Riley: "Mommmmmeeee....that's silly! You can't be a chameleon. Chameleons don't talk!"
My dear sweet Reese,
Happy birthday, my littlest. Like I do every day, I thought about you all day. But this week, I tried my hardest to imagine what birthdays are like in Heaven. I'm sure I can't even fathom what a party must be like in a place already so perfect in every way. I'm sure each day is sweeter than the next. Heavenly cake and ice cream must be tasty indeed. Is chocolate even richer and tastier? Your sister would be excited about that.
It is hard to believe a year has passed since I saw you. Daddy and I were talking last night about how this year has been like a hazy dream to us. There are many days that I wake up and hope that it was a dream - that I'll see your big brown eyes smiling at me, your chubby cheeks and little lips grinning at me, your little teeth popping out for a perfect one year old smile. I miss your smile, your little voice, your chuckles, even your tears.
The truth is, my baby, I miss every bit about you.
But, my sweet Reese, I want you to know more than anything that missing you is not our burden, it is our blessing. Our hearts hurt and we cry - but only because we love you so much and it is so very hard to be apart from you, even for a minute. Just like your sister, you are a true gift to us. We thank God for choosing us for you.
Don't worry about us, my littlest. We are strong and we are comforted in knowing that you are safe in the arms of our Lord, where you are meant to be. And we know you are enjoying every sweet and tender moment of your heavenly life. So keep playing. Keep dancing. Keep singing. Keep laughing. If it is decades until we see you again, we know that the time we spend apart will only be a fraction of the time we have together in eternity.
My sweet Reese, you have blessed our lives more than we could have ever imagined and we can't wait for the day when we can tell you all about it. Without ever saying a word, you have filled us with so much love. Love to fill many, many more years to come.
I am so lucky to be your mommy. I love you so much.
Happy Birthday my little Reese,
"The LORD Almighty has sworn, “Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will happen." Isaiah 14:24
Riley: "Mommy, your Bible doesn't have any pictures!"
Wikipedia: "Guide: A person who leads anyone through unknown or unmapped country."
Websters: "Guide: One that leads or directs another's way."
"The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." Isaiah 58:11
"For that is what God is like. He is our God forever and ever, and he will guide us until we die." Psalm 48:14
"Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies-- make straight your way before me." Psalm 5:8
"Though the Lord gave you adversity for food and suffering for drink he will still be with you to teach you. You will see your teacher with your own eyes. Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say 'This is the way you should go,' whether to the right or to the left." Isaiah 30:20-21 (NLT)
"Teach me how to live, O LORD. Lead me along the right path, for my enemies are waiting for me." Psalm 27:11 (NLT)
"Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long." Psalm 25: 4-5
"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." Psalm 119:105
Me: "Riley, are you excited? You get to go to Gran Gran's house today!"
Riley: "But, mommy, I don't want to go to Gran Gran's house."
Me: "Really? But she has lots of toys for you to play with ..."
Riley: "Oh wait, I forgot. I like going to Gran Gran's house."
I turn 35 today and I have so many mixed emotions about this, that I am pretty sure I could never truly nutshell it in a blog post.
I am trying really hard these days not to be obsessed with my age. I was never obsessed with it until Reese died. Now, this tick, tick, tick keeps clanging in my head ... driving me nuts. Another worry I am working on throwing your way, God. Your will be done. Your will be done. Your will be done.
In many ways, 35 years have flown by and I have no reason to believe the next 35 (God willing) won't do the same. Perspective can be annoying.
I've written this so many times before but I do feel so blessed in a million ways. I want to take today to remember that. Every time I start to think about what I don't have (namely, a little girl named Reese in my arms), my God gently scolds me to look around at all I do have. It's impossible for me to wallow in self-pity for too long ... even though there are days when that is all I want to do. As my friend Erin wrote recently on her blog, God will fill you if you ask. He's not big on self-pity.
So my prayer for year 36 is that I will remember each day that life is short but beautifully sweet.
That I will be focused not on what I cannot control, but on what I can. That I will let the rest go. A daily choice I have to make.
That I will grieve what I miss, but that I will not allow this grief to cause me to miss the point. Grief will be washed away in the end. Which is actually the beginning.
That I will laugh and love in the blessing of the sweet moments. They are gifts.
That I will remember what I have. Which is a lot.
That I will not take anything for granted. They are blessings, they are not my right.
That my heart will break for what breaks God's. And that I will take action on this.
That I will live this next year with renewed strength, a thankful heart, an open mind, and a focus on above. That I will live with great expectation.
P.S. Happy Birthday, Mom! I love you! Thank you for being a big part of year 35.
"All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.
So be truly glad.There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world." 1 Peter 1: 3-7 (NLT)
Riley: "Mom – you need to wear shoes so you can be a superhero with me ... Here – I got you your superhero shoes."
Me: "Really? These look my like flip flops."
Riley: "That’s ok. You can call them your superhero shoes."
This month's prayer:
I have to remind myself on most days that you never promised me anything other than your love and salvation. It is so easy to forget.
You never promised me a family that would provide me with unconditional comfort, care and support. You never promised me that I'd be healthy and without disease, illness or handicaps. You never promised me that I'd have the capacity, resources or ability to get an education. You never promised me that I would be able to keep a steady job that would help me provide for my family and keep us in a safe and warm home, access to basic resources like water, food, clothing and luxury resources like transportation, recreation and hobbies. You never promised me a husband who would be kind, devoted, loving and supportive. You never promised me a three year old who would delight me beyond words and teach me a whole new reason for living. Yet you have given me all of this and so much more.
...And you gave me 38 weeks with Reese. Such a big blessing in such a tiny package.
Thank you for gracing me with her life. Thank you for choosing me as her mother. I am on my knees thanking you for this gift of love in a tiny package. I miss her beyond words but because you have told me that you and your plans are beyond my understanding, I choose to lean on you with all my faith and trust.
With your love and grace unending, I am not without ... as I am so easily prone to forgetting. I ask for your divine help in focusing less on the temporary and more on the eternal so that I can be a blessing for others while on this earth.
For you have given me so much - including the Promise that I will be with Reese again someday and we will never then be apart. And when I think of this, I smile with joy because my heart is full! This is a gift for which I will be forever grateful.
--------------------------------- I'm coming to you again from 30,000 feet (somewhere over Nebraska - isn't my life glamorous??). I think that half my posts are written at cruising altitude so I guess, at least for that reason, it is beneficial to travel so much for work. It seems to be the only time I have to write blog posts. What did I do before in-flight Wi-Fi?
10 months (as of the 24th) and I'm still surviving. Sounds simple but if you have a child in Heaven, you understand why this is not a small statement.
My theme song for this month has been "If I Stand," by Rich Mullins. Here are a few things it says to me:
There is so much more than what is tangible to me here on Earth. More than I could ever possibly comprehend or even dream about. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
It is so easy to get caught up in the here and now. To allow myself to be influenced by what I have or don't have. To be shortsighted. To allow others influence me into how I should feel or not feel. The Truth: my only allegiance should be to God - He who has given me everything good. He is Peace.
I am standing today. Praise the Lord.
I am standing today only because of His love and grace that lifts me up. Likewise, if I am unable to stand tomorrow, He will carry me into the next day. Either way, I am fully dependent upon Him and his promises.
"For I know the plans I have for [Reese]," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper her and not to harm her, plans to give her hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
Five things I am grateful for today:
38 weeks with my littlest and all of the memories of her growing inside me
The pictures I have of her, her lock of hair, her footprints, her ashes
10 months of honoring her and sharing my love for her with others
Our friends and family who have walked along this journey with us and have been so patient and compassionate