Saturday, March 3, 2018

Remembering what God did for us

Dear Fantastic Prayer Warriors,
Anna’s 4th birthday is today (yesterday) and what a unique vantage point the Lord has given us, “tomorrow isn’t a guarantee for anyone” I remember the first few days of her life when you helped us surrender Anna up to our Sovereign Father not knowing if she would make it another day, water on the brain, acid in the blood, unstable blood pressure, tubes, wires, heat lamp, and the enduring our hearts went through. Naively we knew that as believers in Christ, God wanted all of our tomorrows and todays, this trial made that surrender of the future actual. So we stopped making our plans and went with what was before us, God with us.  
I recall the prayers of faith we prayed and how some were filled with much repetition and begging. I recall the heaviness of amending the prayers as we got more and more news of Anna’s state, as the requests indicated more hardships  God was increasing. We prayed:
-for a healthy baby
-for no brain damage
-for the blood pressure to stabilize
-for the ventricles in her brain to start working
-for no seizures,
-for no surgery
-for a successful surgery
-for sucking
-for swallowing
-for vision
-for hearing…
I have learned that there is providence and grace in submitting to God’s answers to prayers rather than insisting bitterly on my way and losing faith. 
Everyday God spoke to us in His Word. I remember asking you all for Bible passages to give to us: Psalm 139 and Isaiah 40 were more than passages of Scripture they were a living shelter where a right understanding of God and our circumstance met. We lived there rent free, what a dwelling place. We were able to trust that God was bigger; having the foreknowledge of Anna’s days and ability. We were the ones totally surprised, not God. Certain Bible promises were posted on Anna’s hospital bed to be frequently before us.
During this hospitalization we found a verse that became something we committed to God for Anna’s life and our life with her its Isaiah 33:2. “LORD, be gracious to us! We wait for You. Be our strength every morning and our salvation in time of trouble.” We have prayed this verse back to God many times; it has always stood strong as a verse unto itself. However, I have learned a few contextual things that make it even more special. Here Isaiah talks of a destroyer (Assyria) coming and Judah has exhausted all their abilities. This verse is more of a prayer; Judah has come to realize (again) that God is the only one who can help them. Isaiah is pleading for God’s attributes of grace, strength, and salvation. Likewise, we have come to depend on God for those attributes regarding all things Anna. Like Judah, we feel we have exhausted all the tests, medicines, treatments, surgeries, and therapies. That is why we cry out to God so similarly. Only God will bring the healing that will encourage our hearts and will build us up in Him until that day. I find myself more interested about testimonies of God’s healing than keeping up with the Jones’ (the special needs parenting edition).  
One of the commentaries I read said that this verse reminded him to “never underestimate the power of a praying minority.” Thank you for being that minority for Anna. I sincerely have a humbling debt of great spiritual worth for all the prayers you have prayed in faith regarding Anna. We ask for more because we know that waiting on God is the only way we can be our very best for Anna.
Please Pray:
-for Anna to recover from her current illness that includes an ear infection  
-for increased ability to hold up her head,
-for the ability to swallow and keep her throat clear while she sleeps
-for approval of a van ramp conversion through insurance
-for God our Perfect Heavenly Father to be gracious to us, by opening doors and guiding our steps for Anna’s future
-for daily strength and renewal because we want to serve Anna and others in Jesus’ name
-for Salvation and its many promises to compel us onward with great joy
-for Anna to know the company and love of Jesus so deeply because of her perfect childlikeness 
Thanksgiving has been on my heart all day in regards to the blessing that beloved Anna is. Sharing with you is genuinely joy-filled, All glory and Praise to our God.  
Year 5 here we go!
Nic, Lindsey, Anna, and Simon

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Ye Blind Behold Your Saviours Come

Dear Praying Warriors,

I’m filled with faith at the joyful task of giving you e-mail updates. It makes me pause in thanks, think about Anna’s needs, and humbly ask the ever-able Perfect Father for more with your help. I admit these prayer updates are harder to write when things are continuing to flourish. We have been delighting in her good respiratory condition, her cheer is unmistakable. We are making the most of this good weather by being outside often. Praise the Lord for this extended time of ease in Anna’s caregiving. Nonetheless I would love to turn the Lord’s gracious ear with your help upon a few things.

Anna’s “tone” or spasticity is increasingly challenging to live with. Often when we hold her she will flex backwards aggressively with her head breaking out of our holds. We need the strength not only to carry her but to counter her stubborn tone extensions. She has been on muscles relaxers but we wonder if the medication needs to increase.  

Anna’s hands and arms have been increasingly tight, she doesn’t want them touched. She gives us a fussy protest anytime we dress her (it didn’t used to be that way). Her range of motion seems lessened because she spends 80% of her waking hours chewing her wrist and knuckles. Her wrists have skin tears that have become infected at times. No matter the ointment, they can’t restore those sores. So we reluctantly use arm straighteners to prohibit the chewing so that her skin has time to heal. Her face is constantly with a rash from this self-soothing rubbing.

There is an increasing spiritual hardship that comes upon us as parents from seeing the maturation of Cerebral Palsy. We know from research that Anna’s joints, bones and muscles will start hurting more and more, and be deformed; Thus needing greater medicinal interventions, difficult medical decisions, and surgeries. In our hearts we surrender, we rally around God’s plan for Anna. We focus on taking Anna “as is” but when “as is” becomes worse than what we previously accepted, it hard to be at peace with it.

Help us recommit to remembering the journey as God guided our steps, the miraculous answers to prayers. Intercede with us for full healing to our interventionist God. Most importantly because Christ lives in us, may we not ruin our witness to the host of people watching by taking matters in our own hands. I say this in humility, may God use our family the show “Christ in us the hope of glory” amid our circumstances. In truth we are overcoming the suffering and trials only by Jesus’s peace. Aren’t parents at their best to be a channel of God’s grace to their kids?  

Please Pray:
-For Anna to adjust to the C-PAP machine and mask (it’s going really well), that it would be graciously accepted as a new nightly routine. We rejoice in the benefits it would bring.  
-For Anna to stop using repeated motions or tone to move her limbs (AKA bad neurological connections).
-May God grant His healing over Anna’s fingers and wrists from the flesh wounds and compel them to ability. Anna’s fine motor skills are hard to watch (she is inconsistent at grasping and holding anything in her hands as desired).
-For our heart brokenness as parents to be transformed into faith by Jesus Christ when we see Anna’s physical struggles turning into more hardship. She is on loan for sure and God has purposed Anna for His glory and her good.
-For Anna to see, for her to speak, for her to sit unassisted, to walk

Praise God for her eyes working even better, for no sicknesses. Bless the Lord for the extensive support we get from our government, insurances, and medical professionals. Thank you Lord for her continued good sleeping.

We sang Oh for a Thousand Tongues to Sing at church last weekend. Although we didn't sing stanza 12 its the one that make me think of Anna, I wanted to share it with you, sing it if you know the tune:)

"Hear him, ye deaf; his praise, ye dumb,
Your loosen'd tongues employ;
Ye blind, behold your Saviour come,
And leap, ye lame, for joy."

Happy New Year,

The Currats

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Glad Tidings of Comfort and Joy

Dear Prayer Warriors,

I realize this may not be news to you but be affirmed in your faith because our gracious God has plans for Anna. She is the recipient of answered prayer, the receiver of miracles, and so loved by our Perfect Heavenly Father. God has granted us many days of Anna flourishing, she has been healthy for nearly 2 months. Anna hasn’t needed to utilize her strength or personality to fight off afflictions. She is able to concentrate on things that promote growth and ability. Even her surgery a month ago was swiftly recovered from reaping benefits instantly, praise God. Anna has been sleeping through the night for nearly 10 days.

In Physical Therapy, Anna’s been propelling herself in her crawling device several times each week. She hasn’t even fussed about getting in it. Anna has been taking independent steps in her walking device too. She spent all of Christmas eve dinner in her stander pleasantly occupied. How awesome is all of this?

Anna shows so much promise with her assistive communication device. Honestly it’s a struggle to get everything set up so we don’t do it enough, but Lord willing we will grow a language of communication that flourishes Anna’s personality and choices more. I can’t wait.  

I was holding Anna during nap time a couple of days ago praising God with her and realizing just how well things have been going. What a fresh, clearing mindset this was. It made the “eyes of my heart” fixate once again on Jesus. I wasn’t caught up praying specifically for Anna’s situation like an open airway, or the removal of a virus, or anything other specific affliction. I was praying with broad brush strokes based on the Characteristics of God, on what Jesus did. As I held Anna’s stubborn left arm attempting to straighten it, the Spirit reminded me of that man with the shriveled hand in the synagogue on the Sabbath. “Stretch out your hand!” is all Jesus said to that man.

In this day and age talk is cheap, but God’s talk is the opposite. Stuff happens as He speaks, that man’s hand was healed at His word. I asked the Lord to give Anna that same command, “Stretch out your hand Anna!” What wonder and awe filled me as I placed the possibility of this at God’s feet in prayer. I didn’t stop there, I prayed for Jesus to command her legs to walk, her eyes to see, her lips to speak, and her mind to have no damage. It was a joy to be able to ask for these things again.

May Anna continue to draw people to the Lord by her quiet witness and through her intercessional needs. What a gracious blessing it is to be the father of a girl who causes me to direct my thoughts to the Lord when I am with her. There is wholeness and healing for all the burdened, the afflicted, and the heavy hearted in the tender hands of Jesus.    
Christ came for you!

Merry Christmas,
The Currats

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Calm and Collected

Dear Prayer Warriors,
After communicating the 6 pages of discharge directions to our overnight nurse, Lindsey looks at me with a bit of fatigue showing and says "its been a blessed day." I certainly agreed. From the plans coming to fruition to the tortilla soup in the cafeteria, all of it was one peaceful step in front of another. Everything was completed an hour ahead of schedule and Anna woke up without needing any extra oxygen. Lindsey thought to bring the blankets from home for added comfort and by 6:30 we were home. Simon greeted us with an outstanding welcome, he had a blast with Aunt Christina.
With these full days the Spirit has been showing me what it means to press onward. In difficult situations when emotions can run high, I'm reminded of my access to Jesus' peace and how unique it is. "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled; do not be afraid" John 14:27. We can only walk and deal with the things before us. Faith for today is not enough faith when our trials come quicker. We need that peace moment by moment. Jesus' peace is always available, alleluia. It is anchored deeper on something deeper than emotions and its not circumstantial like this shifting world, its been sturdy since eternity past. Its the kind of peace that is often accompanied by a biblical promise, a blessed dream or a verse that is perfect through our storms.
Praise God:
-For the replies of encouragement we received from you and daring faith you place in Christ. Your intercessions edify our steps. 
-For a great Bronchoscopy that showed a normal amount of saliva and no aspiration. Her condition of Tracheomalacia was improved to a less than 50% collapse when coughing. God is strengthening her lungs. Pray for healing because we suspect she has chronic partial Atelectasis.
-The endoscopy showed damage to the esophagus, he shared the images with us and we could clearly see how at the bottom the lively pink color was a dull matte pink. Pray for wisdom to treat this problem. We are waiting to change thing until the biopsy come through.
-The dental stuff went well, the tooth came out easily and clotted. they cleaned and found no other dental issues.
-The botox injections will take effect in the salivary glands in the next two days. Botox who knew.
The journey continues but we are grateful we have your prayers interceding to a limitless God.
Nic, Lindsey, Anna, Simon

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Surrendering Surgery to the Savior

Dear Prayer Warriors,
As we draw near to the Lord in a time of need I am reminded that diligence in seeking Him is sweeter still! Thank you for your faithfulness in following Jesus, in reading and lifting our family up.

Praise God that Anna is in good health allowing the medical plans of the last two months to be at hand. Anna is scheduled for her eye surgery, a tooth pull, Bronchospy, endoscopy, and Botox injection into her saliva glands. She will be under general anesthesia tomorrow starting at 12 and lasting close to 4 hours.

I know from experience and from other special needs families that the only way to have a good night’s sleep leading up to surgery days is to surrender it all to Jesus. So here we are, it’s time to let go, to hold our thoughts and imaginations captive… Can you help us commit tomorrow to the Lord?

One of the heaviest things is the fact that this is most likely a complete surprise to Anna. Then she will wake up feeling quite different, may the Lord restore sweet Anna quick. These surgeries make me count on the omnipresence of our loving Faithful Father in a unique way, He is the holder and encourager of Anna because we can’t be in the OR. Lindsey and I feel a bit under prayed lately so tomorrow will be a chance for us to be united in prayer for an extended time while Anna is under. Auntie Christina will be with Simon the whole day!

Please Pray:
-For the effective removal of the remainder of her tooth (remember the crown she swallowed because it was not anchored enough on the stump).
-For grace, focus, love, and ability to the eye surgeon Dr. Steele and the various others doing the procedures.  
-For Jesus’ perfect peace to calm each nerve, accept what He gives us as results, and anchor our emotions in talking with the medical people.
-For the waiting to be faith building, like all good waiting on God should be.
-For Anna to increase her vision particularly her ability to track objects.
-For the reduction of saliva to cause her to have no upper respiratory illnesses this winter.
- For a good endoscopy report, showing supernatural healing and preservation of anna’s esophagus from all the acid reflux.  
-For Anna’s lungs to be free from aspiration evidence be it reflux, saliva or medicine.  
-That we go in God’s strength because He is always giving of His power amid our weakness.
-For aunt Christina to bond and bless Simon as she serves us! 
-For one of Anna’s dearest prayer warriors who became present with the Lord but absent from the body today. Praise God for Paul who completed his mission, and his dear wife Helen who is still missioning here with us. God’s Word and Jesus’ work comforts us as we miss him. What a godly brother, a giving saint. 

May we in all ways be a blessing unto the Lord,

Nic, Lindsey, Anna, and Simon

Friday, November 3, 2017

Thanksgiving for Many Things

Dear Praying Warriors, 

Anna’s 9 inch long G/J tube (feeding) came out today. I came home a little early from work to take her to the hospital. The procedure to replace it is so quick and I am so thankful for the skill that those doctors have in interventional radiology to thread that tube back through as they watch an x-ray video of it happening. Seriously less than three minutes. Anna cried but it was brief. I once again I am reminded of the quality of care offered to us and the coverage of two insurances to not devastate us financially. What providence that the Lord has orchestrated over Anna and all her needs.

Another answer to prayer regarding our night struggles at home is that we have a new night nurse! We went from having two nights covered a week to five! Do pray for her as she is new to nursing and the world of special needs children. This nurse has Anna’s approval I can tell by the coos and smiles. I’m starting to realize how important it is to Anna that someone dialogs with her. She loves being talked to.

A grace we have been witnessing is Simon’s actions towards Anna. Sometimes in haste Lindsey or I will set Anna down on the living room floor and forget to bring something for her to engage with. So she is just lying there kicking up her legs and chewing her hands. Then the next thing I see is Simon trying to hoist a chime rack above her so she can hit it and play. Often when we are outside we put Anna in her stander so she can enjoy her surroundings as she works in it. After a sifting through rocks a little while Simon will grab his favorite rocks and place them on Anna’s tray for her approval. What a little bro! His newest thing is to kiss her good night. If we forget to let him he will remind us.

We are at two new beginnings for Anna’s therapy. We are all set to do horseback therapy once a week which is great for core muscle strengthening. We are also in a speech therapy once a week that focuses on communicative devices to help Anna choose by button hitting -may the Lord use that greatly to help Anna express her cognition and needs to us. Another new group we joined is Hope Kids, they are a group for families with special needs kids that have life threatening hardships. They have dozens of free events each month for the entire family or just part of the family to go to like the Symphony, a movie, a service project, or a basketball game.

Please Pray:
-We also praise God for three weeks of ongoing health. She has been coughing a good deal tonight; please pray for it to pass over without knocking her out for weeks.

-For Anna to stop hand chewing so much, she has torn skin and sores that we are treating but can’t seem to get back to wellness.

-For her upcoming surgery at the end of the month on the muscle of her eye. Those little tiny muscles also get tone and spasticity. Her eye doctor is convinced that it would help her vision to do this minor surgery. Pray that we could also do an endoscopy to see the condition of her esophagus for the reflux battles. This would prevent another general anesthesia date.

-For our ramp van application to Medicaid. They will pay for the conversion of a vehicle up to a certain amount we are trusting for all our needs to be met regarding the many complications to correctly qualify for coverage. The car portion we pay for ourselves. We thank God His continued provision of means through savings and gifts. I thought my first $50,000 car would be a sports car, Lord willing it’s gonna be a minivan with a ramp in it.

-For this new “language” of hitting buttons and the time it takes to build up intentionality behind each click so we can have her choose activities to do or what to wear. And eventually learn to tell us “yes” or “no”.

Thanks for praying and believing in the good that God has for us,

Nic, Lindsey, Anna, and Simon

Friday, October 20, 2017

My Inheritance

Prayer Teammates,
I have been going through the book of Psalms taking a close look at God's declared works and attributes. "The lifter of my head" was one such quality. The other that has been striking to me is the declaration that "God is My Inheritance."
That sentiment aligns so well with how Anna is doing, how i am doing. The very night i sent out the last e-mail of our enduring: anna's latest sickness, my fatigue and wishing to never suction again, God has taken over. Anna hasn't needed suctioning since that night. In fact she is well and needing minimal nightly intervention for the last four nights. Our wednesday night nurse was bored having finished her book ahead of pace because Anna has been such a good sleeper.
The Holy Spirit has been addressing my sin issues of pride and selfishness at work, i have found myself apologizing for my frustrations and rerouting my relationships in the Light of Christ's path. I have been repeating "in this world you will have trouble, but be of good cheer for i have overcome the world." -Jesus.
I didn't want my last e-mail to linger in your minds without an accounting for all the answers to prayer we have been seeing. Following Jesus with Anna amid a world of able children might seem like how the Levites felt when God split up the Promised Land among the twelve tribes and then saying to them: I will be your inheritance no land is set apart for you. we don't get what everyone got, we didn't get what we hoped to get when we first set out to become parents. God in His Sovereignty saw it fit for us raise Anna, ours is a hope in the returning of our Lord and Savior knowing that Anna will be full healed today, in the days to come, or on On that Day.

Whatever Christians go through: in need, wanting, or in plenty we have a life that depends on God for all eternity. We can do nothing on our own.
Thanks for waiting with us, for this in Chirst Jesus our Inheritance is Glorious  Him