The third floor was just right for two newlyweds
They flew up with their hearts and not their legs
But wheelchairs and stairways don’t naturally mix
So a first floor apartment made a good fix
When duo became trio and baby became crawler
First floor apartment got smaller and smaller
So they built a house with wide open floors
And soon they were a family of four
But even that house was not quite complete
Until they expanded it by two more little feet
They’re proudly announcing their fifth and final member
Is due to arrive this November!

We Interrupt This Blog to Bring You an Important Message

 I don’t usually post this sort of thing to our blog, but I wrote this on Facebook today and Emily thought it would be good if I also shared it here for our friends and family who aren’t on Facebook… 

All of our friends and most of our Facebook followers know about our situation. How the day after our first Christmas as a married couple we were in a life-shattering car accident in a blizzard that left me (Lane) with a traumatic brain injury. How the past eight years have been filled with the mountains and valleys of uncertain recovery and the necessity of round the clock physical care. If you follow us on Facebook or on this blog you would also know of our two beautiful children, precious gifts from God in the years since the accident. If you’re familiar with us or our story at all, you’ll also know of the rock solid hope we have in Christ. 

What you may NOT know is that my medical care, rehabilitation and caregivers have all been paid for by Michigan’s Auto No Fault law, which for years has guaranteed unlimited care for survivors of catastrophic motor vehicle accidents. Without the provisions of Auto No Fault, I and thousands of others like me would likely not have had the financial resources to even make it past the first year alive, let alone to have any chance at recovery and life beyond medical facilities. 

But this will all change come July 1st. Based on the careless decisions of a few to abuse these provisions to their advantage (thereby making Michigan auto insurance rates skyrocket), lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have attempted to reform No Fault by making massive cuts. While their intention to lower insurance rates is admirable, their approach is uninformed and unjustly punishes all of us who rely on No Fault benefits. If no action is taken before July 1st, the home care and rehab agencies I and others rely so heavily on will only be reimbursed 55% of what they currently receive from insurance. For most agencies this will be unsustainable, putting them out of the job and their patients at serious risk. Family will only be reimbursed for 56 hours a week for the care they provide (even if, like my wife, they provide substantially more than that). This will be catastrophic for those families like us who rely on that income NOT to get rich, NOT to cheat the system, but simply to live. This unlimited personal injury protection is what we chose to pay for monthly from day one of having auto insurance. It’s NOT a free handout, like some would suggest. And even though we’ve been receiving these benefits since December 26, 2012, we will NOT be grandfathered in, as many (even many lawmakers) believe. 

The Michigan House bill HB4486 and Senate bill SB 314 will provide a fix that allows survivors like me to continue receiving the care and services we need while still remaining within the budget of the Auto No Fault Reform law that’s set to take effect July 1st. 

What does that mean for you? Glad you asked. Michiganders, if you’re like me or know someone in Michigan who is, contact your legislators and plead with them to get behind these bills. You could save a life. If you’re not in personal contact with someone affected by this law, just realize it could be you at any time. Nobody in an auto accident plans to be. Join this group to find out who to contact, how to contact them, and what to say.

If you aren’t a Michigan resident but know someone who is, share this with them. If you don’t know anybody in Michigan, please pray for us. We trust God to do what is best in this situation, and he is NOT our last resort. 

Heart of Adventure

I don’t cry that often. Never really have. Maybe it’s because of pride, maybe insecurity, maybe a little of both, but generally I’ll do anything I can to avoid spilling tears. A couple weeks ago the dam burst. Here’s how it went down.

Earlier in the day I watched a sermon where the pastor was trying to wake his congregation up from the sleepy complacency of suburbia. I know full well (and have written about) the fact that comfort and ease are not inherently wrong, but I do think they can be a dangerous distraction. And one of my biggest fears as a father is raising church kids who know all the right answers but could care less about Jesus. As I watched that sermon, some old feelings I hadn’t encountered in a few years (feelings I’m certain that sermon wasn’t intended to elicit) started rising to the surface again. Feelings of insufficiency. That I wasn’t doing all I could be doing. That I might be using my disability like a crutch (no pun intended), an excuse to lay down and get comfortable in complacency. That maybe, just maybe, we could still go overseas to the foreign missions field like we’d always planned and dreamed.

I was pumped. The fact that I couldn’t walk, talk, feed myself, use the bathroom independently, (etc, etc, etc) was beside the point. I was fired up and by golly I wasn’t going to let my family fall prey to the false security of the American dream on my watch. So I rolled out of my room and told Emily I wanted to talk and pray about family direction during Nyra’s nap. 

As I took Nyra back to her room and waited in the hallway for her to use the bathroom, emotion almost overcame me. Waves of unsolicited, unwarranted, unnecessary guilt and restless anxiety started crashing over me. Why am I in this big house in this beautiful neighborhood in this cozy country town when everything inside me wants to be living a life of adventure somewhere dangerous?

Nyra and I always pray together before her rest time, and that day my prayer went something like this: “God, thank you that you are always in control and have our best in mind, even when life doesn’t make sense.”

I didn’t have time to process my thoughts and my emotions. Frankly I didn’t want to. I came out to Emily sitting in the living room looking like she could read my thoughts on my face.

“Can we pray Em? I’ll start.”

We bowed our heads.

“Daddy God, days like these I’m more aware of my disability than ever. I don’t understand why you gave me this passion and then took away my ability to do anything about it. I’m not sure why you have us here in Saint Johns with a wheelchair instead of the frontlines overseas. Please guide our family and help us to see you better every day and enjoy you wherever you put us.”

“Are you okay Lane?” she asked, her observant eyes gathering the answer on my face before I even knew how to formulate a response.

“Yeah I’m alright, don’t worry,” I replied in a voice that was shakier than I anticipated. I had to be strong for my wife. If I started venting to her, there was no telling where the conversation would go.

“Lane it’s alright to not be okay.”

I had locked my emotions in a closet for so long I had forgotten where I put the key. But my wife unlocked the door with those words and she was met with a flood.

“No,” I answered as my eyes welled with tears. “No I’m not okay. I know that God’s plan is best, and I know he has us here instead of overseas for a reason, but some days being in a wheelchair sucks.”

I don’t throw that word around lightly, and Emily knows that when I use it I mean it.

“I just don’t get it! Ever since I was a little kid I dreamed of adventure. I never wanted to stay here in the States and live in a nice neighborhood until I died. I’m not saying I’m not thankful for this house, or for all these amazing things God’s given us. I just see so many of our friends going to the frontlines and I get this anxious jealousy that I can’t do anything about because of the injury.”

Her face became a picture of compassion as she climbed onto my lap and hugged me close. I buried my face in her shoulder and her tears fell on my wheelchair armrests while we silently wept together.

“I do know God didn’t call us here to get lazy and lay down. There’s no such thing as ‘off the hook’ for any Christian, wherever God has them.”

It was then that I realized that my angst did not stem from a “calling” unique to me. Rather, the yearning in my heart for adventure, the feeling of missing out, is a shared experience of all humans who don’t live wholeheartedly for Christ.

Christian, you don’t have to be a pastor or a full-time overseas missionary to experience the danger, the risk, the adventure, the ecstasy, the thrill of chasing after King Jesus with your whole heart. Your adventure might not look like a mountain range in Papua New Guinea or a secret house church in Southeast Asia (though you shouldn’t rule either of those out). But the more you align your heart with the heart of God through his Word, bold prayer and risky service, the more his passion will become yours.

 And the God of the Bible, the all-consuming fire of power and sacrificial love, is not a vague concept or a set of moral principles. He is the very heart of adventure.
Don’t settle for anything less.