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Dec 29, 2009

Tuesday 6.00pm Update - Abby's Birthday - Joy in Trials

From Brent

Wow… what a week. Looks like Garrett is going to be in the hospital a couple of weeks. They have found a broken bone in his sternum and another broken vertebrae near his shoulder blade. Rather than a day or two in the hospital and a sore recovery… the prognosis now is for him to be in a back/hip immobilizer for 8 weeks, and probably in the hospital for a week or two.

The timing of my business trip next week from Monday to Friday could not be worse, but it is unavoidable. Not because my employer is heartless but because of the criticality of my participation. I’ve been chosen to be part of a group that is developing software that is critical to the entire operation of the company. It is literally a job change, a “new” job for me even though I’ll work for the same company. My delay or absence cannot put the entire company behind a couple of weeks because of my personal circumstances. I have a whole family to care for and can't lose my income. It really pains me to leave for 4 days right now, but you can see the necessity.

My parents are going to take Landis next week while I’m gone, and I have no doubt one of our wonderful Christian friends-family will take care of Sami.

For Michelle, she is going to have to juggle appointments for Abby and staying with Garrett. Garrett does have other family members (grandmother, aunt) who can stay with him but Uncle Michael is on the floor above him with a broken lumbar, and now they think a broken neck. So they have to spend time with him too as he is unmarried and has no other family here.

Abby is being put on a new very powerful drug to control her spinal fluid pressure but as with all powerful drugs, there is a nice set of side effects to deal with. Still, the side effects are preferable to brain/eye/hearing damage.

Michelle and I are beginning to feel like a burden to our friends. It is a complex and difficult time.

After the blizzard last week (yes, a real blizzard, not rhetorical) we are supposed to get another 2-3 inches tonight. To our northern friends, this is a yawner but it is rare for us to get this much snow in two weeks. The roads will be hazardous as we go back and forth to the hospital tonight/tomorrow. Thank you for your prayers for safety. I'm not sure another accident or "situation" is really what we could use right now.

Abby’s birthday is today and we haven’t even seen her. Our wonderful friends, the Meeks family (who you’ve seen on our blog many times), bought her a cake and threw her a little party. We’ll get to see Abby later this evening.

Thank you so much for all your wonderful encouragement and prayers. This situation would certainly be many times more difficult without the concern and prayers you have showered on us.

Most of all, we want people to know that rather than any of this shaking our faith, to the contrary, it only strengthens it. I have no idea how people endure such hardships without God.

What we have learned over the years is that the greater the trial, the more opportunity God has to show Himself faithful and true. The more intense the difficulty, the more opportunity we have to see God at work and to recognize His blessings and care.

While we don't wish for trials, we know they will come. As mature Believers, we receive hardship with joy because we know that these are the times when God is most real to us and our faith is most authentic to those who observe our life.

This holiday season, we have been blessed to witness God's care, protection and provision in so many ways. It seems strange to the unbelieving world but we consider ourselves privileged to have situations where God's participation is so clear:
  • Abby has not relapsed and was home with us for Christmas. God is caring for her and guiding her doctors.

  • My oldest daughter blew out (shredded) a FRONT tire on the highway a couple of nights ago right after the blizzard that could have resulted in a major accident. God protected her from injury and it ended up just being a minor inconvenience to drive and get her, repair the tire, and then go put the tire back on. God protected her from accident or incident being stranded on the highway at night, in the freezing cold out in the middle of nowhere.

  • Garrett, Michael and Micalah could have easily been killed or even froze to death during this accident. They were on a remote rural road and pinned in the truck with no phones within reach. A car just "happened" to drive by. Medical helicopters quickly flew them for care. God protected them, rescued them and saw that they were cared for.

  • My Mom had breast cancer last year and yet we just finished celebrating Christmas with her. God is our healer and care giver.

  • My Dad survived life threatening bouts of blood clots and circulatory problems this year. My twin brother survived a bout of blood clots too, evidently there is something hereditary going on. God graciously protected their lives.

  • Michelle's Dad has survived cancer and surgery in the past few months to still be here with us for Christmas. God is good and gracious.
See what I mean? The more difficulty, the more trials, the more trauma, the more you get to see God at work, see Him prove His goodness and care, see Him be a real part of your life.

Don't get me wrong. We don't WANT these difficulties, we don't go hunting for them. But living in this sin-cursed world guarantees you a share of the misery.

For Christians, we are to receive them with joy and thanks because it is in our suffering that God manifests His providential care and unfailing love.

Option two: we could just have a big ole pity party, moan and complain, and curse God because we don't "deserve this".

We'll take joy and God's goodness, thank you very much.


Michelle said...

We are continuing to pray for your entire family. We wish were were a little closer to help out, but please know that our hearts and prayers are most certainly with you always.
Michelle Mann

Bridget said...

Brett...your family is in our prayers as we travel.

Stacey Tate said...

You guys are a wonderful witness of living out a Christ filled life. Thank you for your positive example. I pray for blessings in 2010!!! Love you guys.
Stacey Tate

Fon Couture said...

God's continued blessing to you and your precious family. I'll keep you in my prayers.

Kris said...

I pray for strength and peace and unwavering friends as you travel this season of life and that your family continues to be a beacon shining the light of God's love to a lost and broken world. Perhaps someone will read of how you face your trials with God and decide to stop going it alone. May you find rest in the shelter of His wing.

Laurel said...

Beautiful post, Brent! A couple of months ago a blog commenter asked me if I'd "lost my joy" because of our family crisis. Oh no ... not at all. We need to be able to be honest about our trials, but I certainly hope that people can see God's joy through our tears. He is faithful ... always has been ... always will be.

Please don't think you are a burden to your friends. I am SURE that you are LOVED and that the people caring for your children are BLESSED by the opportunity. I have been on their side ... several years ago as I took care of 6 children (in addition to 8 of mine at home) while their mom was in the hospital for 6 weeks. Yes, it was hard. But, yes, I was blessed to be able to help.

Hugs & Prayers!!!

Laurel :)

Michelle said...


4 Little Men and Girly Twins said...

oh my gracious! Praise God they are all alive! i haven't been online for over a week... only on for a few minutes but so glad I came by your blog. We will e praying for your family!!!

Tell Garrett I feel his pain, I had a dislocated fractured sternum, 4 fractured ribs & a dislocated clavical and it was SOOOOOOOO painful. My sternum still hurts on occasion. :( He has my sympathy!!!



Kristine said...

I can't believe what has happened to your family in the past few days! I was out of town and came home to find your news. I'll be praying for Abby, Garrett, Michael and Micalah over the next few weeks. I hope that January is dull!

Pam, mom, honey, said...

i know it is a little different but there has been times when a deployment is NOT what was good for our family but was something that had to be done. So i understand why you have to go away.
praying that you will have all the help you need and that you will understand God is making time in there schedual and giving them the energy they need to help you.

Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama said...

Praying for your sorry all of this is going on. I agree wholeheartedly with you (after a few years of steady trials) that it is in the storms that I am able to feel God the most. May this continue to be true for your precious family.

And remember, guilt is a lie of the enemy. You are not a burden to your friends, I am sure that God put people in your life during this season for just such a purpose.

Mom to 9 Blessings! said...


Beautifully said!

Trusting God to continue to comfort all of you as you remain in His joy!

Love to you all - HAPPY BIRTHDAY ABBY!


The Gobble's (Lanetta) said...

pryaing... wish we were closer and that there was something we could do to help... :) Praying... praying.. praying..

Tiffany said...

Your family is in my prayers.

auntrene said...

I will be praying for your family.
I am like you, no matter what comes along I always try to count my blessings not the misfortunes.. God is good...

Christian said...

I don't know you in real life, but I'm sure you're not a burden to your friends at all. Doesn't the Bible command us to help carry each others burdens anyway?
Your faith is truly amazing and a source of inspiration. God Bless you and your family and keep you safe!!

Sophie Neri said...

Wow that's alot to take on in such a short time but praise God he's getting you through it.I lost my father 3 uncles and my aunt in 9 months and it's been emotionally draining but the more trials that come along the more I feel that I can lean on and trust in the Lord for comfort. I pray for healing in your family and continued strength that only the Lord can provide. Have a blessed 2010 and happy birthday sweet Abby

purejoy said...

Gpd os good. all the time. so thankful He is meeting your family. again.
continuing to pray!

Hope said...

Thank you for updating us. Its a privilege to present your burdens to our Saviour. Its a blessing for your friends to serve as well. It ministers to them. Please communicate your needs to them and allow them to bless you.
For Garrett's discomfort, I was surprised when I had surgery how the narcotics didn't do anything but make me feel awful. The morning nurse suggested something that was on my chart but no one had thought to give me. Now I discuss Toradol with my physicians whenever myself or family members have surgery. Its non narcotic and often overlooked for stronger meds. I am not trying to give medical advice so discussing with his doctor may help. Also (certainly not least) if you can play worshipful music in the room to help him meditate on things other than discomfort. Sometimes it can take our minds off the pain.
Continuing to pray for you all.

Debi said...

Your walk of faith is so amazing to a watching world.
Praying God's continued grace and strength over you.
Love and hugs and prayers,

Shari said...

I know you have endured many hard trials. Your witness for the Lord is wonderful. Our family has been going through constant trials for almost two years. We just keep praising Him for what He is doing in our lives and for us. Our unsaved family members don't get it. We told them we can get bitter or better and we choose the latter. Why let it steal your joy? Right? We continue praying and our church is, too. And one of the churches we went to in Washington, too.

Anonymous said...

I just love you folks. I feel blessed to know you from following this blog. You are in our hearts and prayers and you encourage us every day. God uses you in a powerful way in the lives of people you have never met and may never meet; but you are truly well loved by so many. Kathy Clements

Cori said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ABBY!! Praying for you sweet girl!!

noahandlylasmommi said...

Praying for a safe trip for you Brent. Praying for strength and energy for Michelle during your trip. Praying that Garrett's pain would be minimal.

I am sure your friends do not feel burdened by you at all! If I lived near y'all I would love to help out. Hang in there!

Chris said...

Prayers for you guys,
Happy Birthday Abby

As an EMS provider, I'm glad to hear the weather didn't prevent the copters from flying. Driving critical patients on bad roads is not fun.
Sounds like Garret is in good hands.
God be with all of you

whenpigsfly said...

You know we are praying with you!!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ABBY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'm sorry we didn't get to get to gether with you when Naomi and I cane to OKC for her doctor's appointment. She was having a really hard day of it and your mom said you were just super tired out too. We'd love to have Hannah/Sami come visit with us for a few days if dozens of other friends have not invited her already!! I'll call you about that.
Linda and crew

Farrellsx3 said...

Praying for your family, for healing, for strength.
Hang in there and know that friends are friends forever and want to share in carrying your load-it is not a burden!
Happy Birthday to your daughter...

What a great post to include so many blessings that you can give thanks for! What a difference He makes with His love!

living4him5 said...

Happy birthday sweet Abby! I will be lifting the Riggs family in my prayers as you travel and for those at home.

Many blessings and thank you for being a inspiration to me!

In Christ,

Masto Mama said...

Beautiful post! Thanks for the inspiration and I'm continuing to pray. Happy B-day Abby!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Abby!

I will continue to pray for your family. Your blog blesses me - I learn a lot from you and your family.

Are These Kids All Yours? said...

Oh my....I just found out on another blog what has been happening in your family..........we are praying!!! Somehow God is going to hold us together...don't know how yet, but I know HE WILL!!!! PRAYING!!!


I am speaking for all of us, including your friends who are busy being there for you...YOU AND YOUR FAMILY ARE NOT A BURDEN! That could not happen-no way, no shape, no form! If all of us on this side of the blog could be with you and help you, we'd fill a large city or two! As it is YOU are helping US by giving us the privilege of praying for your family. Thank you for helping us!

Phyllis said...

Happy Birthday, Abby! I hope you all can celebrate all together soon. Praying for Garrett to heal quickly so he can be home with you all. You are definitely not a burden on your friends. We all love you and want to help in any way we can.
Phyllis & Kristen

Sandi Lerman said...

Sending loving thoughts and prayers your way for all the pain, difficulties, and emotional roller coaster you and your family and friends are experiencing right now.

Wow... looks like Abby and my daughter-to-be (still in Guate) share a birthday! Prayers for many, many more, and much happier birthdays to come for your little girl!

Bobbie Bailey said...

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Abby, Happy Birthday to you!
May Jesus bless you, May Jesus bless you, May Jesus bless you the whole year through!!!

Abby you're 5!!! Wow!!!

What did you want for your birthday, Abby?

I hope you are feeling okay.

Brent, I agree with you. How do people make it through the hard & painful times without our Lord?

Sending get well wishes to Garrett and Mike.

Have a good time, Brent. Again, God knew all this would happen at the time you had to be away. Rest assured that He will help Michelle while you are away from home.


Bobbie B.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your blog. You inspire us everyday. It would be so easy to look at everything that has happened & feel like "woe is me...look at everything bad that has happened". Your posts inspire me to look at the blessings in life even when bad things happen there are blessings! Thank you! Praying for your family from here in TN.

darci said...

oh, so much has been happening for you-'bear one another's burdens'..praying so much for your whole famiy in each situation. praying for God's healing and comfort and indeed His joy and goodness. darci

Al's World said...

James 1:2-4--Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Thank you for putting verbs to this Bible verse for all to see! Will be praying for you all!

Liz F said...

So happy that you see God's blessings in the midst of all of these awful struggles. Your family is amazing. You do have many strangers praying for you all as our family is and I hope you take comfort in that. God bless you all and we will continue to pray.

Julie said...

I am praying for your family. I loved this post about trials. I am so sorry you are having so many right now, but you are right, you are truly blessed as well.

Many blessings,

The Adoption Journey of Baby King said...

Have a safe trip. Your family is in my prayers. I couldn't believe the picture of the truck and that it wasn't worse. Prayers that everyone heals well and quickly!