August 28, 2012

How are things going?

I have not been angry or disagreed with God's way in my life up to this point in my ALS journey. The road is long and difficult, and I have shed many tears, but God has been my helper and provider every day. Grace sufficient for the day, and I have hope in His grace for tomorrow.

Does that mean that I never have doubts or fears? No it does not. I have my daily struggles like everyone. I am sad about losing my physical abilities and the fact that I am becoming more house bound. The days are long, and the nights are longer yet. The greatest loss is the ability to communicate and the frustration of being misunderstood. In group settings I quickly feel isolated as others talk and I am unable to participate.

My other problems right now are the leg cramps that keep me awake for most of the night. I usually fall asleep at 5 am. The other problem is choking on phlegm deep in my throat and struggling to cough it up. I break out in a sweat every time it happens.

God has been taking care of us through the love of His people in the form of meals, cards, calls, pastoral visits, emails, grass cutting, volunteers doing physiotherapy and watching over me in the night. I see these all as gifts from God, moving in His people like a host of angels.

I am never alone because Jesus Christ, my elder brother, sees me, watches over me, and prays for me 24/7. He never slumbers and never sleeps. He hears my cries and groans, and understands all my needs perfectly. He is the God-man who has been through it Himself. I talk to Him all the time. He is the Great Shepherd, and I try to follow Him through green pastures, dark valleys and and up the steep narrow pathways, because the end of the journey is peace and safety with Him.



  1. Hello Jack, I was wondering if you have a cough assist machine? We had one for Chris and it was a great help for him. We also had a suctioning device. Not always so comfortable but it does help get rid of the phlegm. Chris also had medication for leg cramps at night but right now I cannot think of the name. Maybe you can ask your doctor.
    Praying for you always,
    Mary V.

  2. Dear Mr. Westerink,
    Thank you for posting this update and letting us know specifically how we can pray for you. Praying the Lord will continue to give you and your wife endurance and peace,
    Anita Higgins (nee VanDoodewaard)

  3. Hi Jack,

    I am just wondering if you have asked your doctor about the possibility of taking Quinine (Qualaquin, Quinine Sulfate) for your leg cramps. It is only available by prescription because of potential side effects, but maybe this is something for you. The thought of you struggling each night, and not getting your sleep is heart-breaking. May the Lord surround you with comfort and care, and may He give much wisdom to your doctor's and caregivers, so that you may be as comfortable as possible. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  4. Hi Jack,

    Thinking of you and praying for you and Lena.

    My dear husband Doug and I walked the same road you and Lena now travel.

    Our God is faithful.He will never leave you or forsake you.

    Thanks for sharing your life with us.

    Maureen Ord

  5. Dear Jack, 2 Timothy 4:17 Not withstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me ....and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen
    May Paul's confession be also true in your life. May He preserve you and bring you into his heavenly kingdom where He will be glorified for ever and ever.
    Praying for you,

  6. Hi Jack and Lena, we pray for you often as do our children. Earlier this year I heard a beautiful song that really impacted me and put life and its difficulties in perspective. It is called "Blessings" by Laura Story.
    Writing from Cubulco and thinking of you

    Nico Kattenberg

    We pray for blessings
    We pray for peace
    Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
    We pray for healing, for prosperity
    We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
    All the while, You hear each spoken need
    Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

    'Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
    What if Your healing comes through tears
    What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
    What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

    We pray for wisdom
    Your voice to hear
    We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
    We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
    As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
    All the while, You hear each desperate plea
    And long that we'd have faith to believe

    When friends betray us
    When darkness seems to win
    We know that pain reminds this heart
    That this is not our home

    What if my greatest disappointments
    Or the aching of this life
    Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
    What if trials of this life
    The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
    Are your mercies in disguise

  7. Dear Jack:

    This is Phil Pierce. We met at your school, Rehoboth. I am the field rep for A Beka Book. I just want you to know that it is a pleasure to say that we know each other. I pray for you and will continue to do so.

  8. Thank you for your trust and faith in God. What a testimony to us all! We stand by you. Isaiah 41:10 holds be when I am down, may it hold you today.
    Virginia Kennedy ACSI