This not a post that I usually write, but I’ve been feeling like I need to write this post for some time now. I feel completely inadequate, but I’ll do my best.
It is a story. One that needs to be told.
A story of faith. A story of grace. A story of love.
A story of fighting the good fight and of finishing the race.
And ultimately, it is a story that points back to God.
I heard about this story a few months ago through a prayer chain. It was our pastor’s friend’s daughter.
She was fighting a rare form of leukemia-both AML and ALL, combined.
There was a link to their blog, and I sat down one day and read it in four hours. (It’s here)
Ava Bright Lee. She was 4 years old when her mom brought her to the hospital, due to an infection. There the doctors found the cancer.
She endured interminable rounds of chemo, innumerate infections, a bone marrow transplant, clinical trials, the works. Some of it worked . . . for a while.
Esther, Ava’s mother, had wanted to be an English major in college. Although she didn’t, the reason was quickly apparent. She was a writer.
Although she was so often physically, mentally, and physically drained, she fought for Ava. She comforted Ava. She looked for options. And she wrote.
Pages and pages of heartfelt anguish, grief, yes, but also faith. It was through this writing that Ava’s supporters connected. And prayed. And were strengthened.
Ava herself was a girl with wisdom far beyond her years. She comforted her parents. She spoke to her supporters. She held on.
During the midst of indescribable agony, her song was ever “My one defense, my righteousness, oh God, how I need You”.
Treatment after treatment, Ava hung on. Some worked, some didn’t, but one day, there was nothing left.
They had wanted to take a family trip to Disneyworld for Christmas, but that became impossible.
During her last weeks, Ava sang in the Christmas program at the church where her father was the pastor. It was a beautiful little voice, the same one that had sung “When I cannot stand, I’ll fall on you; Jesus you’re my hope and stay”. A little more than a week later, that little voice would never be heard again.
As many people were welcoming in 2017, Ava was welcomed into the gates of heaven.
When I started following this story, it was just “something interesting” that I read, every once in a while.
What I could have never known was how much Ava’s story could change me.
I’m a high school student. Ava was a girl who never finished first grade. In theory, I know more than her. But that is not the case.
She, and her mom Esther, have shown me what faith looks like. (For instance, read this post Esther posted just recently about her feelings after Ava’s entrance into heaven.) What courage looks like. What agony looks like. And they have always pointed me back to Jesus.
I know I’ll never meet Ava on earth now. But I’ll meet her some day. I can’t wait.