Please pray for our friend Anna Peterson

Most of you have already heard all about Anna Peterson from Facebook. Some of you have asked for an explanation. This is an update from the beginning.

The following is a timeline of the prayer updates from her family (mostly from Anna’s mom, Randi).

Friday, Dec. 30:

8:41am – Please pray for my daughter, Anna as she is on her way to the hospital to have baby #7. And please pray for Papa Don and Miss Sharon as they are holding down the fort at home with the other 6. Thanks. Will keep you updated when I know more.

5:13pm – Still waiting on baby.

8:56pm – No baby news. The doctor says all is well. Going to bed now – so, until tomorrow…good night.

Saturday, Dec. 31:

6:34am – Baby boy is here. 9lbs 14 oz 20.75 inches. No name yet. More news to follow.

7:38am – Please, please pray for my daughter Anna. She had an emergency c-section and has lost a lot of blood. The baby is doing well but Anna is not. Please ask God for healing and for the doctors to have wisdom and knowledge as to how to help her. The last text I got from Brian (her husband) was that they had stabilized her, intubated her, and she would be going to ICU. Please pass this along to prayer chains at your places of worship if you have them. Thank you all. It is so hard being so far away.

8:33am – Please continue to pray for Anna and the doctors. They are doing a life-saving surgery following an emergency C-section, lots of blood loss and seizures. And please pray for Brian (Anna’s husband) too.

9:13am – Update on Anna. Surgery is complete. But Anna is still critical. Pray that she stabilizes. When they feel she is stable, they will move her to ICU. Please continue to pray for wisdom and alertness of the doctors and nurses. Pray for no more seizures and stable vital signs and no more bleeding. Pray that she wakes up soon and is cognizant. And please don’t forget to thank God for his many blessings to us. Thank you all.

12:24pm – Update on Anna. She is in ICU. In critical condition. She is on a ventilator and having trouble with her blood pressure. They are trying to stabilize it with meds. THey are also concerned about her blood platelets and the ability to clot properly. She did wake up for a moment and knew who Brian was and that the baby was okay. Please continue to pray.

3:20pm – Just heard from Brian. He said: “Anna was awake enough to want to know what was going on. She has been spelling out words with her fingers on his arm to communicate. Her vitals are stable right now and she is sleeping now. They will keep her intubated throughout the night. Baby is doing great.” I have a very good friend who is a nurse and she said that I should be encouraged that they have allowed her to wake up and that she is communicating at all. My friend also said it is good that she is not trying to pull out the ventilator tube. So my friends, please continue to pray for healing, for a restful night for both Anna and Brian, and continued good medical care. And, please, don’t forget to thank God for all that He is doing.

3:42pm – Brian asked me to ask you to please keep praying. Anna is still in critical condition. We are encouraged as I wrote before but she is still fragile.

7:52pm – Anna is alert but not speaking due to the breathing tube but she has been writing him questions or telling him what she wants on a pad of paper. Her vitals are stable. The doctor said she is still critical but it is a stable critical. But they have let her have visitors and Brian said this has made her happy. Thank you all so much for praying. Please keep it up.

Sunday, Jan. 1:

8:05am – Continued prayers needed. Her temperature is good. Her kidneys are working better now. Almost no bleeding. But her blood pressure continues to be erratic and her pulse is fast. They are waiting for the doctor to come by. Don’t know yet if they will remove her breathing tube. Please thank everyone for their prayers. We so appreciate them. Greg and I fly out this afternoon and we are grateful that folks will be staying at our house. Again, please keep praying she is still in critical condition.

8:18am – Anna is becoming increasingly agitated by the breathing tube so please pray that it can be removed if at all possible.

4:53pm – Please please pray for Anna. She started bleeding again and had to have more surgery. They have put the breathing tube back in and she is sedated. We are in Denver awaiting our flight to Fresno.

10:50pm – From Randi (Anna’s mom): Just saw Anna. Oh my. She is very swollen, sedated, intubated, and critical. She also has several blood clots. We need some miracles from our miracle working God. Thanks for your continued prayers.

Monday, Jan. 2:

10:42am – Anna is having another surgery now to deal with a large blood clot in the diaphram. Please pray for a miracle -that the clot will be gone. In the last two days they have given her 21 units of blood. I am trying desperately to trust God. They will go through a vein in her neck. Great risk of bleeding out but a greater risk of the clot moving. Thanks friends.

9:52pm – It is 9:40 pm. Anna made it through the surgery with no unusual events. Clots are still there but the filter is in place over the large one. Her numbers are improving except her temp which is slightly elevated. We are so grateful that the nurses are encouraged. Tomorrow is yet another trip to the OR to remove the packing and check on bleeding. Please thank God for today. Ask for there to be no bleeding tomorrow and no infection. Also for her numbers to continue to improve. Please pray for all the clots to dissolve and for her kidneys to work better, also for her swelling to go down. Thank you, friends. We continue to praise God for your prayers and His work in Anna’s body.

Tuesday, Jan. 3:

8:00am – She had a good night….we need to pray that her platelet count goes up and the doctors will need to check on her abdomen…pray that she has no further internal bleeding…grateful for your prayers.

8:16am – Just got a call from Shawn….Anna was just taken to the OR for the doctors to check on her abdomen. It was supposed to be done this evening, but the doctors moved it up because her hemoglobin has dropped to 9. Their hope to to be able to close her abdomen to prevent further complications. Lord please give wisdom & direction to the surgeons. We are grateful Lord that we can go to you during this time of need….

10:38am – Just spoke with Randi, Anna’s mom. Anna is out of surgery and they saw very little bleeding. What they saw they cauterized. They have completely closed the incision and have placed a drainage tube. The fluid is pinkish, which is just what it is supposed to be. Pray that the fluid would continue to be pinkish. Continue to pray that her hemoglobin does not go any lower than it is now, which is 9. Nine is low, but according to a nurse friend of Randi’s people walk around with a hemoglobin of 9 all the time. Pray for the continued joyful spirit of the chilidren and for the homecoming of baby Micah, which may cause difficult questions to arise from the kids. Brian is napping…pray that he continues to rest and eat.

1:30pm – Posted by Randi Berkowitz Gregoire at around 1:30: Anna returned from surgery. Packing is out drainage tube is in. Critical but stable. Praise Him. Requests: no infection, clots dissolve, blood counts continue to improve. Another praise: the doctor said he feels like she has turned a corner as far as the DIC is concerned. Thanks for continued prayers.

9:36pm – Praise God for healthy Micah. Papa Gregoire and the kids came to the hospital to bring him home today.

10:06pm – Bit of a sweet moment just now. They turned off her propofol and vercet a couple hours ago to wake her briefly. They wanted to check her responses. She just woke up confused and frightened, but Brian locked eyes with her for several minutes. They had to send her off to sleep land due to her agitation and she fought the drugs the whole time not wanting to lose eye contact with Brian. It was brief, but created a party atmosphere here. Brian is flying hi. Thank you, Lord.

Wednesday, Jan. 4:

12:44am – Update on Anna. Today was a very good day. There is no bleeding since removing the packing and they did not have to give her any blood or platelets during the procedure, her blood coagulation numbers are normal, her blood pressure is good and her heart rate is good. The drainage from the tube in the abdomen area is watery and pink as it should be. This evening they began feeding her a nutritional supplement into the stomach through a tube in her nose. They took her off the sedation medication for a “sedation vacation” as the doctor called it because it gives the brain a chance to “wake up”. Dr Sherman said he likes to do this daily when the patient is stable. The “vacation” only lasts a little while and they don’t let the patient wake up, just stir a little and perhaps respond to requests like “move your hand” etc. Anna’s eyelids were moving as I was talking to her and I said: “if you hear me, squeeze your eyes” and she did!!!! After we left, Brian texted Greg to say that she opened her eyes and raised her hand off the bed a little. You can imagine his joy. We brought Micah home from the hospital today so… Tonight should be interesting for Greg and I as it has been a long time since we awoke to feed a baby several times during the night. To be honest, I am kind of nervous thinking I won’t hear him even though he is in the room with us. So dear prayer warriors, I ask that you praise God for the good progress that we saw today. Prayers are needed for the clots to dissolve, her kidneys to efficiently function, for the swelling to begin to subside (she seems at least twice her size), for her hemoglobin to stabilize, for her platelet count to rise. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. ~Randi

PS If you like to read blogs, check out my daughter-in-laws at www.thegregoires.blogspot.com She gives updates on Anna as well as a wonderful perspective on the power of prayer. She said that she normally gets 60 – 70 hits following each posting . Yesterday in a two hour period she got 3000 and in the past two days she has gotten over 10,000 hits. People are praying for Anna all over the world and we are grateful. All praise, honor, and glory goes to God.

8:50am – Good morning. She had a good night. There was a slight concern with her breathing tube. They thought she knocked it out of place when she woke up briefly. The X-ray showed it was ok. Praise the Lord of all for his sustaining and healing hand. Vitals look good this morning.

9:27am – Update from Shawn Peterson as of 0926 hrs on 1/4: She had a good night. Still stable. Vitals look good! Praise God!

2:00pm – Anna continues to be stable but critical. Vitals are good. The fluid draining from her abdomen looks like watery pink lemonade which is what we want. We are awaiting blood results and visits from the various surgeons that have worked on her. They will confer as to when to start heprin ( a blood thinner) because of the clots. She opened her eyes again today and she can hear us so we are talking to her. Hoping to tape the children’s voices and get some music going as per the nurses’ request. Please continue to pray. Some have asked about the children: Samuel is 9, Kiah is 8, Kate is 7, TJ is 6, Nate is 5, Meghan is 2 and Micah is 5 days. Please gear up, prayer warriors, this is a long haul. We are so grateful for you.

7:22pm – Back in the room. Anna looking better. Far less puffy now as they’ve given her a drip to reduce fluid retention. The decision on heparin will be tomorrow once the surgeons are available for consult. But, her team is not worried about it. She looking at Brian again now as they’ve put her on another sedation vacation. Please pray for continues improvement and for her body to do more of the work on her own. Overall, it’s been a good day. Praise the Lord almighty.

Thursday, Jan. 5:

6:38am – Anna’s responses are a little better now. She responds more to lights and sound. But very agitated. Janet just went downstairs after an all nighter. Anna kept waking and moving too much so she spent a lot of time restraining her. Brian is sleeping. Anna was off all sedatives for 10 hours. They started versed again due to agitation. Thanks everyone for your prayers and comments on here. I show them to Brian and he is very encouraged by them.

10:34am – Good news. They feel very confident that her bleeding is under control and they decided to start her heparin meds to allow for blood clot management. Praise the Lord almighty. He has sustained her through this valley.

1:10pm – Posted by Randi Berkowitz Gregoire a few moments ago,Dear Prayer Warriors, I am at the hospital. They have taken Anna off the sedatives and she is becoming increasingly agitated, which they say is good. She is also breathing more on her own even though she is still intubated. They are giving her nutrition and her GI tract is working on it’s own. Her blood levels continue to normalize. Her swelling is going down. Praise God. Please pray for continued kidney improvement, that they would be able to remove the breathing tube, that there would be no infection, and wisdom for the doctors abt starting heparin, and continued alertness for the nurses. The baby is doing great. Pray for the other children too. Blessings and huge amounts of thankfulness to our Father for you and your prayers.

1:24pm – The tube is out and she appears to be doing well! She was extremely agitated and heart rate was 180 so dr decided to pull it. She’s totally calm now and rate back to 100 with oxygen at 99. Pray she continues to handle breathing well on her own so it can stay out.

6:24pmFrom Anna’s mom this afternoon: “Anna – praise. We actually heard the words: “when she goes home”. Not anytime soon, but none the less, “when she goes home!” Still in ICU, still has blood clots, kidneys still need to improve, all blood levels need to be normal, BUT “when she goes home”. Please praise and thank God with us and continue to pray. Thanks for the hundreth time, at least.”

11:00pm – I am home from the hospital now, taking my night shift with the baby. When I left, Anna was very agitated flailing her arms and moving her legs. They were going to give her something to help her sleep to help the transition from being sedated to being awake. (She has never been awake since they took her off the sedatives.) The day nurse said it would probably be tomorrow morning before she would focus and then she would probably be confused. We have been very encouraged by her progress but then one of the nurses made a comment about her mental capacity that scared us and had us running once again to the throne of grace for the peace that passes understanding. Please pray for Brian tonight and for me to sleep well and rest in the arms of our Abba. God is good and we will trust Him for a full recovery for Anna. Thank you again for praying for Anna and Brian, their children, the doctors and nurses, and us. Tomorrow I take the baby for his weight check etc. so I will get to the hospital a little later than usual.

Friday, Jan. 6:

10:03am – Anna is coughing and starting to respond to facial commands. Doctor came in this morning and said if she is not awake by Saturday they will do a CT scan of her head. She is starting to moan right now. We need her to cough really hard to dislodge the secretions. Otherwise, they will have to suction down her throat. They don’t want pnuemonia to develop. Pray that she will open her eyes today. It would lift Brian’s spirits tremendously.3:30pm – ANNA SAID OUCH!!!! Forgive the tears, but this is huge. The nurses removed a 4×4 piece of tape from her belly and she said ouch. She is still not squeezing hands, but she is sucking from a sponge to drink and she’s coughing. She’s in a chair now while the nurses are doing her hair. When combing her hair, nurse Lynette asked if it hurt and Anna said, “Uh-huh”. They ripped off a leader from herchest and it shot her eyes wide open and she locked eyes with Brian for 4 or 5 seconds. He and the nurse agreed she showed recognition. That’s the only time she’s done that, and the other times when she opens her eyes she stares at nothing. So, technically, she’s not really awake yet, but this is better than yesterday. CT likely will happen tomorrow, but spirits are higher at the moment. Urine is a little pink now that she’s on Heparin, but doctors are not overly concerned at this point. Keep praying and praise the Lord!!!!

9:28pmAnna opened her eyes for 10 minutes! (9:15pm PST) She was tracking Brian and understanding what he was saying to her. When he told her that Micah was perfectly fine, she teared up and squeezed her eyes. She is perfectly aware! Praise the Lord for this progress and continue to pray for full restoration.

11:52pm – Dear Prayer Warriors,I am home from the hospital – it is 11:23 pm I am praising God because at 9:10 pm Anna opened her eyes. She held them open for about 10 minutes, then closed them. But about 5 minutes later she opened them again and when I left at 10:15 they were still open. She tracked with Brian for a little bit and when he showed her a picture of Micah and explained that he had been born, her eyes teared. Before opening her eyes she was very agitated and called: “Mama”. When I went over and took her hand she squeezed it tight and then nuzzled her had into my shoulder. Once she opened her eyes, she became very calm. Praise God, Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Once again she still has a long way to go but each day brings more progress. The next major prayer request besides the brain continuing to wake up, the kidneys functioning efficiently, the heparin dose regulated, and her blood numbers to continue to normalize, is that when they take the pic line out of her neck, that they do it with skill and that the bleeding is very minimal. Because she is on blood thinner she is at greater risk to bleed. They are suppose to take it out between now and the morning. Again, please continue to pray for no infection. Pray that as she wakes more fully, she isn’t frightened by the look of her arms and torso. And please pray for the children. Nathan will be 5 on Monday so pray we can celebrate his birth with great joy. Once again, thank you and please give God all the honor and glory.

Saturday, Jan. 7:

2:43am – Wherever you are in the world at this time of day please hold Anna up to our gracious and loving Father. Brian Peterson just called to report that Anna has experienced a seizure and the medical team has sedated her and taken her back for a cat scan. Pray for wisdom and alertness on the part of the techs and the doctors. Pray that Brian would lean hard on the Lord and allow Holy Spirit to minister to him. Pray that Anna will respond to the Lords healing in her mind and body.

11:16am – ok. CT scan showed no bleeding! What they thought was a seizure in her arm, they are now thinking may have been a physical reaction due to low potassium NOT a neurological reaction. The sedative dose they gave her is starting to wear off and she opened her eyes for one second. Dr says her brain is under a lot of stress. She probably hasn’t slept in 10 days, despite being under sedation, plus she’s had 5 surgeries and gone through childbirth. So they are increasing pain meds to make her comfortable. She will be groggy but it’s not a sedative that puts her under. Hopefully she will sleep a lot. This is a long road but we’re praying her through it!

7:25pm – Not much change from Rebecca’s earlier update, but they plan to give her another CT scan tonight to make sure there are no changes from last night. Joanna, Janet, Dan, and Charles are with her now while Brian went to the house for a bit. I’m sure the kids were excited :). Lord, we ask now that you give Anna the rest her body needs, and that she will continue to be led by you to a full recovery.

8:18pm – From Rebecca Gregoire (Anna’s Sister-in-law): Just did some face time with my husband and saw Anna, again, as she was trying to wake up. She opened her eyes for a few minutes. There are 7 people in there, beside the nurses, who are working diligently with Anna- reading the Bible to her, rubbing her feet, talking to her, prodding her, praying over her…I saw Anna last night, too, during the exciting time that she opened her eyes. Brian is doing SUCH a great job of encouraging her. He is right there in her face telling her “EVERYTHING IS OK”. He is being so strong and fighting so hard for her. He needs our prayers. This is very hard on him.

8:22pm – From Shawn Peterson (Brian’s brother): Joanna just sent this: She has opened her eyes several times with some recognition. Brian is pleased. She has been trying to pull her feeding tube and kicking her feet, so we have to hold her down. Some of the timeline is a bit confusing, but I think this is the first recognition since her seizure last night. Praise God for the small steps.

Sunday, Jan. 8:

12:31am – From Randi: Dear Prayer Warriors, Just returned from the hospital. Well, we have taken a couple of steps backwards but still have some things for which to praise God. The neurologist said Anna did have a seizure but as a result of that they did a CT scan which showed no clots and no bleeding in the brain. They will do another CT scan tonight to compare them just to make sure. Pray that everything looks normal again. He also said that her brain is under a lot of stress and that she probably hasn’t slept in days even though she has been sedated. Please pray that she will sleep. She is still not conscious but did open her eyes this evening and focused on Dan when he was reading the Bible to her. She is pretty agitated by the feeding tube in her nose, but they won’t take it out until she wakes up and can swallow to eat. So, please pray she wakes up soon. Please continue to pray for her kidney function to continue to improve, the drainage to stop from her abdomen, her blood levels to all return to normal, and no infection. Also pray that the heparin is regulated to the exact dose that she needs and that her sodium and potassium levels normalize. Praise God that she continues to fight and her vital signs are very good. We are praising God for you all and asking God to bless you as you stand with us in our journey.

8:12am – From Joanna Peterson: Anna had a good night…praise God. When brian asked her to open her eyes on 3, she did…she is opening her eyes moreoften….this morning she said “i don’t like that”…she is still often restless and needs be to held down..love you, talk later p.s. I took the nightshift so brian & janet got more than 4 hrs sleep.

5:35pm – From Randi: Anna is sleeping peacefully in a real sleep. Praise God. The neurologist said she probably hasn’t slept in over a week. Yes, she has been sedated but that didn’t mean she was sleeping. The way she has been acting the last several days, we believe she was thinking that she was still in labor. She spoke some single words earlier today and then this afternoon while the nurse, Dan, and Joanna were washing her hair and combing out the tangles (Brian was holding her head) she asked Brian if she had had the baby. He told her yes and they named him Micah William. With that she took a deep breath, sighed, and went to sleep – a deep, restful, sleep. Just what the neurologist said she needed most. Praising God and being really, really thankful.
Please keep praying for her kidney function to normalize, her blood levels to normalize, for the doctors to find the optimum level of heparin, for her pain to begin to subside, no infection, and that she would fully wake up. Thanks again.

Monday, Jan. 9:

7:03am – Great news this morning!!! From Joanna…..Good morning so far…at about 5am she came of of the meds fog a bit…she recognized brian, asked please turn on a light, said oh my goodness, replies yes or no to each question we ask, moved her leg when asked….praise God for these big steps…brian & anna are both sleeping soundly right now :).

8:05am – Joanna asked that we keep Brian in our prayers today as it’s Nate’s birthday and he’s really struggling with not being there like he normally would be for his big day. Thank you, Lord, that Nate is surrounded by Grandma, Papa, Uncle Dan, brothers and sisters and lots of friends. May this day be filled with love and excitement for him.

8:52am – Just heard from Joanna (Brian’s SIL) who is at the hospital. Anna slept through the night (12 hrs). So incredibly grateful! She is responsive to commands, knew Brian, and even asked to use the restroom. PTL! Please pray for her blood levels to improve – they haven’t moved much in the last few days. And her kidney function is not really improving either.
Greg will be going to the hospital soon. Pray she recognizes him. Thank you so much.

9:42am – From Brian….Just now Anna woke again from a nap and reached for my hand. Holding her hand now while she sleeps and reading the psalms. Each nurse keeps coming by happy to hear. Her hemoglobin is still down, but they’re not worried about it. They could give her blood if she needs it, but would rather not for fear of side effects and risks, etc. All other tests are good. Dr. Coleman reiterated that the rapid drop in hemoglobin from last Sunday (the 2.9 drop) was the DIC, which is resolved. No real risk if that again. So they’ll watch her very carefully and evaluate.

11:09am – From Shawn: Ok, so some things to pray for – she’s throwing up some. They pumped bile from her stomach to help with this. They think it might be from constipation, but they are not worried about it yet. They will do an xray later if needed. She needs to prove she can swallow before they will remove her feeding tube. She’s had some confusion on her name, but she does respond to Anna. They don’t seem worried about blood levels or kidney function, please keep these in prayer. Some praises – They changed her pain meds yesterday and her agitation is gone. They don’t have to hold her down anymore. They might move her out of CCU today! Brian will go home this afternoon for Nate’s birthday. Thank be to the God of all glory. 🙂

5:02pm – From Shawn: Anna named all 7 kids. She’s looking around the room, but not saying a whole lot. Understandably, she’s still very confused. It’s a lot to take in. Pray for her fears to subside. She was awake for hours and has just fallen asleep. The journey is far from over, but what a great day!

9:29pm – Anna is officially non-critical! They moved her out of CCU to the regular ‘ol hospital. She’s been on her feet twice and shuffled across the room slowly with the help of nurses. In other words, she looked like LSU’s quarterback. By the way, Anna was very happy to hear Alabama was winning big. I cannot believe the difference between today and yesterday. Truly incredible. They also removed her feeding tube and she was eating jello. Tomorrow, dancing lessons. Or more sleep. On a serious note, Brian is concerned about a backward step considering all the hurdles thus far. We can be in prayer about that. As we know, there is still much healing to be done and I believe they will still do an MRI perhaps tomorrow. This will likely be nerve-wracking for both Anna and Brian so please pray for peace for them.

Tuesday, Jan. 10:

8:30am – From Randi: For some reason my post from last night didn’t come through or at least I can’t find it. I went to the hospital yesterday afternoon and when I walked in Anna said: “Hi, Mom”. She is still foggy and a glassy eyed but she does respond to commands and she is making requests. At one point she had her eyes closed and I asked her what she was thinking about. She said: “in the arms of Jesus”. I said have you been in the arms of Jesus and she said yes. I told her to remember that story so she could tell us all about later. She shook her head. She had told Brian earlier that she had been to heaven. They did move her to a private room at the next level of care. Please continue to pray. She is on insulin for high blood sugar, they are taking her off heparin and putting her on cumidin, her blood levels and kidney function still need to normalize, and most of yesterday her heart rate was in the low 130’s which is about double what it should be. Also, please continue to pray for no infection and less pain. Thanks again for beseeching the Lord with us for complete healing. Pray for Greg and me too please. Right now we have two sick little boys with the stomach bug. On a lighter note: we had a fun birthday celebration for Nathan last night.

9:36am – From Shawn: I talked to Joanna earlier. Anna’s hemoglobin level is low again. No transfusion yet, but her dr will evaluate again shortly. Please pray that no transfusion is necessary. Also, Joanna said 2 days ago they were pleading with her to open her eyes. Now, they are pleading with her to rest. She closes her eyes when they tell her to, but it’s clear she’s not truly resting.

1:20pm – Anna’s MRI is scheduled for 2:30pm today and then she’ll receive 2 units of blood after that. I know this is tough news as they’ve been in the hospital 11 days and really want to go home. Pray for Anna’s full recovery, as always, but also for patience and perseverance.

5:26pm – From Rebecca: Anna had her MRI. she did good during it. Now she is waiting for 2 units of blood which should give her a lot more energy. They want her to do some walking tomorrow. Preliminary results of the MRI will be ready in a few hours. Boys are still sick so Brian didn’t go home. Dad stayed up with the boys during the night and Mom got a full night sleep. Dan had brought a blow up mattress to the hospital so Joanna and Brian both got to sleep laying down. First time for Brian in 12 days. That was much needed. Anna is talking more and more but is still slightly confused (due to lingering medication). She was told about the hysterectomy and handled that well. So many things to be thankful for.

11:20pm – I wasn’t able to go to the hospital today, because we had three sick boys at home but Greg went. When he walked into the room, Anna said: “Hi, Dad.” A little while later, he stepped out while she got up to use the bathroom and when she got back in bed, she asked Brian: “Where’s my Dad?” Needless to say, Greg was happy. Anna did have an MRI today but from what I understand the results will be back tomorrow. Her hemoglobin continued to decrease so that is why they gave her more blood. My friend who is a nurse told me that this should help the fogginess from all of the sedation to clear quicker. Anna has also had a very high pulse which I was told was partly due to the low hemoglobin, so the blood should help that too. When Dan (Anna’s brother) left the hospital this evening, he said to Anna: “I’ll see you in the morning” and she said: “Okay, and we will take a walk”.
Thank you for your continued prayers.
PS TJ and Nate are better, Samuel is still not feeling well. Please pray for him and that no one else gets sick. Micah continues to do well.

Wednesday, Jan. 11:

11:18am – MRI results are in. No stroke. Nothing acute. Praise the Lord! She fed herself yogurt and ice this morning. This is the first time she’s been able to do that. She’s improving everyday. We need to continue praying for her blood production to return to normal. Thank you, all, for your continued prayers and encouragement!

1:00pm – From Dan: I’ve been going to the hospital everyday for the past week. Today I finally saw and spoke with my sister Anna! A tearful reunion for sure. Praise you Lord!

5:21pm – From Shawn: It will be at least 3 more days until Anna can go home. They are transitioning her from a heparin drip to cumidin and it will take 3 more days for that to complete. She’s holding on to that, but I’m sure they’ll want to see other improvements, as well. So, no release date has been Discussed. She’s doing well with sleep patterns. She slept well last night and has been up all day. Hopefully, she’ll sleep all night again. She’s had visits from about a dozen nurses and doctors from CCU today just making social calls to see how she’s doing. 1 of the doctors came in on his day off just to see her. It’s a bit overwhelming for her since she has no memory of them. Brian has been filling her in on details slowly as not to overwhelm her too much.

9:13pm – I went to the hospital twice today. And each time I was filled with joy and reverential awe to our God. Anna was much more alert and was able to carry on some conversation. The MRI from yesterday showed no stroke and no bleeding. They did another CT scan this afternoon because she had some tingling in her fingers but everything was fine. When Anna asked when can she go home; the doctor didn’t really answer that question, she just said it will take at least 3 days to make the switch from heparin to cumidin. So…there is no time frame for her release from the hospital at this time. The children got to skype with her this evening and there was much rejoicing and some tears.
Many, many doctors and nurses have stopped by for a “social visit” as they say. The anesthesiologist who did the anesthesia for the c-section stopped by to see Anna today. He came in smiling and said: “I am so happy; I am so happy to see you alive.” He went on to tell us that he was the anesthesiologist for both the c-section and the next 2 life-saving surgeries. He said that he had taken her breathing tube out from the c-section and was finishing up when things started going horribly wrong. He said usually in a crisis situation there is more than one anesthesiologist – but things happened so fast that there wasn’t time to wait. He said he started saying: “God, help me; God, help me.” At that, he felt a “force” take over his hands and work swiftly to do what needed to be done.
I told him that it was the Lord Jesus who helped him. He said, yes, I believe it was God. Then he said he worked in a trauma unit for many years and he had never seen anyone make it with a hemoglobin count of 2.9 which Anna’s had dropped to just before the 2nd life-saving surgery. Miracle after miracle, that is what we have had the privilege of not only watching but participating in. To God be all the glory. Amen and Amen. Please continue to pray for complete restoration of her kidneys and blood levels, no infection, hemoglobin to go up to at least 10 and stabilize, optimum cumidin level, and clearer and clearer thinking and whatever else the Lord lays on your heart to pray for. Once again, thanks so much.

Thursday, Jan. 12:

10:17am – From Shawn: Anna had another good night. Her mind is really sharp and she continues to make improvements. She was really happy to brush her own teeth today. They are hoping a physical therapist can meet with them today to help Anna strengthen her muscles so she can walk. They are hoping Micah can visit, but no official word yet. Joanna said the Skype session with the kids last was unbelievably great. What a relief for the kids to finally talk with mom :). I can’t tell you how encouraging it is to read all the posts on this group. God has prompted so many to prayer, at all times of the day. Leaning on the everlasting arms brings a joy untold, as does hearing of it from so many others. Thanks again for your faithfulness in this journey. Blessings in Christ.

11:52am – From Joanna….Good news…anna’s doctor just told us if all goes well then she can go home on monday…praise god! She got up and walked a little with the physical therapist which is another good step. The nurse just came in and said that the kids can come visit today!. Hemoglobin level is steady at 9.6….continue to pray that she continues to get stronger & is able to come home soon….

3:00pm – From Randi: Just wanted to take a minute to say: “thank you again to all of you who have been praying for Anna. The Body of Christ has gone before the throne of grace for my daughter and I am humbled and grateful for your concern, your love, and your perseverance. Charles (Anna’s brother) told me this morning that Kirsten’s blog in the month of January has received over 27,000 hits. People from all fifty states and Washington, DC and 67 countries have read it and I believe have prayed for Anna, her family, and us. There are now 604 people people in the group “Prayer for Anna” praying. The staff and friends of The JESUS Film Project and Campus Crusade for Christ are praying. Countless churches across the country are praying. Countless friends of friends on Facebook are praying. We are grateful. This morning, I have once again thanked God for you.

7:20pm – From Randi: Just got back from the hospital. We took all of the children for a visit with Mommy. The nurses brought Anna, in a wheelchair to a special room just so the children could come. She spoke with each one of them. She held Micah and fed him a little. There were happy tears all around. The doctor said that she might be able to go home on Monday. A few things need to be true in order for this to happen. So…please pray for her hemoglobin count to remain at 9.6 or increase; her bladder to work as they remove the catheter, her kidney function and blood levels to continue to improve – even normalize. She also needs to be able to walk a certain distance (can’t remember the exact distance) and climb a few stairs unaided. We continue to thank God for her progress and for you as you have stood with us through our journey. Praise Him.

Friday, Jan. 13:

7:34pm – Praise God for boring days. Well, maybe not boring, but medically uneventful. Anna slept all night again. She was able to walk with a walker (part of the requirement for going home). She also had her coumadin increased and Heparin decreased. Since her last transfusion her hemoglobbin has been stable between 9.4 and 9.6. Please pray that it continues at or above 9.4.

In addition to all the prayers and encouraging words from all of you around the world, I am extremely thankful for the staff at Kaiser Permanente. Their technical expertise and quick actions saved her life, but their bedside manner, and incredible sense of mercy helped her heal. Each day hospital staff have taken time out of their day to tell us they are praying for her. It makes me think of how God has used medical missions to bring both physical and spritual healing to people around the world. I know there are several nurses and doctors on this group and to you I say……thank you for being faithful to your calling.

Saturday, Jan. 14:

12:50am – I came home from the hospital a little while ago. Everyday Anna is more like herself. She is smiling. She is eating more and moving more. She no longer needs to be continually monitored so she will be moving floors once again. The nurse said that as the coumadin level in her body increases , they are decreasing the heparin. She walked farther down the hallway today and also practiced stepping up and down on a step. She is smiling. They removed the catheter and all is working properly. She still has the drain in her stomach but the Doctor said that should be removed tomorrow. Can’t wait to tell you that there are no more drains and no more IV’s. At one time, Anna had 17 bags of differing IV fluids pumping into her body. Today, there is one drain and one IV. She is smiling. She is off the insulin. Hemoglobin has held steady since the blood transfusion. It has to stay above 9 for her to come home. They took the staples out of her stomach today (she had 44 of them). Please continue to pray for increased kidney function and all blood levels to normalize. Pray that her strength increases and that the pain lessens. Have I mentioned that she is smiling. Thanks so much for your prayers. We are smiling!!!

9:40pm – Well, Anna is home from the hospital. It was a surprise to all of us because the doctors had at first said she would come home Monday and then said maybe Sunday. When the Dr. came to see her this morning, he said the heparin drip could be stopped because the coumadin was stable, the drain could be removed, and the pic line could be removed. Her blood levels are normal, her hemoglobin has increased to 9.8 and her kidney function is improving. We have begun to tell her about the last two weeks. She is overwhelmed at hearing about all the prayers that have been offered on her behalf. On the way out of the hospital, we stopped in the ICU to say thanks and goodbye. So many nurses told her how they had prayed for her and that their churches were praying for her. Then we went to the maternity floor to say thanks and goodbye and once again many nurses said how much they had prayed for her. They were so thankful that she was alive and getting better. They were amazed that she not only lived but that she was able to go home so quickly. It is a testament to the power of God at work in Anna’s body that you have so faithfully asked for on Anna’s behalf. She still needs to gain strength. In a couple of months she will have to have the filter removed. The coumadin will have to be checked periodically and she will have to have physical therapy BUT she is alive and getting better. We are grateful. Please continue to pray.

9:52pm – A great big “thank you” to the folks at Sierra View Presbyterian Church and some other friends who came over this morning and cleaned the house, washed all the windows, worked in the yard, and planted flowers. One friend brought canvases and paints and had each child paint a picture for Anna when she came home. So sweet!!!!! Thank you all for showing such love to my daughter!

Sunday, Jan. 15:

7:00pm – Anna had a great night last night. She slept through the night without anybody taking her blood pressure or pricking her finger. She had a good nap today and is currently watching a rerun of the Alabama vs LSU game. I, on the other hand, am sick with a stomach bug. Please pray that she doesn’t get it. I will send periodic updates as she has a long road to complete recovery and we all still need your prayers. BUT she is alive and home! Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Tuesday, Jan. 17:

7:00pm – Here’s how you can continue to pray for Anna. Be in prayer that her blood levels would normalize, that her lab work would be positive, that her body would strengthen and stabilize, and that the blood thinning medication would control the clots. She still has a long road to recovery, but she is in good spirits and the doctors are encouraged. The family is thankful to have her home with them.

10:54pm – From Randi: Please continue to pray for Anna. She had her first labs done today to check the coumadin level and it wasn’t right. Brian is having to give her shots twice a day besides the pills that she is taking to hopefully regulate it. It was regulated in the hospital but now that she is moving more and eating more it is once again trial and error to get it regulated. She sees her OB tomorrow and the physical therapist. Goes back to the coumadin lab on Friday and sees the Hematologist. So please pray that she can rest in between all the appts., sleep well at night, and continue to gain strength. Pray too for the doctors as they try and get the coumadin levels right. Thanks again.

The timeline continues here.

For more frequent updates join the Facebook prayer group. Thank you for your prayers!

The Need for Honest Worship

“Christians don’t tell lies they just go to church and sing them” ~ A.W. Tozer

I am convinced that one of the problems in the contemporary evangelical church is the songs chosen for worship. I’m not talking about the differences between contemporary and traditional styles of worship. I’m talking about the content of the songs. As Tozer’s quote informs us, we aren’t singing what we honestly feel.

It seems to me that too many of the songs written in the past decade speak nothing of the difficulties of living the Christian life. There isn’t a hint of doubt or sorrow. Jesus was a man of sorrows and yet all we sing about is joy and awe, blessing and thanksgiving. There is certainly a place for those themes, but have you read the Psalms lately? The Psalms represent real people wrestling with real emotions.

Look at the Praise Charts and point me to a song that resounds with themes of weariness and grief (Psalm 6). Better yet, listen to Dear Refuge of My Weary Soul and recognize that it’s possible to be encouraged by a song that speaks openly of the Christian’s fainting hope and gloomy doubts. It’s encouraging because it’s honest. The Church needs more honest hymns like this.

Memorizing God’s Word

There are two responses people have to the gospel, they will either accept it or reject it. Only those who accept the gospel are rewarded with eternal life. Everyone else remains under the wrath of God (Rom. 1). This is why it is so critical for us to recognize the word of God for what it really is. If we read God’s word as anything other than God’s word we are hopelessly lost.

Many people read the Bible without ever being changed by it. I had professors in college who regularly read the Bible and taught it to students every week, but they rejected it’s spiritual relevance. They read it as nothing more than a historical book full of myth and error. Whoever reads the word of God in that way does nothing but heap further condemnation upon themselves.

Instead, as believers, we should honor God’s word by giving it many opportunities to work in our lives. We should spend regular time reading it. Psalm 1 informs us that the man who meditates upon the law day and night is blessed. In fact, God’s word is his delight! We should attend worship services, bible studies, and prayer groups as often as we can. We should feel free to talk about Scripture, having spiritual conversation, with our friends. Along with Charles Spurgeon we should desire to bleed bibline like John Bunyan:

Oh, that you and I might get into the very heart of the Word of God, and get that Word into ourselves! As I have seen the silkworm eat into the leaf, and consume it, so ought we to do with the Word of the Lord—not crawl over its surface, but eat right into it till we have taken it into our inmost parts. It is idle merely to let the eye glance over the words, or to recollect the poetical expressions, or the historic facts; but it is blessed to eat into the very soul of the Bible until, at last, you come to talk in Scriptural language, and your very style is fashioned upon Scripture models, and, what is better still, your spirit is flavored with the words of the Lord.

I would quote John Bunyan as an instance of what I mean. Read anything of his, and you will see that it is almost like the reading the Bible itself. He had read it till his very soul was saturated with Scripture; and, though his writings are charmingly full of poetry, yet he cannot give us his Pilgrim’s Progress—that sweetest of all prose poems — without continually making us feel and say, “Why, this man is a living Bible!” Prick him anywhere—his blood is Bibline, the very essence of the Bible flows from him. He cannot speak without quoting a text, for his very soul is full of the Word of God. I commend his example to you, beloved.

—”Mr. Spurgeon as a Literary Man,” in The Autobiography of Charles H. Spurgeon, Compiled from His Letters, Diaries, and Records by His Wife and Private Secretary, vol. 4, 1878-1892 (Curtis & Jennings, 1900), p. 268.

One of the ways I would encourage you to spend more time in the word is to memorize it. Find a passage that you want to meditate upon and commit it to memory. That way, wherever you are, you can have God’s word with you. It might be a passage that will help in your fight against temptation. It might be something that encourages you to press on in the faith. Or it might be something that speaks of the character of God.

Dr. Waters, professor of New Testament at RTS Jackson, almost always assigns a passage of Scripture for his students to memorize. In his classes, I have memorized Romans 8, Ephesians 4:1-16, and John 1:1-18. Although we are getting a grade for completing the assignment, it is probably the most fruitful thing we do.

I’m terrible at it. But over the years I have found some helpful resources. Memorize Now is a program that allows you to cut & paste a passage to memorize. After reading through the passage you click the next arrow and the program slowly eliminates words from the passage. This is a good way to memorize larger portions of Scripture. For shorter passages (a verse or two at a time) I recommend the Flashcards Deluxe app for iPhone or iPod Touch. It’s not flashy, but of the several flashcard apps I’ve tried, it was the best.

Here’s some inspiration. John Piper opened this sermon quoting several passages of Scripture.

How Believers Are Changed

My Precious!

Sin has ugly consequences that we often don’t experience until we begin to fight them. Sin is the fruit of some underlying idol. This has always been the case. God created Adam and Eve to worship and serve him, as well as to rule over creation (Gen. 1:26-28). But the consequence of the fall was to reverse the created order. Rather than serve God, men served themselves. Tim Keller says,

Instead of being God’s vice-regents, ruling over creation, now creation masters us. We are now subject to decay and disease and disaster. The final proof of this is death itself. We live for our own glory by toiling in the dust, but eventually we return to the dust—the dust “wins” (Gen 3:17–19).

We also need to recognize that we are always worshiping something. If we are not worshiping God, we are worshiping ourselves, someone else, or something else. We are created to worship God, but sin causes us to worship everything except God.

Since we must worship something we create miniature gods (idols) for ourselves to worship. Something else Keller points out is that worship is always connected to service. We cannot worship something without also serving it. We begin to devote ourselves to the object of our worship.

The idol occupies our thoughts when we lie down and when we wake up. When we worship our career, spouse, or reputation those pursuits start to define who we are. We give all of ourselves to the pursuit of our idols. They become precious to us.

This also works with our worship of God. When we worship God we become more like him. We cannot define ourselves apart from him and a progressive change begins to take place.

One of my favorite pictures of all of this is found in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, by C.S. Lewis. Eustace, who is Lucy and Edmund’s cousin, is a spoiled and greedy boy who continually complains. He finds himself in Narnia aboard the Dawn Treader along with the normal crew.

At one of several stops made by the ship, Eustace wanders away from everyone else and finds a cave where he sees a dragon die. When Eustace enters the cave he realizes he is surrounded by treasure. He immediately begins contemplating how he can get all of this treasure onto the ship without anyone else noticing (as he has no intention of sharing).

However, upon getting lost in his thoughts, Eustace falls asleep laying down on top of his treasure. When he wakes up, he discovers that he has turned into a dragon. He has his treasure, but he’s completely alone and miserable.

Eustace the Dragon meets Aslan

Later on, at a time when Eustace is particularly vulnerable, Aslan (Christ) appears and leads Eustace to a well with marble steps. Eustace describes the experience:

The water was as clear as anything and I thought if I could get in there and bathe it would ease the pain in my leg. but the lion told me I must undress first. Mind you, I don’t know if he said any words out loud or not.

I was just going to say that I couldn’t undress because I hadn’t any clothes on when I suddenly thought that dragons are snaky sort of things and snakes can cast their skins. Oh, of course, thought I, that’s what the lion means. So I started scratching myself and my scales began coming off all over the place. And then I scratched a little deeper and , instead of just scales coming off here and there, my whole skin started peeling off beautifully, like it does after an illness, or as if I was a banana. In a minute or two I just stepped out of it. I could see it lying there beside me, looking rather nasty. It was a most lovely feeling. So I started to go down into the well for my bathe.

But just as I was going to put my feet into the water I looked down and saw that they were all hard and rough and wrinkled and scaly just as they had been before. Oh, that’s all right, said I, it only means I had another smaller suit on underneath the first one, and I’ll have to get out of it too. So I scratched and tore again and this underskin peeled off beautifully and out I stepped and left it lying beside the other one and went down to the well for my bathe.

Well, exactly the same thing happened again. And I thought to myself, oh dear, how ever many skins have I got to take off? For I was longing to bathe my leg. So I scratched away for the third time and got off a third skin, just like the two others, and stepped out of it. But as soon as I looked at myself in the water I knew it had been no good.

The the lion said – but I don’t know if it spoke – ‘You will have to let me undress you.’ I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it.

The very first tear he made was do deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. You know – if you’ve ever picked the scab of a sore place. It hurts like billy-oh but it is such fun to see it coming away.

Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off – just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt – and there it was lying on the grass: only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. And there was I as smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. Then he caught hold of me – I didn’t like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I’d no skin on – and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I’d turned into a boy again. You’d think me simply phoney if I told you how I felt about my own arms. I know they’ve no muscle and are pretty moldy compared with Caspian’s, but I was so glad to see them.

After a bit the lion took me out and dressed me – (with his paws?) – Well, I don’t exactly remember that bit. But he did somehow or other: in new clothes – the same I’ve got on now, as a matter of fact. and then suddenly I was back here. Which is what makes me think it must have been a dream.

Eustace had become what he worshiped. When greed and selfishness had overcome him, he turned into a greedy monstrous dragon. It took the miraculous work of Aslan to restore him. Aslan alone could change him. Although Eustace was a new person, he continued to struggle with sin. The remembrance of his dragon suit would not go away. The struggle with greed and selfishness remained.

But here’s the difference. Aslan had defeated the dragon. Eustace was no longer a slave to greed, he was no longer bound by selfish ambitions. Eustace was no longer defined by dragon-like descriptions. And whenever he reverted back to those traits, all he needed to do was remember what Aslan had done for him. He had been rescued from the misery and isolation that his sin had caused.

No idol comes to our rescue. God alone rescues us like only he can. The only way any of us can overcome our idols is to be overcome by the gospel. That’s how believers are changed!

4 Days Without Mom

12 lessons I learned while Carrie was away for four days:

  1. My wife works harder than me. She not only has the time to educate these children, but she also cooks for them, cleans up after them, and  keeps them from killing each other.
  2. Mommy does everything better, just ask my kids.
  3. Attempting to do any kind of studying after a full day with four kids is nearly impossible.
  4. Secretariat is fun for all ages. Football…not so much.
  5. The sink (and neighboring counter top) can hold more dishes than you might initially think.
  6. Off! insect spray – when applied unevenly – actually attracts mosquitoes.
  7. Slightly charred burgers are not all that bad. And yes, it is possible to ruin a can of baked beans.
  8. Breakfast for dinner works as a great substitute.
  9. Zoning out can happen at any point and children can spot it immediately.
  10. If I cannot see or hear Thatcher (at all times!), he’s undoubtedly doing something forbidden, and Caitlin has probably led him there.
  11. It is possible to adequately clean the whole house in about an hour with the help of three trained girls who want to see their mother’s smile (as long as Thatcher remains intrigued by the vacuum).
  12. My children need their mother, and so do I.

Choosing Your Vocation

When I was in high school, if you had asked me what I wanted to do with my life, I would have said I wanted to be a pastor. At the time, I knew little about ministry. I simply understood that I had a passion for the church and there was nothing else that appealed to me. I didn’t have a robust knowledge of how to go about discovering my purpose in life. I hadn’t read a book or taken a test. I just knew what I enjoyed.

All of us are searching for purpose in life. Books that claim to have the answer fly off the shelves and top the bestseller lists. I am certain it is a subject you have thought about often and you have probably changed your mind several times in the process.

Other words have been used to describe the same idea. Maybe you prefer to think of it as your “calling”. Another word that gets at this idea has entered my own vocabulary more recently – “vocation”.

Deidox has put together a collection of videos which tell the story of how one person has chosen to put their faith to practice. Each story is unique. Allyssa talks about her blindness and the effect it has had upon her faith. Dawn talks about raising her children. Robert chose compassion over his career and speaks honestly about the cost involved.

Each individual story connects to the audience in different ways without sounding pretentious. Check ’em out. Maybe they’ll inspire you to choose your vocation.