8/2/15 (Elijah)

The latest update from Brenna, with long-awaited pictures of Elijah!

“I would have lost heart unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait I say on the Lord.” — Ps 27:13-14

Believe. That is what we have been doing these 12 weeks. Not always perfectly. Reflecting on Psalm 27, it is true that we have lost heart when our belief was wavering. What I referred to previously as my Jesus goggles. At times we have struggled… who would we believe? I still remember a chaplain in ICU telling me, “ Listen to the doctors report and take that report to the Lord, and believe His report”. In the laundry room here I met the wife of a Craig alumni who reminded me, “Doctors speak facts, but God speaks Truth.”

We believe God the Father, We believe Jesus Christ, We believe the Holy Spirit and He’s given us new life… We believe that the Lord spared Elijah and Autumn and continue to believe that He will knit them back together according to His purpose.

We are praising the Lord for a great number of answers to prayers this week:

First and foremost is Autumn’s healing and homecoming!

I will never forget…

  • Scott telling me about the accident and that Autumn had severe head injuries
  • holding her hand in the Cheyenne ER…feeling no life.
  • looking at her motionless face and the huge laceration held together with staples.
  • dialing the phone and holding it to her ear so that Scott could talk to his daughter for what I feared would be the last time.
  • Elijah telling Randy and me, while he was covered in blood from the top of his head to the tips of his toes, with legs that were twisted and feet that were black dinner plates, oxygen blasting through the mask, “I don’t care about me, pray for Autumn while I am in surgery.”
  • everyone gathered in the waiting room that night praying fervently for Elijah and Autumn..
  • waiting for what seemed like forever for Autumn to arrive in Denver on a terribly rainy night. A night in May with such terrible weather that they could not use life flight but had to drive.

We had nothing left but to believedesperate belief – that the God we love and serve would bend His ear to listen.  The Bible says that we have Jesus’ belief in Him- we have the faith of the Son of God.   “…the life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me (Gal 2:20). This is the gift that Jesus gives. “For it is by grace you are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves it is the gift of God.” (Eph 2:8) God gives us Jesus goggles. And as I watched Scott’s video… all these moments flashed back to me as if it were yesterday. And I am in awe. In awe of what God has done. He has loved and heard and saved and healed and answered many many prayers on behalf of Autumn.  We are so grateful.

Another praise: Elijah is able to communicate effectively with us!! This is great for obvious reasons, but also so that he can indicate wants and needs and pain that we have had to guess about for the past 87 days. Every day we have seen his speech improve in the areas of initiation, word finding, respiration, articulation and even more voice control. He has gone from being able to sing one word per verse of a song to singing whole songs or parts of very long songs.

Another praise! Elijah is able to read! The doctors were causing concern for us after the MRI and even the Neuropsychologist said that he doubted Elijah’s ability to read based on the damage to the occipital lobe. Unfortunately he stated his concern while Elijah was present. Bad move. In the evening on Tuesday the 21st of July Elijah and I sat quietly (at least I was trying really hard to be quiet) in the garden area. Later, I was showing him facebook pictures of his friends when out of the blue he read a comment below a facebook post!! We wept together and celebrated with ice cream. He called his Dad and said “Hi Dad, I can still read.” Emotion beyond words as we celebrate God’s preservation.

This whole week has been filled with evidences of progress. He has been casted with drop out casts on both arms and states that they are “not magical”. The phenol injections went well. The procedure lasted about one hour and Elijah did not flinch as they dug the needle around in each muscle to try to locate a nerve. When they found the nerve, they used an electrode to find the best impulse and then injected the phenol. I thought injecting the phenol would completely release the tone of the affected muscles. Not so. The effect was a weakening of the muscles (biceps, subscapularis and brachioradialus) so that the antagonistic muscles could have a chance to work. The day after the phenol injections the OT put him in double drop out casts. His arms are dropping quite well. He has quite a bit of movement in his left hand/fingers, although frequently reports pain in his left hand. The movement is slow and effortful but beautiful to see. He also is getting stronger in his leg movements as the PTs work with him on skills like bridges, lying position to sitting, sitting etc. Monday the 27th , he was rather energetic during PT because he had a crowd of supporters cheering him on. He stated, “I’m showing off…in a good way.” We teased him that he was also very humble to which he quietly replied, “yes”. Wednesday he sat up unassisted for nearly 20 minutes and stood for the first time with assistance for over 10 minutes. Then, with special footwear to wedge his heels, he was able to take his first steps! Thursday the 30th was another praise as we went to spasticity clinic. The doctors were amazed that his fingers and wrists had progressed beyond the point of needing botox!! They also said that this almost never happens! Thank God!

Yesterday, Elijah was blessed with a visit from a group of dear friends. They laughed and sang worship songs, and decorated his casts. He was looking forward to their visit –the first thing he has looked forward to since his accident. Haley asked him what the Lord has been teaching him, and he said, “I’ve been learning about surrender”. That is a lesson that we all need to learn, I would guess.

While I express my gratitude, my heart is burdened for the family next to Elijah. Similar scenario, different outcome. Their tragedy is bigger and harder and again we don’t understand. We have prayed for them many nights. A young momma will likely leave her two sweet little girls and the husband of her youth. They travel home this week to put her in comfort care to pass away. Why them and not us? How can we convey to them Jesus’ love in this situation? We have prayed for God to show the two little girls that Jesus loves them. I have had the opportunity to hug them, visit them and bring them little gifts. The Lord opened a short time for me to play with them and I shared with one of them who Jesus is and what He means to me. I explained that He is my dearest friend and I met Him when my own mom and dad died at an early age. And that whenever they are sad or afraid, He is waiting for them to pray to Him. And now I will believe in faith that Jesus will show Himself to them in their tragedy because He loves them.

About a week ago, Elijah told me, “No matter what happens for Autumn and I, it will always be a tragedy.” I felt sad. From our perspective, this is true; we don’t understand all of this. But we choose to believe that this will work together for our good because we love the Lord and we are called according to His purpose. (Rom 8:28) It is sometimes a struggle of belief to see why we all have different faith walks. Some walks seem easier than others. It’s especially easy to see it around here…some injuries are better than others and some are worse. But really it’s the same for all of us. God has been reminding me that, without Jesus, we all are living a tragedy in a fallen world. We often choose to ignore that we face death daily and the reality of where we will spend eternity. We hide our sick in hospitals and quickly wisk our dead away to the grave so as not to ponder this. We manicure and pedicure and coffee date or medicate our pain or fear away. In our society the pursuit of health and fitness becomes an idol in an attempt to cheat or prolong our encounter with the grim reaper- the consequence of sin. Elisabeth Elliot calls this pampered flesh. The reality is that each day brings us one day closer to heaven or hell. Our only hope of salvation from this tragedy is Jesus and the gift of belief and faith in Him- through Jesus’ goggles. (Gal 2:20) And thankfully these goggles give us victory to live for Him in a lost and dying world. Christ in us the hope of glory.

“And like a hero who takes the stage when we’re
on the edge of our seats saying its too late,
well let me introduce you to grace, grace, God’s grace.“
(Mercy Me, “Flawless”)

Truly, we are seeing the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living…. and we are praising God.

                                                ~Brenna for all

Elijah’s first steps in therapy!




Elijah reading II Cor. 4:18 aloud


23 thoughts on “8/2/15 (Elijah)

  1. I got to hear MercyMe live just recently in Rapid City and they played flawless. I was 10 ft. from the stage!! If you haven’t seen the music video, it’s a great one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjLlLPZderk
    I love it.
    Bart Millard grew up with an abusive dad and when he got older(6th grade) his dad stopped abusing him. A few years later his dad was diagnosed with cancer. While his dad was battling cancer, Bart lead his father to the Lord. In 12 grade his father passed away. He said at Hills Alive how God had changed his father. Amazing Testimony
    My pastor’s daughter Kacie is in an eating disorder treatment center in Colorado. She said that you can’t go through this tough time with peace unless you have Jesus.
    How could Elijah and Autumn go through this tough time without Jesus? They can’t.
    In 2nd Corinthians 3:17 it says:The lord is the spirit and where the spirit is, there is liberty.
    May you have grace and peace from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.
    Jackson R. Duprey

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow – I am reading this through tears of joy for Elijah and Autumn and tears of sorrow for the other families. The pictures of Elijah look great. Such a vast change from when we saw him at LTAC a month ago. Praise God for answered prayers. I will continue to pray for all of you including the family you just described. Can’t wait to see you all tomorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rejoicing with you in Elijah’s progress and touched by the story of you reaching out to the little girls next door. Who knows if you were not brought there “for such a time as this?”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. such wonderful news and praises to our God and King! Elijah looks so good and such joy in the pictures with his siblings. Brenna, your compassion for others during a time of such need is inspiring and, I’m sure a tremendous blessing to a family with a sad outcome. I am praying those words you spoke will be planted in that little girl’s heart forever. Neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything but God who makes things grow. God bless you all as God continues to show his mercies, new every morning…great is his faithfulness oh God!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for the update, it is a joy to read.
    You give us all hope and show us the grace of God. I pray for Elijah and Autumn and their faithful family’s.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow! You know how to stir emotion at 5:30 in the morning, Brenna! 🙂 A lot has happened in a few weeks and I am thrilled with what God has been, and is, doing. This is a wonderful update. Had to make my own Jesus Goggles to hang on the wall because I was allowing myself to look through MUD a few weeks ago. We all need reminder of that. Thank God for grace. We will continue to pray for the family God so obviously connected you with; thank you for being His vessel. And thank you to each of the family for your walk of faith and your commitment of love. We are thrilled with the progress and rejoicing with you. It feels good to say: Hi, Elijah! We miss you!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Brenna, this post today spoke VOLUMES to me, especially this: “But really it’s the same for all of us. God has been reminding me that, without Jesus, we all are living a tragedy in a fallen world.” Absolutely true. We don’t know the burdens or baggage, the triumphs or joys, that anyone is feeling. Communicating to others can help, but we simply don’t have full disclosure like the Lord does. All of us are heading to our “long home.” When I speak with other Christians about facing death or other dire situations, that’s when they say “I don’t know how others go through this without the Lord.” Amen. We thank Him that He is there and He knows everything. The pictures of Elijah were SO encouraging – sometimes a pic is worth more than words!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Rejoicing with you! Thank you for sharing, especially the quote at the end about hiding our sick away so we don’t have to deal with mortality. We are so grateful that Elijah and Autumn are coming through that and that God is healing them in His time. But the lessons remain, and will make them stronger and more effective in showing God’s love to our dying world. It was wonderful to see the pictures of Elijah – with the same sparkle and sense of solid steadiness about him that he always had. We continue to pray and can’t wait to hear of the next steps of progress, though we know we must not expect every step to match the giant leaps he has taken recently.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Beautiful!!!

    Psalm 103:1-5
    Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
    Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
    Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
    Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
    Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

    Brenna, I am speechless and in awe of our Great God! All praises to Him! Thank you, Jesus!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wonderful post. With God nothing is impossible. I especially loved the pictures and to see miracles before my eyes. God bless you all!

    Kathi Gadbury

    Liked by 1 person

  11. To both Autumn and Elijah–keep on! As I read these updates I am transported back to 1994, when our son, Justin faced a trial very similar to yours. He was riding his bicycle home for lunch (email worked for Steve Westfahl), when a vehicle turned directly into his path. He suffered both extensive physical injury and and closed head traumatic brain injury. I vividly remember those long days in Neuro-ICU, when the doctors held little hope for his survival, much less his recovery. But God’s ways are not man’s ways. Tiny step by tiny step, Justin beat all the odds. His recovery continues to this day, but what a life he has enjoyed. Since that day, he has married, had three children, assisted a chaplain in bring Christmas to soldiers in a war zone, completed an under-graduate degree and earned more than 60 credit hours toward an MDiv. He is a valued corrections officer for the Wyoming Department of Corrections, and frequently fills area pulpits.
    All of our lives were dramatically changed, but not necessarily for the worst. Our trust in God was bolstered infinitesimally, our already strong family bond became even stronger, and our witness for our Sustainer broadened beyond belief.
    Keep on. Fight the good fight. And always know that the walk you have been given is a source of strength to countless believers, and may be the key to many coming to salvation because they were able to see grace and mercy dramatically lived out in you all.


  12. Hallelujah! It is so wonderful to see God make something beautiful out of all the trials. Elijah looks fantastic (he always does…) 🙂 and I’m looking forward to seeing all of you soon. Praise God!
    – Caleb J.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I don’t know you guys but I love you in the Lord. I’m praying for your precious families. Thank you for sharing your healing journey and the work God is doing in each of your lives. I agree with Elijah, that this will always be a tragedy. But I’m so thankful that our God can and does bring blessings from tragedies. Also no matter how terrible things get in this life, we know we have a glory ahead that our sufferings are not worthy of being compared to. Hallelujah! May our God of all comfort continue to comfort you.

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  14. Hey! I haven’t been checking my emails very regularly, but I was so excited to see fresh updates about Elijah! Wow, to see him sitting up with everyone with a smile on his face…this is what I’ve been hoping to see! When I saw it I thought of Isaiah 53:2 “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground” The circumstances might be severe for this delicate plant and it no doubt gets tiresome hearing all the professionals talk about just how hard the conditions of the soil are and just how delicate the root trying to grow in it is, or the results of their latest soil tests, and what he’s up against today, But this tender plant sure looks to be growing and thriving! All those inch stones are really adding up! In time this tender plant is going to be stronger than any other and produce a priceless fruit that, when shared with others, brings them hope and strength to overcome great obstacles in their lives also. But it could only come from the fruit of a tender plant that had come up out of a dry ground. God’s got him in his hands, and in that place, it doesn’t matter what the severe circumstances are, God gives the increase. You all are continually in my prayers!

    By the way, I can’t quit looking at these pictures! It’s just so awesome to see!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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