One year ago today, our son, who had been on-and-off sick for several days, woke up from a long nap and was hurting “all over”. We noticed he wasn’t moving normally, was unable to speak clearly and was having problems walking. We had been at Tanja’s parents’ home near Clinton, Arkansas spending some family time together (Tanja’s parents were in Germany). We called my brother-in-law, John Paul, who is a doctor. After hearing Robbie’s symptoms, he very wisely told us to get him in the car and get him to Arkansas Children’s Hospital. We had no idea during our brisk drive there that we had seen our son walk for the last time in many months; nor did we realize that the words he spoke in the first few minutes of our drive would be his last words spoken until he muttered “mom”, “dad” and “pink panties” in early February of this year. It was during that drive that he lost all of the abilities that this active 11-year-old boy had always taken for granted.
This mysterious illness had hit so fast that the doctors initially tried to prepare us for the worse, feeling that it was likely he would not make it. Well, as you all know, he did. When he fought through that first week in intensive care and in isolation, the doctors tried to prepare us for the worse by saying we may have a son who is unable to do anything for himself for potentially the rest of his life.
Even as I write this, one year later, the emotions of that time come back and just take my breath away. I remember Tanja’s heartfelt prayer as our son lay in bed with waves of pain that no medication could take away. She told God, “our son is Yours and we will accept what Your will is for him.”
One year later, we have seen that God does indeed have a wonderful plan for this young man. We cannot thank you all enough for your faithful, faithful prayers on behalf of Robbie, our girls, Tanja and I, our extended family and all of those who attended to Robbie at the hospital and in the months of therapy thereafter.
One year later and we are back home in China! Our son has spent the last few recesses at school playing tackle football with his buddies and he told me he “sacked the quarterback” yesterday and “it was awesome”. He is playing the saxophone. He climbs all 7 flights of stairs up to his room with no problem. He is making mostly A’s in school (we didn’t hold him back even though he missed most of his 5th grade year). Can you tell I’m proud of my son? I am. But I am even more proud of my Father, because I know this miracle came straight from Him. When the cold of this Tibetan winter moves on and the mountain passes open up and Robbie has a break from school, we are going to head deep into the plateau, climb high up on a mountain, and spend time on that high place praising the Creator of all things. ...just like He promised.
By the way, I am proud of my girls too. This past year brought challenges their way that Father gave them great strength to get through. Shelby and Bethany have become Godly young ladies right before my eyes these past months. Shelby did well on her S.A.T. test that she took in Hong Kong and is now looking into some online undergraduate college courses (she’s 16 years old, if you didn’t know). She is hoping to get a head start on her degree because of her deep desire to become a Physical Therapist. Bethany has shown amazing discipline in her online high school coursework and is making stellar grades (she also missed a great deal of school last year due to all the craziness). She is learning to play the flute and seems to be a natural. For both of them, life in China is a piece of cake. All the challenges that this unique culture provides come their way and they take it in stride and are doing great.