For the first six weeks of his life, Charles was a normal baby. Tragedy isn’t something one expects to happen in life. It just happens. You grow up, get married, have healthy children, and a few years down the road you become grandparents. But as you’re in the middle of living out the life you planned, you look at your six week old baby and know that something isn’t right. You learn that you don’t have the control you thought, but in turn experience the inexpressible grace of God as He pours into your soul as He pulls you towards Him in times of uncertainty and pain, leaving you with an inexpressible peace that seems foreign to the unbelieving world around you.
After going to the doctor, things with Charles weren’t lining up.
“The night before the MRI wasn’t a peaceful one,” Charles’ mother said, “I stayed up late into the night googling just about anything I could think of. At 1:30am I woke my husband up and told him Charles has a brain stem Glioma. It was crazy that I would think this is what my baby had because it was so rare, but the Lord was gracious and slowly revealed to me what was happening to my sweet Charles.”
They got up the next morning to go get the MRI and to everyone’s surprise, Charles was diagnosed with brain stem cancer. The kind that you can’t operate on, but you can only treat it and pray for wisdom in the daily decisions.
Now as a 13 month old baby Charles’ life looks far from normal. From rounds of chemo to physical therapy, Charles has already experienced more pain than anyone should have to experience in an entire lifetime.
“We’re crazy for coming to Pine Cove,” his parents said, “but months ago we planned his chemo so that we could still come to camp as a family. This week of camp has been incredibly refreshing and we’ve had time to pour into our other children Jane and Henry as well, when Charles has seemed to get all the attention for the past 6 months.”
“It’s hard as a dad to watch your child go through something like this and being a doctor knowing what to expect or try to avoid. I want time with him and I want to know that I will be able to watch him grow into an old man. However, It has brought us closer to God and together and our entire family. It has been a blessing to our lives even though it is awful. There is no doubt that God is in our home and in our lives. He is real. We are not tied to this earth. There is hope past whenever Charles is called home. This is how we can live in peace. Watching our immediate family and extended family come together to do this together has been the biggest blessing in the entire world. Our family has held us together. We are not only closer as a family, but our marriage has grown as we as parents journey this together. The grace of the Lord is so sufficient in our weakness and we see that play out in our daily life. We aren’t tied to this earth. Today is a good day to die, but yesterday was better. Learning to trust the Lord in this way has been such a blessing. I get a little disappointed every morning when I wake up and Christ hasn’t come back yet.”
“Growing up in a Christian home I would use the Christian lingo and read my Bible,” Charles’ mom said, “but now when I read my Bible it’s like I’m opening it for the first time. It’s so real and we’ve learned not to cling to this earth. Our flesh loves this earth, but we know in our souls that this is not our home or where we truly belong. I want it to be easy for him as a mom, easy the way we see easy. He is a happy baby, he is constantly smiling, he is a sweet content child.The greatest blessing is that I have never felt so firmly in God’s will before. God has been merciful to show us these things from the beginning, this is grace. God loves Charles more than we can imagine; this shows how much we need a savior. Pine Cove Woods has been rejuvenating.”
This week Charles has been in the pool, played with horses, and spent incredible quality time with his one-on-one counselor C-Smack. In the midst of the unexpected interruption of Charles’ life, Pine Cove Woods Family Camp has been a week of refreshment and joy for his entire family. His family has moments of overwhelming emotions and fear, but the Lord has comforted his family and drawn them closer to Him. Charles’ family spends their days nursing him, taking him to physical therapy, and encouraging his siblings to spend time loving him (a job they do very well).
Charles is on a 18 month cycle of treatment. He goes to therapy three times a week. Each day his family wakes up with the goal of encouraging him to move as much as possible and trying to get him to eat as much as possible. The tumor has not grown since treatment started, which is a major praise. Charles’ family prays for him everyday at 4:04 because April 4th is his birthday. We invite you to pray for Charles and his family as they continue trusting the grace of the Lord until the day He returns.