But as a parent, it is even more painful to watch it happen to your kids. This past weekend was junior high camp at our church. Emma had opted not to go last year, and wanted to wait until this year when her brother would be going as well (how can I possibly have TWO middle-schoolers?). They were all set to go when we learned about Elijah's reaction to the chemo and his very low white cell count. It was so hard to say "no" to them in this case....but there was more going on than just those two going to camp. There was a baby boy with no immune system, that needed protection.
Perhaps even more devastating for Emma is that this week is Vacation Bible School at church. She has been looking forward all year to helping. She is so gifted with children and loves being a part of this wonderful week...but again, it isn't just about her, and her gifts.
I never just sit around thinking of ways to say no to my kids. In fact, I have the greatest joy and pleasure in getting to say "yes!!!" But sometimes, there is more going on than what they can see.
Emma and Caleb-I just want you to hear my heart towards you. I SEE the sacrifices you are making on behalf of your brother. I SEE how hard it is to feel left out and left behind, and to feel like the world is going on without you.
And even more personally-I KNOW what it feels like to be left out. I have been the only one, when everyone else is going a different way. And while it doesn't make it any easier for you, I hope it encourages you that you're not alone. And I am with you-I'm not upset with you when it is hard. I hope I am sympathetic. :)
In my loneliest times, I have found Jesus to be a High Priest who sympathizes with me. He knows what it is to stand alone. He sees every hardship and every sacrifice. And He is always worth it.
And even more than that, He redeems it. You may never know the "other things" that went into the sacrifices you make...but one day, you will.
So keep on. Don't grow weary of doing what is right...at the proper time, you will reap a harvest of righteousness and peace. And the "no" you hear today isn't to hurt you or keep anything good from you.... It is for the good of many...and I pray that it only gives way to greater "yes-es" to come. I love you both.
(Emma and I on the pier in SB. My sweet walking buddy).