Monday, September 19, 2011

Beyond Words

One year ago today we were welcoming students to Youth With A Mission-Charlotte's Discipleship Training School. All of us, here at YWAM, were so excited to see this school of 21 students, coming in from all over North America. The first day is always hectic and awesome! Usually, we are running around welcoming people, helping people to their rooms, talking with family and friends who brought them here, airport runs, etc.

Last year was a little different for The Hedgepeths. You see, as students were arriving by planes, trains and automobiles, Jackson was being rushed to the hospital, by ambulance, to save his life. When we called 911 did they send an ambulance? Why, yes of course, along with two fire trucks and three police cars. "Best Practice" they said, "Overkill", I murmured. (Just kidding...I only thought it in my head). It was a little much for our little street and it brought so much attention.

I haven't written too many details here, regarding our situation a year ago, for many reasons. (I may expound on another day.) The bottom line is that Jackson contracted a fast growing form of MERSA that threatened to take his life. Two different doctors informed us that most people in Jackson's situation do not make it to the hospital. It is a miracle that he did. It is also a miracle that the doctors were able to save his arm.

What Jackson has gone through this year has been nothing short of traumatic, and yet, he has been brave and courageous. We could not have gotten through this year without so many people, our gratitude is beyond words, but I want to give it a shot.

First of all, I am grateful to the Lord. He has been gracious and faithful. I look back over this year and see his hand of faithfulness all over it. Seriously, I am so GRATEFUL!

I am grateful to Mike, who works with Jackson 40 hours a week. He was here a year ago, and drove me to the ER, behind the ambulance. He loves Jackson like his own kids. He believes in Jackson and his abilities. He champions my son. I am grateful to him and Ruth, for being friends to us, especially during this time, for bringing me New York pizza at the hospital, and for all the jars of homemade chicken soup.

I am grateful to Tara, Erma, Diana, Pat, Leslie, Tammy, Dee Dee and Debbie for the meals and cards, to Ellen and Lem for the MacAlister's Deli dinner and gift card, for the hospital visit with cards and balloons. Thank you to Pastor Billy for all of the visits to PICU, for sitting with Jack even before we could get there in the mornings, praying for him, and the phone calls checking in on us. To Michael and Darla, for listening to my heart in an e-mail and sending Mike up on a flight within 24 hours to sit with Todd, and for remembering my birthday that day with a hot pink and zebra striped bag that just screamed my name.

To Bev, for "just dropping by" Jack's hospital room...with goodie bags, checking in with us. To Jane, for having lunch with me in the hospital cafe. Sending me cards, like clock work, every few days.

To Mom Sandi, for dropping by the hospital many days, to sit with Jackson, or visit with Todd. To the Knox-Hedgepeths for the MASSIVE balloon delivery!

Thank you to Bill and Bridgette for the love, phone calls, prayers, building our house, making a place for Jackson to come home to. Also, to our precious Ephrata Family, for standing with us, praying for Jackson, loving him, helping to make a special place here for him.

To YWAM-Charlotte, for all the dinners, moving furniture, raking the lawn and offering to watch the girls. To Seth and Andrew, for being friends to Jackson. To our greater YWAM Tribe, who has prayed for us and sent letters of emails of encouragement. To Janet, who was always checking in with me via fb, getting updates on Jackson, and letting me know she was praying.

To my parents, for coming down and just being here. Helping to finish the house, caring for the girls, allowing me to be in PICU (the girls were too young to go in), laundry, cleaning and loving on us. For Jen, flying down to be with me...calling me every morning to "check in". Tam Tam, for calling every time "our songs" came on the radio, for taking the girls for the day.

There are all the doctors and nurses, therapists and technicians, who listened to what we were saying and really trying to figure things out. Thank you to all who watched "Temple Grandin" and "Wretches and Jabberers" as an act of standing with us and trying to understand the world of autism.

To Melinda, for stopping by, calling, doing a great job with The Arc of Union County...being our friend. To our other amazing advocates Jennifer Bills, Andrew Strickland and their whole team at Disability Rights of NC.

To Janelle and Jeane, for sending incredible care packages via Kevin, arriving one year ago today. I was scared that day and had a bit of an idea that we may be headed to the hospital...little did I know the severity of things. God did. Through your gifts, I felt like He was saying that He loved me and He was taking care of things. It would be weeks before I could really delve into that wonderful, amazing Lancaster goodness! Janelle, for your continued gifts of love, words of encouragement, hugs from a distance and prayers. Thank you for wanting to get it, to understand.

Cacey for adopting Cookie, our chocolate lab.

There are so many others who have helped in so many ways. We are grateful. Looking back, I do not see all of the machines and tubes, the surgeries or procedures. I see the faces and acts of kindness and love that were shown to us. I may have missed a few names, I am sorry.

Our gratitude goes beyond words...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I had to go into Charlotte last week. I never mind going, I love it really. However, when I have to be there early, I HAVE TO leave my house before 7 am.

It doesn't matter if I leave at 6:45 or 6:58, I just have to be on the road before 7 am, or I will be stuck in traffic. A few of us around here talk about this fact. We all in your car and on the road before the clock strikes 7!

On this beautiful day, I hit the road...a few minutes later than planned...putting me in my car, on the road, at 7:08. I was sailing right along, and then...bumper to bumper. No worries. I had time, I'm just not sure this is how I wanted to spend my time. I relax, take in the scenery, memorize the license plate ahead of me, sing at the top of my lungs, stuff like that.

Then, a business van pulls in front of me. On the rear doors, he has two magnetic posters up, asking me, "Have you seen me?" I look closely, no. I haven't seen either one of these two kids, Angel or Savanna. I start to wonder where are they? Who has seen them? Are they still around to be seen? My heart aches and I start to pray. I pray for their families, their safety, God's protection and mercy to be upon them. I pray for them to be safe. When I can't pray anymore, I jet into the other lane and pass that van.

Soon, I come up on a cute little sports car to my left. The kid in it is trying to burn up the road, in a traffic jam. I smile to myself. Then, he pulls in front of me. (Dude! Careful!) Then I notice his bumper stickers, I actually start to get physically sick. They are absolutely disgusting! Seriously, I can take a few things. These were absolutely vulgar...I can NEVER repeat to anyone what I read.

My first thought was, "I can't believe his mother allows him to have these on his car!" Then I think, "maybe he doesn't have a mother." the lost boys of Neverland. Again, my heart is heavy. I start to pray for this young guy. I pray for the Lord to reveal Himself. I pray that the Lord sends someone into his life to show him love and grace. That the Lord, Himself would be merciful to this young man.

I was still in traffic, but traveling forward. From here my thoughts went back to my wedding day, July 7, 1990. At we were introduced as Mr. And Mrs., our friend sang, "Find Us Faithful", by Steve Green.

Our prayer, for our life together, was that song. It still is our prayer.

"May those who come behind us find us faithful.

May the fire of our devotion light their way,

May the footprints that we leave,

lead them to believe

and the lives we live, inspire them to obey."

What are people seeing as they follow me? They may not always "choose" to be behind me, but traffic, aka "circumstances" have them following behind me. My prayer is that they see something that inspires them, a light that would encourage them to keep on in the journey, a joy like none they have ever seen.