Celebrating Love, Life, & a Son, 20 Years Cancer-free

Celebrating Love, Life, & a Son, 20 Years Cancer-free

This month is a special month. This month I celebrate my darling son and his amazing, godly life that our sovereign Father God spared 20 years ago ... and not only spared, but brought to abundant fruitfulness inside and out! Can I tell you the story? 

Twenty years ago on February 13, 1998, my beautiful baby boy, Jeremy John Loyd, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.  OK, he wasn't a baby at the time...he was 20 years old and a sophomore at Grace College.  But as every one of you moms knows, your baby is always your baby.

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Schooltime (or anytime) Prayer for the Children in your Life

Schooltime (or anytime) Prayer for the Children in your Life

Four little "scholars" begin a new school year in our family. Since these scholars are our grandchildren, this new beginning makes this Babci pause.

What will this year hold for these precious little lives?

Joys and sorrows, friendships and rejections, encouragement and despondency, successes and failures...

Lord, I want the formers and not the latters. But I know how it goes...the firsts often come through the seconds.

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Respecting the Holy Spirit in Other Believers...including (or maybe especially) Children

Respecting the Holy Spirit in Other Believers...including (or maybe especially) Children

During these closing weeks of the summer, many of us are focusing especially on the children in our lives. School is starting (or has already started), and we are longing for a rich year of learning, love, and acceptance...good friends, caring teachers and adults in their young, vulnerable lives. And our wish list for them and prayer list on their behalf go on and on. 

So whether a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle, teacher or caring friend, this is for you. I know it can be easy to discount or forget the glorious potential in those little lives that we love and care about.

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Children Incognito!

Children Incognito!

In April 2005, my husband John came home from work and said, “I’m going to Shanghai next week for work!”  Now you have to know that neither John nor I had been world travelers and haven’t even really had that on our “bucket list”.  The idea of his going (by himself, mind you) to Shanghai was very terrifying…to both of us!  As he was preparing to go, he was prayed over and encouraged by our kinship/small group to trust the Lord in this test to his faith. I took him to the Dayton airport very early the morning of his departure. After John checked his bags, I cried, kissed him good-by, and prayed.

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Respecting the Holy Spirit in Your Child's Life

"Respect the Holy Spirit in other believers...including your children." Such was God's message to me years ago when I was raising my precious son and darling daughter.

When each of them came to saving faith, I was surprised by the immediate evidence of the Spirit in each of their young lives. With Jeremy, it was his hunger for God's word through his Bible story book; with Beth, her desire to knock on the doors of our neighbors to tell them about Jesus.

I'm not sure why this should be surprising.  After all, the Spirit of God lives within every believer, no matter how young or how old. Each of them is a sanctuary of God, a holy of holies, a dwelling place of the divine. Even in the midst of the human developmental stages of life, while still being children, God is there.

Many times in the Scriptures, we read of the Spirit of God working dramatically, mightily, profoundly in and through young people. Moses realized at a young age that he would be Israel's deliverer. Young Samuel heard the Lord and received his call as a child. John the Baptist leaped for joy in his mother's womb. And there are others.

You might wonder why this has come to my mind now in the midst of the summer.  Well, these weeks in Delaware, as God's delay unfolded and played out (see my previous post), I've spent lots of time with my grandsons, especially my oldest Kaden.

Kaden was just three years old when his Air Force dad was deployed overseas for six months. So our daughter Beth packed up Kaden, dog, and stuff and moved to Ohio to stay with us for the duration. Of course, this "Babci"* was thrilled! Lots of real life guts, glory, and grace were up ahead. And so we settled in.

It was during that time that I was teaching a ladies' Bible class in the letter to the Hebrews. As I packed up my Bible and notebook the first week, Kaden asked me where I was going.  When I told him that I was going to teach a Bible study, he replied, "When I grow up, I'm going to do that!"

And week by week, little three year old Kaden would remind me of his ambition to be a Bible teacher too when he grew up.

Little did he know that he didn't have to wait to be "grown up" to be a Bible teacher. He has been MY teacher for some time already!  In fact, several months ago I shared Kaden's first blog post (don't miss it!). So Kaden became my youngest "guest branch" at just 8 years old.

Since I gave Kaden a "Bible Reading Challenge" almost a year ago now, we have had awesome discussions ranging from Creation to the meaning of the Trinity to Resurrection of Christ to Paul's missionary journeys to the book of Revelation and everything in between.  The amazing thing is that this "spiritual adult in a 9 year old body" remembers everything he reads and explores in a simple way some of the most profound truths of Scripture.

For instance, before baseball camp started a few weeks ago, we were talking about how much easier it was to start a new thing in a new place when you know someone. Then I said that even if you had to go alone, God is with you.

Kaden thought for a moment and replied, face all aglow, "So then you always really do know Someone, don't you."

So for a week, as we drove together to and from baseball camp, conversations would take a turn from Minecraft and Pokemon to beautifully simple, child-like, faith-filled questions and realizations.

Finally, one day after such truly amazing discussions, as I dropped Kaden off and said good-bye, I was overcome by the manifestation of the Spirit in that precious young life. I had to just sit there awhile as I sobbed. I felt as though I had encountered a burning bush, a holy of holies, all in the person of my nine year old grandson.

What about you, dear mom or dad, grandma or grandpa, teacher, aunt, friend? Do you have the honor of caring for a child? Do you respect the Holy Spirit in your believing child's life?

You have a sanctuary, a holy of holies in your midst.

Yes, there is human development going on...with all the guts and glory that entails. But don't discount the Lord's working in their young lives.  In fact, why not learn from that profound simplicity of truth through the lips of a child who loves his Redeemer?

Jewels

When He cometh, when He comethTo make up His jewels,All His jewels, precious jewels,His loved and His own.

Like the stars of the morningHis bright crown adorning,They shall shine in their beauty,Bright gems for His crown.

He will gather, He will gatherThe gems for His kingdom,All the pure ones, all the bright ones,His loved and His own.

Like the stars of the morningHis bright crown adorning,They shall shine in their beauty,Bright gems for His crown.

Little children, little children,Who love their Redeemer,Are the jewels, precious jewels,His loved and His own.

Like the stars of the morningHis bright crown adorning,They shall shine in their beauty,Bright gems for His crown.

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The Rest of the Gospel: God's Process of Growth (Chapter 15)

Chapter 15  God's Process of Growth Key Verses:

I am writing to you, little children,     because your sins are forgiven for his name's sake. I am writing to you, fathers,     because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men,     because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, children,     because you know the Father. I write to you, fathers,     because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men,     because you are strong,     and the word of God abides in you,     and you have overcome the evil one. 1 John 2: 12-14 ESV

Key Question:

What is Christian growth?

Read chapter 15 and answer the following:

1. Have you been tempted to believe that Christian growth occurs in only one certain How did that look to you?

2. What was the result of trying to put a box around God’s process in you?

3. Dan talks about three stages of growth from First John 2:12-14. What did God say to you through this description about God’s process of growth?

4. What does it mean to you that “God takes us in love” (p. 168)? What is God saying to you through that statement right now?

5. Think of two or three difficult circumstances in your life right now. Have you accepted that God is working on you to your benefit in each of these, or are you resisting God’s work? How does He want you to respond to Him in each circumstance?

6. Is there a contradiction between Christ living in us, as us, and Dan’s call to obedience on page 168? Why not?

7. Are there any areas in which God is calling you to be a responder to Him, to be obedient? If you have not yet responded, what has that done to your windowpane?

8. On pages 169 and 170, Dan says that God causes us to grow as He “uses the storms in the soul” to drive us to a place of inner rest. In what areas of your life are you not at rest? How is God telling you to respond to Him in those areas?

9. In what ways is your soul still turned outward, its attention on the body and the world? Is there an area or two in which you hear the wooing of God back to Him? What would it look like for you to respond to His wooing?

Life to Life...Celebrating Love, Life, & and a Little Boy all Grown Up

Today I'm celebrating "Life to Life" and a precious little boy, all grown up...all by the grace of our sovereign Father God!

Fifteen years ago today, February 13, 1998 (Friday the 13th for those of you who may be superstitious), my beautiful baby boy Jeremy John Loyd was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.  OK, he wasn't a baby at the time...he was 20 years old and a sophomore at Grace College.  But as every one of you moms knows, your baby is always your baby.

This was the same son I prayed for, gave birth to, sang hymns to while nursing, taught Scriptures and stories, cried over, laughed with, read to, taught and eventually launched into young adult life.  How could this be happening?!

To say the diagnosis was a shock is an understatement.  It was an incredible shaking...but also a perfect, but painful, opportunity to be "carried by Arms much bigger than our own."  We saw our son, on the brink of adulthood, walk through the trial of his life with grace, courage, and the strength of an Almighty Savior in the midst of his fear.

And oh the prayers that were answered!

  • and of course, many more...thank you to all who prayed!

So today I'm remembering and celebrating LIFE...Jeremy's beautiful, precious, God-honoring LIFE!

For those of you who know our son, you are incredibly blessed!  You know him as a loving, caring, humble, gifted, talented man who is faithful to his God, his wife, his sons, his family, and his friends and colleagues.  Can you imagine life without him?  I can't!

And so my treasured gift of a son, my Jeremy John Loyd,

Today I celebrate your life...and God's incredible mercy! And how I thank God for preserving your life cancer-free these 15 years in addition to your 20! May He give you many more for His honor and glory and for the joy and delight of all who know you!

With love and prayers as long as there's breath,

Your grateful Mom

I love you up to the moon And I love you big as the sky I love to watch you when you sleep I love to hold you when you cry

One day when you're older And taller than me I'll say I watched you grow Like a beautiful tree

I love you up to the moon And I love you big as the sky You'll always be my little man I love you the best that a mama can

And one day if you rise up And call me blessed I'll say it was a joy To give you my best

'Cause I love you up to the moon I love you big as the sky I love you up to the moon I love you up to the moon

Kingdom Academy

shepherdess and sheep
shepherdess and sheep

Do not be afraid, little flock, for the Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.  Luke 12:32

I look at the framed picture hanging on the wall in my bedroom. It's a classic painting of a shepherdess with her sheep.  And I remember my preschoolers 1998 and their moms.

I think of the privilege I have had to be that shepherdess pointing them to the Chief Shepherd, Who Himself also is the Good Shepherd.  Jesus is the Great Shepherd...and Guardian of their souls and mine!

So when it was my turn to lead teacher devotions that year, I knew I had to share about my preschoolers.  They had become my Kingdom Academy... not primarily because they learned so much spiritual truth through me, but because they taught their teacher (a.k.a. shepherdess) about the simplicity of devotion to Christ.

There were many ways they taught me.  But I'll just share three...the simplicity of prayer, the simplicity of forgiveness, and the simplicity of blessing.

Prayer

Early in the year, I taught the children the Bible story of the storm at sea and how Jesus came, walking on the water, to His disciples who were in the boat.  I explained that Jesus got into the boat when the disciples invited Him in.  Then He calmed the storm and rode with them the rest of the way to shore.

I then told the children that our classroom was our "boat."  We could invite Jesus into our classroom to be with us.  One of the children said, "Well, let's do it right NOW!"  And he burst into prayer!

tree huggers
tree huggers

So there in the hallway, I laid my hands on them one by one and prayed over each in turn...unique words and blessings for every child.  I wish I had journaled the blessings...alas! I didn't :(

But what I'll never forget are the eager little faces...as each child waited his turn to be blessed!  No dry eyes for me...and a lesson learned in the value of blessing others!

So dear sweet ones, I bless you and say that your lives are full of promise...as you face your futures, walking with your Savior.  Honor HIM, for He is worthy!

Carson
Carson

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11

I Am A Promise I am a promise I am a possibility I am a promise with a capital “P” I am a great big bundle of potentiality And I am learnin’ to hear God’s voice And I am tryin’ to make the right choice I am a promise to be anything God wants me to be.

Brian
Brian

I can go anywhere that He wants me to go I can be anything He wants me to be I can climb the high mountains I can cross the wide sea I’m a great big promise you see!

I am a promise I am a possibility I am a promise with a capital “P” I am a great big bundle of potentiality And I am learnin’ to hear God’s voice And I am tryin’ to make the right choice

Andrew
Andrew

I’m a promise to be anything God wants me to be Anything God wants me to be!


Pre-school 1998...HS Graduation 2012

Yes, it's that time again...graduation! Some of you may have read my post last year when my Dream Team graduated.  If not, you may want to take a look at that PK story.  It tells how a teacher like me, who emphatically doesn't DO preschool...ended up DOING preschool...and LOVING IT!

But now Graduation 2012 is a new year and a new group of graduates.  This is the year that my last PK group graduates from high school.

You may wonder how I think of this group, if the other was my Dream Team (after all, how many Dream Teams can one have?).  Let me just say, I remember these five precious four-year old's as my Free Spirits.

At times, these little ones seemed to bounce off of every wall...not in a bad way, mind you...but in a four-year old way! My Free Spirits kept me on my spiritual toes.  And that was good!

In fact, as the year went on, I came to think of this little group as my Kingdom Academy.  Why, you might ask?  Because God in His grace did some very special things...amazing to this "non-preschool DO-ing" teacher!

But I'll leave that for my next post.  In the meantime, let me introduce you to this year's graduates from Mrs. Loyd's preschool:

First there's the princess and only girl in the midst of four boys...Amy.  Amy was always smiling, caring, helping.  In fact, when the boys started telling her, "Amy, get me this...put away that," I had to jump in to rescue her from the chauvanistic  :)  males of the group.  Seriously though, Amy is an only sister in a family of boys, so enough said!

Then there is Carson.  Carson would read my bulletin boards as I put them up.  When I asked him who taught him to read, he said , "No one!"  And I believe it!  Carson had a sensitive conscience and often struggled with what was right and wrong...a smart little guy.

Brian was our budding artist.  He loved to draw and color.  He didn't love when there was too much "upheaval" in the classroom...a man after my own heart!

David was the pray-er of our group.  Often when I would say, "Let's pray," David would burst into prayer.  He often didn't give me a chance to lead out as I had intended.  David was very spiritually sensitive and repented easily when he did the wrong thing.

Last but not least is Andrew Andrew joined us in the middle of the school year.  I remember his grateful spirit.  Shortly after he joined us, Andrew said to me, "Teacher, thank you for letting me be in this class!"  He also thanked the Lord in prayer one day for "Mr Potato Head, my cat peeing and pooing in the litter box, and even for my teacher!"

In the next blog, I'll tell some more about these dear ones...

But right now, I want to thank you, dear Amy, Carson, Brian, David, and Andrew, for enriching my life with your free spirited innocence and love and life!

Your names and little faces :) are forever etched in my heart!

See, I have written your names in the palms of My hands... Is 49:16a

 

Little Things: A Boy, a Bink’, & and a Blessed Bedtime

Little things...a binkie
Little things...a binkie

God cares about “little” things. I think it was DL Moody who once said that the big things aren’t too big for God’s power; but the LITTLE THINGS aren’t too little for GOD'S LOVE!

I’ve found that to be true in my own life over the years.  A few months ago, I saw that to be true also in the life of my four-year-old grandson Evan.  Several incidents, seemingly unrelated, occurred in his life proving that our loving Heavenly Father cares about this little boy and the “little” things he cares about.

0094
0094

One of these incidents had to do with a lost bink’. What’s a bink’, you ask?  Well, the formal name is … binkie. You know, the pacifier that, really, four-year-old little boys should no longer have.  But you also know how that goes… (I remember my little brother Billy being coaxed from his “bink” as we traveled through New Mexico with the promise that his bink would grow into a cactus.  I’m not sure the promise worked…but that’s another story).

Anyway, one Tuesday (our regular day together), Evan and little brother Carter were starting to snuggle down into the “campsite/nap area” on the floor on our lower level.  All of a sudden, the heart-stopping realization came upon us…NO BINKIE!  It had been several weeks since he had been here with it…maybe he took it home last time…maybe Mommy & Daddy decided to sneakily put an end to it all, I thought. Well, maybe now’s the time to end this wonderful tradition (binkies for nap-time at grandmas' houses only).  I began in earnest to prepare Evan for the inevitable.

Evan had other ideas: “I NEED my BINKIE to REST!”  My heart went out to him…I looked and looked.  Really, I did!  In the usual places and unusual places.

Again, making eloquent attempts to prepare him for the worst, I did what any desperate grandmother would do….I prayed!  “Lord, if you want Evan to have his binkie, please let it be here and let it come to light!”

binkie on couch
binkie on couch

Immediately one more place came to mind…the couch!  The last time Evan was here had been before Christmas for supper with Mommy, Daddy, and Carter.  We were all watching a children’s Christmas special after supper.  Snuggled cozily on the couch, he had received a “dispensation” from his parents about his bink…after all, it was Christmas!  So remembering this, I went upstairs and turned over ONE throw pillow…there it was…Evan’s precious bink!

I ran downstairs and said, “Guess what, Evan.  I prayed and Jesus found your bink!”  His face lit up…one happy little boy and one cozy nap with his little brother, thanks to a loving Heavenly Father who loves to give good gifts to His children…even little ones!

Evan and Carter 0109
Evan and Carter 0109

Every good & perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights. James 1:17

As a footnote, a few days later, Evan said to his mom, “Mom, I lost my bink and God found it really fast!”

…out of the mouths of babes You have prepared praise for Yourself. Matthew 21:16


Then...and NOW

PK HS graduation 2011
PK HS graduation 2011

This is a sequel to my last post.  Some of you have wondered about those little 4 year-olds and what they must be like now.  So here is bit of past, present, and (potential) future. Look, read, enjoy, and PRAY for these dear young people...that they will each fulfill God's purpose in [their] own generation. Acts 13:3

XEC - PK 199704
XEC - PK 199704
Sarah Lusk...now
Sarah Lusk...now

Sarah says, "I plan on going to Cedarville and double majoring in Psychology/Nursing for the first semester or year. After that I'll either go on to get my PHD in Psychology or maybe become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. And that's as far as I 'know' right now!"

XEC - PK 199703
XEC - PK 199703
David McNeely...now
David McNeely...now

David says, "I'm attending Anderson University in the Fall and, for now, the plan is to major in business administration with a minor in entrepreneurship. I've been interested in investment real estate for the past 6 years. Though I have not begun my career in that, I feel as though it is my passion. I feel as though it's what I'm supposed to do. Call me crazy, but it's what I love!"

XEC - PK 199702
XEC - PK 199702
Mackenzie 2011
Mackenzie 2011

Mackenzie plans to study either Psychology or Social Work.  She will attend a community college and then complete her degree at Wright State University.

XEC - PK 199701
XEC - PK 199701
Patrick.jpg
Patrick.jpg

Patrick will be coaching Athletes in Action (AIA) Youth Basketball this summer.  He is planning on attending Johnson University in Knoxville, TN in the fall to study Preaching and Youth Ministry.

XEC - PK 199705
XEC - PK 199705
Jared Smiles
Jared Smiles

Jared says, "Next year I plan to attend Wright State University, with my major still to be decided. I am working full time this summer as an STNA CNA for United Church Homes Trinity Community in Beavercreek and enjoy that very much."  As far as careers go, Jared considers counseling as one of his possibilities.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

When I was preparing for the birth of our first child, I came across a book of proverbs for children.  I framed several of them for the nursery.  My favorite is Proverbs 16:1 (LB):  We make our plans, but God has the final word!

I've found that to be so true in my own life over these many years. As you walk with God, at times you never know where He is taking you...

XEC - PK 199706
XEC - PK 199706

..like teaching preschool at Xenia Christian School in 1997-98...

And I wouldn't have missed it for the world!!!!!

So my dear graduates, may this song, sung by Chris Tomlin, be your song also now.. and throughout your entire life:


Preschool 1997...H.S. Graduation 2011

Back in June 1996, I "retired" from homeschooling.  Beth had graduated from my 8th grade and was then attending Xenia Christian High School.  Jeremy was already a freshman at Grace college.  So I was "foot-loose and fancy-free" (relatively speaking)! Then in December, my friend Donna called to tell me that they needed a preschool teacher at Xenia Christian Elementary for the second semester.  The current teacher was having a baby.

I told her immediately and emphatically, "I don't do preschool!"

But she coaxed me with, "But, Jan, there are only 2 four year old boys in the class."

My daughter Beth said,  "Mom, you've got to do it...you still have lots more mothering left in you!"

I thought, "Wait a minute!  I love four year olds.  That's my favorite age!  I can sort of 'homeschool' 2 four year old boys!" So I took the job, insisting to the principal Bob Colaner that I was only going to take the job till the end of the school year.

Well, guess what happened!  I fell in love with those two little boys, Geoff Evans and Adam Bealert!  And I was hooked for the next two years!

That leads to the next school year 1997-1998...and the group I affectionately refer to as my "Dream Team":  Sarah Lusk, Mackenzie Nestor, Jared Holloway, David McNeely, and Patrick Penewit.

And these precious persons are graduating from high school this very year.  How could that be?  How did they grow up so fast?  I know you parents of these dear ones are asking those very questions.

You might ask why I think of this class as my "Dream Team"?  This was a group that I could do almost anything with -- they were so cooperative and enjoyable!

One of my favorite things was to go on field trips. [I always say that I was a "field trip mom" when I was raising my own kids.  They accuse me of making every family vacation into a field trip...and I did!]  Well, with just five children who were cooperative, we could go lots of places and do lots of things:  Bowman and Landes Turkey Farm, Sugarcreek Preserve, the library, and others.  At every place, I remember people commenting on how cooperative these 4 year-olds were.  Music to a teacher's heart!

Now, lest you think these children were rigid and boring, I want you to know they each had a unique personality.

Mackenzie was a born leader-type;

Sarah, sweet & gentle;

Patrick, lively and "Tigger-y";

David, somewhat serious but with a dry wit;

Jared, positive and fun-loving.

I recorded in my journal an interesting conversation three of us (I'll let you guess who) had on the last day of school that preschool year.  We were eating scrambled eggs (not green!) and toast.

One of the children said, "We are a present to Jesus." Another answered, "What we DO is a present to Jesus." I said, "Who we ARE is a present to Jesus." [see John 17:20,24; Ephesians 1:18] The first one said (with a little glowing face), "Yes, who we ARE is a present to Jesus!"

And that's how I think of you dear students, now young adults.  You are presents to Jesus, to your families and friends, to the world...and to Mrs Loyd.  Thank you for enriching my life with who you each ARE.  The memories of that year together stay with me.

And I thank you and your families for your love, prayers, and support during our family crises that very year when my son had cancer and my daughter, surgery.  God used you all in important ways in our lives that year.

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all,...for I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:3-4,6

When I was at my grandson's preschool Grandparents Day in February, the children sang a wonderful song that would be just as fitting for my Dream Team's graduation.

So this song comes, dear Sarah, Mackenzie, Jared, David, and Patrick, with wishes and prayers for a future bright with God's promise and blessing.  May each of you follow HIM every day of your lives...because HE IS WORTHY!

I Am A Promise

I am a promise I am a possibility I am a promise with a capital "P" I am a great big bundle of potentiality And I am learnin' to hear God's voice And I am tryin' to make the right choice I am a promise to be anything God wants me to be.

I can go anywhere that He wants me to go I can be anything He wants me to be I can climb the high mountains I can cross the wide sea I'm a great big promise you see!

I am a promise I am a possibility I am a promise with a capital "P" I am a great big bundle of potentiality And I am learnin' to hear God's voice And I am tryin' to make the right choice I'm a promise to be anything God wants me to be Anything God wants me to be!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBBui-sT2Hk&feature=related[/youtube]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lL3adt7K58M