling ‘em like I see ‘em.
Finally the rest of the update is pretty simple. After a really rough night of chasing a vein and throwing Justus into a crazy several hours of elevated heart rate, blood pressure, EEG readings and physical discomfort, he’s now resting and doing really well. They are continuing to wean him off of the pentobarbital, but at a slower rate. Please continue to pray for his brain. As they lower the pentobarbital and wake him up, they are hoping for less irritation showing up on the EEG. In addition we would ask for wisdom in deciding on whether or not to move forward with the procedure they tried last night. Remember that tension between faith in God the healer and pushing for the best options in medicine? Our trust is in the Lord but that isn’t in opposition to medicine. Please pray that Alyse and Jason would have all they need from Jesus and then peace to make the right decisions for their son.
The image is a video of Justus as a two year old reciting the armor of God from Ephesians 6. That is how we arm ourselves in this spiritual battle. We continue to believe God will heal our little boy. God is able. God is good. #TeamJustus!
Justus on Ephesians 6 – Helmet of Salvation, Belt of Truth, Shoes of Peace, Shield of Faith, Breastplate of Righteousness, Sword of the Spirit.