Whitney Cerak

We, the Cerak family, are elated beyond description at Whitney’s return home. It is so much more than we ever imagined three months ago.We would like to restate our plans of not speaking to the media. There is still much on the road to Whitney’s full recovery. We want to thank the media for the respect they have shown of our privacy in this time. And ask that the same courtesy given us would be extended to our family and friends.

Friday, June 30, 2006

June 30, 2006 "Now have come the salvation..."

"Now have come the salvation and the power the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser (Satan) of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death." Revelations 12:10-11 NIV

Praise God for His saving salvation!! As we sit with Whitney and talked, she has mentioned on several occasions her concern for people to know Christ as Savior and Lord. Christ intervenes on our behalf before God the Father each and everyday. Satan has no power over us anymore because death can not keep us from the love of God. If we know Christ as our personal Savior and Lord then we do not shrink from death. We do not love our lives here on this earth so much that we do not look forward to the day when we are with Him. Even though we have this time with Whitney here on this earth our eyes are still on Heaven and God's glory. What a day that will be!! Our meeting those who have gone on before us to Heaven. That is the hope we hold to. That is going to be one fine reunion! God be praised!!!

I just want to let you know that Whitney is responding well to her new digs. Hope Network - Sojourners - is somewhat like a dorm setting. She and her sister are roommates of sorts and it is what Whit needs at this time! We again thank God for places like Hope! She is becoming more and more independant...still a long way to go...but the progress is still on the up slope.

Her first full day was a long day and it tired her out. She started early (for her) in the morning, around 8:30am and was in therapy till about 4:30pm. She is such a hard worker but she finally had to say "uncle". lol She was able to hop with her walker over 100' in the morning and combined 162' in the afternoon. She so wants that needle to the belly to stop soon as possible. She enjoyed lunch out today with two of her therapists...had an omlett (?) and a cinammon role.

She moves about easier than ever...getting in and out of bed; going to the bathroom; going to the kitchen and her therapies on her own. She is really becoming the independant lady that we knew from before...still a ways to go though. Two of our very close friends came by to visit and brought strawberry shortcake. Whit loved that and ate very well. Then she went to sleep a little earlier and slept like a log.

She is improving greatly for which we continue to praise God! She has a way to go, however, in getting her brain to function as before, but the therapies have been awesome and it is such a joy to see her growth from week to week and day to day. She would say that she hasnt made that much improvement but when she got to see the differences in her writing she was amazed that it was she that wrote that scribble before. Please continue to pray for her healing. We thank God for all the prayers on her behalf.

We also thank God for the prayers being offered daily on all the other's behalf as well. We want you also to know that we pray for those who ask for prayer in their comments too. We are amazed at what God can do...we probably shouldnt be amazed but we ARE!

In Christ alone, Whitney's dad

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

June 28, 2006 "Great is the Lord..."

"Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works." Psalm 145:3-7

We are praising God continuially. Every time we see Whitney increase in any area we give thanks. Every day we spend with her is a blessing. We can not fathom His greatness but we know He is worthy of all our praise.

Before I start tonight I need to thank some very special people. We want to thank all of the staff at Spectrum Continuing Care Center. We would love to thank you all by name but we dont want to leave anyone out. So the biggest thank you to ALL of you. You all made this part of Whitney's recovery and stay, so great. The way you give...your hearts...your love for all the patients...is so evident and such an encouragement. And to the other patients that Whitney met...thank you for being sweet to her. God bless you as you continue your therapy there. It is an awesome place, you couldnt be treated better. From our hearts...a deeply indebted thankyou. We love you for who you are - extrodinary care givers and therapists. Grand Rapids...you are fortunate to have such a place!!

We, tonight, are coming to you from a new address. Whitney is now under the care of the Hope Network, Grand Rapids Rehabilitation Services. You can look at the Gaylord E. Free Church website to see the address. Whit said her goodbyes yesterday and today...she had a special lunch and loved the entertainment the staff provided. (the milkshake dance was especially loved by Whitney and all of us.) Then today we packed up and left for the next step in her recovery. She is so excited and loves the room she has...she says is so big. In just a very short time here, the staff has made the transition smooth...already working on Whit's ankle...time in speech therapy...and an appointment with the neuropsychologist. The differences from her first meeting to this are huge! We had almost forgotten how she struggled and to see the changes at this time was astounding and so enjoyable. Wecloming back 'files' to the correct 'folders'.

I have gone on too long...I am sorry...but Whitney is excited and so are we! She has that look in her eyes that says I am going to work hard to make home the next step. Your prayers are so uplifting and needed. Thank you so very much. We continue to meld our prayers with yours, for all the other folks; the Erbs, the Smiths, the Larsons, the VanRyns, the Felvers as well as for Whitney. Keep Vickie in your prayers too please.

We are meditating on His wonderful works. His touch goes out to so many. His Holy Spirit is working. Praise God for lives changed!!

In Christ alone, Whitney's dad

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

June 27, 2006 "Praise the Lord, O my soul."

"Praise the Lord, O my soul. I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live...Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them - the Lord, who remains faithful forever." Psalm 146:1-2; 5-6

We marvel at God's faithfulness. He is and always will be here for us. Please know the God of Jacob, the same God that we serve and worship this very day. Our hearts still choose to say...blessed be the name of our Lord.

Today turned out to be a blessed day. Whitney got a good nights sleep with Colleen sleeping in the room as well. I think knowing she is there puts Whitney's mind at ease and puts her at peace. The power of a mother's love! She headed into her therapy with great energy and purpose. In her physical therapy she accomplished a feat of sorts. She walked using the walker...and she walked... and she walked. She hopped for more than 250'. That is truly amazing when you realize that she began to learn how to do this just last week. Her arms and shoulders are getting stronger and her balance is quite excellent. It is what she needs to do so that she no longer has to receive those shots in her belly. If she can continue to do this for a few days in a row she will succeed.

She did go to the doctor's today. This was to check on her leg and see if she could begin to walk on it with all her weight. Good news is that her leg is healing properly...the bone is straight and the joint is perfect. The only set back is that she has to keep off the leg for 4 more weeks. (So the necklaces have to stay on for while more, VanRyns, sorry.) Whitney was somewhat disappointed but is in good spirits in spite of the situation. She is now wearing a removable boot which makes it possible to shower and to work her ankle.

Some good news in addition that has kept her spirits up is that she found out today that she has offically completed her freshman year at TU. We are praising God for that bit of news and Whitney was excited to hear. Carly was a welcomed sight for Whit this evening, it is amazing how sisterly love can help to make each of them stronger.

God keeps amazing us with His faithfulness. We are thankful beyond words.

In Christ alone, Whit's dad

Monday, June 26, 2006

June 26, 2006

"I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me." Psalm 3:5

God continues to give strength and support through His grace. He is sustaining us each and everyday. Without Him we would be lost.

Whitney has had another good day. After returning here yesterday from her weekend away she got a good night's sleep. In the morning she returned to her therapies, improving from what she was able to accomplish on Friday. Using the walker she walked from the little gym down the hallway, I a not sure how far it was but it was the most she has walked since using the walker. Her arm strength increases through the therapy. She lays in bed and asks to have her leg and arm stretched. She so wants to become independant. She played the basketball game, 'Pig' while balancing on her right leg and did an awesome job. In the afternoon there was more work on her leg movement. Her files keep getting put back in place in her speech therapy. It is such a joy to watch.

Three friends came by today at different times and visited. Her conversation keeps getting better and better. She is engaging and very pleasant to talk with. Her smile keeps radiating her warmth and improvement.

One thing we forgot to tell you about Friday. She had two visitors. Don and Lisa VanRyn ate lunch with us. It was a sweet reunion although Whitney does not remember them. She knows that they are the family that took care of her for first 5 weeks, and it was good of them to come and share some of that lost time with her. They are such awesome people and Whitney will always know about what they did for her. We continue to lift them up in prayer for God's strength to support and comfort them. What a tremendous showing of God's love through this wonderful family.

Tomorrow, Whit gets her leg checked on to see if it has healed correctly and if that cast can come off. If it all goes as hoped for, she will be fitted with a walking boot that she can put all her weight on. This is amazing! She is moving ahead at a steady pace. And we are praising God for His goodness.

Thanks be to God for you all.

In Christ alone, Newell

Sunday, June 25, 2006

June 25, 2006 "We were under great pressure..."

"We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life...but this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God...On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers." 2Corinthians 1:8b-11a

We are reminded by Paul as he writes to the Corinthians, that we are to rely not on ourselves and what we bring to the table, but to rely on God and Him only. In that chapter he tells us that God has delivered in the past and He will deliver us again. We have set our hope that He will be true to His word. And you know what? He has never failed to give strength where needed; He has never failed to forgive us when we have sought His forgiveness for our sin; and He has never left us at any time in the good or bad of life.

I find comfort, at times, in songs that I know from my memory. One song that has been in my head here of late is this:
He is able, more than able, to accomplish what concerns me today...
He is able, more than able, to handle anything that comes my way...
He is able, more than able, to do much more than I could ever dream...
He is able, more than able, to make me what He wants me to be.

He continues to teach us as we go through this time. He continues to show His mercy and His love. He continues to stretch our faith. He continues to make us what He wants us to be...if we are willing to let Him work. We combine our prayers with yours for each of us to keep trusting in Him.

Whitney had a great weekend. Thanks for your prayers. The time away was amazing for her phyical self and her mental self. She got up early to say goodbye to Tara, Sandra, and Matt as they headed back to Spring Hill. Then laid down again for some more sleep. We have told you she is not a morning person, so the weekend lended itself to her sleeping in as of old. A very good friend of hers is back from Equador and came by with her family to say hi. Whit loved seeing Amy and it did her so much good. They sat and talked and laughed, just what the doctor ordered.

Then back to the Continuing Care Center. She worked on a 'word search' doing quite well and then relaxed to the 'Sound of Music'. She is now fast asleep, getting the sleep she needs for the routine of the week tomorrow.

We thank you again for all the comments and prayers. God bless!!

In Christ alone, Whit's dad

Saturday, June 24, 2006

June 24, 2006 "Without weakening in his faith..."

“Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead - since he was about 100 years old - and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21. Being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised.” Romans 4:19-21

I was looking for a different verse but saw a star in the margin next to this verse and a star next to the footnote explaining this verse. The footnote: verse 19 - Abraham had some anxious moments but God did not count these against him. Faith does not refuse to face reality but looks beyond all difficulty to God and His promises. Verse 20 - because Abraham had faith to believe that God would do what He promised. Whereas works are man’s attempt to establish a claim on God, faith brings glory to him.

I like these verses because I have had my anxious moments-I will tell you about one in a moment- but in every one either through His word or encouragement of family and friends God’s promises have been true. My faith has been strengthened and I see each day it is God’s power in me and He deserves all the glory.

Whitney had another day of great accomplishment. She hopped up a curb using her walker, she easily transferred herself from wheelchair to bed or chair. She practiced some of the same games on the computer and the improvement is remarkable and substantial. Her math calculations have also gotten faster.

We were given a weekend leave from the hospital. In order for us to do so, I needed to be able to give her a shot that she receives nightly. After some training, it was my turn for real. Whitney dislikes this shot because she has to take it in her belly and it stings. She usually asks one of us to hold her hand and distract her as she receives it. Today it was just me and Dan, one of the nurses. I got ready, Whitney looked at Dan and asked him to hold her hand. I was as frightened as she was but I did it successfully that they trust me enough to do it on my own tomorrow when we are away from the center.

Whitney, Carly and I left the hospital and were joined by Sandra, Tara, Matt and DJ. We ate dinner and listened to camp stories. I am so proud of them for allowing God to use them as counselors at camp. Spring Hill has great memories for Carly and Whitney, it was there during their growing up years that they felt closest to God. Some family friends came over and brought the dvd “Chronicles of Narnia”. We talked, ate popcorn and relaxed till late.

What a perfect Friday night! As I helped Whitney climb into bed, I thanked God for His faithfulness, power and love.

With love, Whit’s mom

Thursday, June 22, 2006

June 22, 2006

“I lift up my eyes to the hills- where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip- he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you- the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm- he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” Psalms 121

I have had a great day watching Whitney. I have enjoyed ever minute of it. Watching her gives me such joy. Watching as she shot baskets in therapy brought back memories of many evenings watching her play sports growing up. Watching her hop on her foot in therapy brought back memories of her learning to walk. Watching her play brain games on the computer in speech therapy reminded me of playing “memory” and games growing up. She had great therapy time and I loved sitting back with Newell and watching.

Whitney had a doctor’s appointment for the staff infection in her leg and thank you for your prayers because it is able to be treated by oral medication.

Whitney also had friends visiting her today and it was fun watching them talk and laugh and hang out like girls do best.

It’s been a quiet night. Newell and Whitney have been playing brain games, I’m not sure whose winning, but they are having fun and again I am having fun watching.

At the end of today I thought about God watching me his daughter and wondering if he had as much fun watching me as I did Whitney. Did my actions make him proud the way I was so proud of Whitney? I am so thankful for the unconditional love God has for me. “Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.” Psalms 145:3. Don’t forget God is watching over you too.

With love,
Whitney’s mom

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

June 21, 2006 " Throught Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer..."

"Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise - the fruit of lips that confess His name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased" Hebrews 13:15-16

What tremendous verses! Let us continually confess His name, the name of God almighty, the creator of heaven and earth. This is how we praise our Lord and Savior and King. We want to be careful to give God the praise for all He has done and continues to do in and through us as well as our Christian brothers and sisters the world over. We honor God with doing good and sharing with others. Sharing not only of what we have been blessed with but also sharing the great news of salvation. We want to honor Him today with our lives. Pray for God's strength as we join our hearts together, with Christians everywhere, to make a difference for Him.

God is indeed good! As many of you have said, even in the midst of this unbelievable situation God continues to use it for His good. The comments of how God is changing lives and hearts is so encouraging and we thank you for what you are all sharing. When we share these things with Whitney, she simply says, "wow". It is blessing her and giving her strength. Thanks from the Ceraks.

She had a quiet good day today. It seems evident to me that she has been a little more on the tired side the past couple days. We are aware that this could be due in part to the infection that has set in her leg. She is taking antibiotics orally and we are meeting with the doctor of infectious diseases tomorrow. We are praying that this is the only medication she will need in regards to this situation.

Her therapies went well. She played solitare on the computer and did well. Her strength gains a little more each day. Her range of motion in her elbow has improved a lot, and she keeps working on it as she lays in her bed.

Today, she had a couple of friends over to visit which brightened her day. Whitney sat at dinner eating pizza and laughing with her friends and family. Even though she had started the day off slowly and tired, she ended it with good fellowship and now rest.

Thanks again for your prayers offered up for the other families involved. The Erbs, the Larsons, the Smiths, the VanRyns and the Felvers.

We are amazed at our God and His people.

In Christ alone, Whit's dad

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

June 20, 2006 "However, I consider my life worth nothing..."

"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." Acts:20:24

That is our prayer tonight. That we finish the task that we have been called to do. That all of us that have believed and are saved, never shrink back from spreading the gospel. This event has given a new boldness to share Jesus Christ and because of God's work in all of us, many are coming to know Him as their Savior and Lord. We are not always sure of what direction God wants us to take but we are certain that He wants us to live our entire life to honor and glorify Him. Let's continue to pray that more will know what we know as the truth. The one and only truth. God's truth.

Whitney had that great night sleep that some were praying for and we saw the results in her therapies today. She worked hard and pushed herself as always. Today she did something new again. She walked (or hopped) with the aid of a walker, doing it mostly all herself. Colleen or I walked behind her to make sure she didn't fall, but she walked about 60' with little or no help. WOW! Praising God again! She now is somewhat independant of us in that she can get in and out of bed without our help; and now she can walk to the restroom and back solo as well. We are going to have to guard the door soon so she doesn't start for home too soon.

Her speech therapy is going very well, too. She is getting beyond concrete thoughts and describing things that she sees in pictures; describing in depth too. Thankyou God! Someone said from our church office that they are predicting her return to Gaylord by Alpenfest. Not sure that will happen but with God, we are not ruling anything out! We would be fools to! God is way bigger than I can think or dream...so as the Bible says, all things are possible with God, and so we believe.

One thing to make you aware of so you can pray. In Whitney's healing leg, there is some infection that has set in. When she had her surgery last week, Dr. Ringler took a culture and had it analized. It showed some infection and right now it appears they can handle it with medicine taken by the mouth. We are praying that the antibiotics will clear it all up.

Thankyou from our hearts.

In Christ alone, Whitney's dad

Monday, June 19, 2006

June 19, 2006 "Has not my hand made all these things?"

" Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?" declares the Lord. "This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word." Isaiah 66:2

We are continuing to thank God for His mercy and His grace. Grace that goes beyond my human comprehension. Grace that even in spite of my sins and my short comings, covers me over with love and forgiveness. I thank Him each day for His amazing grace, without it I am nothing.

The days seem to be stacking higher and higher in favor of Whitney. This was another good day today and we praise God for it. After an awesome Father's Day Whit had a hard time getting to sleep but when she did, she slept great. We are so thankful for those good sleeping times because we know that in those times her brain gets to rest and recover. This day of therapy was another sweet step for her. She was able to traverse the length of the parallel bars, twice, while holding herself up with BOTH arms. Yes, she is able to put weight on the elbow that was damaged in the accident and hop the entire length both times. What a praise! Oh, it tired her out but she was smiling at the end.

Then later she was given an different wheelchair and practiced getting herself into it from a bench seat. She did a couple practice runs and then wheeled back to her room. When she got there she was able to transfer from the chair to her bed with me simply smiling and watching. It was a joy to behold. Holly her very good friend was there to witness the event and got to spend the afternoon. She and Whit had a great time swapping stories and finding out what had been going on in each other's life.

Whitney had a special afternoon then as well. She and a few others from the Center went on a little outdoor adventure to get some ice cream. The therapists gave her some cash to purchase ice cream and when her turn came she gave her order, paid for it and asked for the receipt. Wow! Not sure she ever asked for a receipt before!! I loved it.

This evening she had a great time at dinner with her roommate from college. They then sat in her room, Whitney, Emily and Carly and chatted about college and all their friends. She is doing so well conversing making great eye contact and now has more inflextion in her voice than before.

We thank God for you who are praying for not only our situation but all those involved in the accident. We add our prayers with yours and as we do God continues to use this for His good.

Thankyou again, from our hearts.

In Christ alone, Whitney's proud earthly father

Sunday, June 18, 2006

June 18, 2006 "Do not let your hearts be troubled."

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:2-3

Today, in light of Father’s Day, I am reminded of our Heavenly Father. He loves us unconditionally. He loves us in spite of our short comings and our sins. His love surpasses all that we can understand. In that while we were still sinners and in need, He sent His only Son to die for us. What a tremendous display of love for His creation. Christ gave His life for us and will one day come back for us because He loves us so much. What a tremendous show of love for His children, those that love Him and have given their life to Him. I thank God for His love.

I am reveling in the day today. It has been a gorgeous day for Whitney. After a good nights sleep (another sister night) Whitney gobbled up her breakfast. After which we spent some very good time as a family in reading God’s word and praying. It was special to listen as Whit prayed for God to forgive her sin and then praying for those families that have suffered so in this event.

We headed to our friends for the afternoon,Colleen, Carly, Laisa (Sandra is at Spring Hill), and Whitney. We transferred Whit into the Suburban and she smiled as we drove down the road listening to Guster, one of her favorite singing groups. At our friends’ home we were greeted by their Black Lab, Kirby, who bumped her with his back end so she would scratch it. The smell of steak coming from the front porch was all we needed to head in and sit around the table. Whitney ate a nice big piece of steak and a helping of mashed potatoes. Then after the great meal, Whitney presented me with a cake that she made all herself. I was truly impressed with that and the card she personally made. I have to tell you what it said, it was so precious, so please indulge me.
Inside the card were these words: “Dad, Happy Father’s Day. I’m glad I got to see you again! Good thing I did, huh Dad? Isn’t my card better than Sandra’s and Carly’s? I think it is and I am not away this summer. I love you, Dad.
Love, Whitney.” Well, I have to tell you this dad’s heart swelled and my eyes filled with tears. I thank God for this time that He has given to me to spend with my girls Whitney, Carly and Sandra. God has blessed me in ways that are so hard to put into words. In spite of me He has blessed me and I am humbled in His presence.

We are praying for a good day tomorrow after such a busy, love filled time today. I pray you had a good day with your children as well. God bless.

In Christ alone, Whitney’s dad

Saturday, June 17, 2006

June 17, 2006 " And I pray that you..."

"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:18-19

We have power together with all the saints but we have yet to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. We are constantly impressed and hold in awe the wonder of God Himself. It is too much to behold yet it is sufficient enough for our needs here on this earth. We are held in His loving care and know that as we have taken time to look back and see His hand holding us up throughout our entire life. But it is indeed very evident at this specific time. We continue to thank God for His faithfulness.

Today was a great day for Whitney. She had a good nights sleep after a couple of short nights due to her surgery. She and her sister Carly had a sister night last night giving Colleen and I our first night away. But we realized that we missed Whit so much that we couldn't wait to get back to her as soon as possible. She looked so beautiful when we opened the door and she smiled a 'good morning' to us.

She had a therapy session in the morning. Her left arm is becoming more and more flexible as time has gone by and today she tossed a ball with it, caught with it, and began to push off with it. Her knee that gave her such a difficult time the first night back, is now less painful. Today she had her first therapy with that as well...the range of movement is very, very good (at least to us).

Today was a special day for Whit as two very good friends from TU came by and brought her Chicago pizza. Brad and Matt showed up at lunch time and made Whitney's cheeks hurt from all the smiling and laughing. It was the therapy she needed after being so tired from all the medication she had to take. She is amazing with how her wit is so sharp even now.

We look forward to tomorrow with great anticipation. No one is more excited than Whit except possibly me. The steak, she can almost smell. The strawberries and ice cream, cause her a big satisfied smile even before she parttakes in them. I pray that the ride will not be too much for her and tires her out so that she can't enjoy the day out. But God has brought Whit this far, so tired or not it will be blessing for us all simply to be together.

Many of you have wondered about the past Mother's Day for Colleen. While it was a sad at that time, some very good friends of ours took us out to eat and we had a wonderful time. After youth group that Sunday night, Colleen had the opportunity to lead a young girl to Jesus Christ. We shared that with Carly on the phone who then said, "What a great Mother's Day present that Whitney has given you, Mom. Even from Heaven she has reached out to you." That was a very special present that made Colleen tear up and smile. Although sad at the time, what joy to know that God had used Whit's life to touch another.

God bless you all. And Happy Father's Day. To Don VanRyn and the Larsons, Smiths, Erbs, and the Felvers my prayers are with you as your children share in this day with you. What a blessing to know that Laua and her friends are safe in the arms of their Heavenly Father.

In Christ alone, Whit's dad

Friday, June 16, 2006

June 16, 2006

"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with ALL of your heart." Jeremiah 29:13
This is my favorite verse. I love it because I used to seek God when it was convient, when I needed something, when it made me look good or to please my parents. When I was in college I gave God ALL of my heart and the fun began. The games were over and God has been there for me in the good times and the hard times.

Today was a quiet day for Whitney. She had a great nights sleep and woke up looking forward to getting her stomach tube out. It was painful but she is so happy to have it out. Because of the pain medication, she was tired but still did her 3 sessions of therapy in the morning and afternoon. Her therapists were all glad to have her back and her OT's even had a special project for her that we will tell you more about another day. Sandra pampered her by cutting her toenails and painting them. What a sister.

Whitney had a few special visitors but also needed alot of rest. We read cards then she wanted to call her grandma to wish her Happy Birthday. She ended her day watching "Dodgeball" with Carly and Newell,it was good to hear the laughter.

The most exciting news of the day was that we were approved to have a short leave on Sunday. We have wonderful friends that are going to grill a steak special for Whitney. It is going to be the best Fathers Day ever.

With love,
Whitneys mom

Thursday, June 15, 2006

June 15, 2006 " But encourage one another daily..."

"But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first." Hebrews 3:13-14

It is so obvious to us that you encourage us daily. We have through the Holy Spirit been held up in this time in our lives and we owe that to the prayers of God's children...those who have accepted the gift of His son Jesus Christ. We can all share in Christ if we hold firm to the belief that there is only one God and no other. That it is He that has made us and not we ourselves. My prayer for you tonite is that you understand the truth of God and come to know His Son personally.

We continue to be undergirded by your thoughts and prayers. We were discussing tonight with some friends from Mississippi, that with all of the prayers being offered up to God on Whitney's behalf, she is already safe in His care. I am so thankful that she made the decision to accept what Christ did for her, on the cross. That decision is the biggest she has ever made or will ever make. I dont have to pray to God for her safety because I know she is safe in Him forever more. So as you pray know that it is being answered as God gives her more strength for each new day. And as you pray, pray for the safety of those who do not know Christ as their Savior and Lord. Pray that they are safe till one day they make that decision to accept Him.

The day was topped off with a sweet homecoming of sorts. Whit made it back to the Spectrum Continuing Health Center. She had a big smile on her face and was able to relax in her old bed. The leg is doing well. She has some pain still after surgery but is doing so good. She ate well and is drifting off to sleep having had a long day in the Spectrum Butterworth Hospital. We want to thank all the staff there for their care and watching over our daughter.

Tomorrow is back at it day. Back to therapy. We pray she gets a great nights sleep.

In Christ alone, Whitney's dad

June 15, 2006

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality." Romans 12:12-13

We are so thankful for all of you that continue to pray for Whitney and for all involved in this situation. It is because of your united prayers that we are full of joy because of the hope found in Jesus Christ...that we are patient in this recovery road with Whitney...and our prayers combined with yours help us to remain faithful. We feel that you are sharing with us in a way that the world does not know.

We want to apologize for not updating in the past couple of days. There was a technological difficulty that prevented us from posting. So, today we will bring you up to date.

On June 13, Whitney had another good day. Her strength and endurance have remarkably increased. She started off the day slowly, telling the nurses that she is not really a morning person. After breakfast it was therapy sessions again. She made sandwiches for her Dad and Matt - one a chicken and ham with mayo and one ham and cheese with miracle whip. Then for herself she made a PBJ. She handled it all beautifully.

In the afternoon we learned how to transfer Whit from her wheelchair to our Suburban. We all did pretty good, good enough that if all goes well with her surgery the doctor might give permission for some time off campus. It could be a glorious Father's Day!

Her short term memory keeps improving. She surprises us with what she remembers from the day before. She keeps reminding us of her surgery as well as little facts she was told 24 hours earlier. It is not totally there (short term memory) but each day gaps get smaller.

She had a surprise today. She was on a walk with Matt when Lisa VanRyn came by to see Carly. Carly had visited with her earlier and wanted to be able to say goodbye to Lisa before Lisa heads up to the U.P. to help at summer camp. While we were talking Whitney came into the room and was introduced to Lisa. Due to what we are told is post traumatic amnesia, Whit did not recognize her. It was a pleasant conversation with the two realizing they had at least two things in common, Spring Hill and Taylor U. We were glad for the encounter between these two women. Lisa and her family mean so much to us. When the time is right and presents itself to us, we want Whit to know this awesome family who cared for her in those difficult weeks. VanRyns - we want you to know that we are indebted to you - we want you to know we are constantly praying for you. You are part of our family in the Lord.

That night Whit wanted to see the magazine with her picture on the front. So we showed her and she began to ask questions. She wants so to fill in any gaps. She found out for the first time that there were more just one life lost that night. When she found out the only response was a soft, sorrowful "Wow", repeated over and over. That night before sugery she had a very hard time sleeping, trying to digest all that she had learned. She wanted Colleen to lay beside her and rub her back and somehow her mother's touch helped her through it that night. I know you are...but please keep praying for her as she comes more and more to grip with the reality of her situation.

They got us up at 5:00am on Wednesday and Whit had her surgery at about 9:00. Doctor Ringler said that it went as well as he hoped for and that his goal for her is still to be as good a new. Soon she will be playing dodgeball again for her wing, pitching softballs for her coed team, and running down the soccer field. We are praising God for this as well. She had a good night resting from her ordeal in the surgery room and is scheduled to be released from the hospital today if all goes well.

Then it will be back to Spectrum Continuing Care and back to therapy for her leg. But the doctor says that in two weeks she will probably be walking on it. Today he says she is able to put as much presure on her leg as she can stand. Tremendous progress!

We are again sorry for the delay in the update but so thankful for God's faithfulness in all of this. PS...Colleen, Carly and Sandra are doing very well, thanks for asking.

In Christ alone, Whit's dad

Monday, June 12, 2006

Job 8:21 "He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.Boy has God filled Whitney's mouth with laughter! All of our cheeks hurt after today. Starting late last night when she was going to sleep, she has had a serious case of the giggles. It has really boosted my confidence because she laughs at everything I have said.

It is such a blessing for me to see how resilient she has been to having the news of the accident and mix-up largely revealed to her these past few days. She has had many questions and many tears, but then God has given her this amazing gift to smile and laugh.

Many of the church staff from Gaylord came to visit my parents today and Whit was more than willing to greet them all. She had them smiling as she went around the circle saying all of their names. And we all got to see Jim Mathis speechless for the first time when she said goodbye to him in these words, "Thanks for speaking at my funeral." She really is approaching the situation with a light heart and it makes me so happy as it also makes me wonder. I wonder how much of it has actually set in, but even while it continues to become real to her, I can see how God is truly a God of healing, peace, and laughter.

Carly Cerak

Sunday, June 11, 2006

I was reminded of a song or two which are precious to me especially at this time in my life. The first song is an oldie but indeed a goodie. Just part of the chorus goes like this: "Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace."
The second song goes like this:
When I look into your holiness,
When I gaze into your loveliness,
When all things that surrond become shadows in the light of you.

When I've found the joy of reaching your heart,
When my will becomes enthroned in your love,
When all things that surrond become shadows in the light of you.

I worship you.....I worship you....
The reason I live is to worship you.....

I worship you.....I worship you....
In the light of God's glory all this (the events of the past month)pales. We are here to honor and glorify Him. I know Whitney's life has, and I pray will continue to honor and glorify our Heavenly Father. May His named be praised for what He is doing through the lives of all. It is not about us...it is ALL about Him!! What this world has to offer is growing dim, it is only what is done for Christ that will last. Live for Him. This has been a tremendous source of encouragement and strength for us. Blessed be His holy name!

Today was a good day! Every day that we are able to spend together is a good day and we thank God for the opportunity. Praise be to God almighty!!

Whitney had a good restful day today. She is still asking about when she is going back to TU to finish her freshman year and when is summer going to start. We have to keep reminding her that she is not in a dream, that all she is experiencing is for real. It is those last several weeks of time that are missing from her memory and that cause her to feel it is all a dream and we are part of her dream. As we said last night, this is typical but hard to watch her go through. I know you are praying, I sense the Holy Spirit's presence in our lives ever stronger each day. Thankyou so much for caring for my family. It truly is a humbling experience - overwhelmingly humbling. God be praised.

She has had a very good day despite the feeling of being in a dream. Today she wanted her eyebrows plucked and as it happened she kept saying "Ow!" But she did not want Colleen to stop - she thought she was sprouting a unibrow.

Matt came by today as did Sandra. Time off from Spring Hill. It added to her upbeat day and was a welcome to us all. She has been able now to watch movies if she cares to and today she had us all watch with her the movie "Prince of Egypt". This was followed by some great conversation. Whitney is able to converse with us in complete sentences making absolutely great sense as she does. In the course of the chat she asked Matt a question, to which he could not remember what the answer was. Whitney's great sense of humor came out when she suggested that it was Matt who should be in this hospital, not her.

She played Rummy with Colleen and even beat her at points once with her mom showing no mercy. We were quite impressed. For us it seems as though her thinking skills are improving in great bounds.

For lunch she didnt want the hospital food. Instead she asked for a couple of hard tacos from Taco Bell. Her appetite is very healthy, I know because she wanted a Pepsi as well. She also took another long walk this evening. It has been so wonderful to see her endurance increasing.

God continues to supply us all with His strength. I know there is no limit to His supply, at least we have not experienced it and I know we will not ever see the end of His graciousness.

Another special blessing came this morning when it was just myself and Whitney in the room. The others had gone to church and Whit sat and listened as I read from the Bible. God's word is such a source of our strength. After reading I asked Whit if it was okay if we prayed and would she want to pray as well? Yes was the nod of her head and the word from her lips. I felt so much comfort and peace as I heard her pray for God to heal her so she could go home. Again with a strained voice I echoed what she said, so grateful to see her life still centered on Him.

I would be remise if I didnt again thank you for your prayers. You are truly a blessing to us and to all the families effected. Please keep them in your prayers as will we. We are forever grateful.

In Christ alone, Whit's dad

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Whitney's day today was another good day, because it was simply another day we have had to enjoy her. She is back to eating her meals once more, eating most all that is put in front of her this last day. She turned her nose up at the fish sandwich but gobbled down the peanut butter and jelly and every milk shake she receives she enjoys like a good steak. We are praying that she continues to eat not only to be rid of the feeding tube but so she can more importantly keep up her strength.

Her therapy takes its toll on her throughout the day which is understandable and expected as she is still so weak. But praise the Lord! She gets a little stronger each day it seems. She remains focussed a little more each time getting tired as she goes farther into each session. The staff here is doing a marvelous job. We are so overjoyed with all who are taking a part in Whit's recovery. This facility is more than we could have hoped for and we are so thankful that she was placed here. There is a very special place in our hearts for the folks here at Spectrum.

Today she hopped a little more at the parellel bars and even turned around on her good leg with the help of her therapist. She has improved in her driving her own wheel chair up and down the hallways.The therapist did check to see if her ankle is flexing to which she gave a thumbs up even though it moved only a few degrees. But the thing that is so encouraging is that her mind seems to clear a little more each day. We are elated with each little hurdle that she comes upon and works hard to clear. It speaks for her character and the Lord's strength in her life. Now we understand that there is still a long,long way to go, yet we in our hearts jump for joy when she is able to endure more. Please know that her road up the mountain could take a long time so your continued prayers are still coveted by the family. Yet we are truly encouraged by her efforts. Our hearts ache when she says "I want to go home", knowing that that is exactly what we want. Please keep us in your prayers for patience through the long uphill process.

Another blessing to report to you happened last night. We went to the dinning room once again to have dinner. We all grabbed hands as is a normal custom at the Cerak table, bowed our heads and listened as Whitney gave the thanks for the food we were about to eat. That did this father's heart so much good, I don't remember much of what she prayed...I was leaping for joy that her heart is still God's and always will be.

We continue to pray for the VanRyn's. They are a kindred spirit with us. We sense their loss and know that their continued strength comes from partly from good friends. But it is God Himself who is sustaining them. As someone wrote us a line from a Ray Boltz song, "the anchor holds though the ship is battered". God is that anchor that continues to hold us firm in the storm.

In Christ alone, Whitney's dad

"But as for me,I will always have hope;I will praise you more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteousness, of your salvation all day long, though I know not its measure. I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign Lord; I will proclaim your righteousness, yours alone." Psalm 71:14-16

Whitney had a good day and an emotional night. Weekends around here are very laid back. The usual 7:30 breakfast turned into a 9:30 breakfast. Carly read out loud and started our day with God. Whitney liked the quiteness of the morning and fell back asleep. We woke her up at noon when her lunch came because we were ready to go outside and enjoy the day. We ate outside then took a long walk. We came in and read cards. She smiled as we read the notes and remembered special things about the friends that wrote. She gave me a scare when helping her to the bathroom she fainted as she stood up. The nurses took her blood pressure and said it was normal to have this happen if you stand up to quickly after laying down. Whitney had a special treat when a friend who works here brought her some movies to watch. We haven't had a TV in the room so she was excited to watch a movie. We all settled in and watched the movie passing the time till Sandra, Matt and Newell would come back to the hospital.

We were all gathered around the bed talking and having a great conversation. Whitney was happy and talking in full sentences when her mood got somber. She began to tell us that she was in a dream and she was waiting for her roommate to wake her up. She is now becoming more aware of lost time and can't fill in the blanks. This frightens her and was difficult to watch. The nurse assured us this was typical of somebody with TBI. We have so much to learn, continue to pray for us. Pray for Whitney as she gains more memory. Even through this hard time Whitney's humor showed for a second. We told her we were each going to pray for her and when her dad started praying she interupted and said "a short one".

I've been nervous to write on the blog as I am not the writer of the family but I have so much love and thankfulness for all of you. I know your prayers are making a huge difference in our lives and how we handle each day. I also see the amazing day to day improvements. My hope continues to be firmly rooted in God.

With love,
Whitneys mom

Friday, June 09, 2006

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say this - those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south. Some wander in the desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle. They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble and he delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things." Psalm 107:1-9

We are daily amazed at God's unfailing love. It will endure forever. And it is His amazing love that continues to keep us strong, we thank him so much for His faithfulness. His love and faithfulness stand to remind us that this is not about us but all about Him. He has a plan in motion that we do not fully know at this time. We are praying that we will follow Him by a straight way, we are praying that we will be sensitive to His leading and always open to be used by Him. We pray this for all those that have opened their hearts to Him in these days. What an amazing impact we all can have on this world if we simply open our hearts more and more to Him each day.

We are thanking God for Whitney's restful night! She slept through the entire night. We had to wake her up or she would have slept on till noon as was her habit on weekends at home and I think at college too. She dressed herself this morning with a little help. She likes wearing her "First East Beast" shirt from her dorm wing at TU. Whit has told us several times how her dorm wing was champs in dodgeball and soccer. Whitney has been pointing out the hair on her legs and has been quite ready for a good shave. This morning she was given the opportunity to do just that and she did a great job.

One other step forward for Whitney was using a four legged cane to walk during her physical therapy. She was able to hop again this time with the therapist holding up the leg with the cast. It was quite tiring but she did another great job. She keeps gaining more strength each day. It is so awesome to see her continue to put forth such a great effort.

We were able to have a special lunch with her today. Colleen, Carly and I were able to sit in a smaller room just the four of us and have a chicken shiskabob lunch. Whitney loves it when we grill those out at home, so she devoured the lunch eating all her vegetables too. After lunch she rested before her afternoon therapy sessions. She has been doing so well with getting the rest she needs to improve, we are all so proud of her. She met with the neuropsychologist today and was able to engage him in a pleasant conversation about his vacation plans. She told him that it will be a great memory maker for him and his family. He was impressed with her marked improvement and looks forward to seeing her on his return.

At dinner time she was able to sit and eat with her college roommate and three other friends. She has been able to sit and listen to more than one person at a time now which is a great indication of her moving ahead as well. She tires but not nearly as quickly as she had before. Praising God for this too!! Colleen enjoyed reading to her before they took a half hour walk. It was a very good day. Thanks again for your prayers. I am reminded daily of how the prayers of God's people are like sweet nector to our souls. Your faithfulness in praying has been such an inspiration to us all. We pray God's blessings for you.

Another blessing for me today: I had to leave for the rest of the day. I was quite sad at the thought of leaving Whit even for an hour but as I leaned over to hug her goodbye I said "I am sorry I have to leave you, Whitney." To which she replied, "It's okay Dad. Don't worry. I'm okay." I couldn't believe it...my daughter was comforting me in the midst of her distress. I am truly amazed by God's strength that is running througth this young lady's life. She is a solid example to her family of His love and constant care.

Again, thankyou all so much for your comments. They are such an encouragement to us all. You are forever in our hearts. God has granted us a tremendous view into His kingdom through all of you and it is good.

In Christ alone, Whitney's Dad

Thursday, June 08, 2006

"But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear." Philippians 1:12-14

This portion of scripture written by Paul speaks to this entire event from the beginning and who knows where it will end. But the reason we quote it today is that we have seen that the things that have happened in, not only Whitney but, all those that have been affected by the tragedy, are things that have furthered the gospel of Jesus Christ. It has been and continues to be so amazing as to how God is using Betsy, Laurel, Laura, Brad, Monica as well as Whitney to cause others to come closer to God and in many cases meet Him for the first time. We see Him working through these lives and the families of these people to share the gospel message as did Paul. It has given to many the boldness to live for Christ, to share His love for them with others and to pray for all to come and experience the healing springs of God almighty.
We continue to pray for the families of those who were lost, praying for the Lord to keep them in the palm of His hands. Only God can truly shore you up.

Whitney had a hard time getting to sleep last night. Finally, she found the most comforting place with her mother, Colleen. It was satisfying to wake in the morning to see both Whit and Colleen sleeping peacefully side by side. It sometimes seems the morning comes to quickly but it is the start of the new day with our daughter and being able to watch her yawn and stretch makes it seem as though it didn't come quickly enough.

Her day was a good one after the long night. During her ocupational therapy time they worked on her elbow extention and contraction. It hurt her but is necessary to get that joint to loosen up. She was given some homework following the painful time. The ladies said that she could work on it herself if she wanted to because she would know the limit of her pain. Later that day as she was resting in bed I noticed Whit was placing her right hand on her left arm giving it a push to extend it and giving a pull to contract it. I asked her what she was doing to which she replied, "going home sooner." Bless her heart and her dedication to her goal.

The rest of the day was spent in more therapy, walks to the courtyard enjoying the sun, as well as playing Connect Four. When Whitney, Carly, Colleen and I were sitting out in the sun we were commenting on how well Whit had done during the da
y. Carly said she should be proud, but Whit shook her head, no. When she was aked why she wasn't proud she responded, "I want to do more." Her desire to get home is so strong that I pray she does not feel her progress should be moving faster and become disappointed. We are so proud of her continued moving ahead and couldn't ask for more. Please keep praying for her each day if we can ask that of you. You have all been so good to us, we are constantly humbled by your cards and emails telling us of your thoughts and prayers for us. We will always covet them as we have said before.

Our God is still God and our trust rooted ever deeper in Him.

In Christ alone, Whitney's dad

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

"Christ Jesus, who died-more than that, who was raised back to life- is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:34-39

We find all we need in Jeus Christ. And as God's scripture says, nothing will separate us from His love if we have chosen to accept His gift of His Son Jesus Christ. Christ, who was the only perfect sacrifice for our sin, died on the cross and rose 3 days later. Through His death and His resurrection, if we believe and accept Him into our lives and then live for Him, we are more than conquerors. We simply need to believe and accept His free gift.

We, the Cerak's, love being counted with those around the world who have accepted this precious life giving gift. It is God who strengthens us, yesterday and today and in the future.

We continue to marvel at how God put our bodies together and how Whitney's is mending. Last night I felt as though she had a set back- not eating her dinner at all - so the feeding tube is still in place. But after looking back over the day I realized how worn out she had gotten and it made sense to me then.

Today has been a beautiful day! She wrote her name clearly and on the line. Then off to physical therapy where she not only is balancing on her right foot but is hopping, too! Hopping the entire 12 foot length of the parallel bars, three times. Then for her next session she got to sit in front of a computer to play some games that help to reactivate her mind. She lit up when she was pushed in front of the computer, taking the mouse in her hand and click, click, clicking away.

She also met with an orthopedic surgen who took some pics of her mending bones. The great news is that she was 3 out of 4 to the good. Her elbow, collar bone and neck (no more neckbrace!!!) all got the okay. Her left leg did not begin to heal straight so surgery is being scheduled to correct the problem. Whitney nodded her head in agreement when the decision was made to redo the surgery. We are praising God for awesome doctors.

One last blessing of the day before I sign off. We have a CD player in the room now and as it was playing "It is well with my soul", I looked at Whit and tears filled my eyes. Not just due to the powerful words in relation to all that has happened...but Whit was mouthing the words and singing softly along. Truly, it IS well with my soul!

In Christ alone, Whit's thankful Dad

Monday, June 05, 2006

“ I am overcome with joy because of your unfailing love, for you have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul.
“ I am trusting you, Oh Lord, You are my God ! My future is in your hands.”
Psalms 31: 7, 8, 14, 15

“Only a God whose “thoughts are not our thoughts and ways are not our ways”
could have seen and known all that was going to take place over the last 6 weeks, but God Most High is sovereign and while we sometimes can’t understand His ways, we know that He is eternal and had planned each and every moment in time and we can rest in the fact that He was, He is, and He always will be in control.”

This is a quote from one of the many cards Whitney has been receiving each day. It speaks to how we feel as a family in this mind numbing chain of events. We absolutely believe God is in control NOW, as we did during the 6 weeks that we thought that Whit was no longer with us. We are resting in His promises. Promises that we will be held up in His strength, promises of our security in Him, promises of our eternal salvation in His eternal presence.

We are overjoyed with Whitney’s progress in the past several days since our last communication. She has been increasing in endurance each moment it seems – sitting up to eat her meals, feeding herself and cleaning the plate.
We are told that if she keeps this up, the tube they have been using to feed her will be removed soon. Praise God! She sleeps soundly through the night waking only once or twice to use the restroom. After her therapy sessions she sleeps more, getting much needed rest so that she can continue to heal.
She continues to ask when she go home and when she can be rid of the neckbrace. She speaks sweetly in a soft voice asking of those she meets “Hi”; “How are you?”; and “What have you been doing?”

Her college roommate was able to visit and when she sat by Whitney, Whitney asked “Who are you going to room with next year?” To which her roommate replied pointing at Whit and said “You”.

Her smile is coming back, it is beautiful to see!! Her sister seems to get her to smile most often, once getting a laugh from Whitney. Today we had lunch together with Whit in the dinning room and it was like we were sitting at the Cerak’s dinner table once more, smiling, laughing, telling stories with limited participation from Whitney…but still participation!

Whitney is making progress but has such a mountain to climb. Please keep her in your prayers as you have in the past. Thank you all so much for your concern and your tender words of support.

Our hearts STILL choose to say…Blessed be the name of our Lord.

In Christ alone, Whitney’s dad

Saturday, June 03, 2006

The following is an update from the Cerak family on Whitney’s progress that was written yesterday, Friday. We, the Van Ryn’s, continue to pray for them and rejoice with them for Whitney’s life and progress.

Romans 12:15
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”

We read this verse to Whitney this morning as we spent time in the Word as a family. My dad followed her to physical therapy where she was put into a wheel chair that allowed her to use her good arm and leg to push herself back to her room! She ate all of her meals today and had good times of sleep.

For the rest of the day she was very aware and wanted to sit up for most of it. Whitney wanted to talk to everyone she could think of and had us call many of her friends. Some of her friends came for short visits and she would greet each with a hug and was able to hold conversations with great interaction. She made me laugh so hard when she asked two of her friends this question, "What has your day consisted of?" I walked away from her bed laughing after she asked us to write it down, and she told her friends that her sister was making fun of her.

In speech therapy the therapist has begun to walk her through the
events of the past five weeks. Today she just listened and nodded her head as the therapist gave her a very basic run down. However, her biggest worry of the day is when Hunter is going to arrive. She has been asking when Hunter, our dog will get here all day. We have called him many times at her request.

In the afternoon, we had to transport her to another facility where she had a CT Scan. My dad, Sandra, and I had to drive in a separate vehicle, so we put in a worship cd we had been listening to for the past 5 weeks to find comfort in. This immediately brought back all the realness of the pain we felt only a few days ago. Our thoughts were focused on the Van Ryns as put ourselves back in their shoes. We will continue to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Hebrews 11:17-19 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned." Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from the death.

I couldn't get this verse out of my head as we drove down to Grand Rapids. I did not believe my sister was in the hospital; I thought for sure this was a mistake. When I walked into the hospital room I was shocked and overcome with joy. Soon after we saw Whitney, our family met with the Van Ryns and our joy for ourselves was pushed aside by the pain we felt for them. It is hard because our joy is their pain. The Van Ryns have been amazing to Whitney and we are privileged that if under any care besides ours that she was under their great care. However, we know the pain they now feel all too well and our hearts break with them. There is a deep connection that has been made between our families and together we look to God as we walk through this.

We were told that Whitney was asking for us and when we saw her she was coherent enough to cry, so we all cried together. She immediately began to say "Let's go home." We spent the day crying and praising God for the 'resurrection' of Whitney. She began listing people she wanted to see, starting with our dad (who was on his way back from New York with the Youth Group). She kept telling us to call him and when she talked to him she told him she loved him and to "come over." Matt, her boyfriend, arrived and she wanted him to lie down next to her. She blew us away with her detailed memory and ability to speak. Towards the end of the night she spoke clear sentences. When our dad arrived she grabbed his hand, my mom's hand, and looked at Sandra and I and sighed like everything was finally right.

Today many of her friends have arrived and she has wanted to see them all but is very exhausted from yesterday. She saw a few of them and then wanted to sleep. Whitney woke up to someone bringing in flowers for her. This triggered something and she wanted to know who they were from and then she wanted to have all her family in the room. She began to cry and said "You think I'm dead." We spent a good part of the afternoon comforting her as she has began to realize that she was in an accident and we weren't with her for a while. Her tears are a mixture of joy and the fear of not knowing what has been going on. She took a break from crying when her therapist brought her actual food! Today she ate her first meal. She had grilled cheese, applesauce, and a milk shake. Within the next week she should be done with her tube and just eating food. After she ate she showed off her basketball skills and made three baskets in a row during physical therapy. She quickly slowed down and wanted to sleep again. Not only is it still unbelievable that she is alive but she has amazed us with her progress.

Earlier today my dad said, "Every time I look at Whitney I think of the Van Ryns." We are so blessed and overjoyed about Whitney but our hearts and prayers are heavily on the Van Ryns.
Posted By : Carly Cerak