The Cost

Five months ago, I started a three part series on worship. I knocked out parts one and two in 4 days or so. The posts are about the character of worship in churches all over this world. The third blog post never came, just didn’t get it done. Day after day passed and I thought about doing it, but never did. Little did I know that my faith was about to be tested beyond my endurance. My daughter had her accident on May 20. It was nearly a month to the day from the first post. If you want to listen to what happened to her you can click here. In the following months we did the only things we could do.   (1) Stand and believe the promises of God, spoken to us us by people within our circles, and in our scripture reading. (2) Worship God with desperation, as truly as our spirits would allow. The last post in the series was going to be about true worship, and we were suddenly thrust into a head spinning situation where we had to lean on God in ways we had never even thought of. I keep remembering one lyric that popped into my head on the way to Nomi’s PICU room about three days after her accident. It was from a song I wrote about blind faith:

“in the time it takes to count the cost, will I ever claim the gain,
or do I take that step of faith, and leave the gain to claim itself?

And in the faith of the blind, be led by Your hand
in the wisdom of the young, be glad in your grace?

Would you bring the rain, would I be dismayed?
My shelter, from the storms, would I stand?”

I wrote that a full two years before Nomi’s accident. And it fit the situation perfectly. True worship costs. It costs evrything that you are. Laid on the altar of self-indulgence. Lay down your heart and seek the face of God with the kind of desperation that you would feel as if drowning… under tons of water, just one more breath…    Just like our Naomi, when you are touched by God, you will never be the same again. From death to life. From beyond repair to beyond corruption. From fearful to fearless. The heart of worship lies outside of your experience and when you do give it all to Him in worship, He will create the heart of the lion in you… and it is worth it. Every penny paid by us could never pay for the blood of a savior to wash us clean. God has created a warrior class in us that will never fear again, for we know His faithfulness. We worship the one true God, with heart breaking passion, because he loved us when we were most doubtful, most violent, most broken. When we were His enemy. The cost is high, but the war will continue with or without your worship. Take time today to give your all, pay the price, be changed beyond what you are… forever.


Thought I would post a short video of the little miracle in action. Naomi always has been so happy, smiling, loving. She decided to blow kisses to all her peeps this morning!

Many, many, many thanks to all of you that have prayed for this little chick. Your prayers are being answered day by day, in the positive. This little ray of sunshine is flooding the light of God’s love into some deep and dark recesses indeed. In some, her story has helped strengthen faith. In others, faith has been renewed, and in others yet, the light of salvation shines brightly and brand new to those that didn’t know God’s mercy before seeing her smiling face. Funny how the child that cannot even speak for herself can show God to those that we can’t reach with all of our music, words, and “worship environments”… Live large and free peeps, may the light of God’s love overwhelm the darkness in front of you. Like it has for us. Much love from Nomi…

Update on Naomi ~ Day 63

Have not updated in a while, been fairly busy… with details. The entire family is here, except for my oldest daughter (Naomi’s sissy) and we have been loving up on Naomi hard since we got here shortly after midnight last night. Today I watched her in therapy while she played with the puppy. She has been very engaged when dealing with the animals used in therapy. She is now regaining control of her fine motor skills, learning how to do almost everything all over again. It is such joy for me to see her working so hard. She is a trooper… tough, scrappy and giving no ground. I say it is a joy, and I mean it. She is still here, she is still Naomi and she is still happy. Only two months… hard to believe. Two months that have shaped my family, and re-positioned our faith. Increased God in our lives. Two months that have seen us go from what the world would call hardship to hardship, and all we can see is God’s hand at work, lifting us above the rocky trails, full of briars and thorns, that would snatch at our steps. The therapists are pushing Naomi hard, and she is responding. Her vision is excellent now, she can recognize her therapists at distances some of them can barely cope with! She mouths different words, sometimes the word comes out, sometimes the word doesn’t. In her new phase of learning, we find joy in the fact that she is here to learn. She has been the main focus of discussion at a conference up here. She has been in a car commercial since being here, as a “poster girl” for the hospital. She has been an object of wonder. She has survived. She is improving daily. She is going home next week, but will remain in therapy as an outpatient. I will probably update further later on, but I think for now Naomi’s story must rest some. Today she played tug of war with the puppy, and at the end of it, both of them collapsed, resting, watching each other across the toy that was the object of dispute, a mutual admiration shared among them… and they rested together. Thank all of you for praying for Naomi. It has made a difference, in her and in us. Her story is not over, but we will rest for a while now. Much love and peace to you all… may God give to you the thing that you desire. He has done so for us… Naomi, and a closer walk with Him. Will update soon…Peace!

Update on Naomi ~ Day 36

Naomi is on her 5th full day here in rehab. She sometimes fusses, maybe because she does not enjoy some of the things the therapists are making her do. She is stretching, working, playing hard… re-learning a lot. We have a stroller that was custom fitted for her, she likes it. Wendy and I are learning a lot, we will probably need to continue her therapy at home for a little while. She has not started talkin yet, but her smiles and giggles are nearly continuous when she is in a good mood! She has started to blink more, and more tears come when she cries (involuntaries coming back). She focuses on us more visually, and we know her hearing is good from how she responds to our voices. She is flexing her legs more, and her right hand that had some contracture is not nearly as bad. Almost as good as her left hand! She continues to work on leg strength, and she is now showing a dislike for applesauce, prefering vanilla pudding. Baby steps… more every day. Instead of one baby step she is now taking three. In no time at all she will be baby sprinting! Wendy and I are growing closer, our entire family is growing closer. I guess tragedy will either tear a family apart, or tightly weave it together. We are also drawing closer to God.

In Daniel 10:12 it says “Then he said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer.”

At first it felt like the weight of His presence was almost violent, crushing… now we feel completely immersed in peace, and power, like swimming underwater in a warm ocean. We do not fear. We do not walk in the “what if”, but only in the “what now” and we daily feel the blessing that comes from such a hard won dependence on God. We not only feel it, but we feed it as well. We speak life, we speak the positive… we speak the truth. We have walked out of the shadow and into the sunshine, and we stand amazed at how our God walks with us and in us. “Nomi’s” walk back to complete restoration will be along quiet green shaded paths, and not along sharp, rocky, dry and dusty trails.

He has heard our prayer, and our daughters life is His response.

Update on Naomi ~ Day 28

Sorry about the four day lag in updates, been a little busy… Naomi is doing good. We just got back from a wagon ride. One of the nurses that had not seen her in a week made a comment about her getting her fine motor skills back, how her color looks so much better, her respiration sounds better… she pointed out several things, and I have seen nice improvements in the last 4 days. Yesterday we tried to see how she would react to standing up. We had to hold her up but she reacted well. Her feet are flexing nicely and we see some good flexibility in her legs and arms. She has been a little fussy with her feedings, but we are working that out. She’s a little fussy right now, trying to let me know I need to fix it. I’m trying… This morning I was told her Lovenox levels were at good therapy levels. That means we are heading to rehab! I find myself wanting quicker gratification in her getting better, and I have to keep telling myself that I am used to big ‘ole daddy steps… she is used to little tiny baby steps. Naomi has taught me a lot in the past month. Patience. Kindness. Forgiveness. Perserverance. FAITH. Love. Compassion. Tenacity, which is something I thought I had in great measure until I saw that character shown in Naomi.

Isaiah 11:6  The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them.

Wolf with the lamb? Lions and calfs? Improbable? And a child to teach and lead the way? As improbable as Naomi’s healing may have seemed, It happened. The speech therapists are here now, and say that her swallowing is excellent (she just started with oral stimulation this morning)… her healing has already taken place, and her body is just catching up. (Break) OK… the speech therapist just did a prelim swallow test and Naomi did well enough for them to try to feed her… our baby girl that was on full life support three weeks ago just finished eating applesauce!!! This is why we speak as though her healing is already complete, because that is what faith is… the ability to believe and see an outcome different from the one our eyes would try to convince us of. Three weeks ago… well, that was then. This is now. Tomorrow is not here yet. We have seen the hand of God on our little girl, and we continue to believe and stand in faith for her… and as we stand, we learn more about God’s character, and our very own as well.

Thank you God for this miracle wrought to teach us to be more like You, every day a couple more baby steps like You.

Update on Naomi ~ Day 16

2:20 pm. Just got here from church. I went today to help lead worship, and I will say it… was broken by my worship much of the day. Really felt good to be in the company of my people. Many hugs and much love, much praise for our God today.

Today Naomi has had a very good day. No fever all day long! Her breathing has really leveled out smoothly and Her pain is much less today. Wendy told the doctors that it was her formula not agreeing with her, and guess what… it seems like she was right. Imagine that… a mommy being right. Changed the formula and she seems much better tonight. The physical therapists are going to do some swallow tests in the morning, see if we can get her eating by midweek. Baby food I guess. A gastroenterologist came to see her today. She really seems much more at ease tonight than last night.

I really would like to take a second and lavish much praise on the staff here. The nurses, the doctors, even the cleaning ladies. Caring, kind, compassionate, giving the medical side without dampening the spiritual. Many times giving words of encouragement from the spiritual side of things. I wish I could list them all, I think I know every one of them by name. One day soon I am going to throw a party for Nomi and all of the peeps up here have an invite. Might be hard, cause then it would leave this floor deserted! Many thanks for the prayers of my warrior friends all over the world. We see the hope that Naomi has given thru her testimony in e-mails and comments, and we know she has a destiny of significant proprtions. God bless our baby girl, she is a beam of hope in a world of darkness and dismay.