Friday, February 26, 2010

Bringing Up Boys

Wow. "Bringing up boys" is my every day reality.
Never did I anticipate the extent of this calling.
Never did I know of its depth of joy.
Nor did I see the breadth of its difficulty.

We have had a difficult season of parenting.
And let me also say that I am so grateful for the father that Wes is to our boys.
He is very much leading our family through this season and is very much the chief parent. They adore him, they respect him and they find much of their confidence in him.

This week began with a bang.
Monday morning, before Wes and I ever woke up.
Wyatt and Walker were up. (This is very normal.)
This regularly occurs. And the extent of what it has looked like in the past is both boys up, one in his crib, one on the floor, playing and laughing.
On Monday, Wyatt learned how to pull Walker out of his crib.
After getting him out, they both proceeded out of their room (big No No).
Then into the kitchen.
Then to the candy (big big No No)
and both ate... it... all... up.
A bowl full of gummy hearts and about 4 Air Heads a piece.
They are not allowed to have candy at will.
When they have it, it is in small doses.

I discovered evidence (wrappers).
Wes questioned Wyatt:

Wes: Wyatt why have you done this?
Wyatt: Because you and mommy did not know it was happening.

This occurred right in the middle of a morning during a season where his disobedience has looked very similar. Where we've been persistent (with some failure) at disciplining him appropriately and all of our measures seem to be failing.
Big time.
After the season has already felt as though we are failing big time.
As if our structure for discipline is not working.
Or he is not getting it.

Either way, we were both floored.
Wes handled it as we normally do.
With our normal action.
They talked about the word 'integrity' - and worded it this way: "doing things that honor God when no one is looking".
The second part of that consequence was no sweets for a week.
Not anything sweet.
Not even a granola bar.
Not even a fig newton.
This has come to hurt this week.
As we've been in situations where others are able to have sweet, and my boys are not. Where they've been offered sweets and I've had to explain the reason they have to say 'no'.

So we were pretty overwhelmed at the lack of repentance or even desire to do good in our child's heart. Both of us have continued to feel weak and helpless as parents in how to discipline him and gently instruct him towards right doing. This season has been LONG.

We were finishing up dinner one night this week.
And this conversation was had (and witnessed by both adult parties in our home)

Wyatt: Daddy, when we die, who will write about us?
(a common question for Wyatt as we've been having many discussions about the people in the bible. They are no longer living. And Wyatt is convinced that when we die, we will be written about.)
Wes: Wyatt, I am hopeful that someone will write about you. And I pray that it will glorify God, whatever is written about you.

(he frowned, put his head down and said this)
Wyatt: I'm afraid they will write about Walker and I stealing the candy.

Tis so sweet to see this child we have been praying for respond softly to his sin.
Tis so sweet to see SOME fruit of what has seemed to be endless labor in teaching him rightly.

Since that conversation, he has said several times "I really wish I did not steal that candy."

So while we fully recognize that our children have sin natures and they will have full blown seasons of disobedience (right now for both), it is moments like this that I look to the Lord and I thank Him for the great work He is doing in my child's heart. And I am thankful to see a softer side of what has been a hardened heart.

Our prayer above all else:
"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you;
I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."
Ezekial 36:26

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Longing Fulfilled

My sister began a road of infertility nearly five years ago. She had a very text book pregnancy with her first child, Anna Grace nearly six years ago. And then when she and Thomas began to pursue pregnancy soon after, they walked into one roadblock after another.

Kayne has handled her infertility with dignity, grace and patience. She has learned to wait well. She has learned so many valuable things - among the highest, placing her ultimate trust in the Lord and believing that through all things, He is good. She has trusted Him through her tears. She has believed His Word through her prayers. She has placed stick-it notes of God's Word in almost every "lingering place" in her home. At the kitchen sink, at her bathroom sink, on her refrigerator, on her computer, in her living room. Reminders of God's kindness. That He is worthy of our trust. That He is among all things, good.

Kayne has seen 6 doctors in the last 4.5 years. Two of which were OB/Gyns, 1 Family Physician, 1 Endocronologist and 2 Fertility Specialists. Throughout her medical care one of the OB's discovered that her prolactin level was elevated. Knowing enough about this hormone she referred Kayne to an Endocronologist where an MRI scan would detect a very small tumor on her pituitary gland. She began medication and continued blood work with her Endocronoligist. Each time she would have blood work, her results would indicate a still elevated prolactin level. This, many of her physicians told her would keep her from being able to ever have a child.

In October 2009, Kayne and Thomas decided (after much prayer and council) to pursue both 1.)fertility methods and 2.)adoption. They began the paperwork process and lengthy discussions for adoption while simultaneously they decided to try a new fertility specialist in Greenville. Kayne wrote in an email to her close friends and family:

"We are going to pursue both. And if the Lord should give us two children through these processes, we will Praise Him! As we have always desired to have three children."

Kayne received bloodwork in early December 2009 where once again, her prolactin level was highly elevated. After having already heard this for a year, once again the nurse told Kayne directly, "you will never be able to ovulate, nor get pregnant with your level being this high. " Her level was measuring in the 40's and it must be in the 20's in order for ovulation and thus, pregnancy to occur.

Two weeks later, Kayne and Thomas were visiting their new Fertility Specialist in Greenville. He listened to Kayne share about her infertility symptoms and medical care and after reading all of her charts, he shared a very detailed plan to pursue both bringing her prolactin level down and taking steps towards pregnancy. After all agreeing on the plan of action, he decided to take a quick look by ultrasound of her uterus to confirm some things he was lead to believe about her infertility.

I believe this is how the conversation went during her ultrasound:
physician: Kayne, when did you say you last ovulated?

Kayne: I have no idea. 2 weeks ago when I had my blood work done, the nurse told me my prolactin level was still to high to ovulate.

physician: No. You definitely ovulated this month... And in fact, you are either pregnant... or you have endometriosis. Your lining in your uterus is thick and indicates you most certainly ovulated and one of these two things is a reality.

After a pregnancy test was performed, it indeed indicated that Kayne was pregnant.

Her body was not supposed to be able to do this. According to science, to all biological means this should not have happened.

Upon finding out that she was indeed pregnant, the kind physician's response to Kayne was:
"Wow... that really is... amazing."

Her body is limited.
And all of her physicians knew this.
But she is cared for by the Almighty.
And He is bound by nothing.
He has done the incredible.
He has done a great work that can only point to His ability.
Which far exceed our bodies.
Our minds.
Our abilities.

"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask or imagine according to the power that is at work within us." Ephesians 3:20

"For all things are of Him, through Him and to Him. To Him be the glory forever and ever." Romans 11:36

And where does this leave us?
On our knees.
Acknowledging the work of a Sovereign and most kind God.
Submitted to His will.

Kayne is now 12 weeks pregnant. She is looking and feeling really well. The Lord has done a mighty work in her life. Glory to God!

"A hope deferred makes the heart sick. But a longing fulfilled is a tree of Life." Proverbs 13:12

And to help celebrate and walk through this journey with her, the Lord has also given Wes and I the gift of life again.
Kayne and I are due 3 weeks apart.

"He is before all things and in Him all things hold together." Colossians 1:17

Monday, February 15, 2010

2010 so far

I am late in writing this. And that's for several reasons. The biggest is that I was in a daze for a while - lots know this - but we lost a new and dear friend to us here in January. Her name was Aimee Powell and she was precious.

She was the first lady (other than Mary) that I met and sat beside at an Uptown lady's brunch. I really enjoyed her from the first conversation to our last. She was in our life group (Dave and Mary Kulp's) and she was very much there the Sunday night before she would die (that Thursday).

On that very night - Aimee's last night of life group - we began studying the book of Jonah. I have not ceased to think about Aimee very much being present that night in discussion - while it was an overview of the book of Jonah, we had great discussion. What blows me away is that as we have been studying the book and will complete it this Spring, she is present with Jonah. Dwelling with he, Samson, Christ Himself, in His full glory.

As our pastor shared at her funeral, "To die in Christ is not bad. It is to live a life without Christ and worse to die without Christ where sorrow is truly placed." And as Dave Kulp shared at her funeral "Aimee longed for several things here on earth - financial rest, emotional rest, social rest, etc. And she dwells in a place now where these needs are all realized. They are resolved. She lacks nothing. She stands in a place where the Good Shepherd has wiped the tears from her eyes."

So having only known Aimee for 5 months, I am taken by the way her sweet life impacted mine. I had plans to spend lots of time with her. I wanted her to eat with our family. I wanted her to spend time with my boys. I wanted to grab coffee with her. Lots. But I treasure each and every lifegroup - where I got to hear her heart, intimately. Her desires. Her longings. Her joys and her sorrows.

I am thankful for the way her family impacted her life - as they are full time missionaries in Taiwan. She grew up hearing the gospel, and living it out herself as she moved there at 1 and left there at 18. She experienced two parents whose lives represented the sacrifice of extended family, American comforts, earthly gain in order to live out the gospel. She knew nothing else in parents. And that product - what was produced in precious Aimee Powell has forever left a significant mark and challenge on me. As a parent. A follower of Christ. Desiring in the utmost to live out the gospel before my children.

So Aimee's death - and her life - have put me in a fog of contemplating life, with Christ, and death, with Christ. And I've resolved that the promise of eternal life that is found Christ Jesus, is comforting and truly conquers the sting of death. I am thankful for eternal life - I am thankful what Christ accomplished for my sake on His cross and I'm thankful that when I die - I gain Him and His full glory.
*sweet Aimee on a recent teacher mission trip to Peru.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Kind Letter to Wes

I realize I have not blogged in a while. I do apologize for that. I have taken a step back in blogging and am desiring more than ever to be ever mindful of my posts - with the utmost intentions of bringing glory to our Father. That being said, I will fail. I will point you all to me - and I am sorry in advance for that. I do desire, to bring glory to the Father in this small way - and I will catch up on some of the things that have taken place in the last month(s).

A simple way to step back into blogging is this:

Wes' birthday was yesterday (Sunday, Feb. 7)

He received a letter from RTS president, Michael Milton

I was so spurred on.
And I truly delight in sharing it with you:

"Dear Wes,

Happy Birthday! May the Lord bless you with the reality of the resurrected Christ alive in you!
One of my favorite passages is this one:

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10 ESV).

You are the "masterpiece" of the Lord, actually crafted by Christ Himself, in the unfathomable mind of the Triune God before all ages, to fulfill His purposes in the world as the unique person you are. How I pray that this day will stir up faith and good works and that as you continue in your journey of following the Lord you will remember that you bear the wondrous craftmanship of the Lord in your very being! I say again, Happy Birthday! And carry on the good work of the Gospel as you walk forward into His grace.

I want you to know that this letter is not only my way of reaching out to you on this wonderful occasion, but also serves as a holy "trigger" for me to pause in my work and to pray for you personally. And I assure you that I do thank the Lord for you as this letter is prepared to go out.

So praying that you may know the wonders of His grace, the power of His Spirit, the blessings of family and friends, and the joy of leading others to Him, I am

Yours warmly in the Lord,
Michael A. Milton, Ph.D.

*** once again, I am so thankful the Lord has us here. Right now.
Soli Deo Gloria!