Two years ago, Addie had been just diagnosed as being developmentally delayed. In spite of the fact that we now knew that she was six, the experts determined that she functioned at the level of a three year old. She could barely climb stairs while alternating feet. She didn’t walk as much as she toddled. Her femurs were bowed from rickets. Heavy metal deposits laced her bones. Her bone marrow was hyperplastic (enlarged). She only spoke a few individual words of English. “Balloon.” “Dog.” “Airoplane.” We had no idea what she was thinking or feeling, except for her grief expressed through peeing on furniture, hitting other children, and stealing toys from school.
Today, Addie has met her goals for her IEP in language, reading, fine motor skills and gross motor skills. She plays hockey on roller blades in the driveway. She loves to read, and to talk. She is loved by her classmates. She tells stories, expresses her feelings, loves Jesus, and has the gift of intercession. When faced with high expectations, she rises to them, even if she wants you to believe she’s not capable. Her speech therapy this year has helped her make amazing strides in her articulation. God is doing amazing things in Addie’s life.
Two years ago, Palmer screamed for hours after every trip to church, but we were never sure why because he didn’t have the words to express what was wrong. He was being moved from Kindergarten to first grade after only 6 weeks, because we had just found out he was 8 instead of 5. His teacher reported that he said three words, “Yes, no, and pizza.” The expression on his face varied from flat to livid. He was defiant to women in authority. He was an angry grieving boy, who would not allow anyone to comfort him in his sorrow.
Today, Palmer loves going to church. He can repeat verbatim the lessons told in Sunday School, children’s church, and even adult service. He loves God, who has transformed Palmer into a joyful leader with a discerning eye for how things work and how to make them better. He loves to ask difficult questions, like “Why are there so many doctors in America and not enough in Africa?” and his greatest dream is not a trip to Disney or an XBox 360, but for there to be enough doctors in Africa to take care of the sick people there. God is doing amazing things in Palmer’s life.
Two years ago, Ken was working six evenings a week and all day Saturday and Sunday, between Upward Sports, college ministry, and regular church activities. It was exhausting him and breaking our fragile family. Time when all four of us were together was rare.
Today, Ken is able to be a stay-at-home dad, newly appointed missionary, and volunteer minister. He is allowed to preach (his primary spiritual gift) at least once a month, and is able to dedicate his full-time efforts to getting us to the mission field. Ken is renewing his knowledge of French and preparing to minister to pastors across West Africa in English and French. We eat dinner together at our dining room table every night. God is doing amazing things in Ken’s life.
Two years ago, I was battling a third week in a row of pneumonia, which triggered my asthma. I was on mega doses of steroids and antibiotics just to keep me breathing, and starting a new $3500/month shot to try to keep me from being disabled from my asthma. I was too busy to be hospitalized, as our new little family could not take any more absences with Ken already being gone every night. Yet between working, taking care of Addie’s medical needs, re-aging the kids, getting them moved into new grades, and functioning as a single parent in the evenings, I was too busy to get well. I was suffocating physically and emotionally.
Today, I have been off of all asthma medicines for four months, even when we went to Africa, where the air is smoke-filled from hundreds of thousands of people burning their trash. I feel better than I have felt in a decade. I am preparing to start a new clinical job where I will be seeing geriatric patients in their home, carrying my doctor’s bag with all my clinical supplies with me as I travel. This opportunity will refresh my clinical skills in preparation for the mission field, and allow me to practice medicine how I feel it should be practiced: patient-centered and holistic, without the pressure of seeing a new patient every 12 minutes. God is doing amazing things in my life.
Today, I am thankful for two years.