Monday, September 28, 2009
Dear praying friends,
Tracy asked me to provide everyone with an important update regarding Chris:
Tracy and the family are grateful beyond words for your care and prayers for Chris and their family. It has been an emotional several days as they’ve sought clarity on Chris’ health needs and the nature of his worsening condition.
What they are most grateful to God for is His direction and wisdom. What contributes to that clarity is how Chris for a long time prior to this day and this week had made abundantly clear his preferences with regard to the type of medical care he would like to receive as the MS progresses. What helps them then to navigate the many complex and difficult decisions they are making right now is the hope that Chris has in his Savior and the clear conviction he has repeatedly expressed, that for Chris “to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philip 1:21).
In that conviction, Chris has made it clear that his preference would be for his life to not be sustained by medical or artificial means. So, although there has been a measure of stability and recovery within the managed care of the hospital, they are facing the reality that his body is not recovering on its own to levels that would make it possible for him to return home or to return to life as it was prior to this latest downturn. Even with antibiotics and other means of medical care, Chris is weakening with declining bladder and liver function. Even the minimal hydration he has been receiving through IV has exacerbated other bodily functions and he has retained excessive water and contracted pneumonia.
Chris is deeply convinced that God is superintending his life and his body in such a way that when it ceases to function in a self-sustaining way, the Lord is making it clear that it is time for him to go home to be with Christ in heaven. And so it is with a great mixture of sadness and yet distinct hope that Tracy and Chris together have decided to transition Chris to hospice care at the home of dear and trustworthy friends here in Colorado Springs. Chris’s condition prevents him from having the option of returning home to Virginia for hospice care. Therefore, his family desires for him to be as comfortable and as calm as possible, and to be able to enjoy his remaining days surrounded by his family and close friends.
The only regret that Tracy has in that decision is not being able to be back home in Virginia with our church family and with close friends who have been so dear to them. She would have loved to give everyone an opportunity to speak and pray with Chris and to grieve together with the family. Please know, however, that Tracy is convinced that God’s wisdom and care is being played out in these circumstances, and that many good things will come out of this.
The family is abiding and trusting in God’s wisdom and provision, which has been incredibly abundant here in Colorado Springs. Please know that Tracy is thinking of you all as well, with deep love and affection, and with a heavy heart is truly missing so many of you.
In all of this, we have grieved and have been buffeted by the hope of Christ and of his saving grace and resurrecting power. We are grieving with hope even now. Would you please join Tracy and family in giving thanks to God for His grace in Chris’s life, and would you pray for them that they would have strength and peace to continue to walk through the necessary details of this decision?
Please also pray that God would help them take care of all the necessary arrangements to get their youngest son, John back out to Colorado, as well as Bethany’s husband Ben, and Megan’s fiancé Brendan. There is yet much to do but they are keeping in primary view what God has already done in sending his Son and in giving hope and life and peace through Jesus.
You are an expression of God’s loving care to them. Thank you for your love and prayers.
Pastor, Grace Community Church