Middle-of-the-Night Friend

Life has been difficult for my family for about 19 months. Since May, we have been on a very scary and fearful rollercoaster.

But God.

Through this scary ride, God has sustained us, helping us to hear His Word to encourage and to give courage.

  • Psalm 55:22: “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you.”
  • Psalm 73:26: “My heart and my flesh may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
  • John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:3: “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.”
  • Isaiah 26:3: “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”

And we have had friends constantly praying for us, cheering us on, helping us when we needed help, bringing food, lessening the load.  

words + photographs JAYLA PENICK

Our youngest child, Jordyn, is two years old, three in December. She is happy, smiley, full of energy, ornery, carefree. She does silly things all the time. She likes bananas and blueberries, “Bluey” and “Puppy Dog Pals.” She fiercely loves her brother and sister, and she comforts anyone in the family who is upset. She enjoys church and school. She has the best giggle and smile.

Nineteen months ago, Jordyn had her first febrile seizure. She began running a fever the night before, and we gave her medicine before she went to bed. When I went to check her temperature overnight and give her another dose, she woke up. My husband, David, sat with her in the rocking chair and held her. She began to seize.

My husband, David, sat with her in the rocking chair and held her. She began to seize.

We went to the emergency room and found out she had an upper respiratory infection. The seizure was due to having a fever. We were told children, a lot of times, wouldn’t have another seizure, but we were given instruction on what to do if she did. That was a very stressful night, but through the prayer of a few close friends and a great hospital staff, we made it through and went back on with our lives. We thought everything was back to normal.

For two months.

On June 30, Jordyn again had a fever and a febrile seizure. However, this time was different. Instead of it being one febrile seizure, she had a cluster of them. In a two-hour period, she had four seizures with one lasting five minutes. She struggled to breathe during these seizures, so we went to the hospital again. This led to an introduction to neurology.

Our daughter was diagnosed with complex febrile seizures. The doctor prescribed emergency medicine to give Jordyn if she had a seizure lasting more than three minutes or if she had more than three seizures in an hour. We were scheduled for an MRI of her brain, as well.

The Penick kids, with Jordyn in the middle.
One of Jordyn’s first visits to the emergency room.

Last October, we suspected Jordyn had her first absent seizure. We were on the way home from church; she was fussing but immediately stopped, staring off into space for about a minute before going back to fussing like she had been before. With her age, we weren’t sure if she truly had an absent seizure or not but kept the neurologist in the loop. When we went back to the neurologist to go over the results of the MRI, we were told she had a small arachnoid cyst in the back of her head, which was most likely an abnormal spot that wouldn’t cause any issues. Jordyn had another instance of cluster febrile seizures in January 2022, but didn’t have to use emergency medicine. Jordyn also had another absent seizure the same month.

Four months later, the already-worrisome journey took a hard left into a much scarier place. Jordyn had a major febrile seizure event. In 26 minutes, she seized for 24 of them, only stopping three times for 15-30 seconds each. We gave her the prescribed emergency medicine and called 911. The seizures stopped. Thankfully, Jordyn was all right.

Jayla, David Penick

Due to increasingly difficult clusters of febrile seizures with less and less time in between and Jordyn possibly having two absent seizures, the neurologist prescribed medicine and referred our daughter for a sleep-deprived EEG.

The night before we met with the neurologist to go over the EEG results, Jordyn had her first seizure without a fever. When we talked to the neurologist, he said her EEG showed some abnormalities. With Jordyn having a non-febrile seizure, we were now in the realm of epilepsy. She would continue to be on daily medicine to help prevent the seizures. When she has been seizure free for two years, we will attempt to stop seizure medication.

At the time of this writing, we are on attempt #3 to find a medicine that allows our daughter to be as close to her normal self as possible. Yet she continues to have epileptic seizures: three in the last week.

Through this difficult, unexpected, far from over journey, we trust God has a plan for Jordyn’s life. Please pray with us as we pray: for a day her seizures stop, and she doesn’t have to be on medication anymore; and for her healing. Her next MRI is scheduled for Nov. 7. It will be a sedated MRI of her head. JP

Jayla Penick is a Jesus lover who lives in Springfield, Missouri, and teaches at RidgeKids preschool. She and her husband, David, are parents to one son and two daughters.

COVER Jordyn playing at preschool.

2 responses to “Middle-of-the-Night Friend”

  1. I love this little Jordyn so very much. I pray for her daily and instanty at times. She is my third great grandchild and was such a sweet surprise for me when I learned she was on her way. I have not got to be with her much but cherish each opportunity to do so. She is so intelligent for an almost three year old.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jordyn has a story the Lord will use for His glory. I’m sure you are proud of your great-grandchild. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment, Mary!


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