Monday, March 21, 2011

Family Encouragement Weekend or BUST!

Anyone remember in the late 90's when it suddenly became really popular to put this kind of phrase on your vehicle for whatever road trip you were taking?  At the time, I had no idea where it actually came from but I do remember our youth group taking a camping trip to a Christian music festival called "Creation"  We wrote this phrase on all the cars we caravanned down there: Creation or Bust!  Recently we took a road trip with our good friends The Martins to a small rural area of North Carolina for what they call Family Encouragement Weekend.  We didn't put any signs on their 18 passenger bus but it would have been more than appropriate to do so!  And we did put some other rather interesting things up in that bus...

There was a little leak in the windsheild and it just poured and poured rain on us!  So we used some good ole duct tape and diapers!  We had plenty of those!

Family Encouragement Weekend is a conference or retreat put on by three families to encourage other families to live Biblically and honor God as a family.  We went so excited to learn and grow.  We couldn't wait to meet other families that have the same desire to honor God that we do!  We wanted to soak in as much as possibly could and be able to come home and apply great life lessons that we had learned!  So we piled into our friend's bus; all 15 of us (ten kids, and infant, and four adults) and set out on the two day drive to Family Encouragement Weekend!

our kids had a great time reading books they borrowed from their cousins!

Thanks for sharing Noah and Josh!

After arriving we met with other families ate some dinner and headed in for our first teaching session.  We learned lots and were encouraged!  Then Silas had a seizure.

I froze.  I am a nurse.  I've seen seizures before.  I knew exactly what was happening.  I just couldn't move.  I sat crouched over him and I just kept saying in my head: "He is having a seizure.  He's breathing.  He's going to be ok."

I snapped out of it.  Asked someone to call 911 and waited for the ambulance to arrive.  I can't even remember the things going through my head at this time.  I was so totally caught off guard.  I didn't understand.  Moments before his seizure he was running and playing just as normally as he always does.  Why did this happen now?  We were so far from home.  We didn't even really know where we were or what kind of hospital they were taking us too.  We just went and waited.

In the emergency room, they gave him the "fever work up."  I've done it so many times before as a nurse.  Blood work, strep culture, chest xray, urine test, ear check.  They determined that he had strep, that the seizure was caused by a fever, treated us and were preparing to send us back to our hotel when little Silas finally fell asleep and started to seize again.

This time they had to medicate him to get his seizure to stop.  He was breathing and resting but he didnt respond.  We talked to him and sang to him and waited for him to wake up.  The doctor decided that he needed to be transferred and admitted to a big city hospital with pediatric neurology specialists.  They told us that we were so far in the sticks that they couldn't send him by ambulance because the town only had two and the needed them to stay around for an emergencies that happened there.  Silas would have to be sent to this other hospital by helicopter and we weren't going to be able to ride with him.  I was crushed.  We were in North Carolina.  We didn't have a car.  It was the middle of the night.  We didn't know where we were going or what to do with our other kids.  We were overwhelmed.

But God was there.  And he provided.  We borrowed a car.  We got directions.  We were able to leave Timothy with our dear friends the Martins.  We drove together in the middle of the night on windy back roads.  We forced ourselves to talk just so we could stay awake.  We prayed and prayed and prayed that Silas would stay asleep and wouldn't wake up feeling abandoned, scared, and alone.

We got to the hospital and literally ran in looking for our son.  When we finally found him he was sleeping peacefully.  The nurse said he barely even woke up when she checked his IV.  He had gone right back to sleep.  And God was still there and he continued to provide.

We stayed in the hospital for two days.  Sean eventually left to be with Timo.  Silas, Lily, and Emily stayed at the hospital.  It was an experience full of learning to trust in the Lord, learning to lean on Him in times of crisis.  We wanted to be scared but we were grateful instead!

We were grateful for our friends the Martins.  We were grateful for the new people that we barely new from the conference who were lifting us up in prayer.  We were grateful for a background in nursing.  We were grateful for the blessings poured on us by the nurses at the hospital.  We were grateful that our God used this experience to encourage our family.  He reminded us that He is always there and will always provide!

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble."
Psalms 46:1