Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Update from Donna (Tom's wife)

We realize that, after Tom's last blog post, an update on his condition is long overdue. Many expressions of love and concern have been passed along to us and each one has been used by God to encourage us. This has been an interesting journey and our family still finds ourselves traveling uncharted territory.Since Tom's previous post, we have learned much more about the mysterious and unpredictable after-effects of being struck by lightning. Initially, following his lead, we all found a great deal of humor in the situation. Though the Lord has enabled us to continue to laugh, we now are coming to terms with the seriousness of what has happened.

In fact, as Tom and I have talked, we have agreed that he should apologize for any contribution his words have made to discount the seriousness of this type of injury. We understand more about the mysteries of the human body and how many people suffer from real symptoms that cannot be viewed by casual observers. Even as Tom struggled through the airport, I wondered how many travelers were aware of his struggle. I doubt that those who were frustrated by his slow gait and halting steps stopped to consider what might be going on inside of him. I pray that God would help me to be more compassionate to those who struggle internally.

I am happy to say that in many ways Tom is doing better than could be expected. His recovery has been a slow process (though in comparison to the recovery of others and in God's timetable, it has been more rapid than we deserve).

By God's grace, less than a week after the lightning strike, after undergoing some tests and consulting with doctors, Tom boarded a plane and flew to Michigan with our family. The trip itself was a challenge and a real test of faith. Because his nerves and sense of equilibrium were still severely affected, the noise, crowds, movement, jostling, etc. involved, not only with the plane ride but also with a bustling airport, were almost more than he could bear. Surprisingly, the escalator going down was the hardest challenge of the day. However, God helped him, and our family has been enjoying a much-needed time of rest and relaxation at some friends' home in Michigan.

During our time away, Tom has made great improvement in many of his symptoms. He can tolerate more and louder conversations (a real plus when you have six talkative children). His bouts of pain, which hit without warning in varying degrees and location, have lessened. He has more energy, is able to be more active and has had some meaningful conversations with all of us. He has led our family in some sweet times of worship. God is faithful.

His recovery is not complete though. Nights are still very hard. Sleep may or may not come. When it does come, Tom is visited with disturbing and disruptive nightmares that leave him tired and emotionally shaken. We are so grateful for the truths of the Gospel that ring true in the middle of the night, as well as the day.

Tom also continues to struggle with crowds and being easily startled. Walmart was a real challenge this past week (although it was a challenge PRIOR to the lightning strike!) :) If he had to give up Walmart for the rest of his life, he could live with that. We worshipped at Berean Baptist Church in Grand Blanc on Sunday and I am grateful that Tom experienced very little discomfort and was able to be fully engaged in the service.

However, he must still deal with crowds of people in general. We are trusting God to help him adjust to these and other disruptive side-effects of his encounter with lightning.

We have a few more days of R & R to enjoy and then we will head home to Cape Coral for a week before Tom and I, and our eldest daughter will be leaving for a conference in Alaska, Lord willing, where Tom will be preaching for the first time since the lightning strike. Believing that God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, more than we are able to ask or even think, we are anticipating being able to make this trip and for Tom to be able to preach for the honor of Christ and for God's glory.

We are trusting God to perfect ALL that concerns us. He is able. His love for us knows no bounds. He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? (Romans 8:32)

Hard nights are often followed by hard days. Last night was a hard night. But God is still faithful. His mercies are new each morning. We are resting in His promises. Thank you for your prayers.

(Photos by Rebecca Ascol)


JakePorter said...

I will continue to pray. Thank you for the update.

SelahV said...

Rebecca...I am praying for Tom and your family. This is one of the sweetest narratives of his condition and the difficulties he and you all are enduring. I praise God for the faith you exhibit and the spirit you share in this struggle to still be a light for the Lord. selahV

C. Faro said...

Thank you so much for the update. The Grace of God is evident in you lives and in your writing. It is refreshing to see so much concern for God to be glorified through this situation. My family and I have enjoyed visiting Grace and look forward to getting to know you better in the future. I am praying for Pastor Tom and your family. Chris Faro

Bart Barber said...

I had just called today to see how Tom was doing. Feel free to disregard.

stephenl said...

praying for bro. tom and your family this minute.. thank you for the update.. praise the lord for his faithfulness..
-stephen cavness

Stephen Jones said...

Our church is praying for you. Thanks for the update, and for responding in faith, joy, and contentment through this season of suffering.

Chris Jordan said...

Thanks for the update. Our prayers are with you and the entire family. May God continue to grant rest, relaxation and recovery in greater measure.

Brother Terry: said...

God bless your family.

There are many, many people praying for you guys.

R W S said...

May God continue to supply both grace and patience as you recover. God bless .

Arthur Sido said...

Continuing to pray from Tom and the whole family. Being in Michigan should do him some good for sure, although you have arrived in what amounts to a heat wave in the Wolverine State!

Steve Loeffler, Pastor/Elder said...

I am sorry for your troubles and pain. We will be in prayer for you all. thanks for your faithfulness and testimony of perseverance through all this.

Bill (cycleguy) said...

Do not know you but read about this from selahV. Prayers are with you and the family.

Bill (cycleguy)

volfan007 said...

Tom and family,

This whole story is so wild and strange and painful. I'm sorry that this has happened to yall. I do pray that the Lord will give yall extra grace and comfort during this time.

God bless you,


Brian Hamrick said...

Tom and Donna,

Thanks for the update. We'll pray for much grace to fall upon your family in the days and weeks ahead.

GUNNY said...


Thanks for the update and expression of the gravity of the situation that motivates our prayers.

Gig 'em and get better soon, Tom!

Will said...

Thank you for your kind and Godly update. It will be fascinating to watch how the Lord uses this in Tom's life.

Cedar Hill Tx

DaveN said...

I will pray for you, Tom and your family . Reading about the new pathway you struggle with reflects where I have been over the last 2 years after a car accident. Fortunately, it occured after I began reading the Bible through each year. The Holy Spirit encouraged me through His Word as only God knew how I needed encouragement.Tom, God will continue with you on your journey.
Dave N

Jason Vaughn said...

My prayers are with you.

Even in your trials the concern for the glory of the Lord is blessingly evident.

David Milton said...

Just the posting of these photos made my entire day, not to mention the update.

DoGLover said...

Donna, thank you for sharing Tom's progress & continued struggle. Our whole church is praying for you. Incidentally, about the same time as Tom's experience, one of our members was also struck by lightning, though not as severely. It's a guy thing to down play one's frailties. Your description helps me understand a bit more about what's really going on with him.
By grace,

Darrin said...

When I was introduced to the world of MS, I too learned how one can be struggling terribly inside, unnoticed by others, who think you LOOK fine, so you must BE fine. Yet may the Lord use these sufferings to further conform us to the image of His Son. Even these terrors are indeed means to convey grace. Soli Deo gloria.

Jonathan Hunt said...

My wife has MS - we well understand the outward/inward differences. Praying for you here in the UK.

spencerhaygood said...

Gracious … I had not heard. Be sure that our church and our family will be praying for Tom and all of your family. Thank you for your grace-full testimony of the Lord's faithfulness in all of this.

Spencer Haygood

joe wilson said...

Dear Brother;
Know that our family and church will continue to pray for your full recovery and for the grace needed by your family. Surely God will show you much of Himself through this trial, and prepare you for even greater service for Him in the future. That is our desire and prayer for you. Your ministry has been a great blessing to me and HBC.
Joe Wilson

gritsrus said...

Thank you so much for the update. I can't imagine how difficult this must be to go through.
God bless y'all.