|Opening his presents:)|
This past week, we celebrated Isaiah's first birthday. November 1st brought a flood of emotion for me. It's the anniversary of the start of Christina's final days with us. One year ago, we were told that the UW medical team was ready to move. A C-section, a NICU (newborn Intensive Care Unit), a brain surgery, and chemo all came into focus. We were jolted into action. My own faith was stretched as I watched my 7 week early grandson struggle to breathe. I watched my beautiful daughter cry over her new son and wonder if his struggle to breathe was all her fault. I watched son-in-law, Doug, cope with a new reality that most 26 year old men never face. He moved between the NICU room of his new little son to the different hospital rooms of his young wife.
In the midst of it all, we saw God move and felt His strong hands hold us.
To celebrate Isaiah's birthday, I watched the last video we made of Christina. She was a couple of weeks into hospice care and we knew we would not have her with us for many more days. I had no idea how much longer she would be able to express herself well. We had a beautiful time together. We asked her questions and she answered--with clarity and humor and love. Here is the last question I asked her that day.
“If you could speak to Isaiah as he’s growing up, what would you tell him? What do you want for his life? What are your hopes for him?"
With a long pause and then tears, Christina said, "I would say---Isaiah, you are so loved. (More tears) There is great purpose for your life and you are loved most strongly, passionately, intensely, intimately by our Heavenly Father, and that will never change.
Your Mom and Dad love you very much. The most amazing miracle in our lives is you. One we didn’t know how to pray for, ask for, hope for, but God knew and He had a plan specifically for you on this earth and in our lives.
You have been the scariest part to surrender--your little life. It feels out of our control. But our lives aren’t in control anyway and our Heavenly Father is the one who ordains our journeys. I am so excited for your journey and that I got to be a part of it, no matter how long it is. From sweet belly rubs and prayers to cuddling with my newborn and seeing your smile light up a room and envelop your whole body. You need to know that there is no greater blessing in my life and your dad’s life and in our family, grandparents and friends who get to observe our family’s life and what that has been.
So for you, with greatest prayer always, my hope is for you to be deeply intertwined with the Spirit of Jesus and you feel Him from the beginning. From now, you are already tapped into the Spirit, and I really feel that. My prayer is that it just continues. That He always has a hold of your heart and that you always give it to Him fully. I can’t wait to see what that looks like and I pray for those things over and over again. It is so fun.
My most favorite prayer is that you will be a leader.
You will be filled with compassion.
I don’t see arrogance in you. You’re just a baby right now (laughter). It’s hard for a baby to be arrogant probably.
I just see a lover of God and a lover of people. I don’t know why I see that, but I do. I love praying that prayer for you.
I can’t wait to see what God does and how He works in your story to reach whoever He may put in front of you. Whether that has to do with this story or whether that has to do with your own things that come up and how you choose to enter in with the Lord and enter in with people and their journeys. I can’t wait and
it’s totally unlimited when you choose to follow Him."