Rolling To The Right

Recently I posted a video showing Judah intentionally rolling from his back to tummy and ENJOYING tummy time. At that time he used his right leg to push off the floor and roll himself over. This morning, however, he rolled over 6 or 7 times using his left side to roll to his tummy!

Initially, after his brain injury, his left side was considered paralyzed, yet today he used it like a pro. Praise God for all He has done, all He is doing, and all that is to come!

Here’s a video clip from this evening.  He’s enjoying his new ability to roll in any direction he pleases.  I love it!

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Comparison

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”

I’ve heard this quote many times and it’s often caused me to pause for a moment of self-reflection.  But this quote has taken on new meaning in the past 20 months.  Comparing my child who’s had a brain injury to a child the same age who has not had a brain injury will most definitely steal my joy.

I think we’ve all had moments we’ve compared our children to others, especially when trying to determine if they’re hitting their developmental milestones on time.  However, I’ve found in this season, more than any other, that I cannot allow myself to do this.  Nehemiah 8:10 tells me that the joy of the Lord is my strength.  It’s no coincidence the enemy would target my joy, is it?  He wants to strip me of my strength.  I cannot look at development charts that tell me the many things Judah should be able to do by now.  I cannot compare him to other children his age who are walking, feeding themselves, and talking.  I have to keep my eyes focused on the victories and not the defeats.  I need to keep my eyes fixed on God’s Word, His promises, and what He declares about my son.  He sees my son healed and whole.  He sees my son perfect, complete, lacking nothing. And as I keep my eyes on Him, His love for me, and His love for Judah I find my joy, my peace, and the endurance I need to continue this good fight of faith.

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“for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10b

FAQ “Our New Season”

I want to thank all of you for your positive and encouraging response to our most recent announcement of the changes coming for our family. (If you missed that post you can read about our new journey here: https://judahsjourney.com/2013/04/07/somethings-moving-somethings-changing/  Many of you have asked some great questions. For those of you who may also have questions, here are the answers to the ones that were most frequently asked:

What about Chad’s job? Chad’s business, http://www.ideavibe.com/ is mobile. As long as he has a computer and phone, he’s in business.

What about the children’s school? Our children home school. For the first two months of our trip they’ll be on summer break. After that we’ll home school wherever we’re located.

What about Judah’s doctors and therapists? We will be all caught up with our regular doctor visits for Judah before we leave. Also, Lord willing, while in California we will be seeing one of the top therapists in the country who’s had tremendous success working with children like Judah.

What about Judah’s hyperbaric chamber? It’ll come along with us.

Where will you keep your belongings? In storage here in Lakeland until we know our final destination.

How long are you going to be gone? As of right now we are unsure. We could be gone for 2 months, 4-6 months, or permanently.

Why are you traveling to Minnesota? Chad’s family lives there. Our original plan was to vacation there this summer for a time of refreshing for our family. It’s been years since we’ve vacationed in MN during the summer months. We’re excited to show the kids what MN is like without snow 🙂 and what it’s like to swim in lakes that don’t have alligators. It’ll also be a tremendous blessing to have help and support from relatives.

Why are you traveling to California? I grew up in California. We’re excited to travel out that way to see family and show the children the places I loved visiting when I was a child. We’re also excited to stop in Denver, CO on our way to CA to visit precious friends who recently launched a church. We will also be pursuing some additional therapy near San Francisco. Our length of stay in CA will depend on how well Judah responds to the therapy and how the Spirit leads.

How does this fit into your budget? We are moving out of our home and getting out of our lease – this will eliminate quite a bit of our bills. Fundraising efforts like our puzzle fundraiser will help with the cost of therapy in CA.

How have your children reacted to the news? Overall, they’re very excited to visit family and friends. They have their moments of tears and will miss their friends here tremendously; but they know we’ll return to Lakeland – whether for a visit or to call Lakeland home.

Do you know where your final destination will be? No. We are seeking the Lord and will continue to follow one step at a time. Chad recently summed it up best: “We don’t yet know where we’re going, but we do know the One we are following.”

Thank you for your continued prayers as we prepare for this new journey. We love you!

The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” Psalm 32:8

Sensory Time!

Yesterday, our wonderful vision therapist brought over a bright yellow bucket and bags full of dry beans for Judah to play in. Judah wasn’t too interested yesterday, but this morning he did great. He sat well by himself and enjoyed putting his hands in the beans.

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A Mover and a Shaker!

Judah is making great progress!  He’s showing more and more desire to move.  Check out this picture!  Yesterday I laid him next to his toys so I could do the dishes.  When I finished I found him in a whole new spot!  And still moving!  In fact, after I took this picture he moved another 5 feet!  This blesses my heart SO MUCH!  Thank you, Lord, for working in Judah!

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Tummy Time!

We are so excited to share another victory!! Ok, first off, please ignore the messy home (the girls are building forts) and ignore the two kids bickering in the background. But! Look at this!! Judah has not liked being on his tummy! At all! For months and months, when we’d put him on his tummy he’d resist, cry, and roll right back to his back. But today when none of us were near him he decided to experiment – he rolled to his belly and stayed put for awhile. You can see him start to roll a few times, but decide to stay on his tummy awhile longer!! This is such a big deal! Happy tears here!!

Something’s moving, something’s changing

January, 2005: Chad and I had been married for 4 years and had two sweet little boys.  Josiah was almost 3.  Isaac was 10 months old.  We had purchased a new home not far from my in-laws.  I loved living near them and loved raising a family in MN.  We had a great church, great friends, and great family; yet our hearts cried out for more.  “God, we love You.  We want to go where you tell us to go!”

He answered that prayer with a supernatural leading to move to Lakeland, FL and plug into Family Worship Center to grow under the teaching of Pastor Reggie Scarborough.  Within 5 weeks everything came together and we were here!  Beaches, palm trees, orange groves, alligators, and sweet tea served at every meal.  What a culture shock!

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This was the sign I read my very first time taking the boys to the park here in Lakeland. What a shock!

Our 8 years here have been wild.  5 moves.  4 more children.  Lots of change: some good, some not so good.  But through it all, there is no other place in the world we’d have rather been.  Our church has surrounded us like family; and Pastor has poured such wisdom and balance into our lives.  I don’t think there is another church on the planet I could love as much as I love FWC Lakeland.

January, 2013:  We entered this year sensing “change” was on the horizon.  No indicator of what that change was going to be, just simply “change.”  We were also praying for a new home and began to more aggressively search for one.  4 years ago we moved into a small “temporary” rental home.  We thought we’d live here a year while looking for the right place for our family.  After looking at multiple homes, we didn’t have peace.

One night in January I was out driving alone and talking to the Lord.  “God, why is it that we haven’t found the right house…..is it possible our next home isn’t in Lakeland?”  I paused a moment a little taken back at my words.  Then I made a choice in that moment… “God, if that’s the case, I’ll follow you.  I’ll go wherever You tell us to go.”  My head was yelling at me saying I was crazy for even being willing to leave this city… But my heart knew it was right to be willing.

I called Chad later in the evening and before I could say a word he said, “Krista, I was praying tonight.  Here’s what I am sensing…what would you think of this?  Instead of going to Minnesota for a vacation this summer let’s pack up our home, get out of our lease, and go to Minnesota for an open-ended road trip to see where God takes us?”

I laughed a nervous laugh.  My spirit lept!  And there was peace!

Since that time Chad and I have been praying and seeking the counsel of others.  We spoke with Pastor Reggie, our parents, our mentors, and Chad’s business partner.  Every person gave us their blessing and support.  We are thankful!

After meeting with Pastor Reggie, we took the kids out and shared what God is doing.

After meeting with Pastor Reggie, we took the kids out and shared what God is doing.

We aren’t sure why and we aren’t sure where; but we are very confident that God is moving us in a new direction and asking us to “step out of the boat.”  We are beginning the process of sorting our things, packing up our home, selling our minivan, and preparing for our trip.  On June 29th we’ll begin our new journey.  We’ll spend the beginning of July in Minnesota with family.  Mid-July, Judah and I will fly out to California to see my family and spend 5 days near San Francisco pursuing further therapy for Judah.  If those appointments prove successful we are considering taking the family back to CA at the end of August to pursue further treatments there for a season.  We are still expecting a full, supernatural recovery in Judah.  In the meantime we’ll do all we can in the natural to aid in his healing.  As far as our final destination is concerned – that isn’t clear yet.  We’ll continue to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit one step at a time.

Our hearts are excited and full of anticipation; yet we are also sad.  We will miss all of you!!  We are not sure if our move is permanent or for a season.  Either way, we want to thank you for standing by our side these past 8 years.  Thank you for the many ways you’ve encouraged, inspired and blessed us.  Thank you for surrounding us and holding us up during these past 20 months as we’ve walked through Judah’s healing journey.  We are so thankful for each and every one of you!

Please keep us in your prayers as we step out into this new season.  We’ll continue to keep you updated as God reveals our next steps and our future home.

Lots of love to you all from the whole Dearey family!!

~ Chad, Krista, Josiah, Isaac, Ellianna, Rhema, Adonai, and Judah

“Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. – Matthew 14:29

“It’s Easy”

I love hearing Judah imitate words.  Blesses my heart to the core!

Today Chad was helping Judah practice sitting up and said, “It’s Easy!”  Judah copied him over and over!

We love you, Judah!  You bring such joy to our hearts!

P.S. Please excuse how messy he is! ha!

For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. – Matthew 11:30

Special Needs = Very Special Siblings

“Mom, you can read this if you won’t cry.”

I spun around from my lunch preparations in the kitchen to find Josiah handing me a paper he wrote for an English assignment.

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He had been asked to write a “description” and he chose to write about little Judah.

Here’s what he had to say:

“The baby this description is about is my baby brother, Judah.  Judah is more of a toddler.  He’s almost two.

Judah had a brain injury when he was five weeks old.  He was rushed to the hospital and the doctors didn’t give much hope to his survival.  But he lived!!  It would probably be easier to call him a toddler if it wasn’t for his brain injury. 

Many people have helped our family over the last year (like the therapists) and sometimes people we don’t even know!  We got a hyperbaric chamber through a fundraiser that we got more than enough help with and we have vision therapy every two weeks. 

Judah has been getting better every day thanks to God and everyone that helped.”

There are moments like these that I get a little glimpse into how my children are processing this journey.  For instance, while reading Josiah’s paper I realized for the first time that he was aware of the fact that had Judah not had a brain injury he’d be a toddler by now.  I kept my composure and held back tears, but inside my heart was breaking.  I don’t like that my children have had to walk through this.  It’s one thing to experience pain as an adult.  But my goodness!  They’re so young; yet they’re walking through a season that requires such strength, faith, perseverance, selflessness, and a lot of patience.

I cannot express fully how proud I am of my children and the strength they’ve shown these past 20 months. I’ve watched them treat Judah with such love and acceptance, as if nothing ever happened.  I’ve proudly observed them around the home as they’ve stepped up to the plate and helped Mommy and Daddy out more than ever before.  I’ve snuggled when they have needed a little extra one-on-one time and an opportunity to share their hearts.  I’ve listened as they’ve asked questions…and I’ve paused at times at a loss for words, admitting I was seeking answers to those very same questions.  I’ve cried with them as they’ve revisited the memories and admit they miss the way our lives used to be.  And I’ve smiled…as I’ve observed compassion in their hearts grow for other children that have special needs.

There’s a desire burning strong in our hearts to reach out and minister to other “special needs families.”  More and more we are realizing that the need is so much greater than merely reaching the child with special needs.  And it’s more than encouraging their parents.  It’s about reaching the entire family!  Where there is a child with special needs, there is most likely some very special siblings as well.

Josiah and Judah

Isaac praying over Judah

Ellianna and Judah

Rhema snuggles with Judah

Addie loves her baby brother

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” – Matthew 25:40

100th Dive

Last night we completed Judah’s 100th dive in the hyperbaric oxygen chamber.  What a great feeling!

We continue to see improvements every single week.  Glory to God!  The most noticeable improvement has been hearing Judah imitate sounds.  He’s giving kisses and imitating the sounds animals make.   The other night I said, “ha, ha, ha” and Judah copied it perfectly.  It’s so much fun!  And it shows just how much potential Judah truly does have.  All things are possible!  We believe it!

Another improvement – Judah is not as sensory defensive in his mouth.  He’s putting his toys and fingers into his mouth.  One of our therapists recently gave us a little vibrator used in speech therapy.  This morning he grabbed it out of my hand and put it in his own mouth.  He allowed it to sit on his tongue for about 5 seconds and then giggled.  This is a huge improvement!  And a necessary one for him to be able to tolerate textured  foods.

This morning we had a great appointment with our pediatrician.  Our Dr. commented he felt that Judah was at 7 or 8 months in development.  I was a little surprised by his remark.  For months and months Judah had been at about 3 months in development.  For some reason it hadn’t crossed my mind that he had moved up on the charts.  So the Dr. pulled up the checklist for 9 month development onto his computer.  Judah passed almost half of the questions.  He then pulled up the checklist for 6 month development.  I was able to answer “YES” to every question on that list!  It was such a fantastic feeling!  While this is still a 12 month delay, it is progress.  And for that, I am thankful!

Here are our biggest prayer requests right now.

*Judah will enjoy textures and be able to swallow them.

*He will learn to pick up food with his fingers and and to learn how to self-feed.

*He will learn to drink from a bottle or a cup.

*His balance will improve and he will be able to sit unassisted.

*He will desire to move!   He will enjoy being on his tummy and discovering how to scoot around the room.

*The movement in his eyes will cease.  His vision will improve.

 

“As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength.”  Psalm 138:3

All Things New

Life is busy.  Life with 6 children is busy.  Life homeschooling those 6 children is busy.  But my goodness, life with a child who has special needs is a new definition of “busy.”

In many ways I feel like my life has been a whirlwind these past 18 months.  There are days I find myself asking, “What did ‘normal’ life ever look like?”  I can’t remember. . .

I recently had one of those crazy mom days. . .Moms, you know what I’m talking about.  It was one of “THOSE” days. . . life was spinning all around me and I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath.

“Mom, can I have snack?”

“Mom, can you help me with math?”

“Mom, I need a spelling test.”

“Mom can I have another snack?”

“Mom, when’s lunch?”

“Mom!!!!!  I went poo poo!!!”

I was trying to answer a million questions, referee fights, help with school work, make meals; but all the while I was also trying to make sure I was taking care of Judah’s needs.  Feed Judah.  Do therapy with Judah.  Spend a couple hours in the chamber with Judah.  Feed Judah again.  More therapy.  More chamber time.  More feeding.  More therapy.

So what did I do?  I wish I could say I grabbed my Bible and a worship cd and went to my prayer closet.  But oh no.  Not this day.  I hid!!   In the bathroom!  I locked my bedroom door.  I locked my bathroom door.  And hid!   And this time it wasn’t my kids that found me.  It was Chad!  I heard our bedroom door open, then watched our bathroom door slowly creep open.  There he was, my handsome husband, discovering me, his bride, the mother of his children, hiding in the bathroom with coffee in one hand and ice cream in the other.  ha!

So yes, my life is busy.  But in some ways it really has slowed down.  No really!  It has!  At the beginning of this year we made a conscious decision to slow down a bit.  At one point last year I was taking Judah to as many as eight appointments each week.  That usually included at least one trip to Tampa.  But you can only run at that pace for so long before something has to give.  We started noticing some symptoms in my health that needed attention.  And we also noticed our children needed their mama home again.

Please pray for us as we seek the Lord as to what therapies we should be doing right now and which doctors we should be seeing.  There are so many opinions out there of what is best for my son.  I want God’s opinion!  He knows what Judah needs and He knows what our family needs.

He is making all things new.  In my heart.  In my home.  In my family.  And in Judah.

Thank you for loving us, encouraging us, and praying for us.  Your prayers are what carry us through!

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And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”

Vision Therapy

We love vision therapy.  And we love our vision therapist.  Not only is she skilled at helping our little Judah learn to see; but she’s a great friend and sister in Christ.  And we go to the same church!  She’s a real blessing.  We look forward to her visits and always anticipate something new.  This week it was playing under the table with black and white images, toys and a flashlight. 🙂  Thank you, Gina, for your love, support, faith and encouragement.  We love you!

“Ears that hear and eyes that see–the LORD has made them both.”