Category Archives: Jadon’s fight

the face of an angel

photo courtesy of Dawn Parker Photography

“When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD.” (Exodus 34:29)

I want to tell you a story today before time takes it away from me. Only a few have been privy to the details thus far, but you need to know them as well. The moment is now because this is the moment God has ordained for such a telling. It’s a story about the face of an angel.

My angel. His face.

On May 31st, Jadon will graduate from Scotland Christian Academy. Nearly eight months ago, Jadon’s graduation wasn’t even on our radar. His survival was. On September 14, 2018, Jadon suffered a traumatic brain injury when a tree fell on him during Hurricane Florence. His skull was fractured, the crack stretching from the top of one ear, across his head to the top of his other ear. In addition, he had two brain bleeds that, without immediate intervention, would cause him to bleed out within a couple of hours. If you’ve been following along, then you know the rest of the story. Jadon’s survival is nothing short of a miracle. You can read more about it here.

What I’m about to tell you brings additional texture and layers to his miracle. I cannot explain it otherwise except to say that I trust fully in the details, in the way they arrived to my heart, and in the witness of the Holy Spirit to my spirit as they were being spoken to me.

On the night of Jadon’s accident, a group of alumni from Asbury University were meeting at their annual board meeting in Wilmore, KY. I grew up in Wilmore and graduated from Asbury. Both Wilmore and Asbury have a wide stretch across the globe. One of my friends, Sarah, is on the board. On Friday night, she was scrolling through her Facebook feed when she came across my urgent request for prayer. We were on our way to Charlotte through the turbulent storm, and, over the course of that three-hour drive, I would periodically give my readers an update of our progress. I asked them to, “… pray us in to Charlotte.” Sensing the urgency of my request, Sarah asked those gathered at the meeting if they could pray. They did so on a couple of different occasions.

Fast forward to Sunday when I received a Facebook message from a complete stranger, a woman who knew Sarah and who was in attendance at that same alumni meeting. She asked me if I could give her a call at my earliest convenience. At this point, Jadon had made it to Charlotte, made it through surgery, but was currently in a coma. The response we had received from friends, family, and strangers was overwhelming, so much so that I quickly had to install some parameters around my time. Accordingly, I wasn’t able to give everyone access to my heart in the way I would have desired. However, there was something about this particular Facebook message that led me to make that call to a complete stranger on Monday, September 17th.

During our conversation, my new friend comforted me by sharing with me a vision she had during the alumni group’s prayer time on Friday night as Jadon was being transported to Charlotte. She told me that, on occasion, God speaks to her through visions and that he wouldn’t let her rest until she shared this particular one with me. I’m thankful for God’s insistence in the matter. Her witness changed the trajectory of my thinking.

In her vision, she saw Jadon surrounded by a myriad of angels who had completely encircled his body. In particular, one angel stood out; he was cradling Jadon’s head. No one could touch Jadon without going through the angels’ presence. She also could see Billy and me crying over our son. She asked the Lord about the meaning of her vision … about if these angels were coming to take Jadon home to heaven or were they there to escort him to the hospital? After her conversation with me on Monday, she had her answer; she understood the significance of the angel cradling Jadon’s head, and I understood the significance of her sharing her vision with me.

Jadon was being protected and preserved by a heavenly dispatch of angels. My fears were relieved, and I knew that God had his hands all over my son’s body and my son’s future.

One of the most earnest prayers my husband and I prayed over Jadon while he was “asleep” was that God would whisper words of healing comfort to him, that Jadon would know deep in his spirit that he belonged to God and that God was, indeed, his closest and best companion. That in the days to come, Jadon would awaken with a heart bursting forth with a testimony of his Father’s grace and mercy … that the words spoken “in quiet” would become an eventual out loud witness to the world. That, going forward, everyone who spends even a moment with Jadon would see his radiance and know that he has, like Moses, been in the presence of God.

Eight months later, God is answering our prayers. Jadon’s story no longer belongs to just us. It belongs to the world … to you. And while Jadon doesn’t have any memory of those “quiet” days in the hospital, he has been radically changed because of them. His radiance is blinding and his testimony is life-giving to anyone willing to listen.

Jadon has the face of an angel because Jadon has been next to Jesus. Close proximity to the Divine is just that powerful, friends. When we spend time with God, we radiate the witness of his glory. Perhaps this is the closest we’ll come to catching a glimpse of heaven on earth, and who of us couldn’t use a little more of that … a little more of the sacred spilling onto the scenes of our lives?

The face of an angel. Jadon’s. Yours. Mine.

Find the “quiet” this week. Allow God to do what only he can do in that silent space reserved for just you and him. What will emerge is what this world needs.

A radiant people who hold the testimony of a glorious God! Indeed, a little bit of heaven on earth. As always…

Peace for the journey,

a little more time on the court…

Jadon looked at me from across the court. He was sitting with his teammates on the bench. It was “senior night,” and with about three minutes to go in the game, our boys had a significant lead. I was sitting in the bleachers. I knew what he wanted. I’d been expecting his glance all night. Accordingly, I had my eyes fixed on him for most of the last quarter of the game. As soon as he caught my eye, his face said it all. And even though I heard no words from his lips, I knew what he was asking of me.

“Mom, can I go in the game?”

I was ready with my reply. I’d been working up to it all day; a mothering nervousness had needled me from the early morning hours, wreaking havoc on my digestive track. This was a big deal. Four months ago, the “big deal” was my son surviving the ambulance ride to Charlotte. Four months ago, I would have been happy with my son waking up and (on command) giving me his thumbs up. But last night, what was needed wasn’t his thumb’s up. What was needed, instead, was one of mine.

And so, across that ball-court, I gave him one … a thumbs up indicating my approval for him to enter the basketball game to play a little bit longer than his initial first-quarter, obligatory “start of the game” hoorah. Mind you, that would have been enough for him; it would have been enough for all of us, but something inside of me moved me to risk allowing him to have a little more time on the court.

A little more time on the court.

Another moment or two to bask in the gloriousness of it all. My dad would call it a Hoosiers’ moment (you remember that movie, right?). You know the kind–the glory that comes around once in a lifetime that celebrates a great accomplishment, a milestone that collects as a stone of remembrance and serves as dinner-table conversation for generations to come.

No, it wasn’t the closing moments of the NCAA Final Four. It wasn’t even the closing moments of Scotland Christian Academy’s basketball season. But for Jadon (and for us) it was a moment that felt just as weighty and significant. The miraculous work that God began in Jadon on the night of September 14, 2018, was on display and in full measure as Jadon was able to score his only basket of the season. His name and his two points are now forever recorded in the annals of SCA basketball history. They are forever etched on our hearts as well.

And today, nearly twenty-four hours removed from that gloriousness, the memory that most beautifully resonates within me is not when Billy and I were standing next to Jadon on the court when his name and senior status were announced. It’s not his dramatic and certain entrance onto the court, leading the team out from the locker room (although that was magical!). It isn’t even his scoring a bucket (and the gracious gift of an opposing team making the way for him to do so – thank you Antioch coach and team!). No, the moment that stirs my heart this morning and that forces the tears to flow gently down my cheeks, is the memory of the look shared between a mother and a son–an understanding that gave my boy…

A little more time on the court.

In these past four months, there have been many times when I’ve had to give my “yes” even though I would have rather given my “no.” Last night was not one of them. I didn’t have to give my “yes” but in not doing so, I would have missed the joy of watching my son playing alongside his teammates and of honoring the Father’s mighty work in Jadon’s recovery.

Some moments are worth the risk. Some moments are worth …

A little more time on the court.

Who of us doesn’t want the same … more time on the court? A moment or two longer to get in the game, to feel the court beneath our feet, the ball within our grasp, and the hammer of feet pounding alongside us as we inch our way closer to the goal? Who of us doesn’t want to feel the glory of a senior night that plays itself out in an arena before a home crowd hungry for a win? To suit up, wear the number, lace the shoes, and charge on to the court with adoring fans championing our every step? Who of us doesn’t want to look across the court, see our Father in the bleachers, and get his holy nod of approval for a little more time on the court?

There is something eternally beautiful about that picture, a truth that should both enliven and encourage our spirits today. It’s a comfort that sows deeply in mine, so much so that I don’t want to overstate the moment for you … to project too many of my own thoughts into what your heart might already be considering. But I do hope you’ll consider this:

Your Father is in the bleachers and he has given you a little more time on the court.

Is there risk involved? Well, all of life seems to call for it at some point. But with our Father in the stands, there is no game we will play, no risk we can take, where we’re not without his watchful eye and within reach of his loving arms. So, suit up. Get in the game, and go forth in his power and his love. Apparently, God has given us all …

A little more time on the court.

Peace for the journey,

Thanks to Nick Tippett for this video footage!

And here’s Jadon’s mighty entrance onto the court…

(1-12-19/f.elaineolsen/allrightsreserved)

my miracle

I saw her staring at us while in the check-out line at Wal-Mart. I didn’t know her, but it was apparent that she knew us. Moments later, her declaration confirmed my suspicions.

“Glad you’re home. Welcome home!”

Jadon and I looked toward the sound of her voice as I said, “Oh, do you recognize my son?”

“No, Ma’am. I recognize your miracle.”

My heart was tenderly warmed by her pronouncement.

My miracle.

My Jadon.

It’s been happening a lot these days … strangers recognizing my miracle. We call Laurinburg home, and ever since our arrival here over a week ago, we’ve been stopped by folks wanting to speak a word, give a hug, meet my miracle. Somehow (and as only God could orchestrate it), they feel a part of the story, tightly connected to the ever-growing community who are surrounding and supporting Jadon’s healing.

Whether through prayers, through giving, through visits, through doctoring, or just as casual readers/observers of my Facebook posts, their involvement in Jadon’s fight have granted them access to the outcome. It’s also given them access to our hearts.

Within minutes of Jadon’s accident, I made the decision to have our need go public on Facebook. And while I’ve frequently had a love/hate relationship with social media, this time around, I’ve seen how God has used it for his kingdom gain and good. The fact that you’re reading my words in this moment is proof that you are (at some level) connected to our story. And this, folks, is a beautiful representation of what I have often called “sacred multiplication.”

In the economy of God, when we enter into God’s handiwork—when we see him at work and decide to put our hearts and hands to the plow alongside his—we plant seeds into the lives of others. The growth and influence are exponential, expanding at a rapid rate that exceeds singular gain. The rapidity and scope of influence is often so great, it’s incalculable.

That’s where we’re at, at a point of not being able to measure the length, breadth, width, and depth of this far-reaching miracle. It has touched many lives, and I believe that this is what God had in mind all along. God’s miracles are eternally impactful, intended to point the world to him.

Mission accomplished. Mission accomplishing.

This beautiful sorrow we’ve carried continues to point the world to Jesus, reminding those with eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to receive that God has not left us. Instead, he is in our midst, making himself known to us, and drawing us all into a deeper, more intimate relationship with him.

Not long from now, in just a moment or two more, our faith will become sight and we will meet our Miracle-Maker face to face. But until then, there is a beauty being scripted into this world by the very hand and heart of God that should remind us all of just how close he really is to us, of just how much he wants to be with us, to do for us … to love us. Accordingly, I want to live my life with eyes wide-open, expecting to see more of the Father, to be and to do and to love more with the Father. God is not exclusive in his dispensation of miracles, friends. Through Jadon, I have come to realize that his generosity as it pertains to the miraculous far exceeds my expectations therein.

Humbly and with deep reverence, I make the confession that I can no longer underestimate God.

These past seven weeks serve as a witness and testimony to the Father’s inestimable love for me. My entire life, I’ve read about and committed to memory many of the miracles recorded in Scripture. But on this day, some 2000+ years beyond their unfolding, God has given me one of my own to hold.

This is my parting of the Red Sea. This is my feeding of the 5000. This is my “Lazarus, come forth.”

This is my really big God showing up on the scene of my itty-bitty life in a really big way.

So, by all means, go ahead. Recognize my miracle. Call him by name and welcome him home. Jadon’s story belongs to you even as it belongs to me. God has beautifully written you into this chapter of our lives and the ink is still wet. There is more to come. With God, there is always more to come.

Sacred, extraordinary, kingdom multiplication.

What in the world?!

God in the world. 

Yesterday. Today. Forever.

Amen. So be it.

©F.Elaine Olsen (allrightsreserved)

PS: In case you missed it on FB, here is one of the thousands of prayers prayed over Jadon in those first 24 hours following Jadon’s accident (thank you, Mike Price!). 

by Faith

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)

Last Friday, September 21st, our son found his words again. It all started with sign that read, “Say hi.”

He did … said “Hi.”

We were overjoyed to hear his voice, albeit groggy and weak. He read the sign; he followed the prompt. Jadon is coming back to us, piece by piece.

Not long after his initial proclamation, he made others. Simple things—his name, year, birth date. And then he made an unexpected proclamation, one I’ve never heard him say before. When the therapist asked him what my name was, what we expected to hear was “Mom” or “Elaine”. What he said, instead, was …

“Faith.”

In the nearly eighteen years of his earthly tenure, I’ve never heard my son refer to me as Faith. It is, indeed, my first name, but I’ve always been called by my middle name, Elaine. And therein lies the rub. I’ve written about it before … the struggle between my Faith and my Elaine. You can read about it here.

As life goes, the struggle continues.

Will it be life lived according to my Faith or according to my Elaine?

Time will write the witness. For now, the balancing act continues.

And even though my son may not have intentionally called me by my first name just over a week ago (for the record, he’s not called me that since), God seems to be using Jadon to remind me of something I often forget:

A certain faith is often forged in uncertain times.

We are there, friends, in an uncertain season … again. Eight years ago, we were battling through the uncertainty of my cancer diagnosis. Naively, I think we all assumed that this would be our family’s primary “suffering issue.” Every family gets one, right? – maybe two or three or ten. And while my cancer journey was, indeed, a sorrowful season for all of us, it now seems like a small thing compared to this very big thing.

Jadon’s gift bag from the Ronald McDonald house…

We know it. Jadon knows it. Apparently, you know it as well because we’re hearing from you. Yes, it seems as if all of us are #joiningjadonsfight for a whole lot of reasons via a myriad of routes therein. My faith, your faith, our faith is being hammered out and shaped in ways we never imagined prior to Jadon’s “bending low to lift up.”

And in this moment, I am bending low beneath the weight of this limb to pick up my Faith before I pick up my Elaine. It’s heavy. It’s messy. It’s raw. It’s clumsy. It’s graceless. It’s grace-filled. It’s less textbook and more “on the job” training. Honestly, it’s probably the most unsophisticated Faith on this planet.

But it is mine, and it is growing.

So thank you, Jadon, for calling me out by a name for which I am lesser known. Perhaps in those quiet days before you found your words, God was giving you some of his.

By Faith I am listening. By Faith I’ll walk this road with you. Along the way and as we go, may God grant us his strength, his wisdom, his joy, his love, and (as always) his …

Peace for the journey,

September 27, 2018 (the night before Jadon’s 2nd surgery)

Follow Jadon’s Fight on my facebook page. In addition, Scotland Christian Academy (Jadon’s school) are selling #joinjadonsfight t-shirts. If you’d like one, follow this link. Lastly, we are blessed by the continuing financial support we’re receiving. If you’re so inclined, you can follow this link to do so. 

Jadon’s Fight

“Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.”  -1 Timothy 6:11

He lies here, stretched out and so very vulnerable, like when he arrived in this world. His chest is broad, his head is shaved, and in true Jadon fashion, his legs are crossed in just the way he likes to sleep.

Gladiator. That’s what comes to mind.

He is beautiful. He’s my boy, #3 falling in behind his two older brothers and just ahead of his sister.

I can’t believe we are here. My unbelief is trumped by the reality—the gravity of this moment.

We are here, six days out from the most horrific day of my life. I don’t like revisiting that moment. There will be time for that in coming days. For now, I want to focus on this one moment, the one reality that struck me profoundly at 2:00 AM this morning and has stayed with me ever since.

Jadon’s fight is so much bigger than a hashtag or a Go Fund Me account.

Jadon’s fight isn’t just about him, although he has every right to call it all his own.

Jadon’s fight isn’t just so his parents or his brothers or his sisters are able to watch him play ball, graduate, go to college, marry, and have children.

Jadon’s fight is grander than all these parameters.

Jadon’s fight is eternal.

Jadon’s fight is for you, everyone of you reading this now. Everyone who has checked in, prayed, given, loved from afar, loved up close. Stranger, friend, family, and even, perhaps, foe. Jadon’s fight doesn’t discriminate.

You see, if you know Jadon personally, you get this. He loves life. He loves people. He’s never met a stranger. He steps up to the plate when called upon. Of his own accord, he mentors young boys. He carries groceries to cars on food bank days. He ushers at church. He volunteers (he would joke “voluntold”) with Special Olympics, VBSes, and the Appalachian Service Project. He buys veterans meals when they come into Zaxby’s and is ready with a quarter when you need an extra sauce and don’t have any change. He has a verse ready when your spirit is downcast and a smile when yours is upside down. He’ll give you a ride; he’ll give you his shirt. He’ll find a way to work around a problem by creating a new solution (Have you seen his hillbilly bench press?). He helps his mom and never complains. Never.

He has a servant’s heart because he serves the Father’s heart.

And serving, friends, is what landed him smack dab in the middle of this very blessed mess.

Upon Jadon’s insistence, he and his father left the safety of his car to remove a tree branch that had fallen across the road so that others could safely, more easily move down a neighborhood street. And just like that, in a moment of serving—of bending low to lift up—Jadon was struck by a bigger tree branch that put him on his face. It has put us all on our faces, the very place where Jadon would want us to be …

Talking to God.

Thus far, it appears to me, mission accomplished. Thousands of us have joined in holy dialogue with the Almighty, all on behalf of Jadon. History is writing the story, and because my son’s words are currently buried somewhere deep within his gladiator soul, God has called me to serve as Jadon’s mouthpiece.

Since his birth, Jadon has been declaring his faith so very well before many witnesses. You are sharing your Jadon stories with us, and I am not surprised by any of them. I just rarely hear of them. Jadon’s humility often keeps me from knowing just how widely and deeply he’s sown God’s love into the soil of humanity. The harvest is coming to pass, friends, and the fruit we’re taking hold of (the witness of a young man whose name means “God has heard”) is ripening before our very eyes.

What a sight to behold! A good fruit in a good fight.

“Good?” you might ask. Yes. Good. Why? Because Jadon’s fight is not just a fight to live again personally. Instead, Jadon’s fight is an invitation for you and me to join him on the front lines of faith and to live eternally.

And that, friends, is exactly what makes all of this good.

So, if you’re inclined, would you join us on the battlefield? Would you be willing to step up and step into the glorious harvest of faith that awaits you? Jadon would want you there, alongside him, contending for the “bigger” that is beyond what we can currently see. Jadon wants you with him now. Jadon wants you with him next. Jadon wants you with him forever.

Jadon wants you with God.

I do too. So consider this your invitation to join us on this sacred road of suffering. Grab our hands, grab a tissue, grab a moment, and grab whatever fragments of faith you have. Let’s take hold of the eternal life to which we’ve been called. Together, with Jadon leading the charge, we can sow and grow an abundant harvest that will last forever! As always and forever…

Peace for the journey,

If you’d like to follow Jadon’s progress please visit my fb page. All posts pertaining to Jadon will be made public. If you’d like to read a nice article about Jadon’s story published by the Laurinburg Exchange, click here. In addition, Jadon’s has been featured on the local Charlotte NBC station. You can view it by clicking here. Along the way and as we go, there will be many ways you can help us. We’re not shy about asking. We need help at so many levels. If you would like to join Jadon’s fight in a financial way, please click here. Every dollar raised will go specifically toward paying for the financial cost of getting our boy well. We are eternally grateful! Please feel free to share the link to this post but keep in mind that all rights are reserved by me. If you’d like to use a quote, please seek my permission first. Thank you!

©F.ElaineOlsen. All rights reserved.

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