Monday, August 22, 2016

A letter to Levi Moses on his 5th birthday

Sweet Levi. How are you 5 already? I am so grateful to have had these last 4 years with you in our lives. You are thoughtful and kind, you love to be held close and tickled. You make us all laugh and that smile radiates across your face. I cannot wait to see who you become. 
Where you were born,  1 in 5 children don't live to see their fifth birthday. That statistic has been haunting me over the last few weeks. I can't imagine a world without you. 

I remember so vividly a night in Congo where your fever spiked and it got so bad we rushed to the nearest hospital. On that dark drive I held you in my lap and looked out on the streets. I saw so many moms, who looked like children themselves, tucking their babies in blankets on the side of the road for bedtime. We arrived at the hospital and they needed to run blood work to see the source of your infection. There were no IVs or syringes. Instead they pricked your arm with a needle and squeezed your arm to drip your blood into a tube. I remember laying on top of you in that hot room and next thing I knew I was on a stretcher out of your sight. After recovering from passing out, they walked me back to your room. On the way, I saw a little baby who had lost the fight. They wrapped the baby in a sheet and carried it out as their mother wailed from inside the room. That image is forever burned in my mind. The "what ifs" and "what could have beens" are too heavy to even think.
We know you were a fighter from birth. You were born very small and many weeks premature. The odds were stacked against you, but God was with you. He had a purpose over your little life even then. God never intended for you to not be in your first family. This world is broken and full of pain and hard choices. But your first mom was brave. She gave you that fight in your heart. She set you on a path of life so that God could use you for greatness. I pray you come to honor and love her as I have in my heart. I am not her replacement. I stand with her as another mom who wants to see all you become. She started your journey and I am privileged to continue walking beside you. 

When I think of my hopes and dreams for you, they are not measured in grades or accolades or careers. My hope for you is simply tucked away in your name. Your Congolese given name is Moses, meaning "drawn up out of the water". Just as in the story of Moses where his mom had to make an impossible choice in the middle of horrible odds. She chose life. Just like your first mom did. She made the courageous choice to metaphorically set you into that water with only a prayer of what you could become. I am no hero or savior. Far from it. But I pray God uses my feeble hands drawing you up out of that water to set you on course to be a mouthpiece of truth and love for His purpose. I pray, like Moses, you are a humble leader who fights fiercely for the lost and the weak. In your name Levi, Hebrew for attached or joined, I pray you stay anchored in Christ. Firmly attached to his side, knowing your dependence on Him is your only source of strength, salvation and hope. Despite your history, pain, strengths or inadequacies, I pray he uses you for greatness. Your story may begin with pain, but in it is purpose. Your story may be difficult for you to understand at times, but God sees it with clarity and triumph. I pray over your life victory and redemption where there was loss and brokenness. Jesus is so good at taking mess and making it a powerful message of hope and grace. 
Tonight after your bath, you were getting dressed and you so quietly said "mom, I am really happy here". Sweet Levi, you are a treasure of infinite worth. You are a gift I do not deserve and such an expression of God's grace to me. You bring light and joy to our life. I pray, in the midst of all of my flaws, I can be a placeholder in your life pointing you to your perfect Father who holds all things together for his good.  Precious Levi, I am so happy here with you too.