Friday, May 18, 2012

What will we do if . . . ?

- from Christy

Precious Josiah receiving treatments for meningitis.
Have you ever had one of the moments where you have a thought that comes out of left field and leaves you disturbed. A thought that leaves you unable to shake the desire to figure it out. Well, I had one of those moments last week. Jeremy's new job has caused me to think a lot about preparing for the future, and our recent visit with the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities (CIDD) has heightened our need to think and plan ahead for Josiah's future. So the question that is pressing on my mind and emotions is, "What will we do if Josiah is diagnosed with cancer some day?" Lest you think that an odd question, try to put yourself in our position. The process of detecting and diagnosing cancer would no doubt be difficult due to Josiah's inability to communicate. We feel almost certain that Josiah would not understand why the treatments and pain associated with cancer would be happening to him. He would just know that we were hurting him. It would completely turn his life upside down. It is already a daily fight for quality of life and happiness for him due to Autism. Also, determining when Josiah is in pain or discomfort is hard for us to do even now. Imagine all that cancer would possibly intel: surgery, chemo and radiation treatments, nausea, a possible port that Josiah would be pulling at constantly, and loss of sleep. The potential loss of appetite could be detrimental for Josiah due to his already exceptionally narrowed diet. Imagine how overwhelmed he would be. His sensory problems are so severe already. We can't imagine.  And so we are left to contemplate which would be most important for our boy: quality or quantity of life. Jeremy and I have already agreed on the fact that we would love for the Lord to allow Josiah to live a long and healthy life with us, but that we do wish to outlive our sweet boy. The thought of leaving him behind, and all the unknowns that come with that is almost unbearable to contemplate.

Every trial we have faced has caused me to seek a greater understanding of Heaven. We are resting in the fact that, due to Josiah's mental challenges, God has already planned a place for him in Heaven. Having this confidence causes us to joy in thinking about Josiah's resurrected body. He will have clarity of mind, a voice to speak and sing, and complete unfettered fellowship with Jesus Christ. Because God has saved us, we will see him in Heaven someday, and we will enjoy all the things that were deprived from him on this earth. We long for Heaven for Josiah while we make the best of every day here on earth.

Meeting Jalen for the first time.
God is all knowing and all powerful. He is not surprised by the circumstances in our lives. My concern for preparing for the future should not be misunderstood as worry. I remember Pastor Karns once preaching about worry. He said something along the lines that worry is one of the most excused sins for Christians. If we have confidence in Christ's sovereign will, and if we are trusting that He is working in our lives for our eternal good, what need do we have for worry? What will our worry accomplish other than causing us to focus on all the unknowns instead of resting in what we do know? God is good, and He loves and cares for us. If I would just remember this every moment of every day, my life would be so much more joyful and peaceful. But, my own sin nature likes to wrestle with God. I like fighting for control. How thankful I am that God is in charge and not me.

Please understand that we have some of these same concerns for both Josiah and Jalen. Josiah has much more complicated neurological issues. Whereas, Jalen, while severely on the spectrum, is extremely intelligent and is learning to communicate very slowly. We pray that his communication will continue to improve over time. The doctors have prepared us that this will most likely not be the case for Josiah. The question of Josiah and Jalen's future is certainly in God's hands, but part of our job as their parents is to weigh out the options available and to be prepared for the possibility that we will be caring for both of our AU boys for the rest of their lives. The question of future illnesses, diseases, and treatments is one that I wish I did not have to think about. It is heart wrenching. So we will try our best to be prepared, but we know that we have no choice but to take things as they come. We pray for wisdom for today, and for the faith to trust in God's plan for the future.

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