Monday, March 22, 2010

Evan's Story

Yesterday I had the privilege of doing the baby dedication for a couple who have been a part of Summit for a while now and who have come to be friends that I respect. Below is the challenging story of their first child, Evan's, journey. His story truly points to the power and glory of God.

Evan’s Story

We found out in December of 2008 that we were pregnant with our 1st child after we had been trying for over a year. At 17 weeks we got an ultrasound done that showed we were having a boy. We went to the Bahamas trying to enjoy a last vacation before having our son. We got a phone call from our Dr. that there was a problem with our son and we needed to call them. They told us that our son had enlarged ventricles in his brain filled with fluid. Later we got the diagnosis of severe hydrocephalus. In the Bahamas, we decided on the name Evan because we wanted our son to fight, and his name “Evan” means “Young Warrior”.

We were sent to a high risk pregnancy group that discussed what was going on. They asked us numerous times if we wanted to terminate and literally scared us to death trying to persuade us to terminate. They gave us information on X-linked hydrocephalus which had an extremely poor prognosis. They also told us that Evan had a high chance of dying before he could even be delivered.

We were crushed and so we talked to Orlando & Todd at Summit. They prayed with us and they cried with us. They took our story to prayer teams and stayed in touch with us throughout the whole pregnancy. I remember Todd saying “God hasn’t written this story yet”! We also sought prayer from family and friends outside our church. The word got around quickly and we heard about families and churches around the country that were praying for Evan!

So at this point, all we could do is research hydrocephalus as much as we could. We found a neonatal neurosurgeon in Orlando with a really good reputation with shunt surgery for hydrocephalus infants. When we saw him he was very sympathetic about our situation and gave us all the facts that he could. He told us that when Evan was born that he would have to have a shunt inserted into his brain to drain the fluid and release the pressure in his brain to survive. This shunt would be with him the rest of his life. He also said with the amount of fluid and the size of Evan’s head that we should sign a DNR before he is born. He explained that if Evan could not breathe on his own then he would pretty much be a vegetable and that we should strongly consider signing the DNR.

At 26 weeks, Michelle was in a car accident where some teenagers pulled out in front of her and she had to stay overnight because she went into pre-term labor. Pre-term labor came and went throughout the pregnancy with the doctors prescribing bed rest several times. But Evan amazingly survived a high speed car accident at around 40 mph!

We were told that with the size of Evan’s head that he would not make it to delivery….again. We had to go up to Orlando to deliver because they didn’t have a neonatal neurosurgeon in Ft, Myers. We also had to go up early because of the pre-term labor from the accident & the increased size of Evans head. The delivering Dr said we had to deliver early because his head was getting too large and it would become increasingly dangerous to wait.

In Orlando we stayed at the Ronald McDonald house and scheduled his C-section delivery for August 3rd, 2009.

On the day he was born, the doctors had a respiratory team in the delivery room because they weren’t sure if he would breathe on his own. When he came out, we were so scared but he started crying & breathing on his own and we both cried with him! He weighed 7 lbs 5 oz being 6 weeks premature. He scored a 9 out of 10 on the apgar scale which is near perfect.

That wasn’t the end. The day before his surgery they told us that they couldn’t do it because his blood work came back with some issues. After many blood transfusions they finally did a bone marrow test that came back with 10-15 percent abnormal bone marrow cells. They told us that it would either get better or get worse; leukemia is 25% abnormal bone marrow cells so they thought he could be headed that way.

He ended up having his shunt surgery on August 11th because his head started to increase in size and they couldn’t wait any longer. Evan came out of the surgery on a respirator having tubes coming out from all over but he was so strong throughout. We again had to worry about infection because his immune system was still so weak. We had to wear gowns, gloves, and masks just to be in the same room with him. At one point, they had to put his IV in his head because they had poked him so many times in the arms. We spent our days & nights in the NICU feeding him and just spending time with him, praying every day that somehow Evan would be ok.

When we were able to bring him home, his immune system was still weak and we had to get his blood work done every week. Finally in December, his immune system finally recovered and again he made it through yet another obstacle. The cancer doctor we had to go to said “you can’t rule out prayer” and with the support of family and our church family we felt that we were very well covered in prayer.

Evan is now 7 ½ months old; he weighs over 18 lbs, and is in the 90th percentile for his height. He is truly doing amazing; his neonatal neurosurgeon said he expects Evan to be a “normal independent functioning adult”! What a day that was, we cried tears of joy that could not be held back. We finally got to see God’s introductory chapter of Evan’s story that He is still writing.

Evan is a true miracle that can only be described as a gift from God.

We want to thank our family & friends, the Leadership team, and all the people of Summit church for all their prayers and support through this difficult time in our lives. Thank you to the families that brought us meals and the endless words of support that we received. Every time we felt discouraged someone or something would give us a little boost of hope, the timing of which could not be explained other than God guiding our family through this. So thank you for allowing yourselves to be the work of God to our family.

We cannot thank you enough,
Jason, Michelle, & Evan Plucker

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Why do you read your Bible?

The other day I was sitting in a coffee shop and there was a gentleman reading his Bible and a stranger walked up and asked him why he read the Bible. I quickly leaned in with great expectation to what the response was going to be. I thought, wow, what a divine appointment. Man, this is going to be great, bring the heat man, go for it, set it off, paint that picture of the grandness of the God we serve...and the guy answered because that's what we do as Christians...what? That's it, that's the best answer you have to why you engage in God's infallible and eternal truth. Well there were no fireworks there and there was certainly no amazement on the face of the guy who asked the question.

Now before you go judging me, understand I am not judging the man, for his answer. I am not questioning his walk or love for Christ, I was just shocked that there wasn't more to his reason and motive. Well that got me thinking. Why do we read the Bible? What would I answer? What would the people who I help to pastor answer? Reading the Word each day is great and we at Summit encourage it greatly. But obedience to the Word is the key.

The goal in reading the Word is not to finish, but to change. I hear so many Christians post, update, or even say that they read their Bible, but I wish I would read or hear as frequently about people's struggles and enlightenment's of the Truth they are claiming they read. Now before you go labeling me a "Bible thumper" or a "Debbie-downer" that's not my heart at all. My fear is that for so many reading their Bibles has become a "have to" and the wrong "have to" at that. For many they have to read their Bible because their Pastor told them to, or their small group leader, or because that's what a good Christian does...And I just wonder where the passion and power is in that. I think God's "have to" would be, because without it, we would be lost, we would be left to ourselves, we would never fully experience the joy and wonder of intimacy with God, without it we would continue to struggle with the lure and grip of sin, without it we would be lulled to believe that what this world has to offer is better than the pleasures God holds in His hands.

You see if we read the Bible because as a Christian we "have to", we may miss the wonder in communing with the eternal and connecting with the divine, and therefore we may end answering like the gentleman at the coffee shop. Why do you read the Word? Are you passionate about it? Do you see it as your map and guide? The next time you sit down to read, ask yourself, why am I doing this? Don't be in such a hurry to check your box and pat yourself on the back for doing the "have to". Ask God to show you His glory, illuminate your sin, and draw you closer to Him? Don't worry so much about the quantity of what you read as you do the quality. Remember don't read to finish, read to change. Just a rambling. God Bless!