This morning I read an update from Josh's grandmother, who requested that a letter she had previously circulated through email be sent out again. She's hoping to harness the power of the Internet so that thousands and thousands of people will be praying for Josh. The text of her letter is included at the bottom of this post in case you feel drawn to his plight and want to distribute it through your own blog, email, or Facebook page.
Following these stories has been quite an experience. On a good day, I quickly read the latest update and then call Allyson over to the computer. We look at a picture of the child and then hold hands and pray over the need. I usually have tears streaming, but Allyson is grinning from ear to ear. She prays with such jubilance and confidence. "God, please 'betect' him," she prays, or "Please help her mama and daddy be happy."
I'm so thankful Allyson is growing in her faith and learning to care about others. It reminds me of praying with my own mother when I was a preschooler. I was always in awe of Mom's prayers, and I fully expected God to answer her requests. (He did.) If I can be half as good an example as Mom has been, my children will be well equipped to face life's challenges.
And then there are the not so good days. To be honest, sometimes I don't have the energy to read the updates that periodically come via email. It's not that I mind spending a couple of minutes praying for these precious children, but that it's emotionally exhausting to face someone else's pain. It makes it impossible to keep believing that nothing like this could ever happen to me. It makes me feel hopelessly inadequate because there's nothing I can do to ease these strangers' pain.
This morning was one of those days when I felt too tired to think about Joshua's battle. When I saw the update in my Inbox, I thought, "I'll read it later. After I finish the laundry. Or maybe tomorrow." But then I remembered a friend's recent post about refusing to be numb any longer, and I knew that this was not the response that Jesus would have if I were the one in need. He wouldn't purposely make himself numb to my pain. He would bear my burden, just as he expects me to help others bear their burdens. He would be "at the right hand of God, interceding" for me (Romans 8:34).
Needless to say, Allyson and I prayed fervently for Joshua, and then Luke, and then Kate. Just as I knew I would, I'm now feeling utterly drained. Like my friend Melissa, I'm going to let myself feel the pain. And I'm going to let that pain push me toward Jesus.
Tears of Joy
Watching these families over the past weeks and months has been more rewarding than I could have known. I'm in awe of their courage, patience, and steadfast faith. You'll see what I mean if you watch this video of Kate's parents.
I'm thankful for the transparency of all of these parents and grandparents, and I'm rejoicing in the blessings that have unfolded in the midst of their painful situations--such as the outpouring of love from friends, family and strangers. No one but God can make something so beautiful out of something so terrifying!
Here is the letter that Luke's grandmother, Kathy, is asking us to distribute. Please do so if you feel so led...
On Nov. 1, 2007, our 13 year old grandson Josh Eberly went into a local clinic and had the last allergy shot in a series of 7. He'd been receiving this for a year. Josh has asthma also.
On this particular date they were running late and even asked the clerk at the desk if they were too late to get the shot. Oh how I wish they'd had the doors locked that day because while he was given that shot the person giving it to him was discussing trick or treating with him. Josh explained that they don't do trick or treating and the clerk gave him some candy.
The shot was given at 6:15 PM and within 2 minutes Josh had an allergic reaction. His last words to his mother as he was falling to the floor was "Help me!".
Because the clinic had nothing there except the epi pen for such things Josh suffered cardiac arrest. The ambulance was busy in that community so they had to radio one from the nearby town. Valuable time was lost. Our daughter tried to administer CPR but began to hyperventilate.
We took the call around 6:23 from Josh's brother Jake (our oldest grandson). He was hysterical and it took me awhile to get out of him what had happened. We headed there not even knowing where he was. At first I thought maybe they had been riding their bicycles and something had happened to Josh. The words he said to me were "Grandma, you need to pray for my brother. It's BAD!" as he was screaming!
By the time we got there, Josh was being placed into the ambulace. The local hospital got him stable as he literally died. His eyes were fixed and dilated. He was life-flighted to Mott's Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor where he spent the next 102 days. They say he went without oxygen for 20 minutes. We think it wasn't that long but still too long.
After the first week an MRI was done. They had a meeting where we were told the worse of the worse. They said he'd never be able to gag, cough, walk, talk and that he would always be on life support. They told us we should let him go. Of course, our faith in God told us that as long as there was life, there is hope.
We were devastated! Josh's whole family held fast to our beliefs. We prayed and prayed. Our Pastor and his wife came up and prayed with all of us. The next day Josh started doing some of those things they had just told us he'd never be able to do. So they became "hopefully optimistic". So are we.
Josh now goes to Ann Arbor twice a week. He is making progress and we have faith in God and know that God is able. It's been difficult for the whole family because Josh's dad quit his job in order to take full time care of Josh. He's in a wheelchair and can not move or speak. He's in a minimal state of consciousness.
The reason I'm sending this email is because we are requesting prayer. Our prayer focus is that Josh will begin to move his arms or legs, fingers, toes...That he would speak...a word, anything...now he moans or groans and yells. We believe he's trying very hard to come back to us. He is making progress, be it ever so slow.
Even though he suffered from a lack of oxygen we believe that God can restore anything that was lost. His memories, cognitive abilities, neurons, transmitters and all the other things that go along with an anoxic brain injury. (lack of oxygen)
When you receive this please say a prayer for Josh and pass this email on to everyone in your email list. I can't promise as other emails do, that if you send this to 12 people within 12 minutes something good will happen to you ... or if you don't that something terrible will happen to you. We just want to bombard heaven, as we've been doing for the past several months, but sometimes people forget to fervently pray. Josh stays home for the most part in order to keep him away from infections, etc. He's very vulnerable right now. So out of sight, out of mind maybe? Many are praying faithfully for Josh to be restored and we do SO appreciate that.
Please say a prayer specifically for the things mentioned and pass this email on to as many other people who you know will pray for Josh.
In the meantime we've set up a carepage for Josh where you can get all the information and more recently a caringbridge site. The address for carepage is www.carepages.com and put joshuaourwarrior in for the title. The CaringBridge site is www.caringbridge.org/visit/joshuaeberly THERE ARE PHOTOS POSTED ON BOTH OF THESE SITES