Thursday, December 22, 2016

6 years

It sure has been a long time since I wrote a blog post.  I know I say that maybe I should more often, and for those closest to me/us, know that I have been challenged to write a book.  Although this challenge was given a while ago, it keep reoccurring recently and Kasi and I are pondering it.  She actually has started writing.  I am not there quite yet.  Although, this blog post, and just posting anything again it getting me closer.
I thought I would update you on yesterday's appointment, but also let you into my heart and mind a little more.  That can be a scary place let me tell you, so I will just give you the good stuff!  Hopefully not the scatter brained stuff that seems to take up most of my mind.
Yesterday we drove up to UofM for the 6 year follow up from Kasi's last major surgery.  It was the first time that Aubree had been up since the surgery which seems surreal for Kasi and I because it seems to be a second home for us.  As boring as it can be, it is also filled with a little anxiety for me.  We were told that Kasi would be seeing a new specialist for her belly issues.  They are trying to figure out this pain which is so severe I can't even begin to tell you what it is like to watch her when she has one.  This past time the after effects lasted for about 3 days.  She still managed to live life and go to school during those days, but it was not a good time for her!  Her aorta is still narrowed, we know this, her blood pressure still have a gradient, she still has a murmur they mention every time we go.  We live in this place of expect the unexpected.  I am not sure how Kasi, or Aubree, feel about it, but for me, there is always this knowledge of the unknown.  How is that for a thought.  Knowledge of the unknown.  That is what our story is.  Kasi's life journey started 20 years ago, and my life changed then as well.  We have, and I have, journeyed with God through many many ups/downs and searching.  Wrestling with the why, why nots, who, and whens of her care and her life.  There are many things I have learned along the way, and too many to put into one blog post.  The one thing though that I did learn, one thing I know, is Jesus.  His love, His life, His power, His everything.  I look at what was even 6 years ago, and a bit longer when looking at the where of her surgery.  The severity of it.  I remember being denied at top hospitals only to come back to UofM, Dr. Stanley, and now Dr. Eliason.  (and yes Dr. Eliason was there at the beginning too)  I look at how God has orchestrated everything when it comes to Kasi's care, all the journal entries into the top Thoracic Medical Journals, to now even text books.  I wonder....how will they write the unexplained?  How will they write about the unanswerable?  You see, through these years, we have seen many of those.  We have seen healings, pain free surgeries, unexplained ability to breath, filling of lungs, taking away of fears, drying up of tears, healing of hearts....both physically and emotionally, but most importantly, spiritually.  God has woken some from slumber, He has softened some, and He has called some to new life in Him.  The Holy Spirit has moved among us, and still is moving.  We are a life changed, a family changed by the touch of Him who has created all things.  And it is with Him we rest in what is to be.  We don't know what Kasi's future holds, these next appointments, or when the next belly pain will come.  We don't know what God has in store for any of us.  BUT....we rest in what we DO know.  We know, Jesus came from his heavenly home, to be born in a place where animals lived and ate, a smelly lowly place.  He lived a simple life, relating to the simple, being all wise, and all knowing.  He gave us an example of how to live, surrendered, humble, and loving.  He taught us that true love, loves the Truth, and lives into it, and then shares it with others so they too can have the joy in knowing and loving Him.  We know that without Christmas we wouldn't have Easter.  We know that in whatever our tomorrow holds, we know who holds tomorrow.  So, where ever you find yourself today in your walk with Jesus, think on these things at Christmas.
This is Jesus.....




Merry Christmas!!!


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The morning of the one tear....

I know yesterday I mentioned Kasi strength through all of this.  This is the morning that I saw her one tear.  Not knowing at that time that tear was actually for me.  Her focus on what my life would be without her and thinking, and praying that God would take care of me.  Kasi's life was about to be forever changed, and yet, her focus was not inward, but outward.  Asking God to help those who love her no matter the outcome.  That is why the one single tear.....
I will never forget that tear.  It is one of the most vivid memories I have of this journey.  To me I thought she was saying "good-bye" or saying "I don't want to do this".  I of course tried to use humor I am sure to calm her, when truly she was the calm one.  This tear didn't happen right away in our prep room, this tear came only at the end when saying our "ta ta for nows".  Don't let me kid you, we were saying goodbye, maybe for a moment, maybe till we are all called home.  We honestly didn't know.  My heart was being so strong....until the tear.
The walk out of the room, and yes, we had a whole room because of the complexity and seriousness of her surgery, for all of our family and friends to come into.  My focus was solely on Kasi, but I wonder.  How was it for Aubree?  How was it for Ron?  Grandparents?  Her friend and mine?  They too.....saw the tear.
I remember them taking her back right on time.  They were all fresh I am sure since it was 6:30am.  She was preped the night before, so we didn't have anything else that morning except prayer.  Prayer, the biggest and most important thing for this journey.  At the time I knew it would help us through, but I had no clue how much.  And the fact that there were so many praying for us, God gave me a vision of the throne room being LOUD with the name of Kasi.  Jesus bringing her name to the Father with all of these voices behind it.  My little plead and whimper almost a distraction to those who were being loud on her behalf.  It is like it started with a quiet whisper, a few gathered, then it started.  The flood gates were opened.  I clearly remember a friend sending me a message that Christian radio station had just stopped and prayed for Kasi on the air, and she was in Revive and every shopper and worker there stopped and prayed with them.  What a beautiful picture in my mind.  Then my dad recieved a text message from a pastor friend saying Moody Bible Institute during their live broadcast just prayed for Kasi.  I recieved messages saying that at the beginning of each class at Unity every teacher every hour, with all the students prayed for Kasi.  People had T-shirt wearing day for that day.  I got a picture of the student body at Unity all dressed in green and purple.  It was LOUD before the throne.  And my heart could feel it.
I keep going back through the blog, to remember, to share, to give to others.....the pain of that day was still there in the middle of peace.  This song I posted that day.....



One tear.....

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

5 years later....

It amazes me that 5 years have gone by.  I sometimes think of everything as a distant memory and sometimes it seems like yesterday.  There are many times through the past five years that the reality is still very real about Kasi's current and forever condition.  Until Jesus heals her or takes her home!  As I go through this month I am hoping to be able to share more insight to the days I wrote about.  To remember and then reflect on who God is and was in the middle of that time and now.  It is because of what He has done that we can look forward toward what He will do.
I look back at the pictures that were taken the night before surgery.  I remember her sister and her friend lying in the hospital bed together watching a movie.  We shared some laughs and cried some tears.  What I also remember was the fact that Pastor Dave stayed until everyone was gone, and just sat and prayed with us.  At the same time in the hotel other family members have their own story of what they were doing, thinking, and praying that night.  Aubree was in a room with Brittany and Kristie and I know that they prayed, talked, and cried.  Thinking back on her,  7th grade year and this huge event in her life I know it changed her as well.  Then there are the boys, Ron was so good as to take care of all of their needs during this time, and also being a dad to a very sick young lady.
One of the biggest memories I have about not only this night, but the few nights prior, and maybe even weeks, were the conversations I had with Aubree.  The hard, hard conversations.  You see, Kasi was at total peace.  What rocks my world about this still is that Kasi, being so intimately close to Jesus, was not scared.  She told me, maybe a year or two later, that she was at peace because she knew that when she woke up, she would either be with me, or with Jesus, and either one was okay.  She had nothing to fear.  Aubree and I, well, we were having conversations in the car as I would take her back and forth to soccer, about what life looks like.  What if Kasi was called home?  What if Kasi survives?  What is she comes out very changed, like can't walk or talk?  We went through all of these senarios in a very real way.  Our conclusion always being, we can not be selfish in our thoughts of what we desire, but we need to put all of these thoughts, feelings, and desires before the feet of our King in His throne room.  We need to pray that we accept and are faithful to God and His call through the process, and that our own desires don't get in the way of God's work through us and the best for Kasi.  After all, our home is not in this world.  This is only our very temporary home, our residence is in heaven!
Going through this stuff of life here on this earth you have choices.  You can look at it and go, wow, we made it!  You can look at it as wow, God gave me strenth then I know He will if we have to do that again, but let's hope we don't.  OR.....you can look at this as a stepping stone to surrender.  We have found ourselves in constant surrender to stuff of this life.  God has called us to difficult situations and circumstances in the last 5 years.  He has also called us to come and walk with others in their difficult situations too.  He doesn't give us these situations to just look back, but also look forward.  He gives us eyes to see Him working in the lives of others.  He gives us the knowledge and wisdom to recieve suffering as a gift of refinement.  As I remember....remember with me,  your story....

Praise to God for a Living Hope

1 Peter
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you,who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The story goes on.....

Sometimes I think about this blog and the fact that I haven't posted for a long time.  I also remember the times that I was posting in it daily.  It was kind of a release, a way to process, and share my thoughts and feelings.  The story is always going on though, it is always progressing, and changing, growing.

Today Kasi moved back home after her first year of college.  I can hardly believe the first years of life, extending into school, and then college.  There were so many times throughout her life that we didn't know she would make it this far.  And now, she is done with her first year, looking forward to 3 more and then living her dream of helping kiddos in the hospital.

It is amazing to see how real life issues shape us and make us who we are.  We have walked a hard road, full of heart break and things that seems so unfair.  Through it all we know our God is faithful, He is consistent, He is all knowing, all loving......the list can go on and on.  We have so much to our story that I look back on see God's hand in it all.  From cash in our mailbox, just the right amount of course, to miraculous healing, amazing provision through a fundraiser for our family, and the biggest of all.....God's grace to us all.  Watching these kiddos grow in Him, seeing them love God, because He first loved us.

Watching Kasi over the last year was a blessing to me.  She has helped friends walk down rough roads, she has encouraged some in their faith, she has started a bible study too.  All of this selflessly, all the while dealing with her own "stuff".  Yes, Kasi has her own stuff, it is some of the same stuff she has had before.  Her aorta, once again, not perfect, re narrowed, and keeping her from normal life.  What is normal for her though.  Is it running?  Is it doing sports?  Is her life filled with the busyness of doing rather than being?  One thing Kasi is really good at, being.  She is....she doesn't have to be anything to anyone because she is secure in who God created her to be.  Without the stuff of this life, who would she be?  Would she be able to come along side others like she does?  Would she be such a blessing to those who know her?  God's hand is above all and in all, and for that we praise Him.

Then watching our family.  Watching Aubree grow, the boys too, but Aubree because she is growing into a young woman that is seeking God's heart in all she does.  Watching her over the last year and seeing her heart and God working and doing some awesome things in her life.  Seeing prayers answered, watching her lean on Him, stand up for Him, and live for Him.  I wonder, what would she be like if not surrounded by the hard stuff of life.  Watching her sister, suffer, almost leave this world, and also be healed, recover, and depend totally on God.  While Kasi's mission field is in Dr.'s offices and hospitals, Aubree's is the soccer field.  It's in the gym, it's helping people be better through the stuff that Kasi can't do.  Aubree has lived this out in many ways through the years through giving verses, bibles, and being a testimony to those around her.  God has used it by also calling her to CMU, to play soccer, and the one of the biggest blessing is that her coaches see something different in her.  That something is Jesus.....

Today, I sat with a dear friend during a lunch.  I feel honored that she sat, and felt like she could tell me things of her heart.  I cried, she cried, and I just listened. (ok, I wasn't completely quiet)  I walked away thinking, what an honor to be there, to just be.  Again, I wonder, what would my heart be like if it weren't for my struggles, our challenges, my brokenness.   God has used the broken to come alongside so many people.  God's glory has been seen and continues to be seen through people that walk through the valley.

The story goes on.....Does our story ever end?  I wonder do we ever stop talking about God's love, goodness, faithfulness?  Do we stop talking about the miracles, the challenges, the brokenness, and healing? The answer is of course, NO!! This year, starting Jan., has been extremely hard for me and for our family.  I have cried so hard, begged God to change hearts, for people to change, to grow in Him, to understand and not judge, and God choose to move me, to move us.  Looking back I see that once again, letting go was the best thing we could do.  That this too is a growing point for our whole family.  Sometimes, physical pain is hard, but emotional pain is harder.  We have been blessed by true friends, true prayer warriors, and mostly by the Truth.  God's word has ministered to our hearts, and we have dug deep to learn full dependence on Him, and not on others.  So, our story, continues.  We will continue to show grace, as much grace as was given us by Jesus himself.  It is not dependent on what others do for us, but on what God already has done through Jesus himself.  Our story, makes us who we are.  Our story is God's story through us.  The great I AM was yesterday, is today, and will be forever.  In Him is where our story begins and continues.


Keep looking up!!



Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Celebrating and starting a new journey

It is hard to believe that prom is this week Friday.  Along with prom, it is also Kasi's 17th birthday.  I can hardly believe that she has made it this far in her life.  I never thought at the begining of her life she would be going to prom, nor did I ever even think about it.  It was such a day by day, moment by moment life.  Now as I look back I see all of the goodness to us and the provision and can celebrate with her as I send her off in her beautiful dress on her 17th birthday.
April 12, 1996 at 7:58pm a little bundle of strong willed joy entered our life.  Her will so strong it helped her survive.  In her 17 years she has had 1 tummy surgery, 1 back surgery, 3 heart surgeries, 2 heart caths, 3 angiograms, a large hemotoma that could have taken her life it was so large, 1 MRI (which she can't have anymore because of the rods in her back) at least 5 to 7 CAT scans, countless X-rays and many many months spent in the hospital.  Each surgery different and having it's own risks.  Each moment saying good-bye from my arms as a little baby to being wheeled away on a bed far to big for her, and at the last as a young woman knowing with such an assurance that whether in life or death God's will would be done and having peace that was beyond our understanding.  Only with a tear flowing down her cheek as she watched us all try hold it together with each giving a kiss on her forehead as she went to the OR. That was a life time ago and at the same time only a little more than 2 years.
 From PICU to the floor we have met many people along the way too that have impacted our life and hopefully we have made a little mark on theirs.  I can't believe all of what we have been through and it seems so overwhelming and yet, the goodness in the middle of it all. If I could only put into words the feeling I get over each and every birthday of this young daughter of the King.  And that is just what she is, a daughter of the King!!  As much as I want to take credit for being her mom and helping her through life I can only say that it is only because of God's spirit in me, His love extended through my arms, and His grace that is wider, deeper, and bigger than we can wrap our brains around.  At the point of her birth I was only familiar with a God that was "in control" but in the first months of Kasi's life He started to impact my heart in ways that would change me forever.  Am I a crazy for the King, absolutely!!  I have seen my King at work around us and through us.  Would I change anything of the past 17years?  Not if it means changing anything about who we are as a family.  Does it mean we are perfect?  No, it just means we are real, growing, and moving for the Kingdom and sometimes that means that what we face from day to day is a little harder, more challenging, or bringing us to a new place where we can see God is His awesomeness, moving, working, and being glorified.  Even if it is new chapter or even a new book, which is what it seems to be with our family.
On April 16 Kasi will go in and see her cardiologist.  We are expecting a good report although there are some questions, but when are there not questions?  It's Kasi!!
Then on April 25 a first chapter in a new book starts.  Although that is not all totally true because Ben has been brought to us in a way that only have been orchestrated by God Himself, but that my friends is a different book altogether!  This new adventure we are facing with our Most High is about the brain and all it complexity.  Only our creator knows our brain in ways that can be totally healed so that is what we always pray for, and as we are moving we pursue openings and discover ways to help our little man out to the best of our ability.  With this comes an appointment at UofM on the 25th of April.  He does have epilepsy and with the choices his birth mom made while he was in the womb he is a complicated case.  We love this little guy and he is ours.  We never look back as say because her bla bla bla, we just don't go there.  She had/has her issues and this is not about her.  God has placed him here as well as his brother because they were meant to be here.  They are our own children and nothing can change that.  And with that we move forward as we did and do with Kasi into this new part of learning and growing knowledge I never wanted or needed to know.  We move forward because we know we can with the strength of Him who gives all strength.  Ben is a child of God who asked Jesus into his heart while making cookies with me one day right by the counter in our kitchen.  He loves Jesus and I know that Jesus will hold his hand as He did Kasi's.  And I must say, Kasi is a blessing to him as well.
We are growing, and learning once again.  So welcome to the next journey in faith with the DeRoo's.  We still are on one with Kasi, just adding to it and not stopping God's story through us.
This is a fallen world that we live in, but...BUT we are citizens of the King's Kingdom!!  Resting in the assurance of our eternal home and spreading seeds where ever He calls us.
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.......we see only one step at a time by God's design
Looking Up!
Jodi

Thursday, December 20, 2012

December 21 two years later

Tomorrow we will be going in for a routine check-up for our Kasi girl.  It is hard to believe it has been two years since her surgery, and at the same time it seems like it has been forever.  So many things we remember like yesterday and at the same time things that we have forgotten.  For all the things remembered it is all the good things, the smiles shared, relationships built, and the best of all, the praise we saw God get for every good thing.  It was the lives that have been changed, and the people who now know Jesus and the strength He gives.  These are the things remembered each day, until, the day before an appointment.
The day before we head over to UofM so many emotions go through my head.  I am not anxious or scared, but revisiting all of the "stuff" of testing and waiting and going over results.  The doctor conversations, the keeping my head into every word so I know the right questions to ask so when we leave I am fully aware of Kasi's health for another year.  It seems like we should be at the point where these things shouldn't be of concern and just a normal checkup.  For those of you who have been on this journey with us for a long period of time know that nothing is really of the norm with Kasi's body.  And of course this past year is no exception.  She has had costacondritis which she needed a CT scan for and she has had pain in her leg, swelling in her feet, and of course he feet getting a little funny with color at times, among other things which make us go hmmm.  No we don't call on these things because we simply are done with all the doctor visits and really try and enjoy life together without thinking about such things.  I am sure though, that this is different for Kasi who actually has these things going on.
Kasi for the most part doesn't tell me about issues anymore, and really why would she?  She is completely desiring to lead a normal teenage life.  What does that look like for her?  I see her and see how mature she is in her thinking and in her relationships. Part of me wants her to be free, run, jump, and be crazy!!  She is free and she can sure be crazy, but at times I feel like she is held into this adult mode of thinking because she has come face to face with the reality of whether or not she might see tomorrow.  I remember how strong she was looking forward to and anticipating this past surgery.  It was amazing the strength she had.  I remember having the hard talk with Aubree about what this could look like, and how, no matter what the outcome, we knew God's love for Kasi was so much greater than our own that His will would be perfect.  Kasi now says to me that her strength was in the form of peace.  She was at peace the days and months before her surgery. God given peace, and peace I desire to live in daily.  I remember God's hand on her, physically and spiritually.  I also recall her face as she was wheeled away from us that morning.  A single tear from each eye rolling down her cheeks, her at peace, but seeing my pain as I longed to go with her, hold her, and tell her it's okay.
So tomorrow we go down these same halls, to the same Dr.s, and the same people who saw us for who we really are, vulnerably on our knees before our Father, trusting.  We are trusting, in Him to hold us like we have been held, go before us and prepare those who need to hear of Him, and to share our celebration of Kasi being held and healed by the Almighty.

Philippians 4:4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the PEACE of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 9:6
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of PEACE.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thankfulness

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and this year I keep thinking about two years ago and all of the roads we have been down since.  It is as if our journey in life was with Kasi alone, but that is not the case.  This journey of life is always moving and is fluid just as God is.  God is always moving, flooding, pulling back, making trenches, changing scenery,  in the very depths of our souls.  This doesn't happen with one major moment in life, as a major surgery, cancer, illness, or accident, these are just tools along the way to shape and mold us to see Him more clearly, and even more importantly make us more like Him.  When we have no other choice but to reach up because there is nothing more under us holding us, God's amazing arms swoop down and pick us up and carry us.
This thanksgiving I am thankful for knowing Jesus in such a way that He carries me.  Not just through life with Kasi, which is major, but through life with the boys as they are special needs and born with more obstacles then most people face ever in their life.  Also, with Aubree as she shares her faith on and off the soccer field filled with life experience, not being swayed by those who choose to talk about her and shoot her down in school and life.  All these things as a mom make my "plate" full, and sometimes I refer to it as a meat platter, but, BUT, I know that through all of life as we know it, God's love is bigger, greater, and continual.  He is fluid, filling all the creases of life that need filling, changing, and cleansing.  I rest in this, today, and always.

Have a very blessed Thanksgiving, being thankful for Him, the true One in control of all.