Monday, April 17, 2017

Spring 2017   Happy Easter!  May HOPE and new life be springing up around you.

Today I came across a camera card with photos from 2014 that Lydia had taken. She took hundreds of photos! I looked at many of them, and what I saw, reminded me of where Lydia was, and made me so thankful for where we are today. The photos were mainly blurry, out of focus, with no apparent subject matter or focal point. They were taken at odd angles, or even upside down.

These photos were taken at a time of great difficulty and setbacks - a stage in her recovery that lasted over 2 years.  At the start of 2016, we began to notice changes in Lydia.  She started having more "good" days.  Her brain seemed to not be so noisy.  She was less overwhelmed. These good days stretched into good weeks, and then months. Something had shifted within her, and she was able to be calm again. (There were no medication, diet, schedule, or caregiver changes that could account for the improvements we saw.) There were still fluctuations in mood, and emotion, but they were manageable. Something had shifted, and another part of her brain had healed. Praise God! Thank you to the many who continued to pray for Lydia, and us, and to care for us, in this most difficult and exhausting phase of her recovery.

The photos I saw today mirrored what she must have been seeing at this time. She could not focus on anything -  everything was blurry, and distorted. Thankfully, she has only few and faint memories of this difficult time. What a mercy!

Praise be to the God of hope, for we are seeing progress and growth again in Lydia's brain development.  In the last 15 months, she has been able to attend school quite regularly. Her brain has calmed and she can focus on cognitive tasks, on others, and on herself. She is becoming more independent than she once was - although still not independent like her brothers or her friends are! She can also communicate and is capable of rational thought again. And, most notably, she is often joyful!

This May, it will be 5 years since May 17, 2012, when Lydia stepped off the bus, and life was forever changed for her, and us.  Many, many times since then, I have read Isaiah 35, for hope and encouragement.

Isaiah 35 (NIV)

Joy of the Redeemed

35 The desert and the parched land will be glad;
    the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom;
    it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it,
    the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;
they will see the glory of the Lord,
    the splendor of our God.

Strengthen the feeble hands,
    steady the knees that give way;
say to those with fearful hearts,
    “Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come,
    he will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution
    he will come to save you.”

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
    and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then will the lame leap like a deer,
    and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
    and streams in the desert.
The burning sand will become a pool,
    the thirsty ground bubbling springs.
In the haunts where jackals once lay,
    grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.

And a highway will be there;
    it will be called the Way of Holiness;
    it will be for those who walk on that Way.
The unclean will not journey on it;
    wicked fools will not go about on it.
No lion will be there,
    nor any ravenous beast;
    they will not be found there.
But only the redeemed will walk there,
10     and those the Lord has rescued will return.
They will enter Zion with singing;
    everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
    and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

 In our home, we are grateful to be at a spot where gladness and joy have returned, and sorrow and sighing are fleeing away. In the days, and years ahead, we will keep looking to the One who can make a desert burst into bloom. Happy spring!