Six years ago today my life was forever changed by the welcoming of sweet Israelle Marie. I never could have dreamed what was in store for us in the years to come and I suppose that to be a good thing. Life wasn’t made to work that way. To know what is coming around each bend of the road before we even arrive. It is only as we walk through the journey that we learn of the terrain. Had I known how rugged and steep ours would get around years four and five, well, I suppose I would have spent the first three afraid. And had I known during the most treacherous of times that smoother ground was soon ahead, well, one can only imagine it would have helped but could never say for sure. Perhaps the knowing would have made the enduring only more confusing. I can’t say I know.
What I do know is that we have made it to a place of even land and still waters. After what seems like a lifetime of crawling through rocky mountains and dry deserts we are finally here. To a place that seems too good to be true, a place where the normalcy of others blends closely with the subtle difference of our own life. From the tube feedings and over night fluids to the medications and follow up appointments, the difference between my child’s day-to-day and yours is really not that much of a difference at all. The real difference now is only the depths of her understandings on life, which remains a bit beyond her years.
Most nights she still asks me to pray that the cancer would never come back. Just a couple weeks ago she stumped me with the words for her request, her blooming vocabulary in tow.
“Momma, will you pray that we will never be hopeless?” she says.
“Of course I will babe, but what does that mean?”
“It means that bad things can’t come back, like cancer can never come back,” she replies.
“Yes, babe,” I say. ” We know God will take care of us no matter what, and we always have hope for that.”
“And pray that ghosts wouldn’t be real,” she adds with the innocence of a child, “and that there would be no monsters in my room.”
“Of course,” I say. “Of course.”
I didn’t have to ask what she wished for this weekend as she blew out the candles at her parties. I knew. I always know. And I know that she won’t tell because, “It won’t come true if I tell,” she would just say.
We spent all weekend celebrating. There was a party with school friends on Saturday, a party with family on Sunday and I took Iz and her little best friend to a hotel for swimming and a ‘girl’s night’ in between. It is because of all her tiny little friends that she is learning to like school, despite her occasional refusal to get out of the car. I see it in her smile as she climbs in the back seat after school and talks about her day.
Her teacher comes over twice a week in the evening for ‘Home Bound Instruction,’ something she qualifies for because of all the time she has missed from hospital stays. Her teacher thinks she is finally caught up with where she should be and we just might be ready for First Grade in the Fall despite all her absences.
Two weeks from today we will go back for our next round of scans. We will walk in declaring life for her and walk out waiting to see if our declarations have impact. But I remind myself they always have impact. Declaring God’s perfect design of health and life always has impact no matter if we can see it or not.
I am reminded of a prayer I began declaring back in the very beginning of this chaos. Taken from “50 Promises To Pray Over Your Children” it reads:
“Lord, by Your grace, Your power, and Your love, You have lifted the clouds of doom from our household. Thank You for the promise that my children do not face a hopeless, worthless, or meaningless future. You have assured me that my children have not been brought into this world for destruction, but for redemption; not for panic, but for peace; not for emptiness but for completeness; not for frustration, but for the glorification of Your name. ”
I remember praying it a year and a half ago and thinking to myself, how can I say these words when they do not seem true? How can I declare that the clouds of doom have been lifted when I am staring them straight in the face? But today I stand in awe. My heart is grateful and my soul overflows with thanksgiving. So I will continue to pray this prayer for my sweet Israelle Marie.
May this year be yet another year of LIFE, another year that God delivers her from this nasty disease bringing glory to His name. And I pray next year all of this seems so far in our past that she doesn’t even remember to ask for it every night.
Blessings to you today and LIFE for my little six year old.