Wednesday, September 21, 2011

friends and such

I have had a lot of time to think recently about what the word "friend" means to me. I have been blessed with so many amazing friendships. I truly feel gifted with the people in my life. I have had the opportunity recently to really step back and evaluate my life. We have forever changed as a family unit. Justin is very ill. He just honestly may not live as long as we thought he would. This really puts thing into a whole new perspective. We will never ever stop praying for a miracle...but sometimes reality just is what it is. "Pettiness" is just not an option for us right now. Keeping score is not an option. We just have only so much to give at this time.

The Lord prompts us to value our friends needs above our own (like Jesus did). However, He does not ask us to keep a tally of this. If someone makes a monetary donation or if someone sends an encouraging text...these are equal in God's eyes. But only if they come from a place of true love. We all have different abilities and gifts in which we are able to bless others. I feel that if we spend our time seeking ways to serve HIM...this will come so simply. A true friend is quick to ask for forgiveness...and also quick to forgive.
What does this all mean for us right now?
It means that we see so many incredible people that come whole heartedly to us with their hearts and arms open. But it also means that we see those who come with a possibly different "agenda." Is it our responsibility to judge them? ABSOLUTELY NOT!
Do the McElhannon's make mistakes? Heck yeah! Do we sin? Sadly so. Do we forget to keep our eyes on Him sometimes? Yup. Do we have it all together? Not even a bit.
Do we have people that love us anyways? Oh yes we do. And that is truly one HUGE blessing from the Lord. We count each friend as a specific gift from God. This includes the friends that we talk to or text everday. This includes the friends that we meet for dinner weekly or visit with in our living room. This includes the friends that we just bump into at church or HEB. This includes the friends that we don't talk to for months on end, but who pray for us daily. This includes the friends who we have let down or the ones that have let us down. This includes the friends who see our broken parts and do not try to fix us...but rather just love us for who we are and who we are striving to be. We have true brothers and sisters in Christ and we will NEVER stop thanking our God for them.
In past seasons of our lives we have made it a priority to do good works. We have tried to make those works about Him and not the outcome...but at times we failed. We are not perfect and we never will be. We have lost focus at times and we have stumbled and we have let others down. But the Lord just kept loving us. He wont stop either. He doesnt care how many facebook friends we have or how many texts we get a day. He cares about our hearts.
Our hearts have changed so much and we give him every bit of the glory. Most of our friends have jumped on the ship and are "on board" with us and our new journey. Some are not...and that is OK. Many parts of our lives right now are flat out unbearable....and God has placed people in our lives that help us get through it. They laugh with us cry with us sing with us pray with us and walk alongside us.
Now onto more serious business. Dr. F has discovered that Justin has bacterial overgrowth which is causing new and frustrating complications for him. He is already on some pretty hardcore antibiotics for his fungal issues etc. and now he has had to add a FOURTH antibiotic to his regimen. He is having some blood sugar issues that are being managed by his new diet...but he could use some prayers that this does not worsen. We have a tentative appointment with a pulmonologist (tentative only because we are still researching other drs) next Wednesday. Thats all for today.

Friday, September 16, 2011


Our little tiny precious angel boy is THREE. I do not know how this happened. Just yesterday we were caught in a storm delivering this miracle during what we thought was the most difficult time of our lives. We were so scared, yet never closer. We thank God daily for Brody and the amazing things that his perfect little presence have brought to our marriage and family.

It is amazing to look back at blogs I wrote during his first year. We truly were floating on God's grace during that time. We thought that life was hard...but we can now look back and see how easy He really made it. Loving Brody and taking care of Brody has been a gift. We have never looked back and thought "geeze God why did you put us through that?"....we look back and say 'WOW...thank you Lord for Brody!!"
I cannot fathom the idea right now that we will be looking back in three years and thanking God for our current storm. But...I sure didnt think that three years ago either. God is incredible. Huge and sovereign and mighty. His plan is big big big.
I look back at the lives that Brody has touched. The people who love him. The experiences he has endured. And his precious smile. I am blown away by God's gifts. I am looking forward to new opportunities to praise Him and thank Him.
I remember sitting in the hospital with Brody when he was 6 months old. He was so very sick and I had just lost my mom. I remember asking God why life had to be so hard. It all seemed so unfair. I am still hurting and I still feel like it is unfair...but He has gifted me with peace and provision. The Lord has shown me through many experiences that He will never leave my side and that he will fill my heart...but only when I ask Him to.

I am comforted now in in knowing that in each storm there is always a rainbow...and Brody's storm left us with this smile. And it really doesnt get much better than that.

So happy 3rd birthday to the best gift that just keeps on giving!
Our little muffin baby Brody Todey!!

Here are some pictures from Brody and Sam's 3rd Birthday Tball Bash!

Saturday, September 10, 2011


What is the definition of a McElhannon? We are God fearing, BOLD, grateful, seeking, FUN, chatty, kinda maybe a little crazy and caring. Nowhere in that description does it say SICK. Justin may be sick...but that is NOT what defines him. The definition of Justin is ambitious, hard working, really HOT, excited and hungry. Our lives are forever changed by his medical situation and diagnosis' BUT we will not let that be what defines him. Just like Brody having downs syndrome is NOT what defines him. Him having DS is the least interesting thing about it. Its an important part of his life and it shapes some things about him...but its not WHO he is. We have to wake up each morning and remember that NONE of us have a prognosis. The Lord has all of that already mapped out. And we just flat out do not get to know. He promises to love us and never leave our sides. That is good enough for us.

Please read the following blog written by my dear friend Jason Carletinni. It is a great reminder of how we need to live each day. I am thankful and continuously seeking His word. We are growing every day around the Mac Shack...and we are excited about what lies ahead.

Do You Really Fear The Lord?
“The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, fools despise wisdom and instruction” Proverbs 1:7

I have read this passage and heard it taught on numerous times, shoot, I have taught on it numerous times. Most of the time we approach it as, that when we have a “fear” or “awe” of who God is then it is the beginning of knowledge because we begin to listen to God and respond as He instructs. This is completely true and in no way would I argue with that interpretation or application. However, many times when we approach or teach the scriptures we only get a part of the story. This has happened for centuries and leads people to be disillusioned with the scriptures and want more, want deeper, etc. Most of the time what people are looking for is the fullness of the scripture or that part they know is there but that too many times we are afraid to dig into. I believe this idea exist in the way we typically approach the “fear of the Lord” and how it leads to knowledge. As result many times it leaves us more like fools even though we may be truly in awe of God. Hang with me for a second and see if this begins to make sense.

You see to truly approach God as described in the scriptures naturally produces an amount of fear or awe for us because we are forced to encounter the one true supreme entity or being. As described in the scriptures there is nothing that holds power over God in any way, he is all knowing, all powerful, outside of time and space. How we normally take the fear of the Lord is that I better listen to this God and do as he says so that he will be pleased with me, reward me, etc. Again, I am all about pursuing obedience to God as result of whom He is and that He, in Jesus, sacrificed for me to be able to know him. I want to please him because He has loved me so graciously.

What if there is another aspect to this that would change the way we live, especially in our American Christian Culture? What if the fear of the Lord also entailed that God can do anything and allow us to go through anything? I think for the most part we,me included, really struggle with this idea. If I love God, and follow him, shouldn’t He make my life more convenient, easier, with more toys I like, more time to play, healthier, wealthier, and wiser? Well the reality is although God promises to provide for our needs as we seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness (Matt. 6:33) he does not define that in the context as what is most comfortable to us American Christians. In fact, the New Testament is filled with promises of persecution and suffering for surrendering to and following Jesus. We see it exemplified in the apostles, the prophets, the Biblical Heroes throughout scripture. What if the fear of the lord producing knowledge has as much or more to with the reality that God does not owe us our preferred level of comfort? How does the idea that you are not entitled to anything for those who believe beyond His presence, persecution, suffering, and growth that is produced from it? After all most of Jesus’ best friends died horrible martyrs’ deaths.

What then if the beginning of knowledge comes when we fear God enough to not live as though we are entitled to time, wealth, processions, and favor from people? Allow me to indulge you in a real-life applicable example that I am currently going through. I currently have the privilege of serving as a church planter/pastor with The Crossing in Bulverde/Spring Branch/Canyon Lake, TX. It has been an amazing journey and I have been privileged to serve on staff full-time as we have launch The Crossing that God lead us to step out in faith and plant. God is doing some amazing things, we have seen families transformed, people surrender to Jesus, people follow Jesus, families serve and grow. It has been awesome. At the same time in the very immediate future I may need to find a job because the resources (outside of God providing a miracle) are not there or projected to be there for me to remain on staff full-time. How I fear the Lord in this situation is to seek him earnestly in prayer knowing that all is at his disposal, to continue to pursue the kingdom, it’s growth, be transformed by God’s righteousness through his grace, and understand that God does not owe me anything.

You see I could be angry and frustrated with God, “God we have stepped out in faith, we are pursuing your kingdom and a part of its growth, why haven’t you provided.” That would be the typical response whether we face a job loss/change, sickness, souring of relationships, natural disasters, etc. This is how I think this all comes together though. To truly fear God is to know that he can take away all of our comforts in the blink of an eye, and instead to chose how I will live today. The knowledge we are able to take away from fearing God is that we should not be wasting time, that we are not victims, that we are not entitled, but that we have graciously been given this moment and these resources. I trust God will provide for my needs and I can find peace in that, but my needs may not be defined as liberally as I have defined them, just look around to the rest of the world.

Today, you and I have the choice, will you fear that God is truly God and the reality of what he promises in this life? Will you allow that reality, true reality, to produce in you a Godly understanding that leads you to respond with Godly wisdom today? Will you pursue the kingdom and his righteousness today knowing that the comfort you have today may not be available tomorrow? We all face life’s challenges and we all must decide, do I truly fear the Lord. When we do, respond with urgency, passion, truth, and grace for his kingdom’s sake and growing in his righteousness. Do not allow the circumstances of your life to push away from God, to make you a fool, but live in God’s reality and experience God’s best. Only go into knowing full well, God’s best typically comes through his truth, his grace, and the experiences he promises of persecution and suffering. Fear the God of the universe today and recognize him as whom he is, not one indebted to you, but that you are the one indebted to him because of his great love.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

catch up

so what is happening over here? here goes.

- justin is HOME. here is the rundown. he NEEDED to be seen by this specialist in Cleveland...most importantly so he could be treated by him long term...but also to set up a plan to get rid of the asperiga-whatever. unfortunately, because of the scleroderma...they cannot treat it as aggressively as they would like. these two diseases have treatments that do not get along with each other. that is a bummer. BUT, they are trying a 6 week oral medication and we will just unceasingly pray that it does its duty.
- me and brax were a little crummy at the beginning of the justin was not able to immediately come to our house when he was sent home from cleveland :( even the tiniest little bug could be bad news bears for him. SO...he stayed with chris and brit and we finally got to have him back tonight. i am VERY thankful to sleep next to him tonight!!!
- we are praying for rain. the fires are so scary and so very sad and getting WAY close to home. some of our dearest friends had fires just miles from their homes yesterday. the air is now very dangerous for justin.
- preschool has started and is in full swing! i am SO loving my sweet little class!! brody and brax are doing so well! brax even slept on his little nap mat today!!! i just cannot help but peek on them each a few times during the day. it makes me all jello-y to see them having so much fun with their friends.
- makers diet is going GOOD! justin is already feeling the benefits. we have decided that we could absolutely NOT do this alone...and are SO thankful for those who are rallying around us. we are posting recipes, shopping lists and meal ideas so keep checking the blog!
- we will go to cleveland on october 17th for follow up appointments and the next step in the gameplan. he will see all three of his doctors then.
- we are still awaiting biopsy results from all the GI stuff and awaiting an appointment for the liver specialist.
- BRODY is starting big school on MONDAY! he will go to PPCD mon-thurs from 7:45am -10:45am. he qualified due to his speech impairment and i have such a peace about him going. i had officially closed the door on that...and the Lord just swung it back open and we are pumped! he will still continue to go to FBC...but just the second half of the day on t/th.
- recap...lots of things are still yucky. BUT too many things are GOOD! God is showing up in mighty ways are we are GRATEFUL! the Lord is filling us up...and we are just going to keep on asking Him to do so!

Monday, September 5, 2011

life this weekend

i wish i could could have pressed the pause button this morning. we had such a great weekend....and now justin is a lot of hours away in stinky cleveland.

justin has his appointment tomorrow at 10am. please pray for doctors wisdom, pray that the "game plan" will not include him staying for too long, pray this week will not drag by.
many of you know that we are going on a "diet"...but it is not really a diet...its a lifestyle change. it will nourish our bodies in the way God intended for them to be nourished and it will bless all of those participating in such incredible ways. i just know it. its a 40 day program that will leave you cleansed and with a whole new outlook on what you put in your body. thank you so much for those that are going to "suffer" with us through this. i KNOW that many of justins symptoms will vanish after he starts this. he can't do it if you havent jumped on the bandwagon...then get on NOW! check out:
also...please pray for me and the boys as we start work/preschool tomorrow. its going to be an early morning and a long day for all of us...but they will have so much fun with their amazing teachers and really cute friends. i cannot wait to be with my new kiddos tomorrow! its gonna be one crazy day! i am so thankful for all the support we have right now. i dont know what i would do without my friends. justin is not here with me...but i am SO not alone. i have such a great God who wraps me up tightly and his children who live daily as His hands and feet and then these three beautiful little boys that remind me that miracles happen EVERY day.
here is our weekend in pictures...

bryce and i were excited to go on a fun date with some crazy fun friends on saturday night. he needed that special time for sure...and he had a BLAST! i hope i dont get kicked out of my sunday school class for these pictures (they are like ALL aggies lol).

how incredible is this picture? he makes my heart so warm and cozy.

i love me some CW!!
on the way home...
justin and i decided that we would go ahead and celebrate the big boys birthdays. it is heartbreaking to think that justin may miss these two special days that are coming up. we had some yummy cake and justin gave each of the boys a present. bryce got some cool shirts and brody got an elmo cell phone. they were so excited and it was truly a special little moment.

brody LOVED it when we sang to him!!!!

mops parade!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

yuck city

so...many of you have heard that we have some things going on at our house. justin received a phone call from his doctors in cleveland on friday afternoon. they have received his latest blood work and results from his blood cultures. it has been discovered that he now has what is called aspergillosis...which is spreading. they want him back in cleveland immediately for treatment with a plan to stay. we are praising god's holy name because the doctors explained that with this new discovery...if he were to follow next months treatment plan (scheduled for oct. 18th in cleveland) it could have been immediately fatal. we are saddened that we now have a NEW disease to worry about (quick recap....scleroderma, polymyositis, interstitial lung disease, and all the new GI issues)....but we are glad that it was caught. for now there is no determined treatment plan. justin is flying to cleveland monday morning. the boys and i will stay behind until there is a game plan made.

friday afternoon was hectic to say the least. we were trying to get medical records to cleveland at 4pm before a holiday weekend. doctors were calling left and right and emotions were at an ALL TIME high.
they will do more lung biopsies and was told to be prepared for long term IV treatments. we are also still awaiting biopsy results on his esophagus and small intestine. please pray for protection of our minds and hearts as we are continuously on information overload.
we refuse to panic. we are scared and majorly frustrated...but we will continue to lay these burdens at His feet. we have heard bad news after more bad news on top of more bad news for 3 months straight. enough is enough :(
there are several families that are going to join us in the makers diet. we feel that in addition to this lifestyle being a way of has been proven to help tremendously with many of the symptoms justin has. if you are interested in joining us...please let us know and i will direct you to the private blog we have set up where we will explain the diet and share recipes etc. we have someone that is helping coordinate meals for justin there in cleveland (amazing!) so that he can eat in a healthy way and hopefully feel some relief. we start tuesday...please pray about joining us.
they boys and i walked in the kendall county labor day parade this morning for Boerne MOPS. thanks to some great gals who did some hard work...our little float won 3rd place!! it was HOT but we all had fun. bryce and i are headed for a date tonight with some special friends and we got to spend some time with Justins parents yesterday and today too! we want to keep things as "normal" as possible for the boys. bryce has been asking more and more questions...and was so very sad to hear that justin is headed back to cleveland. pray for his little heart.