After our eventful morning, I knew I wanted Zach to have some fun by going to the Memphis Zoo. Even though Zach will not remember any of it, I wanted to make the most of every moment we had. I wanted to try to make his St. Jude experience the best it could be even though he probably would have care less if we had just stayed in our room. I wanted to keep going and doing because as long we were doing something I had no time to think. As long as I had no time to think, I had no time to worry, and as long as I had no time to worry, I had no time to get upset. Yes, I would much rather run from the situation than deal with how I feel about it.
Most importantly, I wanted to stay happy for Zach. I learned while we were getting ready to go to Memphis that Zach knows when we are worried. While we were packing, Zach REFUSED to be sat down. He wanted us to hold him. I truly believe he could tell we were stressed, so I made it my mission to stay happy and enjoy every second with Zach.
Zach loved the zoo! He was a little groggy from the anesthesia still, but he is a trooper. It was great having my parents and Andrew’s parents with us. It made Zach’s first trip to the zoo all the more special. Eventually, we had to call it a day because Zach was tired, and we were too.
After we had dinner, we went back to our room to get Zach ready for bed. We flushed his IV, fed him, and rocked him to sleep. While Andrew was getting Zach to sleep, I went to our bedroom and did what I did when I had spare time, read Facebook. I do not know that I can put into words what I thought or felt. I was amazed. Every post in my newsfeed was something about Zach. Almost every profile picture was being changed to “Praying 4 Zach.” I could not read my notifications for them updating so fast. I had message after message of people sending their prayers and love. It meant so much to me because I was at my darkest moment on our rollercoaster of a week. I was crying as I read post after post and message after message. Andrew told me to stop if it was upsetting me, but it was not upsetting me, it was comforting me. It was helping me deal with everything even if I was emotional about it.
I read about how our church, Red Bank Baptist Church, prayed for Zach during the prayer meeting. I honestly do not know how I could have made it through this week without my church. Even though we were several hundred miles away, our church was supporting us. After seeing how much our church supported, loved, and prayed for us, I wondered why everyone is not apart of a church? I hear it all the time that the church is full of hypocrites. Well, isn’t that why we are there? If the church was full of perfect people, I messed that one up when I became apart of it. Regardless of how imperfect we all are, the church is full of people who are striving to be more like Christ every day. Even though our church is full of people who are different, we are united in Christ. I have never been more thankful to be a part of a church body because when we were in need, our church was there.
I read about how so many churches spent the evening praying specifically for Zach. I read people’s posts that said they were praying for total and complete healing for my sweet baby boy. I was so encouraged. I saw that when someone in the Body of Christ hurt, everyone hurt. I saw that our journey went beyond just our local church. I saw the universal Church, all believers in Jesus Christ, unite to pray for my baby boy. This touched my heart in ways I cannot explain.
I can easily say that this is the hardest thing I have ever gone through. I felt so helpless. It made me thankful that I had a Savior I could call on. I could not imagine going through this without knowing that I have a God who knows and loves Zach more than I do. I have had someone tell me that believing in Jesus is just a crutch. To be perfectly honest, yes, I need Jesus Christ to be real. I needed Him more than ever. I am not ashamed to say that I do need Jesus, and that I could not make it without Him.
I have made the comment quite a few times since being at St. Jude that I do know how people can go through this time in their lives without Christ. I needed to know that God had a plan (Jeremiah 29:11). I needed to know that if something were to happen to Zach that their was a future for him with my Risen Savior. If this world is all we have, then I have no hope. Life is hard sometimes, I need there to be more to than this life. I am thankful that God loved us enough to send His only Son to die for me even though He knows my wicked heart. I am thankful more than ever that Jesus lived a perfect life, died on the cross, rose from the grave, and ascended to the Father so that I, Zach, Andrew, and you can live eternally with our Heavenly Father if we only accept it. WHY would anyone go through life without this hope?
Don’t get me wrong, I had my hope in my Savior, but this trial hurt. I cannot be certain, but I think the emotional pain I felt on this night is worse than any physical pain I could have gone through. I just wanted to understand why Zach? Why couldn’t this happen to me? I am thankful that my God is big enough to handle my questions, but even as I asked I already knew the truth. I know that as long as we are in this world bad things will happen. We live in a fallen world, and sin is a part of our lives. Even though I cannot understand why Zach’s genes decided to mutate like they did, I know that until we reach Glory, we face consequences of living in a sinful world. I am a very rational person, so I wanted to rationalize it. I wanted to make it about me and try to see what I did for God to punish me, to punish Zach. I think it would have be easier to be able to point to something in particular that caused this, but God reminded me this is not about me. I know God does not work like this. Sure, there are consequences to the sins we commit, but God is not sitting there waiting for me to mess up, so He can punish me. If that was the case, my life would be very different. So try as I might, I could not logically understand why this is happening, but I could trust God in this time. I could trust that even though this is not about me being punished, it is about God being glorified in this time. This comforted me, though, it still hurt. It comforted me that something good would come out of this trial. However, it did not make me want to be in this trial any more.
Everyone at St. Jude was absolutely wonderful. I felt like hugging and thanking every single person that worked there because they are amazing. Yet, I wish I never had to be in there for this reason in the first place. I knew, though, that I would not want or wish this on anyone else. I guess that is what was so hard too. I thought of the people I love and their children. No way would I want this for them instead of us. As hard as it was and is, I’d rather us deal with this than anyone else. I know that does not mean it will not happen to anyone else, but that is how I came to accept it. If not us, then who? What exempted us from having this happen?
I guess I had to go through these questions and thought process to accept everything. I mean, I knew God was in control the whole time. I fully expected Him to heal Zach each time we went to an appointment but that was not His will. Even though God was not answering my prayers the way I wanted, He showed me on this night how He was using Zachary.
God showed me through social media the number of people and churches that were lifting Zach up in prayer. He showed me people who would not normally be at church on a Wednesday night went to pray with other believers for Zach. God helped me to see that for the first time some of the youth we pray for each week that seem like they never hear a word were getting to be a part of the church and see how we intercede for one another. It was then that I realized that if just one person came to know Christ as their Savior because of what Zach was going through then it is all worth it. After all, the eternal destination of a person is more important than anything that can happen to Zach on this earth. That was a HARD concept for me to learn and accept. How awesome is it, though, that He was using Zach to change people’s lives.