A Family Update…

Our family has been going through a pretty tough season over the past few months. It’s been frustrating and defeating and exhausting on so many levels. We’ve been in way over our heads and that’s the why behind some of my posts recently. I’m trying to give you all a bit of what we’ve been learning.

At this point, Crystal is doing better and better but still cannot get through an entire day without a considerable amount of rest in the middle of the day. Somedays she can hardly get out of bed at all. We are still very much living one single day at a time, but we’ve learned it’s okay.
It’s been 8 weeks since the problem first materialized and took her over. It was so sad to see her in that position. I’ll remember that Friday for a long time. It was February 1st and I woke up early as I always do. I either get up and head to the gym or just make coffee and spend some time alone in the front of the fire. This was an in-front of the fire kind of day. I always wake her up around 7 AM so she can be ready for the little girl who comes to hang with us for the day around 8 AM.

When I woke Crystal up, I knew something was bad wrong. She couldn’t move and could hardly utter a moan. She complained of severe, debilitating head pain and said that she could not today. She literally could not do anything.

We got through Friday and she remained in bed all day. I felt so helpless seeing her in such a pitiful and compromised state. My heart just ached to be able to help her on some level.

This was not the first time we had seen something like this. In fact, we knew there was a problem, but every time we pursued anything with it, we were told she was dealing with severe or complex migraines.

Enough was enough and I was determined to make something happen. So we lined up some help with the kids for Saturday and I took her to Hershey to hopefully discover and uncover the underlying problem.

It was the first time in my pastoral career that I had to call in help for Sunday at such a late time in the week. My fill-in had less than 24 hours to conceptualize and assemble a sermon. I felt terrible that I had to do that, but Crystal is rather important to me. It was the right thing to do.

Hershey proved to be of no value either. They did nothing but treat her for headaches and sent us on our way. We had spent about 8 hours at the hospital and arrived back home with the same pain.

A week later she was put on complete bedrest and by this time we had to really call in some reserves. Crystal ended everything immediately. No more babysitting, no more out of bed, although she would try her best, she just could not. For the next 6 weeks, she would and could do nothing out of bed apart from the absolute essentials. The pain was excruciating and endless.

There are a lot of in-between parts to this story, my mom coming to help and staying for a month. My work graciously allowing me to do whatever I needed to do to help her get through this, and so many friends rising up and giving and helping and cooking and taking our kids out for fun. We are so endlessly blessed.

So for today, for me to be able to say that she can get out of bed for a few hours is a huge and wonderful accomplishment! We are not through this yet. The pain continues, although she says its not always as bad and not all the time. She has a lot of limits that were not there before. She has to know when to say enough is enough and determine to take some rest.

She has to give herself grace to know what her limits are and listen to her body say, no you can’t do that right now.

Prayerfully, this will soon pass. We’ve been through more medical tests than ever before in life and yet they all show normal. Somewhere, something is wrong and prayerfully, her body will heal itself.

After we received the word that there was no spinal fluid leak in her head, she was very discouraged. I had taken my mom and some of our crew out for lunch that day. When we came home, the house was different. She had been up and out of bed cleaning. I could tell because the house smelled like strawberry pie. Not a real pie, just one of those wax melts.
When I went up to see her (and scold her for doing more than her body could take) she was mad! She was discouraged. She had received the phone call we had feared, that they could not find the problem. She was angry cleaning!

I told her in that moment that God himself had determined he would heal her. No doctor was going to be able to put his hands on Crystal and bring a cure, this was something the Lord himself was going to heal. His healing takes time and patience.

We are learning so much about life and God and people right now.

We are learning what is really important in our lives because we can only do what is really important.

We are learning the grace of God in ways we have never experienced before.

And we are learning how to accept the grace of people who care so much.

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