Yesterday as I was enjoying my morning and getting things ready for Ethan's two doctors visits in the afternoon (he passed his hearing test by the way), I found myself looking through various websites of children who are also sick and in need of prayer. As I was reading (as much as I could before my eyes were completely clouded by my tears) I couldn't help but be overcome with the Lord's goodness to me and Adam. For a moment I stopped everything I was doing, and I just wept.
This trial could have been so much worse.
Ethan's illness could have been in the form of so many different things... a more deforming or damaging cancer... or a variety of syndromes that could have left him permanently disabled... or a disease that would never give him the opportunity of a normal life.
And as his parents, Adam and I would have to come to terms with the end of certain dreams and hopes for our little boy and realize that there would need to be different dreams for him. And I'm crying as I write this because I feel so extremely undeserving of the mercy He has shown us.
It's only leukemia.
Ethan's life has already been so normal despite his particular cancer. Our lives as a family have been so normal together. We are able to hold him, hug him, tickle him, feed him, play with him, watch him roll over and grab toys... We've made so many fun memories already and if you look at most of our family pictures or videos, you'd never even know anything was wrong with our little boy. So we can't take Ethan out in public places right now.... that seems so minuscule compared to what other families have to endure with their child's sickness.
All along we've been mentally preparing that we will be dealing with Ethan's treatments and various details for probably the next year and we know that these next many months may be really difficult on us, but I am humbled and quieted and have tears that won't stop as I imagine telling that to a mother who's child is permanently blind and without functioning limbs that will bind that child to a wheel chair for the rest of his/her life. Or the mom of a child who's brain damage is so great that her little one will never know how to tie his own shoes, say "mama or dada" or even be able to feed himself. I'm sure if the moms of either of those scenarios thought her life and her child's life could go back to "normal" after a year, she'd take it with EXTREME GRATITUDE.
And that's where I am today. I am overcome with extreme gratitude and gut-wrenching unworthiness that God would show us His mercy and love in the ways He has with this trial we are facing. I have every reason to believe that this cancer will not define Ethan's life in a way that he will be limited by it. I truly believe he will grow up and be as normal as all of his friends. And I'm so thankful for even that possibility. So very, very thankful. My heart is breaking as I think of the thousands of other families who's suffering is greater than ours. I do not take any of this lightly and I do not mean to imply God's grace and love isn't sufficient for everyone. It is simply that He has revealed Himself to me, in a new way, and in seeing and understanding Him in this light... well, I'm at a complete loss to process it all... but completely aware of my revived thankfulness to my Lord.
Lord, accept these tears as my only way to express to you how unbelievably grateful I am that this is only leukemia. And that you have allowed us a beautiful and healthy little boy in every other way. I do not feel worthy that You would speak to me in the ways that you have the last several weeks and months. I pray your strength, peace and healing to all the families and children you brought across my path.
Dear friend, from my heart, let me encourage you as I've been encouraged.... be grateful for all that is in your life. Even with our most heartbreaking/disappointing/stressful of situations, there is someone else out there in the world who's situation is worse than yours... and if given the opportunity, would probably be willing to trade experiences with you in an instant.
Lord, be with us all. Give us the grace to live out the life you have planned for us. And give us the strength to live it with joy.
Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.