Joy. Count it all joy. It is redundant to say life feels as if it is full of trials right now.
Infantile seizures. Lyme's Disease. Broken appliances (dishwasher, water softener and washing machine). A bum tractor. A new transmission. Missing vacation.
Keeping a positive attitude and a spirit of joy requires a lot of effort sometimes. But we are always rewarded. Because who feels good when they are worried... pouting... whining...
Being surrounded by an amazing group of people is definitely a help and a blessing in times of trial. When one of us is feeling low the rest of the gang lift us up. And then the next day we swap. When Addison had to double his meds and it seemed as if we were taking a big step backwards, we spent some time listing some of the blessings we have seen in the last month. Here is our rainy day list. Please feel free to add to it.
1. Seeing God work and hearing Him speak.
2. Answered prayers. No Hypsarrhythmia. Good doctors.
4. We thought we appreciated Henry's accomplishments before! We had no clue. If he lifts his head or focuses on someone we all come running to clap and cheer and praise the Lord.
5. Snuggles. Addison has always loved to snuggle and yet there never seemed to be enough of him to go around. For more than a month we have cuddled and snuggled almost 24/7.
6. A quick diagnosis. Many babies have seizures for MONTHS before they get a diagnosis. A quick diagnosis and treatment are essential to having any chance of a good outcome.
7. Access to excellent medical care. One mom had to travel 6 hours one way to get treatment for their baby with Infantile Seizures.
8. Good health insurance to defer the crazy expense. Just one night in the hospital costs $15,000. And that is just the beginning. I am grateful for good health insurance. Which makes me grateful for Allen's employer.
9. Miss Trudy. Addison's physical therapist and someone we count as a friend. She not only helped us to identify the seizures but she is 110% dedicated to helping us help our boy. And along the way she encourages us.
10. Seeing how this has reached Allen's parents... We have prayed for and reached out to Allen's parents in countless ways over the years. But we have never been able to really connect with them or reach them with the Gospel. In fact, they have been kind but never really been attached to any of our kids, even though our kids have always reached out to them. Shortly after this began Allen's mom called to say she prays for Addison every single night. She calls us up now just to see how he is doing. They have dropped by numerous times in the last few weeks. That's more than an hour round trip. That is HUGE!
11. Having Addison with us instead of in the hospital
12. A greater appreciation for our own potential and the potential of others
13. Hearing reports of how Addison's story is reaching the world
14. No sickness
15. In many ways knowing Addison has Infantile Seizures is a huge relief. In the last few months before he started having seizures I was getting more and more concerned that his development seemed stalled. I didn't want to be discouraging to the rest of the family so I tried to keep it to myself. On the few occasions when I did mention it, everyone told me he was doing great. But the fact is, he wasn't doing great. The Sunday before he went to the hospital I brought it up again with Allen. And he finally conceded I was right. Addison was not progressing. In fact, he seemed to be doing a lot less of the things he had mastered. In church that morning we had a visiting family with a nine month old girl. She was adorable and babbling and looking all around. I fought off tears the whole service. And I began to wonder if Addison would ever progress. Maybe all those people were right when he was born and we were ridiculous to think he was going to do great things. But knowing there is a cause for his delay... Well, that changes everything. Infantile seizures sure makes things a lot harder. But it is an explanation. And when you know the demon you are fighting, somehow the battle seems a lot more winnable.
16. Seeing God's people reach out. The love and prayers and gestures of the brethren have literally brought us to tears more times than I can count this last month. Many times in trials (and in celebrations) I get so sad missing my family. Especially in this situation. Neurology is my dad's area of expertise. He could help us understand so much. If only. But every time I feel so lonely and sad, someone calls, or writes, or drops by or sends a text. And I am reminded that God has given us a very special family even greater and farther reaching than my birth family.
18. Little baby legwarmers in August. One of the side effects of the medication is Addison sweats a lot. His bed is always soaked through. But his limbs are always freezing. Emma knit some adorable rainbow legwarmers to keep our guy snug. So adorable.
19. Knitting. I am restless. I need to be on the go pretty much 24/7. My mind is always spinning. The girls have tried to teach me to knit a number of times but I have never been able to get it. But last week I finally mastered it and knitting has been an awesome way to calm my restless hands.
20. Square dancing. In an effort to distract everyone we looked up square dancing on you tube and learned a few steps. This is not only a fun way to get out of a funk it is excellent exercise. And not nearly as hard as it looks.
So you get the idea. Even in our greatest trials we can find blessings. That doesn't mean you can't feel all the emotions that go along with difficult times. Believe me we run the full spectrum at least once a day. But in order to be blessed through our trials we must choose to see how God is working and work to keep a positive environment.