The Secret of Her Joy

The Secret of Her Joy

Gimli says it best in Lord of the Rings,

“Certainty of death, small chance of success… WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR?”

That, my friends, is the Miles Family motto we choose to live by each and every day. (Is our craziness starting to make sense now?) So with a motto like that… you can probably guess that coming up on our 3 year “marker” since Jacoby’s accident, we STILL have hope, we STILL find purpose in the midst of the pain, and we STILL BELIEVE!

Let’s just go ahead and do the “mature thing” here and get “the update” out in the open. As most of you know, JACOBY IS A SENIOR THIS YEAR… and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. (Gulp) And to make matters worse… so is her twin brother, Kaleb. (Chocolate, please!) The school was ever so faithful to send home the dreaded “graduation packet” one month after school started. Do they have zero idea how much we as mothers suffer already? For Pete’s sake, they could have waited for at least two months. But no, we are forced to look at their cap and gown orders, their senior rings and graduation announcements now! By the way, did I mention I’m having a hard time with this?

Long story short, Jacoby has been a delightful child to raise. For the past 18 years, she has been the oldest child of 6, so you know what that means. She plays by the rules, is extremely bossy and is the epitome of responsible. So you can only imagine how the collage searching/choosing is “going down”. She has been researching college deadlines, requirements and scholarships for quite some time now. (I know what you’re thinking, I didn’t either!) This is what Type A people do, my friends. She knows the official date of “early bird registration”… whatever that means, and she intends to take advantage of the benefits. Someday I’ll understand… maybe.

Unless plans change, SPU (Seattle Pacific University) is where Jacoby is headed in less than a year. Oddly enough, she learned how to walk on SPU grounds, she learned how to talk on SPU grounds and she watched her very young parents graduate from college on SPU grounds. Her roots run deep there and I get emotional every time I think about it. Many people have asked if she will be staying on campus or living with us at home and commuting to the city. My answer to this question is… we don’t know yet. We have left the decision completely up to her. In all honesty, this decision scares all of us to death. It’s hard enough when the time comes to drive away when you know they can make their way around campus, but the thought of not knowing if she is getting fed, teeth brushed, hair washed and properly cared for leaves an even deeper twinge in this momma’s heart. Even with all the uncertainties floating through our heads, we do know one thing for certain… The Lord will show her EXACTLY what He wants her to do and He’ll give us the strength to support her in that decision.

Still to this day, Jacoby has not been hospitalized once since her injury, (which was almost 3 years ago) and has not experienced even one AD episode (otherwise known as “Autonomic Dysreflexia”: a dangerous medical condition well understood by individuals who struggle with spinal cord injuries.) We couldn’t be more thankful to NOT know the emergency room’s staff by name. Unfortunately, Jacoby does experience extreme nerve pain on a pretty regular basis, but we have found it can be helped immensely with a steady “diet” of good rest and exercise. (Sounds like the rest of us.) Jacoby tries to get in 8 hours as much as she can manage. (This is where it doesn’t pay to be a “Type A”) Jacoby likes “A’s” in school, and will give up sleep to get them. I know many of you reading this have children just like this so… “get it”.

Honest to goodness, Jacoby couldn’t ask for better exercise therapy than what she receives from Vertical Therapy. They come to our home 3 days a week and provide fantastic service. VT (Vertical Therapy) has been part of Jacoby’s journey since the very beginning and now just blend in as part of the family. They have seen her at her lowest points (and ours for that matter) and have been a part of each new mountain climbed. Chris and Ashan are more than trainers to her; they are her friends.
Jacoby has been able to maintain her amazing flexibility through therapy, and has improved her balance and triceps strength. This is huge because she really had no triceps movement at all when she started. Long story short, improvements are always happening here in the “Miles Training Room.”


Fortunately, Jacoby’s mental, emotional and spiritual health are all intricately connected and she is growing stronger by “leaps and bounds” in these categories every year. I know this seems confusing but maybe the verse she lives by will help explain:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind.”–Matthew 22:37

Jacoby’s faith in God IS her rock, her peace and her reason for living, PERIOD. Since the accident, she has always believed God will use her pain for good. That there is a reason for everything… and she will trust in His “reasons” no matter what! Some days, the tears flow and it’s hard… really hard. But her conviction remains that not one tear is wasted or overlooked, it all matters and has purpose. Now THAT’S beautiful…

Last, but most certainly not least, is Jacoby’s annual run! In just under a month, on November 14, we will be standing (frozen) at the starting line for the 3rd annual “Run for Miles” 5K and Half-Marathon! (And yes… for those of you already worried about the weather, it will be ARTIC temps so make sure you run fast!) We have chosen to hold this inspiring event during the time she was injured because it adds meaning to the race and to our family. Because after all, even in the harshest of circumstances, beauty finds its way and WINS… if you look for it. Our vision for this race started with the face of our daughter, Jacoby, but will end with many.
Please come and lend your legs to those who can’t… it will be worth EVERY minute!

P.S. Thank you… thank you… thank you our precious friends and family for EVERYTHING; we could not go through this crazy thing called “life” without you. The angel, Clarence, in “It’s a Wonderful Life” says it best,

“Remember, no man is a failure who has friends.”

Let’s continue to DO THIS THING… together!




  • Luke
    October 3, 2016 11:33 am

    Consider it all joy my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance

    • Gretchen
      October 5, 2016 1:59 pm

      Luke! WHAT AN INCREDIBLE VERSE! So easy to read and yet extremely difficult to TRUELY accept and believe. Endurance in the faith is something we all want, but rarely do we want to be part of the trials to “attain” this endurance. But how encouraging to know something comes of the pain…something that can’t be taken away.

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