Sunday, May 19, 2019

Walking in Faith Through the Open Door

Dear Prayer Warrior,

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” - Jeremiah 29:11There are fewer, sweeter words you can tell a fatherless boy. No more appropriate verse to give a family about to start life in a new city. I count on this verse today like I did the day I first believed.

But God in His desire to grow me in holiness has sweetened the plot with another verse for such a time as this. “Then King David went in and sat before the LORD and said, "Who am I, O LORD God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?” - 1 Chronicles 17:16 this is my perpetual response to Jeremiah 29:11. I’m only 12 years into trusting Jesus and already I can echo David because it is so apparent what the Lord has done for me. If you have shared in Anna’s life through prayer you know how just how God has shown up. Praise God for His incredible inner workings in and through everything. 

You know what makes this verse special to me is that this is the response David gives after God denies what his heart wanted most to do in life, to build a temple for God. What a humble, bondservant type of response. Truly grateful, yet obedient to the continuation of God’s plan for David. So when God tells me “no”, I tell Him thank you for all He’s ever done for me!!

Since Anna’s discharge God has brought me through some of the hardest days of being a father. My household was ill for that whole week after, everyone except for me. Anna needed much nurse care and we were particularly light on staffing that week. Since she was just in surgery, I took her to see the doctor. her health is so delicately held together and preserved thanks to God.  So much vomiting and secretion management and yet she has never stopped breathing or had a bout pneumonia, thank you Father. 

What made it particularly difficult was Lindsey’s illness. Of course, she helped in her sickness, however there was a few evenings I was rotating from child to child to child. I remember asking myself how did my mother do this with four boys’ night after night. God gave me the mental grace to endure and administer the help needed for my family. His is so good, there is no trial that Jesus cannot handle for me and through me. Now everyone is doing much better.   

We closed on our house in Colorado Springs this last week. What a peace, and time of change for us. Our dear brother and sister in Christ have come from Chicago to help us in Jesus name. What an extension of Jesus’ love for us. The help, knowledge, and availability is so wonderful as we are fixing up this little new home.    I also received word that my transfer to a store in Colorado Springs was accepted and I will start there in the beginning of June. To God all praise and glory. 

Please pray for:

  • Anna’s stoma (the new J tube hole on her abdomen) to be free of granuloma (a fleshy growth that needs cream to heal)
  •   Clear communication and patience to set up care for Anna with county Medicaid offices, home medical equipment companies, and nurse care companies.
  • wisdom to install ramps and widen a doorway so Anna can enjoy all of our house with ease, and eventually a lift along our railing down to the basement. 
  • God’s grace in choosing the right, compassionate therapists, doctors, and night nurses. 
  • The Spirit’s clear direction in what church we should weave into
  • Opportunities to serve our neighbors with the love of Jesus as we get to know them. 
  • The quickening and strengthening of our faith life to apply life changes (my leadership at work, spending, exercise, free time) as the Spirit leads us and weighs things on our heart. 
  • Safe travel on the move day of June 1st. Plus protection on the many trips there and back beforehand. It’s not the easiest of highway driving.
  • For Simon, Renee and Anna to be able to express their feelings about the move and find ways to encourage them in this new place.

With the joy of the Spirit, 

The Currats

Thursday, April 18, 2019

A Mosaic of God's Generosity

Dear Prayer Warrior,

When writing these Anna updates, the first thing I do is pray and then I think about my audience. That is why so many of these opening paragraphs are focused on thanksgiving to God for each person who opens, reads, and prays. Prayer is the infinite impact upholding us. I hope the extent to which prayer has helped us will be shown in heaven. I take much comfort in knowing that we are being presented to God by saints that He calls His own. It is most humbling to present our hopes for Anna and our family to you so that you can bring our petitions to God. Our pastor repeatedly says “it’s a privilege to pray for Anna and your family.” All these years of emails started out on that day when anna was born. I couldn’t hold her, or stay with her, asking for prayer to the saints was the one thing that God gave me to do that made me feel like I was doing something as Anna’s father.

In sincerity I have come to the realization that the Lord is writing a testimony of generosity through us. I say this because without God’s generosity we would not have our needs met.  It’s all His, our money, possessions, all that we have is clearly given, timely tailored from the Lord. It is a grace to me that I cannot boast in my wealth, so I will boast in my Lord and proclaim my dependence on Him. Jesus said it is better to give than to receive. Even though we give, God continuously puts my family on the receiving end of His giving. The only way I can describe how tremendously generous God has been to us is through the artistic metaphor of a mosaic sculpture. My family’s finances are a mosaic of God’s generosity.

There are providential “precious stones” that decorate our mosaic of financial generosity/provision. These valuable stones come from federal laws and state Medicaid programs. Another source of these gifts is from my employer through benefits and company policies. These gifts of circumstantial providence like the ramp for the minivan, or providing for home health care companies to channel nurses and therapists to us that are used of God in the care Anna receives. These things are not afforded to needy families worldwide, yet we receive them. Praise the Lord.

God places “rare stones” in our mosaic like an unsolicited financial gift. They are exceptional shock and awe gifts of money from people sometimes anonymous that insist on giving God the glory. These people often say “God told me to give you this.” Or “the Spirit kept putting this on my heart.” These humbling-to-receive gifts bring us to tears. I imagine missionaries must feel this kind of giving. What praises the Lord receives on those days because the world doesn’t give like that.

“Valuable stones” further beautify our mosaic of need through medical, social, and nonprofit programs Two Angel’s Foundation, HopeKids Colorado, LifeBank, and Jeffco Schools. These sources have given gifts even though they have not met Anna. We do not deserve these things and yet they enrich our lives like having a tricycle for Anna, a date night, or banking Renée’s stem cells for free for Anna to receive. We cry out in thanksgiving to God for such lavishing. I would categorize the local churches here too. They have equipped us as our needs and asking dictated. They are the most informed, truly Christs’ hands and feet: they bless us with prayer, encouragement, child care, food, money.

Lastly, on the mosaic of generosity are the “common stones” in the form of personal giving, mercy, and empathy. These gifts are found among our family members, friends and church brothers and sisters. People who come alongside us as they are. Some have installed a car radiator, built a fence, joined us in Panama City for treatment, installed hard wood flooring, sent care packages for every occasion, bought medical equipment for Anna (not covered by insurance), sold our condo without a fee, brought soup to us once a week, sewed wrist protectors, made a waterproof poncho, let our family stay with them for three weeks, and ensured we had affordable housing given our income. (I know I’m still leaving some out.) We have received our Father’s blessing from other people’s time and talent because they just saw a need they could meet and the Lord compelled them to bless us in Jesus name.

I hope this mosaic of God’s generosity “wow’s” you! This is how He has equipped us, taught us to ask, and receive from Him. Each of these stones are a story that is grace filled, building our family’s financial testimony that only God can get the glory for. We wouldn’t have seen much of this if I was making six figures. To God all praise and glory. I humbly testify that Lindsey and I had faith in the promises of God though we had no clue how we would survive out of the NICU.  What God has promised for me, He has promised for you!!!

Please Pray for:
-Anna, her procedure, test, and surgery is scheduled for April 29th. We will be inpatient there until May 1st if all goes well. Praise the Lord we got all the experts aligned for this. Anna has been sick with a virus, pray it goes away completely this week.
-our contract on a house in Colorado Springs. It is a fixer-upper but not a major fixer-upper. The inspection has raised some issues that need several contractors attention, we are going to ask the seller to resolve some of them. Pray for favor from the seller because some of these are respiratory related. That said, pray for wisdom to end the contract if my family’s health is in jeopardy. Praise God and His timing after 4 denied bids.
-a transfer to the right Target store in Colorado Springs that I could glorify God through my work and share the gospel for the joy of Jesus being lifted high.
-God’s peace, strength, and direction as we find new nurses, therapists, and doctors; organize the timing of a move, and execute it.
-for God to heal Renée of her reflux, she cries so much. Having three kids has been hard thus far. Our evenings have become so difficult as she cries incessantly at bedtime. Pray for me to be increasingly able to calm her. Praise the Lord she is a good sleeper, she is crying now as I write. We have tried many things, trust me.

Rejoicing with you in our risen Savior,
The Currats

Saturday, March 30, 2019

An Encore of Grace

Dear Prayer Warriors,

I remain encouraged by all of you and the grace you extend to us by reading and praying. It sheds light on the unity we share in Jesus; I ask myself if I would be faithful to pray if the tables were turned and you were asking me to pray, thank you and praise God. My last email wasn’t super succinct, sharing a heartfelt sentiment is hard. God is working on me, “when all around my soul gives way He then is all my hope and stay. On Christ the solid Rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand.” 

My bride read the last email and said “I didn’t know you struggled so much with Anna’s sufferings?” I was backpedaling to find an answer. “Uhh yeah don’t you?”
Lindsey’s observes that much of Anna’s behavior does not indicate pain and suffering but rather a joyful person, “all in all her quality of life is good.” It blessed me to consider this. I think Lindsey lives with a greater grace of surrender to the peace found in Jesus regarding the ongoing sufferings. My lament seems to repeat, “It’s just not what I would have for my daughter.” 

I know many special needs parents claim that they don’t see the disability and diagnosis after a while, they just see their child. While that is beautiful for them, I can’t help but feel that God has left me hungry to wonder who Anna is disability-free -like every day. I think that all Anna goes through makes God grieve too, since He knows all days, the Almighty knows Anna in her incorruptible body too. I have peace knowing that God knows, has seen, and loves Anna who is fully healed in His presence!

In the last email I was asking for prayer about having a greater praise of Christ during suffering and hardships. By God’s grace and in answer to our prayer, the following days and weeks the Lord has flooded my heart with song. Many hymns whistled at work. Many simple songs with Gods promises sung during our car rides. A few new-to-me artists with fresh songs ascribing worth to Jesus.  My times of prayer would become colorfully interrupted by a song that came to mind stemming from the prayer I was praying. I’d stop and sing it then get back to praying. What joy.

The true test came one Saturday night at the Children’s Hospital during an urgent visit, we were in a closed part of the hospital for interventional radiology it was just me, Anna and large tropical fish in this large waiting room for an hour and a half. After doing some stretches, I turned my phone on to some sweet joyous Gospel music. I sang, spun, and shook Anna in her wheel chair. What lively fun being attended with the Spirit’s fruit of joy. Our hearts were soaring in praise of God. What a special time. We forgot about why we were there. Then they came and got us, the procedure ended up taking 15 minutes with a little pain, but we were caught up in worship before and it carried over. No tears, just grace.

Even in a more custom-fitted loving way God showed me a promise to keep about all this.  I found the gentle voice of God telling me through a psalmist, “My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.” Psalm 119:50 most translations say “affliction” instead of “suffering”. But the version I was reading said “suffering” so it stuck out at me big time. God loves me and cares about the stuff I am going through. This verse speaks to me because it claims that clinging to God’s promises outlasts my suffering. It is in holding hard to the promises and character of Christ that suffering can refine me and give me a life that walks in the Spirit.

Please pray for:

-wisdom and direction to combine three treatments under general anesthesia. Anna has an infected front upper tooth under one of her crowns. All of her dentistry is done under general anesthesia. The dentist said it needs to be taken out within a month. We are trying to see if we can get OR time to do the tooth pull with a surgery to make a direct port to the intestine for her direct feeds. Also it would be best to get an MRI done of her sacral dimple, this should have been done at birth.  

-our house search. We have been looking for houses we can afford which consequently drives out of the Denver metro area. The search has discouraged us because we don’t want to leave Denver, but what does God want? we are currently looking about an hour away in Colorado Springs and about an hour or two to the north. Everything in our price range seems to need some “TLC” and its aggressively sought after and over bid on. So we ask for prayer, for the right home we could either adapt or is already accessible in our price range. God’s got to do this! its been a real test of faith because we know what we can afford and are tempted to bid a number we can’t afford.

-God to sooth and grow our new born Renée. She is a fussy baby reminding us in part of what we endured with Anna. Praise God for the equipping He gave for us to care for Anna as a new born! Pray that Renée’s reflux would stop and that we would count on God like we did back then.

-the Martin family who arrived in Cape Town South Africa this week to proclaim the Good News and minister to the poor. This dear brother was used of God to minister to me during Anna’s birth. He dedicated Anna to the Lord many years ago. What a sweet memories during the storm.