Thank you so much for taking the time to visit our family blog. This may be your first visit here, or you may be a friend from across the globe, or family that we have just seen. Who ever you may be, thanks for taking the time to read about our little family, and all we are learning on this adventure the Lord has called us to live! Here you will find, the random thoughts, funny stories, prayer requests, and the journey our family and Jack is on with his battle with Leukemia.

.the value of truthfullness.

Wednesday night, while I was cooking dinner for our little family and a friend, my boys were quietly coloring at the dining room table. It was so peaceful and quiet. That should have been clue number one that something was amis. We were laughing and chatting in the kitchen, the meal just about complete. All of a sudden, Dylan ran into the room. But not your typical, racing speeds shouting something unintelligible.

He ran straight to me, and wrapped himself around my legs. He hid his head between my knees. And he wasn't letting go. He said something along the lines of '"oh no", at least I think that is what he said.... He began to pull me towards the doorway that leads to our living room, all the while his grip on my leg remained firm. He was hesitant to take me to his destination, but also seemed like he knew he had to tell me something. He has never done this before.

And so, I walked around the bend to find my cream colored couch covered with orange marker. To his credit, he had a piece of paper with a lovely drawing in said orange marker, smack dab in the middle of the rest of his masterpiece. I have to admit, I loudly said, "oh no!!!" And then the boy got a stern talking to.


But then I laughed.

And then I was grateful.

This may sound crazy, or completely like I have lost my mind. Maybe. I wouldn't be too surprised! But in that moment, I had a realization, one that I think has been brewing in my heart and mind for a week or two. My son was being honest. He was being truthful. He did not try to hide his wrongdoings. Instead, he came to me and brought me to the scene of his crime. Maybe he was proud of his artwork. But I don't think that was it. I think he was experiencing conviction. I think he knew he had done something wrong, and chose not to try to hide it. If you have a two year old, or know my Dylan, then you must know that this is not typical.

As much as the added work of cleaning this new mess up is not my favorite way to spend my time, I would much rather have this moment, so clear and real to see God's grace at work in my little rebel, than a perfectly clean couch.

You see, for many many months now, I have been at a complete loss as to how to be a faithful parent to this boy. He is so very unlike my first two sons. He is always on the go, into everything, extremely brave and adventurous, curious about everything, and a mess maker extraordinaire. He has a temper, and I have been the victim of many a slapping, hitting, hair pulling fits of rage. He can huff around like a 4 or 5 year old, and does not like to obey his momma. To say he has a strong will would be a pretty accurate description.

I have found myself humiliated when in public he has thrown a fit at me, and I have tried to restrain his blows. I have prayed in earnest for wisdom in this matter. My other two sons were nothing like this. It has left me feeling totally helpless at times.

I have wondered, what I have done wrong in raising him. I have wondered if all the time we have had to spend with Jack at the hosptial has had a negative effect on Dylan. I knew I could be better and more diligent in training him, and yet always felt perplexed how this little rebel came from me! Yet, there are so many moments when I see myself in him so clearly. It is so clear where he gets some of his feisty side from, that he comes from a passionate momma is a factor as well.

And so, for the past month or so, I have been dedicating myself to training him to obey and to control his temper. Holding him close to me when he wants to run and hit, lots of pretentding what not to do and the right way to respond, time outs and discapline. I have been seeking to respond to him right away, instead of allowing other things around the house to take up my time. Dylan has been project number one, well, maybe not #1, but certainly a priority. And to the joy of my heart, by the grace and mercy of God, we have begun to see a little change in him. He is still a sinner who needs a savior, but that is the amazing thing. I no longer view him as problem I do not know how to handle. I now see him as a sinner, who I can amaze with the love of Christ as I parent him day after day.

The Lord was stirring something in my heart, but it wasn't until I read this blog post from Lysa TerKerurst that it all came together. I am so grateful my friend Esther posted it on FB and I clicked and read. Here is an expert from her post:

"I think I changed my prayers for her because God started to change my heart. I started sensing He had a different plan in mind for my mothering of Hope.

Maybe God’s goal wasn’t for me to raise a good rule following child. God’s goal was for me to raise a God-following adult. An adult just determined and independent and insistent enough to fulfill a purpose He had in mind all along."

and then the comment from a woman who said the following:

"When my son was a toddler I complained to my pediatrician that he was such a handful. “He is strong willed, stubborn, tells me no when I ask him to do things, and is into everything” I said. “What can I do?”
My doctor’s reply was simple and has stuck with me throughout my son’s life. “All these characteristics that you are complaining about now are what are going to make him successful in the future. Do you want a teenager who says yes to all the peer pressure? Do you not want a curious child who will explore and question the world around him? Do you not want a child that is stubborn and willful in his values and beliefs?”
I was taken back and realized he was right. Now my son is a senior is high school. He has never had a B on a report card because he is too stubborn to accept less than his best. He tells his friends no to drinking and smoking. His curiosity has led him to dig into the complex world of biology and is hoping to become a pediatric oncologist.

Embrace the personality your child was given, it is a gift from God."

I know TerJeurst says it better than I ever could. I am amazed at how the Lord has helped refine my perspective of my little rebel. I am so grateful that I see him more as a little boy with so much personality, all perfectly put together by a loving Father. That all the things that make him so strong willed and exploratory, and wild, and creative, intelligent, and adventurous; well those are all the exact qualities the Lord put into him for His purposes. Instead of trying to change Dylan into a well behaved boy, I am able to value the things that make him so unique and try to help him learn how to exercise self control and wisdom.

Sorry for the long post. I just don't want to forget what the Lord is teaching me through my sweet crazy boy and the grace He gave me in the midst of the chaos. I am grateful that by the grace of God, I can look at my messy marker covered house, and value growing truthfullness over cleanliness. I hope my sons grow up consistently encountering a momma that is gentle when they confess, slow to anger, and that the Lord would help me to shower them with love and mercy, as He has shown me the same. Today I am grateful.

like sand in the hour glass

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Read this today in Charles Spurgeon's Chequebook from the bank of Faith, and how fitting it was...

The Dross Purged

"And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.’” (Zechariah 13:9)

"The fire only refines; it does not destroy. We are to be brought through the fire, not left in it. The Lord values His people as silver, and therefore He is at pains to purge away their dross. If we are wise, we shall rather welcome the refining process than decline it. Our prayer will be that our alloy may be taken from us rather than that we should be withdrawn from the crucible.

O Lord, Thou triest us indeed! We are ready to melt under the fierceness of the flame. Still, this is Thy way, and Thy way is the best. Sustain us under the trial and complete the process of our purifying, and we will be Thine forever and ever."

Today marks two years. Two whole, full, difficult, yet amazing years. Our lives are forever changed. Our faith deepened as we have drunk from the depths of grace we never thought we would know or need. Upheld day after day, we stand, not on our own strength or ability or will, but completely and perfectly by the loving Father.

I am so happy that we are over half way through this process. Only 428 days left! Jack has been such an amazing boy in so many ways. There is so much I could say about him, how he has persevered, how he has grown. It just amazes me. Just one year ago, getting his port accessed was not only traumatic but incredibly difficult. Just two days ago, Jack (like the last two visits prior) announced to me that he was going to be brave. So true to his word, my little soldier took a deep breath, held it with his cheeks all puffed out and calmly clinging his doggy blanket, while the nurse counted down and put the needle in his body. Not one tear was shed. I did not have to restrain him. He is amazing. This is such answer to prayer.

It also shows how much he has grown up. It is hard to believe he was only just 2 when he was diagnosed. And 2 years makes quite a difference. He was barely talking then, now he is a chatter box. He talks about his hospital and his Dr.'s, and seems to really understand some of what is happening to him and around him. And it is met with courage, no longer fear and tears. My heart is filled with gratefulness to see this working of the Lord in his heart and mind. Truly peace that passes understanding.

Since my last update, we have been trying to figure out the correct dosage of chemo for him to be taking in order to keep his blood counts within the desired window. That has been tricky, but finally, after a year, the Dr. got the right combo. He is on 125% dosage from the standard plan. But this is what it takes, and he seems to be handling it very well.

Steroid week is always a trying week. but we survive and are desperate for grace. It is hard to explain to him, the way the medicine he takes changes him. It is hard to explain to Tyler how to show compassion and have mercy on his brother when he is steroid-crazy. It is hard to be cooking food all day, putting out emotional fires and calming raging anger. Yet we do manage, by the grace of God, one month after another.

And so, two years have passed, since we drove in a snow storm, continuing on the path the Lord laid out for us, the one we would never have chosen for ourselves. Two years since we sat in an ER, comforting our sick boy and each other. Technically, February 10 is the actual date of true diagnosis, at 4 am. But the journey began on this day, and today I want to recall God's faithfulness. He has been faithful in so many ways. We marvel at his kindness, and desperately cling to the promises of future grace.

On another happy note, the Make-A-Wish Foundation is sending our family to Disney World in 37 days!!! SO excited for this sweet blessing.

And with a steroid-crazed boy, crying at my side, I will end this post and get to cooking snack number 3 of the day. Isn't it sweet to be home, able to serve my son in the most basic ways. Only 15 more months of steroids. Praising God for that one. And praising him for grace upon grace, as the days pass by, one at a time.