There are some who pity Isaiah. He lost his mom when he was 7 months old. He will not remember what it was like to be comforted by her. He will not walk down the street holding her hand. He will not say his first word to her. He will do all of life's adventures without her. So some would call his life a tragedy.
Christina did not.
Christina loved her life and she loved her story (cancer and all). Her story drove her to the arms of Jesus and she loved how he transformed her bit by bit into His likeness. When she learned she was pregnant she said, "I love my story and I love that my baby will have a great story." She was excited to see what beautiful things God had in store for her little guy.
Isaiah was not an accident. Isaiah was the product of two parents who were unafraid to keep living--even when life was uncertain. Isaiah was conceived and born in an impossibly small window between marriage and brain tumor recurrence. As it was, Isaiah had to be born 7 weeks early in order for Christina to have brain surgery. And he struggled. Breathing did not come easily. I found myself crying out to God, "Really? Are you going to take Isaiah? Can't anything be easy?"
His answer, "This is not about Isaiah. This is about your faith. You need to stretch and grow. You can't thrive on yesterday's faith."
Isaiah and Christina survived that long odyssey in the UW medical center. We all survived. We brought home a very joyful Isaiah and a very thankful Christina. Each morning I would arrive at Doug and Christina's to care for Isaiah until Christina was ready to start the day. (She struggled with fatigue, weakness, back pain, chemo side-effects, and general recovery). That pattern was established and continues even now. I am here first thing in the morning and others come to help in the afternoon. Isaiah is a joy-filled child, exploring this world with all the gusto of a healthy little boy.
This morning as I was feeding him his breakfast, I said to Doug, "Isn't it amazing that Isaiah is some people's worst fear come true." The thought of having a baby and then losing the mommy is too much to bear. Too much to consider. Doug said, "Isaiah is the perfect example of what most people miss because of fear."
Tragedy is the farthest thing from our minds. Joy, delight, adventure, discovery, laughter--this is our reality. Christina prayed often for her little guy--before and after he was born. Two days before he was born this was her prayer from her journal. "Oh Lord, can I pray for health? For Isaiah, of course! To be as big and healthy as possible so he can do well coming into this world a tad early. Be with him Jesus right now, forming his little body as you do so beautifully. Craft his heart and spirit towards you, make his lungs, oh Lord, breathe deep for a life of speaking of your amazing glory and singing your worship. Lord fill him with your strength to his muscles and bones to carry out whatever you may have for him in this life! Lord thank you for letting me feel him move so strongly and so often...makes my heart smile, imagining whatever you have in store for him."
And so, my prayer for Isaiah is that he will want to know his mom's story. I pray that he will fall in love with that story and will then fall in love with the miracle of his own story--created especially by God for such a time as this. I pray he will want to know what special purpose God had in mind for him when he was brought into this world. I pray that he will never call himself a tragedy.