Wednesday, May 20, 2009

UPDATED Special Prayer Request

Dixie Herring is a friend of mine from college. Her dear nephew, Josiah, was diagnosed with a brain tumor about 2 months ago at only 4 years of age. My heart and prayers have fervently and tearfully gone out to them ever since that first day Dixie sent me the message. This has been dear to my heart also because, Josiah is the son of an independent Baptist pastor (Such saddening things are not suppose to happen to families like this. Right? Wrong. It could be ANY of us at any time.), and he is the same age as our dear Asher. Asher is so sweet and such a joy to my life daily. I have taken for granted the health that he has- that all my children have-- and the time that I have with them each day.

Little Josiah went on a Make A Wish Trip to Disney World with his family two weeks ago. On the last day of the trip, Josiah went into a deep coma. This family has had such great faith and dependence on God during this time--a time when so many would blame God and ask why. This Mom and Dad have been such a great testimony to me and so many others. I would like for you to read this last update from the father made after his son fell into a coma and pray for this dear family.

At 3:00 AM on Friday morning the team from Air Ambulance arrived to transport Josiah Lee from Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital in Orlando, Florida to St. Lukes in Boise, Idaho. Suzie went along with Josiah because the airplane could only accomodate one family member. Little Jason and I followed along on a commercial flight that arrived in Boise only a couple of hours after Suzie and Josiah. Our time at Disney on Josiah's Make A Wish trip was wonderful, but it is good to be back at "the happiest place on earth" - home.

Suzie and I met with the doctors yesterday afternoon after they examined Josiah and ran another CT scan. The doctors told us that Josiah is in a deep coma, and there is no chance of him waking up again. There has been massive hemorraging in Josiah's thalamus. The bleeding within the tumor and around the tumor has doubled the size of the affected area in his brain. With both thalami severly damaged, the 'brain within his brain' has all but been destroyed.We have been encouraged by movement, response to touch, and a flicker of the eyelids during the last few days. However, this activity is because the lower part of Josiah's brainstem in unaffected. The upper part of his brainstem, wherein lies the "soul" or conscious part of man, is damaged beyond repair.

These rapidly growing tumors need a tremendous blood supply to in order to keep growing. But the rapid growth rate means that the blood vessels being formed to supply the tumor are very weak and susceptible to rupture. The oncologist compared it to a hastily constructed refugee camp versus a well-organized and structured city. If we had started radiation immediately after Josiah's diagnosis, this incident could have happened sooner because radiation can sometimes aggravate the tumor and make it even more angry. The doctors informed us that it is very unlikely that radiation could have prevented this from happening.

I do not believe God caused this tumor, but I do believe that with all the thousands of prayers and fastings God is certainly at this point in complete control of Josiah's situation. We felt a tremendous peace about following the doctors advice and going on our trip to Florida before treatment began. Is it a coincidence that Josiah lapsed into a coma on the last day of our trip and only a few days before treatment would begin? We asked believing in faith that God would give us a miracle and perhaps God in His infinite goodness has given us mercy.Unless there are any significant changes, I will not be posting anymore updates except for my reflections of the last month with Josiah. We want to preserve the dignity of our son and honor him in such a way that brings honor to our Saviour.

To the army of prayer warriors that have interceded on behalf our precious child, I am deeply humbled and grateful for the time spent in prayer for my son. Fifty-one days ago our world came to screeching halt while the world for everyone else continued to revolve. And yet so many thousands have allowed their world to come to a frequent stop that they might pray, fast, and weep for little Josiah Lee. This has meant more to me than I can ever express.I have not stopped praying for a miracle. Our compounded problems have not made it more difficult for God to heal Josiah. He can heal with as much ease today as He could have a month ago. But I must also recognize that this could be God's answer to our prayer. On Monday morning Josiah went into a deep sleep. In a tremendous way Josiah is already 'asleep in Jesus'. How my heart and soul longs for the day when we live together with Him!

"Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection." (Hebrews 11:35)

Standing atop Mount Moriah, I am still facing a sacrifice that I do not want to make. I look to the thicket, and it is empty.

Those last words are so heartbreaking. I can't imagine being faced with such. Not wanting to let your child go to God, but knowing that he is God's, knowing that you gave him back to God as soon as God gave him to you and now God is taking him home, understanding and trying to accept that this is God's will. How difficult!

Today, little Josiah has gone home to be with the Lord. Please pray for the Herring family.

UPDATE: Here are the father's words this morning after the homegoing of his son.

12:22 AM on Wednesday morning, Josiah Lee was embraced by his best Friend. Ten days ago he fell asleep in Disney World and this morning he woke up in heaven. It doesn't get much better than that for a four-year-old kid. Fifty-five days ago Josiah's journey began. His short life recently touched thousands and some of us were privileged to bask in the warmth of his light for almost five years. Looking out from the balcony of our room in the Disney resort over the splendor of the Magic Kingdom, Suzie commented that the whole Disney trip seemed almost surreal. Last night as Suzie and I were reminiscing about little Josiah I realized our life has been surreal. Josiah lived a "Make A Wish" childhood. One day soon we'll get our wish trip when we're reunited with our little blonde haired, blue eyed boy - 'Siah, my Siah'. "For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us... that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us." (2 Corinthians 1:8-10)

My trials and troubles are small.


Aliene said...

Rachel, Sorry to hear about little Josiah, We know God will give comfort in the days to come. He is the God of all Comfort.

liz said...

How heartbreaking. This family will be in my prayers.

Dani Joy said...

oh how insignificant are the little trials for sure!

This dear child of God is in His Father´s care and his earthly family will be learning to live all over again. I will pray God´s strength for them.

Thank you for sharing, so we can pray and so we can also cherish the life our Lord has given us for this moment.

Becky said...

I am so sorry. I have said a prayer.