Tuesday, October 31

Harvest Party Fun

We went to the Harvest Party at church tonight with Carson. He was dressed up as a Race Car Driver. I do have to say, he was really adorable. the evening was a little overwhelming for him, he spent most of the night sitting in his race car looking at the other kiddos dressed up. He did love the puppet show, candy and live music (which he did not hesitate dancing to)!

Carson was ready to take off to get to the big event!
We used 'Herby' as his racing car (added some racing flags, racing numbers and we were off)
Carson, dada, Uncle Hydro and KJ
Carson dancing to the music with his friend Maddie Greer
Listening to the live Music with dada
Intimidating Spiderman Jet Lee and Fairy Catylin Lee
Stopping to smile with mama before going in (couldn't quite get a smile from him at this point!)

When we got home mama and Carson played in the huge leaf pile outside in the front yard!

Monday, October 30

Don't Waste Chase's Life # 4

We will waste Chases’ life if we saturate our minds with thoughts of self, or this birth defect instead of the Christ exalting, faith producing, heart transforming, Word of God.

It is not wrong to know about Chase’s birth defect. But if we spend more time learning about Chase’s medical condition than we do learning about God and His design our souls will shrink. Suffering is meant to awaken Christians to greater visions of God.

Our greatest need is to have God speak directly to us during this time of difficulty. We need the truth of who God is and what He is like particularly with regard to what we are walking through. We need to see His purposes, we need to encounter the powerful effect of His unfailing promises. We need to hear God talking and experience Him working. We need to hear God speak to us from the Bible!

Is this a time for theology? If you mean truth about God, who He is, what He is like, and what He promises to do for us…ABSOLUTELY! Our primary need is to be near to God and hear His perspective on this. Why? Because God’s voice speaks louder than the screams of our pain, shines brighter that any present darkness, endures longer than anything that is or could be lost, and is the defining reality for all of life…including suffering.

Left to ourselves we would be delusional. This suffering would overwhelm us, obsess us and fill us with worry and distraction. God would seem invisible, silent, non-existent. Pain and how this leads to endless imaginations are intoxicating. We would be caught in a tailspin of fear, guilt, regret, confusion, anger, emptiness, and uncertainty. Who wants to live this way, especially in times of suffering?

What we need most in this hour is to hear our Saviors voice through God’s Word and to feel our heavenly Fathers hand by believing the truth found in God’s Word. We need to hear this voice and believe this truth as we spend those precious moments with God everyday alone. We need to hear it when we cry, when we pray, when we laugh, when we’re weary from the fight to believe. We need to hear it when we are staring at the sonogram machine, or when the doctor tells us our baby has minutes or days to live. We need to hear His voice and believe His truth as we fellowship with our friends and family. If we listen, we will become fearless. If we listen, we will endure. If we listen, we will fight the good fight. If we listen, we will know that we need to be rescued. If we listen we will persevere. If we listen, we will live.

Psalm 119.71-72 “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes. The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold or silver pieces.” What a waste of our son’s life if we spend more time thinking about this trial or his medical condition than we do thinking about God!

Sunday, October 29

Treasures in the Darkness

A good friend sent me the lyrics to the song below. My soul was so encouraged by the words. Reading them, I realized throughout this whole journey that the 'treasures in the darkness have only grown.' It is in the darkness that He has shown me the greatness of the Cross...the great cost that was paid and the great suffering that He endured for us, undeserving sinners...seeing the Cross shine more brightly than i ever have before is a treasure indeed! When my heart is weak and filled with immense sadness, I can rejoice and find such sweet solace in the triumph of the cross!

When Trials Come

by, Margaret Becker

When trials come, no longer fear
For in the pain, our God draws near
To a fine faith worth more than gold
And there His faithfulness is told
And there His faithfulness is told
Within the night I know your peace,
The breath of God brings strength to me
And new each morning mercy flows
As treasures of the darkness grow
As treasures of the darkness grow

I turn to wisdom not my own
For every battle you have known
My confidence will rest in you
Your love endures, your ways are good
Your love endures, your ways are good
When I am weary with the cost
I see the triumph of the Cross
So in its shadow I shall run
Till He completes the work begun
Till He completes the work begun
One day all things will be made new
I’ll see the hope you’ve called me to
And in your kingdom paved with gold
I’ll praise your faithfulness of old
I’ll praise your faithfulness of old

Friday, October 27

Don't Waste Chase's Life # 3

We will waste Chase's life if we are more aware of how difficult this trial is instead of being preoccupied with Christ and His all-sufficient grace.

On the morning of 2.24.06 I was sitting in Starbucks spending time with Jesus. It was just over a month before Jenni and I were knocked to our knees with the news that our little Chase had a life terminating birth defect. Little did I know that on that day God was preparing me for what I was to face for the next year + of my life. I remember crying at the corner table b/c I was so affected by how God was speaking to me through His Word. I remember going home that night wanting to tell Jenni how God met me and wanting to prepare her for the day suffering would come knocking on our door. We heard the knock on 4.5.06. What you are about to read is my journal entry on the morning of 2.24.

Meditation on Psalm 63…
David is King here in this Psalm (v. 11). And we know that someone is attempting to terminate his life (v. 9). We know from 2 Sam 15.23 that the individual seeking David’s life is his very own son Absalom.

What must it have been like for David? He was experiencing relational abandonment and estrangement from his very own son that he loved and sought to raise up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. But not only was their relational abandonment and estrangement, there was hatred that was expressing itself in murderous desires.

What does David do in this moment? What does he think of? Where does he go? Who does he seek? David’s example is worth imitating for he is “a man after God’s own heart.”

David prays. This entire Psalm is addressed to one person, GOD. He asks for one thing – GOD himself. He doesn’t pray for protection, victory, silence, peace, rest, relational reconciliation…he prays for God (v. 1).

David needed to know and to feel that God’s steadfast love was and is better than life (v. 3). David could have been killed in the middle of the night by a traitor in his army. How did he sleep at night? How did he keep his eyes and mind off of the difficulty in the situation? He reminded himself that the steadfast love of the Lord was better than life. It was better than the possibility or the reality of being killed in the night. But this rest is not a rest that is easily felt. David needed God to answer this prayer and help him not just to taste the reality of this truth but to feel it as well.

OH TO KNOW MY HEAVENLY FATHER LIKE THIS! To value and treasure God in such a way that all else pales in comparison. Ease pales, comfort pales, exaltation pales, pleasure pales, all things pale in comparison to knowing and treasuring Christ. Would this not be better than all the world could offer?!?

When all else is put in its proper reality and God is central and engulfs all of our hearts affections, desires, trust, then we will sing for joy, b/c we will not account our life as of any value only that we might behold the beauty and glory of the Lord in His sanctuary.

When there are trials in my life where is it that I turn? I usually go to the purpose of these trials to provide me comfort. I go to James 1. How often though do I go to Psalm 63? How often do I think, “I need to fellowship and be with my Jesus?”

There will be times in my life where I will be fearful and heart broken, where will I turn? Will I drown in thoughts of how difficult my life is in that moment? What will be shining as the all encompassing value and desire of my heart? Will it be God? Lord may it be so.

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12.1-3) If we do not fix our eyes on Christ and spend more time learning and growing in our love for Him as opposed to drowning in the difficulty of our suffering we will waste Chase’s life.

Thursday, October 26

Creating a Masterpiece

We started a project for baby Chase tonight. We all changed into old clothes, covered the kitchen floor in paper and pulled out the paint. By the end there was paint everywhere, Carson was covered from head to toe (literally)! He got a little 'too' excited at one point and attempted to escape from the kitchen, but thankfully was caught before he got to the couch. See the progression of fun below...

Don't Waste Chase's Life # 2

We will waste Chase’s life if in our time of affliction we distance ourselves from God instead of drawing near to Him.

“Let us with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb 4.16) for we have a mighty Savior who bore our griefs and carried our sorrows (Is 53). He is able to sympathize with our weaknesses, and our temptations yet was without sin (Heb 4.15). He deals gently with the weak because He Himself is beset with weakness (Heb 5.2). Therefore let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith (Heb 10.22) knowing that our suffering Savior welcomes His suffering children in their time of need.

Many have called this act of “drawing near” communion with God. Among the many was a man named John Owen (1616-1683). Owens experience of communion with God amidst significant trial and affliction is a great example for us. John Owen was a godly father to eleven children and he walked through the valley of weeping with Jesus eleven times - he buried all of his eleven children before he died in 1683. Writing a letter during an illness in 1674 he said to a friend, “Christ is our best friend and ere long will be our only friend. I pray God with all my heart that I may be weary of everything else but converse and communion with Him.” John Owen, enabled by the grace of God embraced trial and affliction in his life so that it drove him into deeper communion with God not away from it. Owen said, “Friendship is most maintained and kept up by visits; and these, the more free and less occasioned by urgent business…” In other words, in the midst of an extremely painful and busy life he made many visits to meet His glorious friend and to think about His greatness.

It is only in God that we will find our supreme comfort during times of suffering and affliction. John Owen drew near to God in the midst of his many journeys through the valley of weeping and he found light, comfort and freedom. God invites us to find and experience the same.

“In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears. He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me (Psalm 18.6,19).” If we do not draw near to God in our distress and affliction we will waste Chases’ life.

Monday, October 23

Don't Waste Chase's Life # 1

We will waste Chase’s life if we do not believe that our suffering is designed by God for our good and His glory.

How can this be? How can this horrible reality be for our good and for God’s glory? We must confess that we have asked this question many times throughout these past 9 months. We would both say that we believe with all of our hearts that God is sovereign over everything, but when tragedy knocked on our door new questions began to emerge in our hearts. It was one thing to say we believe this in the midst of our easy, suffering-free life, but it was another to believe this with all of our hearts in the midst of unimaginable tragedy.

Some believe and have said that God could not have willed this to happen – He just permitted it. Though I understand their logic I believe they are wrong, and it has brought us no comfort. What God allows, He allows intentionally. And this intentionality is His design. God could have formed and knitted Chases’ head differently (Psalm 139.13), but He has willed not to. He has willed not to because this is His design. It is His design so that all things, including suffering work out for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8.28).

God was not strong-armed into submission by some other force outside of Himself to allow this, for if this was true than God would cease to be God. God graciously rules over all things, including Satan, and everything that He purposes happens, and nothing but His purposes happen (Isaiah 14.24,27).

Acknowledging and embracing this truth of God’s gracious rule over all doesn’t mean that we play the “pat Christian” and say all of the “pat” answers while we drown in confusion, anger, and self-pity. It isn’t meant to lead to stoicism or dishonesty. This truth is meant to drive us to God in all of our sorrow and pain. It’s meant to lead us to affirm all that we know to be true about God from His Word, lay everything that we are facing on the table, plead for God’s help in our time of need and then emerge standing firm on Biblical convictions regardless of how we feel. God welcomes His children in all of their suffering, pain, and confusion, He doesn’t avoid them. For it was His design that these trials and afflictions would lead us to rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead (2 Corinthians 1.9) and in whose presence is the fullness of joy and pleasures for evermore (Psalm 16.11). If we do not believe that this momentary affliction is designed by God for our good and His glory we will waste Chase's life.

A Wedding is on the way!!

Dave asked Alice to marry him on Saturday night (well early Sunday morning) and of course, she said YES! Dave threw a surprise engagment party for Alice at the Smiths house last night. It was such a gift to see the two so happy (and everyone else for that matter). I am SO excited to have a new sister in the family and already can't wait for the big day.

Alice really was surprised when she walked in the door. Dave did a GREAT job planning the whole event!
The Groom and Bride to be
I just had to add this one...it was too cute not to. Carson was so happy to see his uncle Davie and auntie Alice.

Sunday, October 22

Don't Waste Chase's Life

One of the men that we have been so grateful for throughout the past 9 months has been Dr. John Piper. He has helped us know and treasure God in deeper and more profound ways than we ever have before. We have sought to immerse ourselves in his writings and sermons and he has left us with God time after time again.

Earlier this year he was diagnosed with cancer and on the eve of undergoing prostate surgery he wrote a short article entitled “Don’t Waste Your Cancer.” I was tremendously affected by his passion for God and his intense fight for joy amidst hours of pain and sickness. I was so influenced by this that when we heard the news that our son Chase had a life terminating birth defect I began thinking how not to waste his life.

We believe in God’s power to heal Chase and that it is right and good to ask God to exalt Himself through the miraculous healing of Chase's body. God knows that neither one of us have desired a miracle more than we do now. Chase's life won’t be wasted if we pray for this. But healing is not God’s will for everyone and there are many other ways to waste our sons’ life.

What you are about to read in the next few weeks are 12 discoveries that Jenni and I have seen throughout these past 9 months. They are lessons that we have learned and are still learning. They have comforted us, corrected us, and directed us. Many of them we have learned from you, with you, and through you and our prayer in posting them is that they might minister to you as they have ministered to us (2 Cor.1.3-5). We are praying for ourselves and for you that we not waste Chase's life.

Friday, October 20

cup cakes

We made cup cakes the other day and Carson got to ice one all by himself. He ended up eating more icing than what actually ended up on the finished product.

The beautiful finished product!!

Thursday, October 12

Fall Fun!

We went to Butler's Orchard today to pick some pumpkins and enjoy all of the fun activites they have for kiddos...see below!

We took a hayride through the woods to get to the pumpkin patch. Carson loved the bumpy ride, wavying and yelling 'goodbye' to all those left behind.

They had a HUGE slide that kids could go down on burlap sacks. Carson was a little small to go by himself, but he loved going with dada.

There was a smaller slide that Carson was able to do all by himself (we had to do this one over and over and over).

Carson loved all the animals...the sheep...

...the pigs too!

Where is Carson? There he is!!

handsome little Carson!

Sunday, October 8


Months ago I read the book, 'From Grief to Glory' by James W. Bruce III. He quotes Benjamin Warfield on the topic of self-sacrifice. 'Self-sacrifice brought Christ into the world. And self-sacrifice will lead us, His followers, not away from, but into the midst of men. Wherever men suffer, there will we be to comfort. Wherever men strive, there will we be to help. Wherever men fail, there will we be to uplift. Self-sacrifice means not indifference to our times and our fellows, it means absorption in them. It means forgetfulness of self in others. It means not that we should live one life, but a thousand lives, binding ourselves to a thousand souls by the filaments of so loving a sympathy that their lives become ours. Only when we humbly walk this path, seeking truly in it not our own things, but those of others, we shall find the promise true, that he who loses his life shall find it. Only when, like Christ, and in loving obedience to His call and example, we take no account of ourselves, but freely give ourselves to others, we shall find, each in his measure, the saying true of himself also, 'Wherefore also God hath highly exalted him.' The path of self--sacrifice is the path to glory.'

Our lives have been surrounded by others self-sacrificing of themselves, heroically serving our family. Meals being brought to the house on a weekly basis, girls cleaning my entire house every other week, fellas doing yard work, gift baskets from singles care groups of all our favorite yummies, gift cards out to dinner, countless number of cards from friends and relatives telling us of their love and support for us, anonymous financial gifts given to us at different times, handmade gifts sent (each made with love for little chase), the countless prayers lifted up from so many (I can not count nor comprehend all those that love our boy and are praying for him on a daily basis), mrs jansen taking carson for a full day each month so that I can rest, lisa simmons taking carson each sat am for a few hours to allow me more rest, and then the angel sent from above in the form of jessica somerville, serving our family on a daily basis with carson, household items, errands, my soul, and the countless hours of those who have listened and cared for my soul throughout all this.
We have been the benefactors of these saints and their deep love for the Lord. we have fallen, been in need and have experienced the body of Christ working in amazing ways. how undeserving we truly are. it has been humbling...it has been wonderful..all of this has revealed to me more of the character of God. I have learned so much more about his loving kindness, His nearness his faithfulness. words can not express the gratitude in my heart towards all of those that have served us in some way. I can only say thank you...our family thank's God for each of you.

Wednesday, October 4

the new carson

someone got a haircut today. we loved the curls, but they were getting a little out of control. he really does look like a toddler now, a real big boy!

Monday, October 2


the last couple of days i have experienced a peace in my heart. the temptations, struggles, battles and pain still remians, but i can say that i have experienced a peace that transcends all understanding. the Lord has been teaching me more and more each day of this trail what it means to be perfectly satisfied with His will...the will of God.

when faced with a near death experienc of his daughter, George Muller said, 'I was enabled to delight myself in the will of God; for I felt perfectly sure, that, if the Lord took this beloved daughter, it woould be best for her parents, best for herself, and more for the glory of God than if she lived. this better part i was satisfied with; and thus my heart had peace, perfect peace' (The Pleasures of God, by John Piper).

His will being manifested in my son's life and death will bring Him the most glory...knowing that I can find rest. this is the better part, the part in all of this that matters most- the glory of God! it is easy to see all that is seemingly taken away from me, all the difficulty and strife this trial has brought me. but focusing on all of that only brings sadness and anxiety. when i look harder, i see His hand in it all...i see His perfect will, i see His glory beening made known so much greater in my eyes...this brings me joy..this brings me that peace. oh, how i pray that i would continue to trust in His will, that i would hold fast to his promises for my son and for me and continue to learn what it means to be at perfect peace with His sovereign will!