Saturday, February 20, 2016


Okay, so I've been mad. Like raging, pissed off angry. Last night's shower revealed another leukemic lesion, the second one in her private area. The first one was excised and I cried that this disease would dare infiltrate in such a sensitive place. But now, another is growing right above the first and I feel sick that there is no place that the leukemia would call sacred. It knows no bounds. There are no boundaries to its ugly desire to destroy. More reading of the same articles keep me up at night. It seems no one with Leukemia Cutis can escape from the devastation of it.  

I've been telling God that He has it all wrong. He's got the wrong family. I traced back, looking sideways and under into my life. What was hiding in the darkness that would make him so easily toss us under the bus? Did we have some kind of unconfessed sin? Did we require discipline so hard that he would need to leave scars on us for life? What was the purpose, the reason for this unrelenting trial?

In desperation I called one of my dearest cancer fighting moms. Vent, whine, vent, I tossed my words over the phone. How could this happen? Are we dispensable? Why is He so silent? And on and on. I laid my faith bare. I needed honest answers and I showed my real state of faith-shaken despair.

"Hey, I've been thinking about saying this to you for a while now...From our conversations, I really don't get the sense you have surrendered Ava to God yet," she carefully ventured.

Oh. My. God. She had gone there. She had challenged me in the one area that no one else ever could. But I heard her and my ears turned in toward the loving call. My heart opened up to hear this much needed truth because of where she was telling it to me from.

See, I know she has walked this specific path we are on. She has fought cancer longer and harder than we have even begun to. She has watched her daughter face death straight in the face countless times. She has written tribute after tribute for the friends that her daughter lost to cancer. And I have seen her lay her own girl down with such fierce trust that God's ways are truly, truly far better than her thoughts and desires for her daughter. She is only a month or so out of a second transplant, a miraculous journey that we have had the privilege to witness as we prayed alongside thousands of people for her. The road to healing will be long and the fear of relapse constant so please join me in lifting her up before the good, good Father.

It seems that at least half of Ava's life has been spent on a hospital bed, laid out in a most vulnerable state. We've had to lay her on a cold hard table many times leaving her to the mercies of the radiation machine, hoping and praying it would only target the bad cells and not bounce into the innocent and clean cells everywhere else. And then I think of a day that may come, when I might have to say goodbye to the shell of her being, laid out on a table in a similar fashion except with no ability to return safely into my embrace on this side of heaven.

I wonder if Ava's story has to unfold in this exact way so that many hearts would turn back to the Father. I confess that I am reluctant to give Ava over to God to be used in this way. In desperation I plead to God to spare her, even if it means that many won't hear, and taste, and see that God is love and that He is good. There are all these faceless and nameless people that I imagine benefiting from the fate of my girl and I want to scream. But, I am wrong, so wrong. Who am I to tell God how He must work and who He is allowed to use? We were all created for His glory. The End. He loves us with abandon but He is also the one who will allow what He will allow, as our stories are woven into His perfect one. And this is where our faith will be tested in the most fiery of ovens.

I am thankful for my friend speaking into my life when I am in my deepest pit. But who knows if it took all the hell that she has been through for her to be able to say truth and for me to accept it from her. I needed those words to set my heart straight and refocus my sights on Him and she was the only one to be able to say it. Was it for moments like these that she has had to endure such unspeakable things? I am in a place of humble recognition that I am one of the nameless and faceless ones benefitting from the wisdom she has gleaned from such low places. Lord, thank you that no one is nameless and faceless to you. Your love seeks out ways to bring our wandering hearts back. Remind us that you have something you are working out, something that we know not and that our finite minds can not fathom.

To top it all off, my sweet friend reminded me that if it is true, if we sincerely believe what we profess, then there is no simpler, no sweeter thing than to yield Ava to Him. He is the one that loves her more than I ever could. He is the creator and the sustainer and the finisher of our faiths. And though it seems crazy to put up the white flag of surrender, I am not afraid of who I am giving in to. He is the good and loving Father. And there is no one I can trust more with her life and death than Him.

Please pray that our faiths would increase at a time when faiths can become fragile and crack from the heat of the trial. We aren't sure of our next steps but we continue to seek Him out. We thank God for His never-ending love and patience as we fumble our way through. 


Sugong Kim said...

미국에와서 정말 너무 착하고 사랑스런 가족을 만났습니다. 그리고 그 가족이 엄청난 시련을 이겨내고 서로 사랑하고 그래도 감사하고 희망으로 뭉쳐 살아가는 모습을 봤습니다. 세상에서 가장 멋진 가족이라고 생각 했습니다. 이제 더는 이 가족에게 이럴 순 없습니다. 살려 주세요. Ava 그냥 평범한 삶을 살 수 있도록 도와 주세요. 정말 이렇게 많은 사람들이 기도하고 바라고 이 가족을 사랑하고 있는데- 정말 이럴 순 없습니다. 오늘도 일상을 아무렇지 않게 살아가고 있는 제가 너무 죄스럽습니다. 저를 가장 행복하게 하는 상상이 있습니다. Ava 랑 Sooha 랑 고등학교에 같이 다니는 상상. 그런 행복이 저희에게 찾아 올 수 있도록 도와주세요. 저는 기도 할 줄 모릅니다. 하지만 부탁드립니다. 조금 더 오래 희망을 가질 수 있도록 천사 같은 Ava에게 건강함을 주세요.

borabora said...

Unni, 고마와! 사랑해! ❤️

Unknown said...

This is so beautiful Esther. I am one of those nameless, faceless people who have benefited from your journey so far. I am at my lowest & darkest for an entirely different reason but I am now ready to yield and surrender. Bless you all, my prayers are with Ava & family.

Anonymous said...

I've been following you for a couple years and our boys continue to pray for Ava every day. Thank you for exposing yourself to all of us nameless, faceless people and allowing God's glory to shine so brightly through your brokenness. Surrender is so hard, but I imagine it feeling impossible when He asks you to put your Isaac on the altar. It is so humbling to see Him working through your family. I'm crying mother's tears with you and challenged by your beautiful faith. Thanks, again.

Anonymous said...

Keep pressing on, people... =) Maybe we will all meet again someday. In Church.