I posted this picture on Facebook during our Make-A-Wish trip to Miami, Florida. A simple glance at it holds much meaning to anyone that has followed our story for long. Izzy had waited so long to fully immerse herself in even a bathtub but the ocean was the ultimate prize. A person standing on the beach with arms stretched open is a classic symbol of freedom and I knew I was flirting on the line of cliche but I didn’t care. I can’t imagine that there is a person that has followed our story that doesn’t see freedom when they see this picture. I also can’t imagine they really knew the kind of freedom God was speaking to me about either. As I watched her play on the beach that afternoon God spoke to me in a way I was finally ready to receive.
I was around thirteen years old when I gave my heart to the Lord. I surrendered myself completely to a culture of legalism and impossible expectations in hopes of receiving salvation. A culture that would raise me up with words and laws only to abandon me when I fell short. A people that would leave me for dead, literally. Ten years later I would only just begin to fully understand what a relationship with the Lord was really about. One fully apart from church or religion. Gradually I began to walk in wholeness and the Lord pursued my heart in a way I had never known before. It was still another ten years until I knew what it meant to walk in the fullness of my calling, to be free from the expectation of others and just who I was. I began to walk in the kind of freedom that only a relationship with Christ can bring. Freedom from the things of my past. Freedom from my wrongs or the the wrongs that had been done to me. Freedom from anything that was not of the Lord.
As I looked at Izzy standing on the beach last week with arms spread wide, the waves knocking up against her legs as the wind blew in her hair I realized that same freedom was available to her too. She is free to be a child. Free to go to kindergarten and free to go to the beach. She is free to live a long, healthy life but she is also free to go home whenever the Father calls her. She is not a victim to cancer. She is Izzy, the daughter of a King and when He is ready for her to go home she is free to go back where she belongs. Who am I to hold her here longer than she’s intended?
I cannot hold her in my hands and try to make her life something I want it to be. That prevents her from walking in the fullness of her calling. The truth that I have to accept is that I don’t know what Izzy’s life will look like but she is free to live it. Christ died so that we might be free. Free from sin, free from shame, free from selfishness and free from disease. How that plays out we don’t always understand but the reality is we don’t have to understand it we just have to accept it.
In three weeks Izzy will go for her first set of post treatment scans. They will continue every three months for at least the next few years. There were two other little girls I knew of with the same diagnosis going through treatment around the same time. A little girl who finished 6 months ahead of us recently had her week of testing. It revealed Neuroblastoma had returned to the bone marrow. The other little girl who finished three months ahead of us just had her testing this week. A scan indicated Neuroblastoma activity in her liver, though that has not been confirmed. This is what I know: Neuroblastoma sucks. More often than not it does not stay away. It is a nightmare I want desperately to wake up from everyday but I cannot. This is our life. Day in and day out it is our reality. Thankfully we are not alone. We are saturated in the grace of Christ. Grace He gives us everyday to keep going. We continue to have hope for His ultimate healing but we walk in Freedom knowing that NO MATTER WHAT, she belongs to Him. She is Free to serve Him here on earth or dance with Him in heaven.
Blessings on you today and LIFE for Izzy.