Monday, January 27, 2014

27th January 2014

Three years ago today we were storming heaven in the waiting room outside the operating theater at John Hunter Hospital, as Victoria underwent brain surgery.

Today we give God praise and glory that she is still here with us, dancing, singing and praising God from her heart herself. She is an incredible child, determined and undeterred by the challenges she has faced. We pray that she will continue to garner strength from God, for all that is placed in her path. We claim Psalm 16:5-11 over her life.

The Lord is my chosen and assigned portion, my cup;
You hold and maintain my lot.
The lines have fallen in pleasant places; yes I have a good heritage.
I will bless the Lord, Who has given me counsel; yes, my heart instructs me in the night seasons.
I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand. I shall not be moved.
Therefore my heart is glad and my glory [my inner self] rejoices; my body too shall rest and confidently dwell in safety.
For You will not abandon me to Sheol (the place of the dead), neither will You suffer Your holy one (Holy One) to see corruption.
You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forever more.

Last week was full of various appointments for Victoria, a fitting for a new splint, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, port flush and speech therapy. Throughout these appointments we were reminded again of the physical challenges Victoria is likely to face in her future. It was hard some days to see beyond those challenges. Hence I believe God showed me this Psalm late last week to remind me that those physical issues do not define who Victoria is, but rather it is He that defines who she is. It is God who has given her the strength and determination to do the stretching exercises each morning and night, even reminding me when i forget! It is God who has kept her spirit sweet despite the disappointment of not being able to do some things her siblings and friends can do. It is God who bought her through that operation three years ago today and has allowed us to continually be blessed by her presence. Indeed He holds and maintain's Victoria's lot. He will show Victoria the path of life.

Thank you Jesus.

Friday, January 17, 2014

17th January 2014

We have just had another great week away at Harry's House at Stockton and are so very grateful to the Meyn family and everyone who has contributed to this wonderful retreat. It is such a blessing to escape, not far from home, and enjoy another aspect of the beautiful place in which we live.

One afternoon we ventured out for a family bike ride around the waterfront. Unfortunately I was the only one to have a tumble, primarily because I was too keen to get going and didn't bother to change the seat height! I was almost run over by Victoria, much to the hilarity of the other family members.

Ken really enjoyed the trike bike!

As some of you might have seen on Facebook, the children were treated to some standup paddleboard lessons courtesy of 2UP SUP Newcastle.

Marshall and Charlotte very quickly got the hang of it, and loved it.

Victoria, after watching Marshall and Charlotte decided she would like to have a go too. After much perseverance and encouragement from Pete, she managed to stand up for 13 seconds. No small feat with her physical challenges. 

Thank you to 2UP SUP for providing such a great time for the kids.

Upon returning from Harry's House, another treat was instore, a ride in Arrive First Class, stretch hummer. It was a fun night, we shared with a couple of other families from Camp Quality.

The ride included the added bonus of stopping for an ice-cream at Newcastle Beach. 

Thank you to Arrive First Class and Camp Quality for adding something extra special into our holidays.

When I reflect on all the opportunities and experiences our children have had in the past 3 years, it is indeed one of the biggest blessings of Victoria's circumstance. Certainly we would not have asked for this circumstance to come her way. However, despite the trauma, pain, disappointments and fear, our children have, through the generous provision of these events, holidays, camps, built resilience, confidence and a knowledge that something good can come of out something bad. Character traits and life lessons we hope they will always remember and bless them in their lives.

We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose. Romans 8:28

Thank you for standing with us as we patiently live through the 'fitting' of God's plan, and know that it is good. Please continue to pray for peace to reign in our family as Victoria's next scan approaches.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

5th January 2014

Many people come across our paths in life. This precious lady is one I will never forget. Yesterday we picnicked with her and her beautiful family at the very spot when almost 3 years ago she, full of grace and wisdom, suggested to me that something was not right with Victoria, and that we should go to the doctors asap. 

This was I should mentioned, after we visited a doctor 3 times in the previous 5 days to find out why Victoria was falling over all the time. After a hip x-ray and ultrasound, we were told by the doctor, she will be all right, come back in 4 weeks time.

However, this was clearly not the case, as within a week of this conversation with my friend in the park, Victoria was in the operating theater having brain surgery. Clearly waiting four weeks was not the best course of action. 

I will be forever grateful to my friend for the grace and love she showed to me that day at the park. For the way she communicated to me about, what I now know, was a very serious problem.

I will be forever grateful to God, who knew that after the misdiagnosis from the doctor, that someone else was needed to point us to the help Victoria needed. 

Needless to say I was a bit teary in the park yesterday, as I relived some of the emotions of that day. But as I watched with amazement Victoria running around, playing and laughing, I was reminded again of God's faithfulness throughout this journey. And the smile returned to my face.

It has been 3 months since Victoria stopped treatment. On New Years Eve, I felt finally able to take down some of the signs I had put up around our home regarding hand hygiene, Victoria's medications, emergency phone numbers, mouth wash regimes etc. It was a surprise to me that it has taken me so long to emotionally have the strength to do that simple, but significant and symbolic task.  And hopefully prophetic task!

I replaced the signs with the verse of scripture I believe God has given me for 2014. A scripture to remind me of the benefits of living God's way. Benefits we have experienced as we have pressed firmly into God during this time of trial. The challenge now as this trial ends and life resumes to some normal capacity, is to keep trying to live God's way, looking to Him for everything and in everything. Here is the scripture:

But what happens when we live God's way?

He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard - things like
  • affection for others
  • exuberance about life
  • serenity

We develop 
  • a willingness to stick with things
  • a sense of compassion in the heart
  • a conviction that basic holiness permeates things and people.

We find ourselves 
  • involved in loyal commitments
  • not needing to force our way in life
  • able to marshal and direct our energies wisely

This scripture is from Galatians 5:22-23, The Message version. In other versions it is often called the fruit of the spirit verse.

Thank you again for continuing to pray for our family as we draw closer to Victoria's MRI on 6th February. We thank God that the results to be positive.

Happy New Year!