Greetings to you all and thank you for your continued prayers for Robbie and our family. We have been amazed at how many people know of and have been praying for our son. We have yet to go anywhere in Northwest Arkansas with Robbie without having people we don’t know stop us and say, “Is this Robbie Shackelford!? We have been praying for him!” The family of God is a very, very special family.
We have had a good and full week and Robbie has been a trooper. He is working so very hard in his therapy sessions and continues to improve little by little. We are seeing some improvement in his feet, especially his right foot. There is still a long way to go before he can bear his own weight without extreme pain but he continues to try his best.
Sunday was a wonderful homecoming for Robbie and the whole family as we were blessed by our New Heights Church family. He insisted on going to both services even though we weren’t sure if he’d be okay sitting up in his wheelchair that long. Both services gave him a standing ovation when it was announced that “Robbie is with us this morning” and he rode his wheelchair to the front and said something we’ve heard from “Mr. Thankful” many, many times, “Thank you for praying for me.” Between and after services, it was a blessing to see him “hanging out” with his buddies. For the rest of us, it was just such a sweet time of being able to worship together with our home church.
Robbie did his therapy every day through the week. We are not yet able to get into a routine as he still had some evaluations to do and some of his regular therapists were on a mission trip to the Ukraine doing PT work with children over there. By the way, one way God has used this whole ordeal is to put a calling on Shelby’s heart to become a physical therapist. We are planning to send Robbie to Camp Barnabas this summer as a camper and Bethany as a sibling camper and possibly Shelby as a volunteer. [if you don’t know about Camp Barnabas, check it out at http://www.campbarnabas.org/ ]
We were VERY blessed to have Tanja’s parents come up Thursday and give Tanja and I a much needed “getaway” together. They had done the night shift for almost our entire hospital stay and they said they were having “Robbie withdrawals” and had to come up. We asked Robbie the other day if he misses the hospital. He said, “no way!!!...but I miss the people there a whole, whole bunch.”
Tanja and I continue to work out our “role in life” in our current situation and God continues to be faithful in showing us the way. For those of you who have been supporters of our work in China, I will begin sending out updates again and will share what we are doing now and hope to do in the near future. Thanks for your continued support during this “low altitude” time in our life (a.k.a. valley).
I am including a few pictures of his last day at Arkansas Children’s (they threw him a party and made his last pool therapy a lot of fun as well). I am also including a picture of him at home in his big comfy recliner that one of our church elders gave him. Finally, there are few shots of Shelby’s recent “sweet 16” birthday party (see above). Tanja took her out to a luncheon with some friends and they all shared encouraging words of wisdom with her. I then took her out on a nice father-daughter date that evening. Shelby said it was a little intimidating because the only time she ever sees me in a tie is when I am at a wedding or a funeral. :-) The next day, her birthday, we had a family party for her and she got 16 presents and then a surprise party that evening with some of her friends.
I had tucked Robbie in tonight and prayed over him and then Tanja went in to kiss him goodnight. Robbie had enjoyed a birthday party that evening but shared with his mom that he was embarrassed that he wasn’t able to hit the piñata very hard. Tanja told him she thinks everyone was amazed at how hard he was able to hit it and how quickly he is regaining his strength. Robbie then prayed a sweet prayer for his sister Shelby who left on a mission trip. He ended his prayer with, “thank you God for putting me through this so that I can know what it is like for people who are sick or unable to walk or do other things.” Yes, thank you God for every lesson you teach us. Please help us to learn them well.