Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Isaac's Story

Our Isaac

What does redemption look like?

I don’t really know for sure but I am pretty sure it looks a lot like today will look. Today Barry will run a marathon of 42kms from Moggill Cemetery around the city and UQ and back to Anzac park. He will do it because it’s the next step in achieving the vision God has given him. He will do it because its Australia Day, and he will do it because 5 years ago today our Baby Isaac should have been born happy and healthy, and our new life as a family should have started that day.

Sadly that didn’t happen.

The midwife entrusted with bringing Isaac safely into the world, made some big mistakes and missed the signs of him becoming stressed. He died about half an hour or so before he was delivered and we where left holding the lifeless body of our baby boy.  Our dreams of our new family unit where shattered, and it felt as though my heart had been ripped from my chest.

I remember every detail of that day, I remember the look on Barry’s face when he knew before I did what had happened. I remember Barry making a few frantic phone calls to our family and friends. I remember our family and our church family rushing to our bedside to offer any support they could.

I remember waking up through the night to the cries of healthy babies in the next room. I felt like I was being tortured, every cry I heard pounded at my chest. I remember pacing the hallways in the early hours of the next morning going out of my mind trying to figure out what was going on and how I could escape that hospital ward.

I remember leaving the hospital cradling a tiny teddy bear instead of our new baby.

I used to love Australia Day but now I hated it. I used to enjoy Fridays like any other day but now I hated them too, if I could have struck Friday from the calendar I would have.

I couldn’t stop replaying what happened over and over in my mind. Why was this happening? How did this happen in an ultra modern state of the art hospital in the first world? I was so mad at God. Sooooo MAD I can’t even begin to describe it. How could a loving God allow this to happen to us? What did we do wrong. Why us. These thoughts swirled around in my head like poison in a glass.  Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months, and the deep dark valley I was descending into seemingly had no bottom.

Barry was in his own dark place but somehow we held onto each other, some how we didn’t blame each other. We had just lost our son we had no intention of losing each other.

I remember receiving well-meaning cards from family and friends. I remember one said that “God has a plan and purpose for this situation and he will bring good things from it” (or words to that effect) I was so mad when I read it, I was so blinded by my pain that I was convinced no good could ever come from Isaac dying. To me it seemed too ridiculous to even contemplate.

Our friends and family where and still are an ever present part of this journey and we are so grateful they continued to love us even when we where not the fun-est people to be around, to say the least.  They journeyed with us and loved on us so deeply that we finally allowed God to start to mend the broken pieces of our hearts.

It wasn’t until we first heard the call to go to Haiti that God showed me without doubt He had a plan to use our pain to help others to minister to those that had lost so much. But it wasn’t until we sold almost everything and moved to Haiti that I started to get a real glimpse of what His plans where. I remember writing verse Isaiah 61 up on the white board at the guesthouse one morning. It reads…

 1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
 because the LORD has anointed me
 to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted,
   to proclaim freedom for the captives
   and release from darkness for the prisoners,
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
   and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
   instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
   instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
   instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
   a planting of the LORD
   for the display of his splendor.

I clearly remember thinking how well this verse fit what Gods is doing in Haiti. He wants to redeem Haiti. He wants to exchange joy for mourning and beauty for ashes. 

It hit me. It’s our story too. He wants the same for us. He wants to redeem us replacing our despair with praise and exchanging beauty for our ashes.

It wasn’t until Barry shared with me the big vision God had laid on his heart that it all became clear and all the pieces fit together. Barry will run back-to-back marathons across Haiti to raise money to build the new Heartline Maternity Centre. He is using our story, our pain, our experience to help other mums be cared for and their babies receive the type of care Isaac should have received. He will use our experience to change the experience of so many others. Wow now that’s redemption, that truly is beauty for ashes.

Whether we admit it or not we all carry around ashes. They could be a teacup of ashes from lost loves, or 44 gallon drums of ashes from pain unspeakable. Whatever the size or whatever the reason, God is bigger and he is ready and willing to write a new story just like He did for us.

It may seem hard to believe but if I had the chance I wouldn’t change what happened.  Sure when I see my friends kids starting school, or sing happy birthday at kids parties ill admit it still stings. I yearn to know him and what type of man he is.

But I know where Isaac is and for eternity I will get to know him and spend time with him. But right now God has a plan and that plan is going to change and transform the lives of hundreds if not thousands of women that will come through the new maternity centre when its built. They will be cared for and loved because God is bigger, He is bigger then any pain or situation or circumstance. The stories He writes are more beautiful and redeeming then I could ever have imagined.

Monday night was our sharing night at our home church Kenmore Baptist Church. A lot of preparation went into the night and I was a little nervous when the rsvp's where slow to come in. In true KBC style the rsvp's came in think and fast with 24 hours to go. I was very excited when the numbers topped 100 people. Not because its about numbers, I was excited that people where interested to hear what God is doing in and through us in Haiti. I was excited that people genuinely care about the poor and were prepared to give up a night to hear what's happening on the other side of the world.

The night was a huge success we now have many more people prepared to give up time to pray for the needs in Haiti and also those that are prepared to invest their money in making a difference and changing lives.

Our lives have been transformed and I hope that shone through the stories and the challengers we shared about.

We were so encouraged by you all and so grateful you are standing with us. At the end of the night I was positively buzzing and it took me many hours to calm down and go to sleep.  It really was a fun night and so happy to see so many of you there.

Thanks again to all that help make Monday night a really great night.

If you missed Monday night and would still like to hear what we were involved in last year and what we will be doing this year. Please get in touch and lets catch up.

For those wondering when we will be on a plane back to Haiti. Well that is the million dollar question. We don't know, as soon as possible is our response. We are about a third of the way towards our support raising target and so we need a lot more people to put their hand up and say, we are with you and support you. We are staying very positive and we know that God has a plan and we just have to wait to see what happens next.

We are ready and itching to go back so please continue to pray with us for provision and peace.

If you would like to support us please email me at rebecca_mcdonald at