Friday, November 22, 2013

A Journey of Miracles, My Grandson's Story

(It’s been almost a year since I’ve made any additions to my blog, and the story you’re about to read will explain the focus of my attention during this period of time.)
Just before delivery and all smiles... not a clue as to what is about to happen.
I had arrived from Kenya on July 22, 2011 to be with our daughter and her family as they waited for the birth of their second son. We had spent a few months wondering if there really was a need for me to make the long trip. After all, our regular furlough time was schedule for later in the year and Stephanie was progressing well with this pregnancy, and there had been no complications with their first baby either.

We all knew that being a foreign missionary sometimes meant missing important family events and the cost for such short international trips was very expensive. In addition to the cost, there was also our own work schedule on the mission field that would be affected. I was in the middle of our school year with teaching the women’s classes in our Bible institute and leaving before the year ended meant doubling our work load to finish the course.

But still, with knowing all of this, the Lord was strongly impressing upon my heart the need for me to be with my daughter and her family for the birth of our second grandson. Whatever reasons we found for me to not make the trip were overshadowed by the Lord’s clear leading and by June my husband had booked my flights and made his decision to join me five months later for our regular furlough time.
It was eight days after my arrival that our grandson, Kacey Guy, was born. He was full-term, born on July 30, 2011 weighing 7 lbs. 9 oz. I was just outside the room when Stephanie delivered and could hear Kacey’s wail-of-a-cry that said everything was alright... but everything wasn’t alright and Kacey was in need of a miracle.

Kacey Guy moments after he was born.  Sedated and on life support.
Our baby boy was born with a heart deformity that would take his life if surgery could not be performed. This deformity of his heart is called Transposition of the Greater Arteries/Vessels (TGA). To understand this deformity, imagine looking at a diagram of the body’s circulatory system, the red and blues indicate the blood flowing to and from the heart and the purpose of this flow is to carry oxygenated blood throughout the body and then return it to the heart and lungs to be refreshed and repeated... now imagine that when the arteries joined the heart that they were switched, connected to the wrong valves. Blood flowing back to the heart was trying to enter through the out-flow valve, and vise versa. Oxygenated blood was being transferred to only his lungs and heart while the rest of his body, including his brain and other vital organs, weren’t getting any oxygen.

Added to this complication was a condition with his lungs known as PPHN (pulmonary hypertension) in which his lungs were not "soaking up" the air he was breathing. Within minutes after his birth, Kacey was put on full life-support, and I began making the phone calls to tell family members of Kacey’s urgent need of prayer... many prayers. Kacey was very much in a moment by moment crisis situation, and we prayed for enough time for doctors to fully evaluate Kacey’s condition and time for them to plan their course of treatment and the eventual surgery that could possible save his precious life. Our baby boy needed a miracle... many miracles. Little did we know but our Kacey had begun his journey of many miracles.

Mommy (Stephanie) with Kacey Guy before he is airlifted to Children's Hospital in OKC.

Three hours after Kacey was born, he was airlifted from the women’s hospital to the children’s hospital. And, as soon as it was possible for Stephanie to move on her own, I was pushing this very weary and worried momma around the children’s hospital trying to find out where her baby was and what was happening to him. Everything had happened so quickly that Stephanie did not have a chance to hold Kacey, or even have time to get a good look at his sweet little face.

The next time we saw Kacey, his face was covered with tubes and tape and he couldn’t be held because of all the IV’s that were insert into various parts of his little newborn body.

A surgical team was called in... they were going to insert a balloon catheter into his heart to punch the hole and make it larger while medications were being given to fool the body into thinking he was still in the womb. All this was done so he could get oxygen throughout his body instead of it recirculating only to his heart and lungs. It was a successful attempt to prolong Kacey’s life but other complications started happening.

Within Kacey’s first week of life (July 30th to August 5th)... his left lung had collapsed and a chest tube was inserted to re-inflate his lung. Kacey had crashed 3 times (meaning his heart had slowed to the point of needing stimulation)..., he started having seizures..., and a blood clot was detected. He was on blood pressure medications to regulate his heart, seizure medication to stop seizures, other medication to sedate and paralyze his little body to keep him still so he wouldn’t fight against the respirator or pull against the IV’s and PICC Line (peripherally inserted central catheter) that were inserted into his little body.

Kacey was on so much medication that his little 7lbs. 9oz. body was now weighing over 11 pounds... this was because of all the medications he was on and the fluid he was retaining. Then, doctors told us Kacey was on all the life support they could give him, and he still wasn’t getting any better. The cardiologist also thought Kacey was not a candidate for corrective heart surgery because TGA with PPHN put Kacey into another category and he was too high a risk for any hope of a successful outcome... they were preparing us for Kacey’s death and we needed a miracle for his life to continue.

A last hope effort was suggested... airlift Kacey to Arkansas Children’s hospital for the lifesaving six-hour heart surgery he needed. Doctors were not sure if Kacey would survive the trip, let alone become stable enough for the surgery. He was air-lifted to Arkansas on the following Saturday (August 6, 2011) and we followed by car.

When we arrived at mid-night, Chad and Stephanie checked on Kacey while I kept his older brother, Kayin, with me. Kacey had survived the three hour helicopter transport but he would have to stabilize before doctors would even consider putting him on their surgical schedule. We had no idea how to plan for our stay in Arkansas and so we thought it would be best to see if we could get a room at the Ronald McDonald house across the street. Monday morning was our first chance to ask about a room and we were told seven families were already on the waiting list. But, by Monday afternoon, we were called by the folks with the McDonald house and told a room was now available for us. We do have family living in Arkansas but no one family member lived close enough to the hospital or had enough room to take in three adults and a 22 month old toddler for an unknown length of time while we waited to see what would happen with Kacey.

Daddy (Chad) holding big brother, Kayin, as they watch over Kacey Guy.
After arriving at the Arkansas Children’s hospital, Kacey was still in a moment by moment crisis situation, it was three days later that he finally started to show signs of stabilizing. Doctors gave him another week before they listed him on their surgical schedule. Finally, we had a surgery date but his date was bumped because of a more time sensitive situation, it was a heart transplant for another baby. Kacey was rescheduled but the same thing happened when another heart became available for another baby. Arkansas Children’s is the best children’s heart hospital in the nation and that means they stay busy giving their attention to the most time sensitive cases. It was good news to us that Kacey was stable enough to wait, but this waiting still put us on edge.

For the third time Kacey was scheduled for surgery and on August 30th the six hour open heart surgery to correct his fatal deformity was successfully performed. Kacey was finally on his journey to recovery... so we thought.

Kacey had been so long on the addictive pain medications that he was having terrible withdrawals as the nurses were working to wean him off. Then, eight days later, Kacey was flown back to Oklahoma for his in-hospital recovery and everything looked well... but it wasn’t long before doctors discovered something else was wrong with our baby boy.
Kacey Guy just after his heart surgery at Arkansas Children's Hospital.

Within the first week of his recovery, Kacey was not tolerating stomach feeds well, nothing would stay down and it was determined that another surgery was needed. Kacey had a defect called pyloric stenosis in which a section of flesh between his stomach and intestines was clamped off, not allowing the contents of the stomach to pass on to the intestines. This surgical procedure is typically done on an easy out-patient basis, but with Kacey still recovering from his open heart surgery, and with the blood thinner injections he had already been receiving for blood clots, this easy surgery became complicated. Not wanting to risk any more pressure to the heart with a laparoscopic procedure, another incision was made to correct this defect. The surgery was successful and Kacey began the stomach feeds again.
Only a few decades ago, and even in some parts of the world today, these surgical corrections could not be made due to either a lack of medical knowledge, or the lack of technical equipment and death of the infant was imminent if not corrected soon after birth. With being on the mission field, we know that our grandson would not have had any hope of life if he had been born in Kenya.

Kacey Guy with Papa
After spending 72 days in the hospital, Kacey was finally able to go home on October 10, 2011. It took a journey of miracles for his life to continue and we thank the Lord, not only for Kacey’s life, but the quality of his life.
I do believe science has discovered many medical procedures and techniques, but I do not believe that any scientific knowledge came without God’s intercession. (Proverbs 2:6 "For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding." Job 32:12 "But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding."; Daniel 2:21, 22 "...He giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: He revealeth the deep and secret things...") My grandson’s life is the result of medical knowledge and technical equipment... but my grandson’s quality of life is a miracle given by God.

Kacey will be a year old on July 30, 2012 and he is doing amazingly well. He currently does not need or take any medications. We know that he will always be a heart patient and need regular checkups on his heart. Doctors have also told us that the process of evaluating Kacey’s long term health and well-being will continue for the next few years.
Thank you Lord that our baby Kacey not only lives but has quality of life beyond man’s understanding or expectation.

Kacey Guy

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Points to Ponder ~ Longevity Chart

I found this amazing, and I hope you will too...  “tidbits of information” concerning the life of some of the Genesis patriarchs and how their life-span overlapped with other patriarchs in the Old Testament.

Longevity Chart
Compiled by Nathan M. Meyer and Alice Hoover
1.   Before the flood, the longevity of man did not decline at all.  The average age of the first 10 generations was 912 years.  “And all the days that Adam lived were 930 years: and he died.” ~ Genesis 5:5

2.   After the flood, there was an immediate and drastic drop in the life-span of man.  Shem, the firstborn son of Noah, died at the age of 600 (Genesis 11:10, 11); Abraham at 175 (Genesis 25:7, 8).  The average age of the first 10 patriarchs after the flood was 317 years.

3.   Enoch, 7th from Adam, preached to Adam.  His subject was the coming of the Lord (Jude 14).

4.   When Adam died, his living descendants in the godly line numbered 8 generations.

5.   According to the biblical account, creation took place about 6,000 years ago.

6.   The first 2,100 years of human history are covered by four men whose life-spans overlapped.  It took only one man to stand between Adam and Noah; only two men between Adam and Abraham, Adam told Methuselah who told Noah what God told Adam in the Garden of Eden.

             Methuselah lived 969 yrs. ~ Genesis 5:27
        Adam overlapped Methuselah by 243 yrs.
             Methuselah overlapped Noah by 600 yrs.
        Noah lived 950 yrs. ~ Genesis 9:29
             Noah overlapped Abraham by 58 yrs.
        Abraham lived 175 yrs. ~ Genesis 25:7-8
             Adam lived 930 yrs. ~ Genesis 5:5   

7.   When Noah was born, his living ancestors numbered 6 generations.

8.   God began to number the days of man to 120 years. ~ Genesis 6:1

9.   Noah was 480 yrs. old when he was warned of God, Genesis 6:13-22.  At that time he had no sons.  Noah’s firstborn, Shem, was born 22 years after God told Noah he had 120 yrs. to prepare for the flood.  Noah was 600 years old when the flood waters came, Genesis 7:6.  Noah’s first grandson was born 2 years after the flood, Genesis 11:10.

10.   It is possible Noah and Abraham could have fellowshipped with one another: Noah lived for 58 years after Abraham was born.

11.   Shem, the son of Noah, lived 35 years longer than Abraham.

12.   For a second time, God reduced the years of man to 70 or 80 years. ~ Psalm 90:10

If you are interested in a Longevity Bible Chart, you can go to The Creation Store   There you will find a downloadable version, or a 11" x 17" laminated chart, both look to be about $5.00 in cost.

Friday, November 8, 2013

A Different Kind of Thanksgiving List

A Different Kind of Thanksgiving List
~ by Jane Coley
I’m thankful to know affliction... for without it, my spirit would not strive for more.
~ "It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes."
Psalm 119:71
I’m thankful to know sorrow... for without it, my heart would not know the depth of joy.
~ "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy."
Psalm 126:5
I’m thankful to know the disappointments of friendships... for without it, I would miss the value of a true friend.
~ "Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend."
Proverbs 27:17
I’m thankful to know financial struggles... for without it, I would waste so much.
~ "Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? Or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain." Proverbs 30:8, 9
I’m thankful to know physical pain... for without it, my attention would not be drawn to the suffering of others.
~ "Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."
II Corinthians 1:4
I’m thankful to know conviction... for without it, I would not know redemption.
~ "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace"

Ephesians 1:7
I’m thankful to know these things...
I’m thankful these things "visit" me...
I’m thankful they don’t stay long.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Points to Ponder ~ Sarah

I’m starting this new series, Points to Ponder, to share with you some of the things I have pondered while I’ve studied women in the Bible. Perhaps my ponderings will be interesting to you... or perhaps it will stir some ponderings of your own. Either way, I thank you for visiting my blog, and I welcome your comments.
Sarah... was first known as Sarai before God changed her name. This name change for Sarah and Abraham (Abram) commemorated the covenant God had made with them, and initiated the beginning of the Jewish Nation; the Nation of Israel. Sarah and Abraham were the first Jews. (Genesis 17:1-11, 15, 16)

Another point to ponder... Not only were Sarah and Abraham husband and wife, but they were also half brother and sister, having the same father. In today’s society this is a repulsive idea but ancient times recorded this as a normal occurrence. My husband and I were married in 1978 in a state that required both a blood test and a 3-day waiting period. When I asked the reason for the blood test, the answer we were given was... to provided evidence that we were not blood relatives. So it seems that even the recent history of our state still indicated a need for that sort of clarification, before a couple would be granted a marriage license.

Sarah and Abraham’s relationship stands out as a remarkable testimony. There are no other Bible characters more in love, and trusting of each other, than Sarah and Abraham. Though there were reasons for them to play the "blame game", Sarah and Abraham never did. Their commitment to each other was the foundation of their successful spiritual growth. Their spiritual journey presented challenges for them as much as their wilderness wanderings did.

Hebrews 11:8-11 "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised."

A point to ponder... When they journeyed into strange lands, some take issue with Abraham and consider him a coward for having Sarah say she was his sister. However, it was typical for beautiful women to be "collected" and kept as potential wives by their captors. Esther, for example, was "collected" and went through a purification process that lasted 12 months. (Esther 2:2-9, 12)

Genesis 12:10-13 "And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land. And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter Egypt, that he said unto Sarai is wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon: Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive. Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee."
Genesis 20:12, 13 "And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife. And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father’s house, that I said unto her, This is thy kindness which thou shalt shew unto me; at every place whither we shall come, say of me, He is my brother."

For her beauty, kings would kill a husband... but they would give gifts to her brother. When Abraham and Sarah agreed together to say, "she is my sister" this half-truth was a strategic plan of wisdom more then it was a cowardly evasion.

This plan allowed the process of time for these "captors of beautiful women" to understand the might of Abraham’s God. Abraham sojourned by God’s command, and it was therefore God’s protection that went before them. The Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues, and again, twenty years later, Abimelech was also witness to the mighty strength of Abraham’s God. (Genesis 12:17; 20:1-7) Never, at any time, did God reprimand Abraham for this.

Genesis 12:3 "And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."

Sarah’s Barrenness, A Spiritual Challenge. ~ Even in today’s society, couples struggling with infertility problems face many private heartaches and heartbreaks that many of us, unless infertile ourselves, cannot even fathom. Then, there are the painful remarks made by well-meaning onlookers who neglect to consider that their greatest kindness would be to remain silent on this private topic. Many couples struggling with infertility choose to "weather this storm of life" and face their barrenness together. But, in Sarah’s time, getting a baby was as easy as telling your husband to take another wife, which Sarah did... and which lead to their greatest spiritual challenge.

It was Sarah who made the suggestion for Abraham to take Hagar, her handmaid, and it was Abraham who agreed. Forgoing God and making this impetuous wrong decision together meant they would also face the consequences together.

Their Remarkable Relationship. ~ This couple was supportive of each other and they didn’t waste their time with accusations against one another, even when they made wrong decisions. They chose to "weather the storms of life" and they were "together" in every aspect of the word. You don’t see a domineering overbearing husband, and you don’t see a subdued cowering wife. You see a husband and wife balanced in their relationship with equal submission to one another, very like-minded in their thoughts and actions, not condemning, not blaming... "together".

I Peter 3: 5-7 "For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered."

When they had disagreements, they talked with each other. And, when it seemed they could not come to terms, they took it to the Lord. 
Genesis 16:5 "And Sarai said unto Abram,... ...the Lord judge between me and thee."
Genesis 21:9-14 (vs. 12) "And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called."
The Balance. ~ Sarah and Abraham exemplified the balance of male leadership with female submission. This was never to be a grievous thing. God’s plan for leadership is that it is to be male. Leadership is responsible for those they lead, and leadership is always accountable to God for the outcome... good, bad, or ugly, male leadership answers for it all. He is not "the boss" as much as he is "the responsible party" and all accountability rests on his shoulders. This is what Sarah was acknowledging when she says, "My wrong be upon thee..." in Genesis 16:5.

Numbers 30:14-16 "But if her husband altogether hold his peace at her from day to day; then he establisheth all her vows, or all her bonds, which are upon her: he confirmeth them, because he held his peace at her in the day that he heard them. But if he shall any ways make them void after that he hath heard them; then he shall bear her iniquity. These are the statues, which the Lord commanded Moses, between a man and his wife, between the father and his daughter, being yet in her youth in her father’s house."

The imbalance of this teaching has made it a grievous topic for women because they see themselves as having to submit to the wants and wishes of male domination without consideration; it’s his way or it’s not submission, is the lesson women get. The balance of God’s plan is not grievous.

The balance of female submission is male leadership. The truth of Ephesians 5:21-33 is that if more husbands were the right kind of leader, as the example of Christ with the church, wives would be more inclined to submit. Husbands having trouble with their wives might want to examine how they are leading, instead of focusing on how she’s not submitting.
Ephesians 5:25-27 "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish."

When God’s plan of submission and leadership, for a husband and wife, becomes grievous... it is because there are secrets between the couple. Secrets cause mistrust, and mistrust is the key element that erodes the balance in God’s plan. Submission is easy, when you can trust the one you are submitting to.

When leadership becomes manipulative, it is no longer leadership, it has become a dictatorship. Leadership, to be successful, must lead with loving trust. This is the relationship Sarah and Abraham exemplified. They always lovingly trusted each other and weathered the storms of life together.

(Additional Bible References for Sarah: Genesis 11:27 through to 13:4; chapters 15:1 through to 17:22; chapter 18:1-15; chapters 20:1 through to 21:1-13; chapters 23; 24:36-38, 64-67; 25:7-12; and 49:31; Isaiah 51:2; Romans 4:18-22; and 9:6-9; Hebrews 11:8-19; I Peter 3:1-6)