Saturday, December 5, 2015


"I am grateful for what I am and have.  My Thanksgiving is perpetual."

Thanksgiving week came and went.  As usual, the anticipation was far more painful than the actual day.  It also happened to be my birthday week; another huge first without my girl.  It wasn't the thought of my birthday that was so upsetting, as much as just another reminder that time is passing without her.  Everything is just such a massive reminder.

After many decisions and conflicts and previews and uncertainties, Mabel's stone for the cemetery is still not ready. It's upsetting to say the least, but I'm trying very hard to just let it settle into my spirit that all things happen when they are meant to happen; when it is right.  And I want it to be just right.  So I will pray, and design and wait.  And when it is just the way it needs to be, just so;  it will be finished and it will honor her in the way that she deserves.

Just this week, Pawpy and Eileen surprised Chris, the kids and I with a beautiful memorial plaque at the high school in Mabel's honor.  It's breathtaking, or as much as her name etched in stone can be.  I am beyond thankful that as her siblings grow and go through school, Mabel will always be remembered as theirs.  She will be remembered by the little people who loved her when she was just a baby.  They will pass her name each day and they will think about her and that means everything.  

My birthday came and just like that I am thirty-one years old.  
I usually write a post about it but this year there is just not much to say.  One year; this year summed up into words- suddenly seems frivolous and unsubstantial.  It was as it always is:
beautiful, scary, frustrating, joyful, exhilarating, painful, magical, lovely, sad, life-changing, soul stretching, spirit-aching, really great and really awful.
This year was as it always is: just life.  

I am thankful to be alive, to have the gifts that I have. 
 I am more alive, more present, more in love, more in the center of God's will, and more in awe than I've ever been before. That is by far the greatest gift.  

I find myself quietly pondering the pain and exploring the empathy that seems to make itself present in my life.  I seem to be followed by death.  By people hurting.  By lives changing.  And I think it's because I'm ok with it.

 I'm ok with the ache and the grit that comes with all of these horrific changes that are so clearly part of this earthly life because my hope isn't rooted here. Feeling it all makes it real.  Feeling it all makes it recognizable and valid and worth something.    

Feeling the things that consume us and challenge us is what makes us human.  It's what stretches and expands our spirits.
 It is what makes us alive.   

Beating hearts and painful experiences, and rugged insides and broken down outsides.
People all around me missing our girl.  Friends, deep in the throws or anticipating the loss of their loved ones.  Oh, at this time of year, the pain.

It's just unbelievable the amount of pain.  
But also...
What is possibly even more unbelievable is the joy.  Please don't mistake my thanksgiving and gratitude as a replacement of my grief and sadness.  But let me be clear in saying that the attitude of daily, devoted thanksgiving has been a really clear reason for my deep joy during this time {and always, really.}  As with everything, the two feelings can coexist and intertwine and just because that feels a little blurred inside of our spirits doesn't make it impossible.

The gifts that I have, all different than my girly-gift in Heaven, are worth celebrating here and now.  And the gift of her body being free and her being whole and well, even if away from me, is worth celebrating too.  It's worth being thankful for too.
In fact, almost every day as I wake and my eyes open, I thank God that she isn't here but that she now rests with Him.  Because no one, especially Mabel in all of her pure light, deserves to suffer the way that she was every day.  
Though our belly's were full this Thanksgiving, our hearts were clearly broken.
But not because of the holiday.  If she were here, Mabel wouldn't have known what we were celebrating.  She wouldn't have been eating delicious food or even sitting with us at the table.  And we all knew that.  But she was everything to us, and the ache of her absence never lessens.  These big moments when we are all together, celebrating life as a family, that is when we feel it most; the lack of our screaming girl.  

Thanksgiving came and went and then we quickly entered into my favorite season: advent.
We are resting, quieting, hushing.
 Refocusing on the Savior that gives and takes away.
Breathing in the moments that are less stressful and chaotic and more rewarding just for being in them.  I'm trying to draw near to the hearts of my children; much closer than I have been able to in recent years, and listen to their needs; being mindful of them during this time and always.  

I am thankful for where God has me.  
I am thankful for the people I encounter and the hope that He placed in our story.  A story so big, rewarding and redemptive that only He could have written it.  My prayer every day is that as I go out into the world, wherever that may be-that every moment is a chance for me to glorify Jesus.  To plant hope in the hearts of those hurting, those waiting, those clinging, failing, falling and wailing.  
My heart longs for the Lord to be honored in all I do.  

We are walking through it, the steps of the God-son's birth and my heart can hardly hold the anticipation of it all.  Though I know He came and though we know all that it entailed, every year I find myself reliving for the first time the marvel of it all.
Our Christ-King will soon be born.  Oh how my soul feels the quickening...

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