Dear Jackson

Dear Jackson,

Every day that I watch you grow my chest swells with pride. God has already made you a rowdy, rough and tumble, adventuresome, protective, kind and caring little boy. I pray for you every day and am eager to see the man you will become.

I pray all the time that God will make you a strong and capable man who loves Him and takes care of your Mama and your sissy. Maybe it’s better that I’m in this wheelchair, because if I could do all the things I wanted for you and with you, you might try to be like me instead of like Jesus.

But I’ll be honest with you, buddy. It sure hurts my daddy heart to not be able to do what other daddies do with their boys. After nearly nine years of this disability, I’ve learned to be okay with things I can’t do for myself. But I’m not sure you quite understand how intensely I want to scoop you up in my arms and tickle you while we’re playing wheelchair tag in the backyard. Or how badly I want to teach you how to throw a ball, even though I was never any good at it myself.

The other day we were being silly in the house (what else is new?). You would back up to the wall, say ready, set, go and zoom across the house to the opposite wall. Then, “Come on Daddy, your turn! Go fast!”

I turned the speed up on my power chair and raced back and forth with you, soaking up each of your excited giggles. We enjoyed ourselves quite a bit, playing together just the two of us for what felt like a long time, but was probably only a couple minutes.

Then Mommy and I took you and Nyra up to the park with the lake. I parked my chair about ten feet from the water and watched the three of you splash and play in the lake, and every so often your eyes would catch mine while you motioned for me to come in.

Eventually you decided I must not understand, so you came out of the water and walked up to me, dripping wet and grinning from ear to ear. “Daddy, come on! Go fast!” I backed up a few feet and launched forward until I was about as close as I could get to the water, then made a hard stop.

You looked around at all the other daddies in the lake with their kids, tossing them in the water and doing all the fun things daddies do in lakes. I felt the envy in my heart, and I could see it in your eyes as you tugged desperately on my armrest. “Buddy I want to come, Daddy really wants to get in there with you. But my wheelchair can’t get in the water or it’s gonna break.”

You kept trying. “Daddy ready, set GO!” you shouted as you took off at a sprint for the water, looking back at me the whole way. Into the lake you went, out of the lake you came. One last try to convince your stubborn Daddy to get in the water with you.

I saw you still didn’t understand, so I did what I’d been trying to avoid for as long as I could. I looked you in your big brown eyes and said, “Daddy can’t.” It clicked. I saw your body deflate as you repeated, “You can’t?”

I didn’t look away. “No, I can’t. I’m sorry, son. But I’ll watch you. Go have fun with Mommy and Nyra!”

You did have fun. And I did watch. And I always will.

Son, I want you to know that whatever happens to this body of mine, whether or not I ever get to walk and run and swim with you, I will always be there for you. Watching you, listening to you, cheering you on.

I’m proud of you and love you so much it hurts. I know there will be times you doubt that. And I won’t always be able to show you in the ways that you or I might like.

But that’s why I’m praying. Because when you look at my broken body I want you to think of Jesus who willingly gave His body to be broken and His blood to be spilled for you and for me. 

I don’t want you to think of Him because you’re obligated to or because I told you to, or even because it’s the right thing and you “should”. I want you to look to Him because only He can fill the gap that I’ll never be able to, that not even the biggest, fastest, strongest, smartest dad in all the world can fill.

You’re my son and you always will be. And as long as I’m alive I’ll be fiercely proud to call you mine.


Difficult Auto No Fault Changes

It was a hard day yesterday as we experienced one of the first realities of the new Auto No Fault law firsthand. The past 9 years Lane’s homecare agency has covered the expenses of sending a caregiver with us on trips out of state. This has allowed Lane to receive the care he needs while I am able to have a respite & tend to the kiddos (Lane is the first to acknowledge the necessity of this). We didn’t fully acknowledge this provision as the blessing that it was until now.

The new law that took effect July 1st reduced how much Lane’s homecare agency can receive from insurance by 45%, so they’re understandably needing to save in whatever ways they can with the very difficult reality that they’ll have to close their doors by the end of the year. Because of this, they won’t be able to cover lodging, transportation or travel expenses like they have in the past for caregivers. Our hearts grieve for their (and our) loss & what will take place if changes aren’t made by Michigan lawmakers.

Since Lane & I first started dating, travelling & exploring new areas have been some of our favorite things to do together and it will forever be one of our highest priorities to travel down to NC every year to see Lane’s family & friends we’ve grown to love, however it may look.

As I stood over the (anticipated) text that stated the agency won’t be able to cover these caregiver expenses any longer, tearfully trying to wrap my mind around how we’ll be able to (sanely) travel anywhere out of state in the years to come, God faithfully reminded me that He’s been the one equipping and providing all along and absolutely won’t cease now, even if it looks differently.

If anything these earthly circumstances have already shown that we’re needing to run to our all-sufficient Creator in dependence & acknowledgement that we need Him to be the provider of ALL that we truly need in this life. Today we’re laying these things at His feet & choosing to recount all that He HAS done & will continue to do, knowing that He is fully able and will work as He sees fit. And as bleak & uncertain as the future may look as we consider Lane’s caregiving needs, we can rest in the One who’s held & sustained us from the beginning.

We covet your continued prayer as we navigate these difficult changes in the months to come, friends.


Isaiah 26:3-4
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You because he trusts in You.