Joel is sitting on the living room floor, sharing a giant bowl of popcorn with his brother Isaac.  Occasionaly Joel grunts a little and grabs Isaac’s hand and pulls it out of the bowl of popcorn.  After this has happened a few times, Isaac, with only the slightest note of frustration says, “Stop, it’s not just yours.”  I’m sure Joel doesn’t really understand, but he does stop, and they go back to sharing the popcorn.

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As I watch this scene, I am overwhelmed with thankfulness.  I remember all of the days when I wanted so desperately for Joel to swallow any food at all.  Even soft foods like bread and bananas he would chew up and spit out.  I remember, after months of what seemed like terribly slow progress, wondering if he would ever be able to eat normally, and here he is, sitting in front of me, eating popcorn like a champ!  It is a very small dream come true.  I have other dreams I have held on to, that Joel will walk independently, that he will be able to tell me his thoughts and feelings and ideas, so I can know him.  I have to admit, that after months of terribly slow progress, I have begun to hold these dreams a little looser.  For the first time since all of this begun, I have told people, “I am really not sure anymore that Joel will eventually catch up to his peers, and if he doesn’t, that would be ok.”  Honestly, I’m glad that my heart has grown enough to know that if my son always needs special help and is never able to communicate with me, I could love him just a much (maybe even more) than I would have otherwise.  Still, here I am, watching him chew up and swallow popcorn, like it is nothing, and in terms of choke-able foods, this feat has to be the eating equivalent of  writing a college entrance exam.

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I am reminded that the things that seem so impossible to me, usually just reflect my own impatience and short-sightedness.  I once again wish I could get a little glimpse just two or three years into the future.  Will Joel be running, climbing, telling stories?  It is so hard for me to imagine.  I am glad that God knows the plans He has for Joel, plans to give him a future and a hope.

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I am also thankful for the tender patience of Caleb and Isaac.  I remember worrying so much that this difficult season in our life would make them jealous or bitter.  Yes, Caleb and Isaac are different now because Joel has been sick, but the fruit I see in their lives is patience, compassion, gentleness.  All things I’m pretty sure it is challenging to learn in a home with just brothers.   Not only was Isaac happily sharing his popcorn, he wasn’t even too put out when his little brother tried to force him to quit eating it.  God has been so faithful to us as we walk this hard road, but even more than that he has paved the way with unexpected blessings.  Things I never knew to ask for, for myself or my children.  God is faithful in healing, and extravagantly good in the ways that he molds and shapes us to be able to hold the full glory of the work he is faithfully completing in Joel.

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I have a prayer request today.  Please pray for Ryan and for me that we will know how to raise children of destiny, to grow them up into their calling, to teach them how to share their testimony and live out their relationship with God in a public and transparent way that draws others to Him.

Comments

There are 2 comments for this post.

  1. Uncle Joel on February 10, 2012 6:40 pm

    I was touched by your words, “…if my son always needs special help and is never able to communicate with me, I could love him just as much (maybe even more) than I would have otherwise”
    In Matthew 18:12, Jesus says, “…if a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them leaves and goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying?”

    Because John and Charles Wesley were tremendous Christian leaders, someone wondered if their mother Susanna loved them more than her other seven children (she also had ten other children, including two sets of twins, who died in infancy or childhood) because of their accomplishments.
    When she was asked, “Which of your children is your favorite, she said, “The one who is sick until he gets well; and the one who is gone, until he returns.”

    That’s the heart of a parent, and the heart of Jesus as well, as He commands us to seek the lost and hurting.

  2. Peggy on February 11, 2012 8:48 pm

    Dear Ryan and Amy, You are all in my prayers always. I am so happy for Joels continued success in his progress!! God is Great! As far as your prayer request for knowing how to raise your boys….may I just say that from what I’ve read here on this blog I just know that your boys are already being raised the way you wish for them. By living your truth and showing them that you are confident in your Faith and the light you shine on others they can’t help but be drawn to that way of life. I know the worries you have as parents…did I do this right or that right..will this be good for them..etc.. But if all you do for them is from your heart, then thats all you need and they will be just fine. They will stumble, they will make mistakes, but having a loving home to always land in when they do fall, is by far the greatest gift we can give to our children. You already have all the tools you need. Faith, Love, Confidence in your abilities… Peace Amy

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