• 72°

Joshua’s story touches the heart

I am writing this week about a story that has touched my heart, one about a courageous little boy and his family.

That precious baby, Joshua Matthew Sams, went home to be with Jesus last week at the ripe old age of 9 weeks.

Nine weeks might seem like an insignificant amount of time to the rest of the world, but for Joshua’s family it was 67 days of miracles.

You see, Joshua was born with a neural tube defect called an encephalocele, in which his brain grew out in utero through a hole in his skull that wasn’t supposed to be there.

Sometimes, children can live with an encephalocele, but in Joshua’s case, it was so severe that the majority of his brain was outside of his skull in a membrane-covered sack.

Susie, his mother, was told that if Joshua made it to term he would die shortly after birth (within hours), if not during the birth itself.

She was told of Joshua’s condition early on in the pregnancy and given the option to &uot;terminate,&uot; but instead she courageously chose to continue on and give her son a fighting chance at life.

In a world where women routinely abort babies for various reasons, 97 percent of which are non-medical, I applaud Susie’s decision.

Since I first heard of Susie’s story on Babyfit, I’ve been following it on her blog site (http://mnssams.blogspot.com).

Susie and her husband are youth pastors, Americans by birth but currently living in New Zealand to carry out their missionary work.

From the very beginning, Susie made it clear how strong she is in her love of God through her steadfast faith and unwavering determination to do right by her child.

The title of Susie’s blog is &uot;Be Strong and Courageous,&uot; and indeed, she and her family are.

I doubt if there are very many people on earth who could continue to show that strength in the face of such adversity.

Instead of ranting and raving at God for giving her a son with a fatal birth defect, as most people would have done, Susie instead turned to Him and found comfort in His love.

I’d like to think I could be so strong in my faith in similar circumstances, but I’m not so sure I would be.

Nevertheless, Susie and Joshua’s story gave me hope in humanity; it gave me the knowledge that there are still people out there who trust in God no matter what life throws their way.

Baby Joshua became slightly famous during his short time on this earth.

Susie’s blog has attracted over 83,000 visitors just in the last two weeks since she first put up a counter on her page.

From reading comments on her blog posts, I’m not the only one of those thousands who has been inspired by baby Joshua and his courageous mother.

My heart broke a little bit earlier this week when I went to her blog and saw her post that Joshua’s encephalocele had burst.

Everyone reading that post knew that it would then be only a matter of hours before he died.

The little fighter stuck around for another day and a half before passing quietly away.

I watched the video Susie posted Wednesday morning that was played at Joshua’s funeral, one memorializing his life.

Incidentally, anyone who can watch that all the way through without getting a bit misty-eyed must not be human.

Joshua might be gone from this earth, but his legacy lives on.

He has taught me, and thousands of others, what it is to love so unconditionally that you bring your son into the world knowing he will die, just so he can experience it, even if only for a short while.

Some people might condemn her for doing that when it would have been &uot;easier&uot; to terminate her pregnancy, but I don’t see it that way.

After all, didn’t God do essentially the same thing when he sent Jesus to earth, knowing he would die an early death on the cross?

Feel free to visit Susie’s site at http://mnssams.blogspot.com and read her past blog posts of Joshua’s amazing journey.

I’m sure she wouldn’t mind a few well-meaning supporters during this time.

Want to let me know what you think?

Have a suggestion for a future column? Feel free send an email to: jennipher.dickens@r-cnews.com or call (252) 332-7208.