Monday, January 29, 2007

Meet the Family - Brady!

Brady & Dad on January 1, 2004

Our family’s story would not be complete without telling you about our oldest son Brady. Brady was born May 11, 1989. Brady died and went to Heaven on January 5, 2004. The story of how God worked in his life and our family’s should be an encouragement to all. Karen and I are privileged for the gift of God that Brady was, and accept all that happened as God’s good and perfect will. We are satisfied with what happened. We are also privileged to have a child that’s made an impact on so many people.

We, as a family, are so happy for Brady that he is now in heaven. When it became fairly evident that Brady wouldn’t be with us too much longer, our family began listen to our pastor’s taped series on Heaven. Although he didn’t know it at the time, I wanted to give Brady an audio brochure of the place he would spend eternity. We didn’t quite get to finish the series but I’m sure he now knows the ending.

I want to tell you a bit about my son, as I said, to give an encouragement.

In the summer of 1999 Brady began experiencing seizures in his sleep. As a part of the diagnosis for what was later determined to be partial/benign epilepsy, he underwent a routine CAT-scan. It was from this scan in November of that year that cancer was discovered in his brain completely separate from the seizures. By God’s providence we were able to begin what was to be a four-year treatment. Immediate surgery to remove the tumor was followed by over a year and a half of radiation and chemotherapy. At the end of that time, Brady actually went into remission for about a year. However, tumors were again spotted along his spinal cord and into his brain. This began another two years of treatments that included high-dose chemotherapy, experimental intrathical chemotherapy in Washington, and he later embarked on various different chemotherapies and experimental drugs. The toll of all of this treatment was very hard on Brady’s body. He had part of his lung removed to treat a bout of pneumonia, and in the end became platelet and blood-transfusion dependent. His body became too weak for any additional treatment and there were no more medical options to save his life. For some time it became very evident to us that any pain of losing Brady was overcome by the pain of seeing his body suffer more and the joy of knowing he would be with his God in heaven.

Above - The kids at Walt Disney World

I will say that never once did Brady complain about his trial, nor was he angry, bitter or express self-pity. He trusted in his parents and his God. He came to accept his cancer as his lot. A friend of mine said that Brady had a heart of a lion. I like that because it gives a great picture of the great quality that the Lord gave Brady-that of courage. Those who knew Brady and the trials that he went through can appreciate the definition of courage and how it describes Brady:

Courage: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. Some of the synonyms mean mental or moral strength to resist opposition, danger, or hardship; firmness of mind and will in the face of danger or extreme difficulty; an ingrained capacity for meeting strain or difficulty with fortitude and resilience; temperament enabling one to hold one's own or keep up one's morale when opposed or threatened; firm determination to achieve one's ends, and; implications of stubborn persistence and unwillingness to admit defeat.

During his struggle my boy had a strength and resiliency that is a model to me. I am proud of my son for how he handled himself through his trial.

Brady truly was wonderful to be around. He delighted us with his smarts, maturity, and incredible sense of humor. He was very independent. He had many interests in spite of his limitations. If fact he often times said he didn’t have enough time to do all he wanted. He was always productive and kept himself occupied. Some of his interests and favorites were:

Jeopardy. He would often times come up with the answers to the most obscure Final Jeopardy questions. I remember one time he got the answer to who was the first baby girl colonist born in America. How did he know this? Because, he loved to read. He read everything from “Star Wars” to the The Battle for the Beginning. From the “Lord of the Rings” to books about the Lord of the universe. He knew a lot because he read a lot.

He especially loved history, and read the Business and Sports sections of the L.A. Times everyday with breakfast. He followed sports. Peyton Manning and the Colts were his favorite. Whenever Peyton was falling behind, Brady would put on his rally Peyton Manning jersey to cheer them on.

Drew and Emma loved their brother. Brady praised Emma’s homemade cookies and Drew and him spent endless times rapping sports at bed-time in their bunks.

He liked to buy and sell on ebay.

He was a meticulous and studied stock picker. He once figured he’d make a huge killing on an X-dividend stock and came to me and asked for only $8K to invest. His uncle finally convinced him that if anything sounded too good to be true it probably was. But overall his account gained 50%.

He was sustained physically with his love for, and the high caloric qualities of In-n-Out burgers and Starbucks Frappuccinos.

One of his biggest joys was his little cousins: Austin, Luke and Vance - and he was never bothered by them even when he was feeling ill. He loved to give them what toys and candy that he could.

He also loved Grace Community Churchand its ministries from cubbies, to Big AWANA, to Juniors, to Student Ministries. It was a physical struggle just to get here sometimes but he was determined to do it. He was especially fond of his high school bible study. He essentially hadn’t grown since he was 10 years old yet he had no qualms of going and being among the Amazon senior girls!

While we were watching him decline physically over time, we really watched him grow spiritually. He seemingly always told the truth and was passionate about justice. He was long-suffering and generous. He took his walk with the Lord seriously and was consistent with his personal time with the Lord in prayer and meditation. He didn’t worry about his life or the future. He was what every parent should want for their child - chosen and saved by God.

I would like to address the thought that no child or parent should have to go through this. Everything we have is by God’s grace in giving us what we don’t deserve and His mercy in withholding that which we do deserve. There are no guarantees for tomorrow. We do need to redeem the time we’ve got. But this life is not all there is. Suffering is part of the human experience. If the goal of life is to be like Christ we need to be willing to live a life like Christ who suffered unto death. The great part though that as Christ rose from the dead to Heaven, and through Him we might also live forever with Him.

I always thought it interesting that Brady was treated at the City of Hope. In a real way God does use the acts and affairs of men to accomplish His purposes and in this way we did have hope in the care Brady was receiving would give him physical life.

But there is another hope. It is one that is more than a wish. It is longing for with the guarantee of obtainment. My son was not perfect. As a child he was extremely stubborn and prideful. But he came to a point in his life that he realized he was just like everyone else and needed the forgiveness of sins from God through the work of Jesus on the cross. Brady’s faith and trust was in God. And his hope was in heaven to come. His hope has been fulfilled.

We were so blessed that many people prayed for Brady and for us. People we know and many more that we never knew. The main reason we pray is to give God glory. One of the marvelous guarantees Jesus gave us was, “If you ask anything in my name, I will do it”. That amazing promise had a reason, and it was not merely for the benefit of those who asked. Rather, Jesus said it was “that the father may be glorified in the Son”. The reason we pray is so that God can display His glory. That is why we know we receive form Him what is best for us and what glorifies him most. We know that in the answers to all those who prayed for Brady over the time of his illness God showed His glory.

Psalm 103 says,
“Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: who forgives all you iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercies.”

It is truth that the Lord blessed us in answer to prayers regarding Brady. Look at all the benefits he gave Brady right out of this passage: forgiveness of sin when Brady placed his trust in Jesus, freedom from all sickness and death in heaven, abundant mercy and everything he ever truly needed. If anyone ever prayed that Brady would be healed-please know that now he is. If anyone ever prayed that Brady would be comforted-please know he experienced God’s grace, mercy, and lovingkindeness daily.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting this. What an encouragement!!! Can't wait to meet Brady one day in heaven. The Lord is good and faithful. Btw, I was actually looking for your zucchini bread recipe and came across this. My daughter read it too. Thanks again for sharing.