I love the body of Christ!

I was raised by a single mom who (inadvertantly) taught me the dangers of trust and the benefits of independence. Asking for help is not something in which I’ve had much practice. My tendency is to build a bunker, grit my teeth and ‘tough’ my way through. The bunker mentality leads to isolation which ultimately leads to despair… It’s impossible for me to be everything to Anne and to the rest of my family. In my weakness, my independence only leads to failure.

Because of the public nature of our tragedy, we’ve been surrounded and uplifted. But a year and a few months after the accident, we have slipped out of the forefront, and I find myself in the uncomfortable place of asking for help. Needing help is another paradox in God’s Kingdom. I am greatly blessed by the help of others…

One example – a teenager in our church who has suffered much loss in her own life has an extra dose of compassion for special needs children. She will be Anne’s ‘guide’ during VBS this week. I can’t help but think that God hand-picked her to help before the creation of the world. She is a blessing.

Another example… One of Anne’s Sunday school teachers just out of college has been struggling with joblessness and a sense of purpose. But in this season of uncertainty she has built a network of single girls in her same season, organized a babysitting club, and because of her connections – has found me help for the summer. She is a blessing.

And lastly, a dear friend who is experiencing a season of freedom after years of financial hardship was sharing her wisdom with me. I lamented to her, “I want wings, but I feel God’s hand pressing me down.” And she reminded me… even though her newfound freedom is a gift, it is also a temptation to fly away from the nearness of God. “Slow down, Kathryn. Cherish His nearness.”

Where would I be without the body of Christ? Thankfully, I do not have to live in isolation. God has a better way!

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Tonight’s service for Anne…

What a difference a year makes! This time last year, people were gathering at church pleading for God to spare Anne’s life. Tonight’s celebration service was a stark contrast!

Anne climbed the stairs to the platform at the front of our sanctuary (with the help of her former PT) and said into the microphone, “I made it!” She went on to answer questions from both Pastor Paul and Pastor Pete. She stayed on topic and seemed to really enjoy being on stage in front of everyone. She asked at one point, “Wow, can they hear me all the way in the back!”

A year and a day ago, if you would have told us that Anne would be on stage – talking into a microphone – and enjoying it…. Well, we wouldn’t have believed it. This is the girl that refused to sing in children’s choir because she was too afraid to stand up in front of everybody – and who cried in Sunday School because she had to go to the bathroom, but was too shy to tell her teacher… Wow!

The church staff did an amazing job putting together this service. The music was awesome, and the words shared were extremely meaningful.

Thank you to everyone who came. We had friends and family come from hours away to celebrate Anne. The Sanctuary was full of people we love and who love Anne. It was a glorious time.

Special Day

We’ve had a great day as a family today. We took a trip to Fernbank with some other families. Anne enjoyed being with all her friends! Afterward, Anne had a great OT session and then we went to a friend’s house for a play date. Anne was able to rest a bit, and now she’s watching her favorite video, Letter Factory.

Anne enjoying Fernbank

We’re very excited about the service tonight and very thankful that our church would go to so much trouble for our family.

I’ve prayed that today would be a good day. I’ve felt surrounded by God’s presence and pleasure. We serve a great God!

Celebration Service

The one year anniversary of our accident is this Wednesday, April 13th.

The past year has been extremely difficult, but Eric and I agree that it has also been a year marked by profound blessings and joy!

Our church is holding a short celebration service for Anne and our family this Wednesday evening at 5:30pm in the sanctuary. The purpose of this service is to thank God for preserving Anne’s life and for her current recovery. We hope it will be an encouragement to everyone who has prayed for our family as we celebrate God’s goodness in our midst.

If you are able, we would love for you to join us on Wednesday night. Thank you all for your faithful prayers for our family!

ChristChurch Presbyterian
81 Peachtree Park Dr. NE
Atlanta GA 30309

I’m doing better…

This week has been a good week for all of us. The more relaxed pace of spring break has been rejuvenating. Thank you for praying for me. I’ve been more aware of God’s mercy and faithfulness, and I’ve been encouraged by several friends this week. I’ve received uplifting text messages, fresh tulips delivered to my door, and one friend even came over to clean my toilets and fold my laundry. That’s love!

I think most encouraging is that lots of people are remembering April 13th. From close friends to casual acquaintances, I’ve had several encounters this week of people telling me that they are praying as the 13th approaches.

God has lifted the weight of grief (at least for now) and given me a single focus for the good He’s accomplished in Anne this year. We have so much to be thankful for! So when our pastor asked how they could best minister to us on the one year mark of the accident, I decided I wanted a celebration service to thank God for the blessing of Anne’s life and miraculous recovery. The details are still being worked out, but my prayer is that the service will be an encouragement to Anne and to those who have prayed so faithfully for Anne. I pray God is glorified as we acknowledge the work He has done in our midst!

Miss Debbie was over tonight watching our kids. Anne loves Miss Debbie! She made me a care package for wednesday… Lots of chocolate, diet cokes, candles, etc. But the coolest thing is a cd she made for me. On it is Laura Story’s new song Blessings. Miss Debbie says that every word reminds her of Anne. I agree. Listen to it if you have a chance:-)  And here’s the story behind the song if you’re interested…

I’ll post more about Anne’s service when I know details. It will be this Wednesday evening at our church, ChristChurch Presbyterian. Anne will be there, and I hope it will be a blessing for everyone :-)

New & Wonderful Things

12-5-2010

Today was a big day for our family. Canon was baptized, and (along with several other children in our church) made a public confession of faith and was accepted into church membership.

It was the first time Anne has been to a worship service in a while. Since she’s become more emotive and vocal, we’ve only taken Anne to Sunday school. So, this morning, as I was wheeling Anne into worship, she exclaimed, “I’m so excited to be in church, mama!”

As everyone was singing, Anne looked down at the bulletin and pointed to one word in the middle of the page. “Mama, help me read that ‘G’ word. What does it say?” I replied, “G. O. D. God.”. So Anne repeated while everyone was singing, “G. O. D. God. G. O. D. God……” Out of all the words in the bulletin, little Anne points to God. You gotta love that!

When Pastor Pete got up to introduce all the children who were becoming members, Anne called out, “Hey Pastor Pete!” And after Pete introduced all the children, he asked, “Did I forget anybody?”. Little Anne yelled out from the middle of the congregation, “ME!!”. Everyone laughed, and sweet Anne did something new – she felt embarrassed.

Lots of new and wonderful things from Anne today. It was a good Sunday for the Jacksons :-)

-kathryn

Not quite ready for the big time…

We’ve only had the gait trainer for a few days, and she’s already made great progress. She took a few more steps by herself today than yesterday, and is slowly learning how to balance and move her body in space.  The gait trainer is awesome, because it helps to retrain Anne’s brain to walk.

I believe Anne will be able to walk into church one Sunday …she’s just got to practice a lot more before she’s ready for the big time!!!

-kathryn :-)

Good Scans & Good Plans

CAT Scan today – the doc said Anne is fine – doesn’t want to see her again in 6 months!! Praise God. The fluid on her brain seems stable, no extra pressure.

i continue to be humbled and amazed at the wonderful outpouring of love for little Anne and our family. So many of you reach out to us even though you have your own difficulties to endure. This continues to impact me and change me.

The current rehab program is not seeing Anne make enough progress to want to extend her – they suugest she just needs time, and a different type of therapy where she can have more dedicated one-on-one sessions. We feel a real peace about this; that little Anne needs a change.

In so many ways Little Anne’s progress has slowed. She continues her oral fixation, and regressed in her eating, and doesn’t seem to be improving in her focus/attention. This is new ground for us. We have given some lip service to the possibility that Anne’s journey may plateau, but had not faced it until now. We cling to God’s promises and seek to stay in present rejoicing in His goodness.

. . . . . then He let’s us see glimers of great hope and reminds us that we are on His timetable, not ours . . . . Anne’s emotions have really begun to change – higher highs and lower lows, gone are the distant, flat expressions – given way to squeals of delight or sobs of sadness or passionate yells at her sister. Sweet Anne also stood (with braces) at the bedside with only her right hand helping to balance her for almost 10 seconds!!

So maybe the changes are still occuring, on the inside, maybe a foundation of neurons are being laid for upcoming new growth. Regardless of whether there is advancement or retreat in little Anne, i was reminded this week of Ecc 12:13 – i may not know or understand His ways, but He is good and He asks me to revere Him in all i do.

keep praying!

-eric

Erin and Stacy

Today was the first Sunday of the fall schedule at our church. All the kids moved up to new Sunday School classes; we started a new sermon series, etc. Anne moved up to the Explorers class (Kindergarteners) this morning. This is actually the first time Anne has attended Sunday School since the accident…

Our church has not shrunk back from Anne, but continues to embrace her and our family wholeheartedly. Our church is fortunate to have TWO liscened Occupational Therapists within our congregation. They have both volunteered to help Anne during Sunday School. Anne needs help to transfer from wheelchair to a regular chair. She needs help coloring and help to sit on the floor for story time. They will help her wait her turn and give her cues to listen and not talk. Even the other Sunday school teachers don’t seem bothered by the distraction Anne brings, but are genuinely excited about having Anne in the class.

God delights in Anne, and He delights in providing for her through the gifts of our church family. Erin and Stacy’s willingness to care for Anne at church is a tangible reminder to me of God’s care for us, and it encourages me to persevere and not lose hope…

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope” Jeremiah 29:11.

Our God is good. And we wait on Him to reveal His plans for Anne. In the interim, He continues to provide for our every need. We are so grateful. -kathryn

“…that saved a ranch like meeeee”

Before the accident, I sang in one of our church’s worship ensembles once a month. I always looked forward to Wednesday evening practice much more than singing on Sunday mornings. There’s just something sweet and simple about a handful of people gathered around a piano singing three-part harmony. Not being one of the stronger singers, sometimes I would just stop and listen…

I went back to practice this past Wednesday. There was one moment when everyone was singing that I realized that I didn’t feel any grief – that I was just having fun singing and listening. Of course, when I realized it, the grief flooded back :-) But in that moment – there was sweet freedom and joy. That moment was a gift.

We sang Chris Tomlin’s version of Amazing Grace that night, and it’s been stuck in my head ever since. I guess I’ve been singing it alot around the house, because Anne’s picked up on it…

I need to work on my pronunciation though… As we were entering the church lobby this morning, Anne started singing (loudly), “Amazing Grace, How sweet the sound, that saved a ranch like me…”

She does have a knack for making us all laugh!

-kathryn