By Jill Thomley –
We met EJ Wallace and his mom, Tina, in early April after a horrible accident (read the full story) that left EJ in the hospital with a bullet in his head. We witnessed a miracle as the Lord spared this boy’s life. And now we struggle with him as we wait for him to be restored fully.
This week I went with EJ and his mom to therapy. I observe such a happy 7 year old that is full of life and jokes. I also see a boy frustrated that he cannot complete simple tasks asked of him and a momma grieving that her once active boy was being hindered by an unforeseen injury. EJ and Tina are wedged between this beautiful miracle and the frustration of hardship ahead.
I watch as EJ tries to stand with one foot on a step and throw and catch a ball with Tina. A task any 7-year-old boy could do; one that threw him off balance time and time again. He keeps laughing and trying again, but Tina sheds a tear knowing this should not be hard for her strong, energetic son. This struggle is real; the struggle of thanking God for how far He has brought them, yet trusting that He is not finished.
We move onto speech therapy to work on processing instructions and following through on them. I observe a more child-like version of EJ in this more academic setting. He listens for the instruction and repeats it leaving out a key piece. He looks back to Tina for reassurance. The therapist reiterates the instruction and asks him again to repeat it back to her. This time he is able to recall it entirely and looks to Tina for praise. Tina has to fight tears as she watches the reality of a Traumatic Brain Injury evident in her son.
Tina and I sit and talk about what she is facing. Prior to the accident she had a great job that provided them stability and the resources they needed. Because of FMLA her job is on hold for her during this ordeal. However, if it was not for people coming around her, she acknowledges that they would not have made it. She looks forward to returning to work once EJ starts school yet has to admit that her resources are low. She knows the Lord provided such a gift in her job stability, yet the difficulty in making ends meet is almost overwhelming.
The tension between the “already” and the “not yet” is something we all have to acknowledge when longing to live Kingdom life. Is the Kingdom of God a future reality or a present reality? The answer is, “Yes” and “Yes”! The beauty is that when you look around, you see both the present and the future reality in lives like EJ’s…I see the Kingdom alive in his life, and I long to see the Kingdom fully in his life.
Awakening Fires has been honored to walk alongside Tina and EJ; here’s how you can walk with us:
- Pray for the symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury to be reversed
- Pray for the therapists and teachers that will be part of EJ’s recovery team
- Give a financial gift to help Tina until she is back to work full time (about 1 month)