Here we are for the second time...celebrating Christina's birthday while she dances in heaven. I smiled often while I was baking her favorite German Chocolate Cake. Our little family will gather and enjoy some cake and some stories and some joy. All around our home are reminders of Christina's life. So many beautiful things friends have given us. And artwork that she created. I am always astounded that I feel like she is near.
Of course, there is always the continual reminder of Isaiah--such a reflection of Christina. His joy reminds me of her. It is really, really hard to be in a bad mood when he is around. Most of life is just pure delight to him.
Isaiah is thriving with his Mommy Susie and Daddy and brothers. He knows who Christina is and recognizes her pictures and videos. Not long ago, he was looking at a beautiful drawing of Christina and himself and asked Mommy Susie, "Happened?" Susan explained that Christina had an "owie" on her head. He asked, "Kiss it?" Susan explained that Jesus made it all better and she is living with Jesus. He asked, "Pretend?" No, Isaiah, very real.
Which reminds me of a great joy that I had last Friday. I was asked to tell Christina's story at Olympic Christian School. My intention was to donate the quilt that Christina's class made in the 7th and 8th grade (and we bought it at the auction.) Before I began to tell the story and show the pictures, Lorie Oakes, who introduced me, asked if I would tell all the children what one phrase or sentence I would want them to remember from today. I thought a moment and said, "Jesus is real."
I think it is easy to learn a lot about God and know so much and not really live like Jesus is real. I told real stories from Christina at OCS. I even told the now famous story of how she tied her good friend Mandy to the tether ball pole and left her there after recess. I also told the very real story of Christina getting ready to go with Jesus. I told how she heard angels sing and I told how Jesus showed her the special dock he was building for her (because He knows just what she loved.) I reminded them that Jesus said, "I am going to prepare a place for you. If that were not so, I would have told you." Even though we can't see what He is preparing for us, it is real. And at the end I said, "Whatever happened to Isaiah?" I introduced Susan and Isaiah. My encouragement was to NOT FEEL SORRY for Isaiah. Jesus took his mommy to heaven and gave him a beautiful new mommy. It seemed those kids loved seeing Isaiah and loved the story. I pray it stays with them--helps them to walk with less fear and more wonder.
Happy Birthday, dear Christina!