Warning: The following story may be disturbing to some readers. Reader discretion is advised.
I would like to share a little about myself. I got saved as a teenager at a youth group meeting that my friend invited me too. Through my adult life I had a roller coaster relationship with God. Often I would wander from The Lord, and often, in the middle of a crisis, I would come back to him. It seems I only lived for Christ when it was convenient for me.
I met my wife Anita at my church. It wasn’t long before I asked her to marry me. We both lived a good life, travelling a lot and taking up lots of hobbies. We had our rough spots in our marriage, that’s for sure. But God always managed to set us straight and get us through it. We wanted to have children, but it never seemed to happen. After many years without a child we finally decided to get help. It turns out Anita had a medical condition that was preventing pregnancy, and there was also a male factor involved too. We decided Anita would have surgery and we would follow-up with a round of IUI fertility treatment.
In 2009 my Wife Anita got pregnant with our first child. We were absolutely ecstatic at the idea of a child to love and care for. We remodeled a room for him and set about preparing to receive our little bundle of joy.
A few months into the pregnancy we found out that Noah had a congenital heart defect. Again I came back into Gods presence and prayed for a healing or miracle. Noah was born November 6th, 2009. We didn’t even get to hold him as he was whisked off to be life transported to Children’s Mercy. It was difficult seeing him afterwards in the ICU all connected to machines, while Anita had to recover and couldn’t be there.
At 1 month old, Noah had surgery on Christmas to buy him more time until he was big enough for the real heart surgery. He made it through that fine and we were able to bring him home. Noah was full of life and although we struggled with him medically, he was always happy and loving. He lived a fun-filled life. We took him everywhere with us, and Noah did not let anything get him down. He was our pride and Joy and he united us even closer than we had ever been as a couple.
At 19 months old, Noah went into the hospital for one of several corrective heart surgeries. I had never prayed as hard as I did then. I spent a lot of time on my knees with God. After several surgeries Noah had a major stroke. From that point on Noah struggled to recover. On October 30th, 2011 Noah was in a lot of pain. But for a few minutes he would become completely peaceful, looking up towards the ceiling, and pointing. We kept asking him what it was he saw. Anita and I were both exhausted emotionally and physically watching Noah go through all of this. Anita stayed near the hospital at the Ronald McDonald house and I went home to sleep and prepare for work. Little did I know it, but God had been working a change in my heart to prepare me. We both said the same prayer that night, even though we were in different places. We both prayed that Noah wouldn’t have to suffer anymore. We prayed that God’s Will be done even if it meant losing Noah. I personally vowed to God that no matter what happened that I would accept Gods decision and that I would not turn my back on him ever again.
I got a call very early in the morning from the hospital to get there immediately, that it wasn’t good. I called Anita, who was staying at the hospital, and told her to immediately go to Noah’s room. I jumped in my truck to drive the 30 miles to the hospital. I tried not to break the law, but it was difficult. The whole time I was driving I was bawling and crying out to God. Please Lord, please don’t take my baby boy from me. Please Lord just give me a miracle. But in my heart I knew that from the nurses crying on the phone and the pain in my chest, that I was losing Noah. I didn’t want to admit it and I kept praying to God the whole way there. When I got to the hospital security check I simply told them, I think my son is dying, I need to get up there now. I got to the elevator and took the longest elevator ride of my life. My chest was just aching, I felt as if I was having a heart attack. I told myself that I haven’t got time for that and I rushed into Noah’s room. At first I saw the doctors and nurses standing at the door, with their heads down, not doing anything. I ran into the room and Anita was holding Noah, lifeless, with no tubes or machines hooked to him. I cried out “No No No” as I rushed over to him and held onto him with all my life. We both cried for an eternity. I ran my hands through his hair and begged God for this not to be happening. As each family member got to the hospital, we let each of them hold Noah and tell him goodbye. It was real hard to see my parents come into the room. Our sweet little angel was gone.
Not blaming God was very difficult. We both struggled with why we had to lose Noah. Noah was supposed to be our little miracle baby and he was going to share his testimony someday about how he survived. My brother stepped in and helped us prepare for the funeral. We were numb and in shock. I was amazed at how well we did at the funeral service. We somehow had the strength to comfort others and let them know that it was going to be ok. But inside we were screaming in pain. God was carrying us through this. He made it clear to us the huge impact Noah had on every life he touched. The number of people who came back to the Lord and prayed for our little boy boggles my mind.
God carried us both through the most difficult time we would ever face in our life. I never really understood the sacrifice God made for me when he sent his Son to die on the cross until I felt the pain of loosing my Son. Losing Noah had a profound impact on both our spiritual lives. Losing a child is the worst pain that you can ever experience. A pain that seems will be with us forever and never dull. But Anita and I stayed focused on the Lord. We stayed active in church and welcomed the support we got. The Lord truly did carry us when we were at our weakest. Without him we would not have survived this loss and our marriage would certainly have suffered.
I do not know why Noah had to leave us, but I see the miracles of his short presence in our lives. I thank God to this day for the gifts we were given. Many of us do not realize that every moment spent with our loved ones on this planet is a priceless gift from God. At any given moment it could be taken away from you or you from them. We all must die, some sooner than others. I trust in God’s plan that he has for each of us. But we will never know what that plan is, so it is important to live life for God to the fullest of your capacity as a human. Not being right with Christ and putting it off is a bad idea, especially since you may not be here tomorrow.
Noah taught us many things: Patience, compassion, kindness, and innocence. Noah taught us to look at the world around us in a different light. And most of all Noah taught us unconditional love.
The kind of love that comes from caring for your child more than anything else in the world. The kind of love that comes from loosing all that is dear to you and feeling the pain of the incredible loss. The kind of love that comes from the incredible acts of random kindness from strangers surrounding you. The kind of love that comes from holding your wife close to you, sharing your pain together, and praying for strength to make it through this. The kind of unconditional love that God has for each and every one of us. For God to sacrifice his Son is not a trivial thing. It was the ultimate sacrifice for all our souls.
I am keeping my promise to God and I stand before you to acknowledge him as my Lord and savior. There is no turning back and I will serve him for the rest of my days.
Noah’s A.R.K. ( Acts of Random Kindness)