Every year around May/June and I am overwhelmed with the heaviness of the fact that our daughter isn't here with us. It surprises me. I don't know why I am surprised. I think because the pain isn't like when we first got her diagnosis or when she was born and passed away. I guess I don't expect that heaviness to descend at all. But it does. Not all the time, mind you. More like moments. I can be happy and in a great mood one minute and then just teary and weepy the next. Or cranky. Or mad. Take your pick. My family is amazing and so supportive. I am thankful that my kids are quick to forgive and give extra hugs and Shane is so patient with my indecisiveness and moods.
I haven't thought as much this year about what Ella would be doing at five years old. I just miss her. I notice every single time someone says something about my "four kids." I even give pause when I say it (note: it's OK to say it, do not worry about it if you say it. I say it too!). I silently correct those words. No. It should be five. Five kids. I have FIVE kids. But it's not that way. I have four children here with me every day and one that I will be with someday.
This year the way that July 5th is falling, it's going to be a normal day. It's in the middle of the week and life goes on. Work has to happen. I know this. I know that it cannot always be special and set aside to remember her. And I am not even sure it has to. But it still is hard. I remind myself that I can remember her any day and that just because we have to do daily tasks on her birthday doesn't mean it's not important. It always seems like the days leading up to July 5th are harder anyway. I remember waiting. I remember Grandma Shirley coming down to be with us and the dr. apt where they said my blood pressure was high. I remember eating lunch at camp then coming home to lay down and getting the call. Come to the hospital. The baby needs to come. Come now. Happy 4th of July.
It's easy to dwell on the awfulness of that time and I sometimes find myself going back to the "what ifs" of those few days. There is no healing or help in that. But what I need to remind myself is how the Lord showed up in such amazing ways on those days. That Grandma Shirley knew to come at that time to be there for Grace and Graham. That my parents dropped everything and came down and just waited. That my sister came which allowed all the grandparents to come and meet Ella. That I was so upset knowing each day was closer to my due date but that the Lord chose her birth day, exactly when He wanted it. We prayed that she be born alive, and He was so, so gracious to give us that gift. We had peace for each decision that was made in those few days and that was only from Him.
Shane's vow that the Lord be glorified through Ella's life has rang true over and over. I read this quote the other day.
While he can be glorified in life's peaks, he is MOST glorified in our brokeness because we're reminded of his steadfast love, his enduring faithfulness, and what it looks like to trust his sovereignty in situations we flat out don't understand.
This. This is it. I don't understand why I don't get to have five kids running around my house. I don't understand why Ella's life was so short, but my prayer is that in my brokenness He will shine through me and be glorified because I trust in Him.
Happy Birthday Ella,