“ ‘What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived’—
the things God has prepared for those who love him.”
-1 Corinthians 2:9
We celebrated several birthdays in January (more pictures at the end of the post)! Andrew turned 1 on the 9th and is enjoying his newfound walking skills. He continues to be a delight and true addition of peace and blessing to our family.
John turned 6 (yes, my big boy is SIX!) on January 21st. He still has the most contagious smile and laugh, lighting up every room. We are so proud of his tenacity and perseverance .. and how he maintains joy through it all. I want to be like him when I grow up. :)
Of course, we also celebrated our precious Warren, John’s twin, in heaven. While we still mourn his loss on earth, we are grateful we do not grieve as those without hope (1 Thess. 4:13). Because of Jesus and His promises, Warren’s brief life on earth and his eternal life in heaven have profound significance.
Just as death does not have the final say, neither does disability, brokenness, disappointment, or future unknowns. It can be easy to dwell on these negatives when John’s birthday rolls around each year. Oftentimes, it is during Thanksgiving and Christmas that I begin to get anxious and dread the mixed emotions January and February bring. It is tempting to focus on all John is not doing rather than on how far he has come. I think about what a number represents and what I imagined that number associated with John’s new age would hold. I think forward to the next year, irrationally bargaining with God…. If John won’t ever crawl or walk, will you at least give him the ability to talk? This is just one example of many. I can sell John short and also sell God short in the process… yet another feeble attempt to control my circumstances that are clearly out of my hands.
I do not have answers to all the questions about John’s future. Neither do I anticipate arriving in a place where I never experience sadness or longing for all I perceive a full life to be for our sweet John. But I do have moments of truth and peace – moments in which God meets me and throws me a rope. A rope to grasp and begin the next climb…. A rope that may not contain all I would hope or desire in an instant gratification sort of way – but that is surely enough in that moment. A cord of hope allowing me to find my way, His way.
In the midst of this bittersweet time, this verse is my current “rope”:
“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” -1 John 3:2
Verses like this one not only challenge how I see John but also encourage me in God’s ultimate restoration that trumps every circumstance, good or bad, that we may face here. And even if this reality is not yet revealed, the fact that it is real and is coming informs how we live now. The last will be first, and I know that includes my boy, God’s child.
In God’s triumphant eternal reality, John IS healed and whole.
So am I.
So are you.
I pray to live in light of this truth.
It has not yet been revealed what we will be… but we most certainly will be given glorified bodies and made like Christ. Until then, we can dream as best we can – as we did as children – and rest in the joy this truth brings. Seeing dimly now, but soon face to face (1 Cor. 13:12).
I want to conclude this post with an excerpt from a Caringbridge post written by our friend Steve Hayner. His reflection so eloquently expresses what I am processing myself. He “lost” his battle with pancreatic cancer on Saturday, but we know the truth. As his wife Sharol beautifully stated, Steve’s life was swallowed up by LIFE.
“Unmet or unfulfilled expectation can demand higher energy depletion that they are worth. The fact is, that our expectations are generally built on what is simply familiar to us or on our anticipations around our heart’s desires, and there are no guarantees in life that we can be assured about either. Circumstances change. Relationships change. Adjustments have to be made.
Time of both acute and chronic disease are times when lots of adjustments have to be made daily. We can either resist or we can surrender. The act of surrender doesn't mean that we give up looking for the best, but rather we let go of expending energy on trying to maintain that which is slipping or being ripped away. Instead, we “pray our goodbyes” to what has been, we open our hearts to what is new, and we walk again toward the place of gratitude, attentiveness, and learning that nurtures energy and finally results in joy.
Expectations only hurt us when they hold us captive. When we can let go, a whole world of possibilities can emerge.”
Andrew Kellam Stone turns 1!
|John Meade Stone is 6 years old!|
|John celebrates with his wonderful teachers, |
Catie and Stacy! We love you!
So grateful for all these boys!!