Jeremy and I spent last week with a group of our teens at NTS Camp. For me, the highlight of the camp was when we’d enjoy an incredible time of worship every evening all together. We’d sing these songs that so beautifully glorified and praised Jesus and it was just so powerful. Throughout the week though, at times, I found myself so emotional because as I sang my heart cried out with a deep sadness for our dear friend Michael.
It’s impossible for me not to think of Michael in the summer. Because he was always around for EVERYTHING in the summer and we have so many incredible memories with him. Most every week, we got to hang out with Michael for Youth Group at the Beach. We have so many memories of beautiful Wednesday night beach evenings with him and the kids in our youth group.
We have memories of softball games. Sure, our team didn’t always win, but Michael never seemed to care all that much. He was just happy to be there, hanging out with the guys while playing a little softball for Jesus.
We have memories of youth group trips to Hershey park.
And memories of summer Youth Group barbecues.
We have memories of Michael and his love for fishing and boats.
And memories of trips to the City. Sure they were hot and Michael wasn’t a fan of the city, but for some reason he came along anyways and we had a great time together.
We have memories of crazy, sweaty games of summer Thunderball.
And memories of serving others. Michael was always incredible at this. He never complained and was always ready to do what needed to get done.
My favorite ones are memories of Michael starring in our VBS Kids Camp skits. Though he never claimed any passion for acting that we knew of, again he was ready and willing to fill in where he was needed. The kids absolutely loved seeing him and he did an awesome job along side of his amazing friend Steve-O.
Yes, our summer memories with Michael seem pretty much endless. Looking back at them now, I realize what gifts they were. Last summer after his accident, Michael was in his first rehab. I looked up posts from last July and realized that they were just taking out his trach and we were all so thankful that he was able to breathe on his own. In many ways, he’s come far this past year, but in other ways, it’s also been so difficult to know the many, many struggles that he continues to have.
We found out last night that Michael is back in the hospital after having difficulties at his current rehab. So Ellee and I decided to drive up this morning to go and visit him at Stony Brook Hospital. However, we got a text on the way and Sally shared that Michael was having a very rough morning. We decided to turn around and started praying for him and whatever was going on.
Sally texted me later to let me know that Michael will be going in to have surgery on his shunt this afternoon. Hearing this news made my heart drop so heavily. But when she asked that I would share this news, I turned to what always encourages me throughout the trials of life and that is the Bible. I found this verse in Romans 12:12 and saw the ways that I could share it.
I’ve been heartbroken for Michael these past months. But sharing these memories remind me of the joy that Michael brought to so many. And knowing the struggles that Michael has endured, I’m reminded to be patient during the difficult times. And finally, even though I can’t fix the problems that are doing on, I can be faithful in praying for our friend and for God to work mightily in his life.
Please join me in prayer for Michael’s surgery today. Please pray for wisdom for his doctors and for strength for his family. Even though I don’t understand why he’s had to endure so much, I do know that God loves Michael tremendously and that we can continue to ask that His best will is done for Michael.
*UPDATE… Sally shared that Michael is in a lot of pain right now… please pray for his discomfort and that the surgery will help alleviate this.