For one week every summer many churches have a program called Vacation Bible School, "VBS", or, as A.J. and Gracie call it, "Bee Bee Es".
Our church, Redeemer Bible Church, held their VBS program last week for ages 4 and up. AJ is only 3.5, but they said he could sign up anyways to give us a break (well, cause we left the kids and went on vacation for three nights). I was praying that AJ would take this opportunity to step it up to the next level in maturity and start being a big boy rather than a toddler. When we heard the reports from the VBS teachers about how AJ was such a good boy in the 4-year old class and obeyed the teachers and was even one of the kids that was really fun to be around, I was so happy for him.
Sam Jay would take her kids, pick up our nephew and nieces, Noah, Zoe, and Joy, and then come to our house to pick up A.J. every morning. When we returned from our vacation, Grace asked Zoe, age 10, lots of questions. "Where did A.J. get that Spiderman backpack? How did he get tickets? Memorize verses? How did he do that?" We learned that Zoe helped A.J. memorize his verses in the car, which he then won tickets for. With a little help from Zoe and Joy's tickets, A.J. was able to redeem a Spiderman backpack with his tickets. That was so A.J.! A backpack that was Spiderman. We also learned that little red-haired Frankie Beck, age 5,who was in A.J.'s class, also took him under his wing and always tried to show A.J. the ropes. When Sam arrived for A.J. on Friday morning, the first morning we were back from our vacation, we opened the door to the truck, and everyone was like, "Hi, A.J.!" He was just like one of the group. With the big kids!
On the last day of VBS they invited the parents to stop by at the end for a lunch gathering, so Grace and I went. I was so glad to see AJ so excited and happy and being himself among his peers. Despite having to go through cancer these past two years with our family, he's still carefree, happy, and maturing. It is natural to think that cancer is an unfortunate setback in our lives with negative consequences for our poor children. Sometimes, Grace and I are afraid that our children are missing out, because they don't get all the attention, training, and opportunities other kids their age get in a family that doesn't have cancer. Instead we have seen that God is blessing our children's growth more than we could have imagined. It just goes to show that we can't take the credit for our children's progress. It is the Lord who builds our household, with or without cancer. Praise God for always answering our prayers to provide for them in all the ways that we can't!
Unless the LORD builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the LORD guards the city,
The watchman keeps awake in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early,
To retire late,
To eat the bread of painful labors;
For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.
Behold, children are a gift of the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one's youth.
How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed
When they speak with their enemies in the gate.