“Waiting on God requires the willingness to bear uncertainty, to carry within oneself the unanswered question, lifting the heart to God about it whenever it intrudes upon one’s thoughts.”
― Elisabeth Elliot
Ah, yes. Waiting. Elisabeth Elliot said it well, having seen some of her deepest fears come to reality during her time on this earth. Yet she also found the secret of waiting, the key component for experiencing pain with joy, and uncertainty with hope. The secret is releasing our fears, surrendering our unanswered questions, and voicing our heartache honestly before the Throne of grace. That is where we find the grace to press on, to live abundantly, and to stare confidently into the face of our fears with our Sovereign God in our view and on our side.
Thanks for praying for Shad’s appointment with the Neurologist this past Monday. As you may have guessed by my commentary above, we did not get the definite answers and direction we were hoping for. Long story short, even with all the testing Shad has undergone over the last few months, the exact location of his seizure focus (where his seizures originate) is still unknown. Because of this, the doctor will present his case to the team of Epileptologists at the hospital and get their input on whether more invasive testing is appropriate. The doctor is rather certain that these invasive tests will be a key component in finding answers regarding Shad’s epilepsy.
We should hear in early May whether and when these tests will be scheduled. The two types of testing to be done are Wada testing, which will help “map” different functions in Shad’s brain, and invasive brain monitoring, which will involve an intensive EEG monitoring with nodes placed directly on the brain’s surface underneath the skull. This second test will take place over the course of a couple weeks. The goal is that by the end of the testing period, the doctors will have a clear idea of what type of surgery should be performed in order to give Shad the highest likelihood of seizure freedom. Ideally, that surgery can be preformed at the same time the nodes are removed.
As you can imagine, our hearts and heads are full of questions, concerns, and fears. It’s a lot to take in, especially in this season of seemingly unending transitions. Yet as we walk through this together, we are reminded of the example of Christ, who, although he allowed himself to experience various times of grief and pain on this earth, faithfully set His eyes on His goal of living out His Father’s will. We are reminded of Jesus’ time in the garden, his head bowed low as he cried out to the Father for relief from his coming suffering. Oh, how we long to mirror His response: “Not my will, but Thine be done.” Even in the waiting, in the uncertainty, in the confusion and the wrestling with reality, we pray that He will teach us more of His heart in it all.
Meanwhile, as we await answers and further testing for Shad, we continue to settle in to ministry as a family here at the Missionary Training Center. We praise the Lord for new friendships and for opportunities to be involved in the lives of students here. Shad has been attending classes as he’s able, and has enjoyed connecting with the students as they walk through the training. I (Sarah) have helped to start a new Sunday School program at church, and I am excited to be a part of sharing Christ with kids from various backgrounds in our church. I am looking forward to being involved in a Culture and Language Acquisition class over the next few weeks, helping to lead a small group of students in applying abstract principles to the language-learning process in a tangible way.
The boys are looking forward to the summer, and today we spent our first afternoon at the lake since we moved here! We are blessed to have a private lakefront on campus, and it is sure to be a family favorite in the weeks and months to come! We are also hoping to do some camping as a family this summer, soaking up all the beautiful views Missouri has to offer!
We appreciate your prayers so much in these days of uncertainty! There are days when we wonder why God hasn’t swept in and answered prayer the way we’d expected. Yet we are beginning to see, in small glimpses, how this difficult time has been tailor made for us with the purpose of drawing us closer to Him. Please keep praying that He will renew our minds, giving us an eternal perspective and transforming us into the likeness of Christ. Pray that we will seek Him continually as a family, casting our cares on Him. Pray for our family as we adjust and prepare for what may be ahead. Pray for wisdom for Shad’s doctors as they consider whether the pros of these invasive measures outweigh the risks. Pray for wisdom for us as we make final decisions in regards to the doctor’s suggestions. Pray for times of rest in the midst of the unknown. Pray for wisdom in how to use our hours and days in this unique season. We are so grateful for a “safe place” here at the Training Center, where we have been given space and freedom to adjust and rest as necessary!!
Thank you for being a part of our team, and for loving us and supporting us in this ministry!! We will keep you posted as we find out more…