Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Happy Belated Easter!

We had an awe-filled time of worshipping God and celebrating Christ's resurrection this past Sunday! With all that's unfolded in the past few weeks, this year's Easter service was powerful. The message of hope and the declaration of victory over death were just the things this weary heart needed to embrace during this time. 

We took a family picture because it has been too long since our last one. KoreAm journal will be running a story on Ava's journey (thank you to Julie Booma for connecting us) and they asked for a few high quality pictures of our family. We were sorely short on those so I made it an unofficial task in my mental checklist to remember to include Mike and myself in the pictures with the girls. This way we can have a more complete memory of these years. They are, after all, the best years of our lives to date!

After church, the girls went for a spin on their bikes. The weather was perfect and the girls started off very enthusiastic.

However, Gwen quickly lost interest when she realized how much work was needed in order to move forward. Note to self: Must teach Gwen a lesson on the benefits of persevering. 

Then we decided to take an impromptu trip into the city to have Easter dinner on the beach. We packed our food and took off to Chicago for a magical time. But, in reality, there was a lot of traffic and by the time we got off the highway the girls wanted to eat, get out of the car, and go pee all with equal priority. Our staple restaurants Chipotle and Chick-fil-A were closed so we ended up buying allergen free chicken nuggets at Whole Foods and preparing it in their microwaves. We finally got to the beach when the sun was setting and the weather had turned uncomfortably cold. We crankily tumbled out of the car too hungry to care anymore. Did I mention that we hadn't found a bathroom yet? This was not the memorable picnic I had envisioned when we took off for our adventure.

It dawned on me that life often plays out this way. We spend our whole lives planning for things and we expect them to go off without a hitch. In fact, problems that blindside us can really do a number on our faith and our attitudes. But there is beauty waiting to happen when our plans are derailed. 

Ava is a perceptive kid which has made this whole cancer thing a lot trickier. I can't find a better situation to hope for the bliss of ignorance than in conversations about cancer. It's hard to be truthful and wise when answering questions about disease and dying to your kid. She understands so much more than I want her to, but she also internalizes the information with a ton of maturity. In our bedtime prayers tonight, I asked God to help us find a bone marrow match if it is His will. After our "Amens" Ava said, "Mama, if I don't find a match it's okay. It just means God has a better plan."

Can death be a better plan than life? (Not that us being unable to find a match means Ava won't beat cancer!)

Death is not an indication that God failed us. No, in fact, it is only because He succeeded that death can no longer overtake us. We will die but we will still be victorious in death. It's all a beautiful truth that we would rather comprehend later in life when we are old and gray and have seen our children thrive and find their places in life. 

But sometimes death finds us earlier or, for reasons too lofty for us to consider, death finds our children first. Losing a loved one is a messy experience that doesn't have a protocol. There is no plan to deal with it best. Nothing on this side of Heaven can remove the grief and the numbing pain. But God is famous for transforming really really bad situations, into ones that are inexplicably good. He's the only one able to make beauty from ashes. 

My heart is so incredibly full of emotions tonight. It feels like it's going to burst from the joy of having a child like Ava bless my life for the past 5 years. It feels like it's ripping at the seams with despair and sadness for the possibility of living without her. It is torn by the broken dreams and the unfulfilled plans that cancer causes. And then it is stretched to the limits with love for my children, love for this life, love for every minute we have together right now. 

I'm letting her words wash over me because it is good for my soul to hear that God's plan is better than mine. 

The unexpected ending to our day was far better than we could have imagined. We sat on the cold sand and ate our cold dinner. We savored every minute because we remembered the journey it took to finally get there. We dug our feet into the sand, made sad-looking sand castles, and enjoyed the last few rays of the setting sun. Most of all, we were thankful to add another memory to our bank. And to think, we were worried that it wasn't going as planned.

“'My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,' says the Lord.
'And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.'" 

Isaiah 55:8-9


Doris and John said...

Beautiful post Esther. It's always the small moments that are the most precious. The small moments are what is added up to make life meaningful. It's inspiring to read this and picture your family sitting on a blanket in the sand. You and Mike are blessed to have these two amazing girls and these girls are so blessed to have you and Mike.

Jenny Lin Gao said...

Esther and Mike, very lovely day and the journal recorded! Every sinlge line and the space beyond the lines touched my heart, with all the memories and each single ray of hope...all weaved together. In the movie of "Forest Gump", when Jenny said "oh, sorry for these days, I were not with you..." Forest said, looking into Jenny' eyes "you were there! all the time...". In my praying for you, I know that we can't walk with you for every single moment you went through...but I also know ultimately, we walked through the journey beside you, with you, witness how God lift you up with only His footprints left behind...

Anonymous said...

Hi Lees, So glad to read this. You all look so beautiful and yes, His plan is better than ours.
People tell me : kids get it even before adults do. Can't help but agree with it especially when I read about Ava's
heart for God. You guys are ever in our prayers. May you continually be blessed by His outpouring of grace and love.

Gwynneth said...

This is a beautifully written update about something serious in your life. Thank you for sharing. But whether or not you found a restroom is on my mind. It doesn't say. Ha! Your husband displays true love with the princess blanket wrapped around him. Ava displays true love by sharing it. I look forward for more love overflowing updates soon. - Wynne

borabora said...

Thanks Doris! We are also so blessed to have friends like you in our lives. Thank you for supporting us and loving us. =)

borabora said...

Thank you for all of your help these past 2 months. We are so touched by your kindness and love!

borabora said...

Thank you so much for faithfully encouraging us. We miss you and everyone at TLC!

borabora said...

Wynne, everyone ended up holding it until we got home! it was a miracle! =) thank you for the love!

ayee said...

Why is Mike rocking that princess blanket??? Why??? =)

Miss and love you guys. Praying!

Lauren Skulborstad said...

This post is so beautiful. Love the pictures!! Sending prayers and love for Ava and your family.