Noah always says "Nana says when you are on a long car ride, if you do something it goes faster"...and then he falls asleep. On our way to my in law's house today, these thoughts just came rolling through, and sure enough, before I knew it, we were there (its really only an hour ride, but to a 5 year old, that's an eternity!
When I hit the Facebook button about your highlights of 2013, you can guess what most of mine focused around! 2013 was tough and I think that's saying it lightly. 2013 will forever be the year we gained a child and lost a child here on earth. It will be the year I finally broke down and bought a minivan(which I now love). The year I learned I cannot plan out the rest of my life and I must focus on today. The year we learned what cancer is and what havoc it can wreck and what it can never take away. The year we learned what a long state Tennessee is and that airports aren't so scary. The year I spent more time in a hospital the ever before. The year I learned that St. Jude is a real place, with amazing people, and it really is free. The year I learned just how strong God was going to make me. The year I had to explain things like, tumors, chemo, surgery, hair loss, death, funerals, caskets and cemeteries to a 5 year old. The year that 5 year old carried me through the toughest moment of my life. The year I saw the town of Orange turn pink. The year I attempted to learn that this is my family and I cannot compare it to anyone else's or worry so much what others think (still working on that one!) The year I learned that I must carry out what God has started in my life, I cannot hide from it, run from it, it's His plan, I asked Him to use me and He is, not always in the way I had dreamed, but then again, it's not my plan. The year I saw he true benefit of social media. The year my little girl helped raise over $25,000 for St. Jude. The year my marriage would be put to the test and survive all the tears, heart ache, yelling, distance, frustrations, birth of a child and the death of one. The year I learned what "peace that passes all understanding" means.
The year I learned you just have to let some things go, not all arguments have to be won, and I don't always have to be right(that's a hard pill to swallow!) Grudges are dumb, anger that you hold on to is dumb because all it does is waste time, and time, is way too precious. Any of us could be gone tomorrow, we had warning Ellie was leaving us, we had time to show her just how much we love her and how much God loves her. Not everyone gets that warning, would the people in your life know how much you care if they were gone tomorrow? Would your children know how much God loves them. That was something that we started to really focus on with Ellie and Noah once we got the news of Ellie's spread. I know I never really told them that God loves them more then I do, I think as a parent, we want them to think no one loves them more then we do, but there is one! Nothing was sweeter then hearing Ellie answer "Jesus" when asked who loves her most. I used to ask Ellie if I could keep her forever, hoping some miraculous answer may come from her, she'd just look at me and smile and say "no". As much as that hurt, I knew it was the truth.
Now with all that we learned in 2013, what do we do with 2014? I think that's where we are stuck now. How do we take what has happened in our lives and use it for good? How do we share our lives, our love and what we have learned and really make something out of it. I know I've shared our family for almost a year now, you have all experienced our smiles and our tears. I want to do more, I don't know what. God usually opens the door, and leads, I struggle lately because in typical Carly fashion, I'd like him to open that door right now, with a billboard blinking in neon lights, saying "go this way". Richard talked about relevance, our lives have been too touched, too blessed, too encouraged to not be relevant. We have too much to just stop here.
So I ask for prayers of guidance and wisdom. Prayers of open ears and hearts. I wish I could say each day gets easier, it doesn't. I think with each day the numbness wears off and the pain is more real. As we do more "normal" things, it become more obvious one of us is missing. There is still an empty seat in our house, that isn't easy to fill. I hear her silly words and giggles all the time and I'm grateful for them. I am enjoying going back and looking through old pictures, remembering the spitfire she was. I'm so thankful for my phone and the videos and pictures it holds, I know I will be working harder this year to take more pictures of my kids, because on a bad day, it makes all the difference! I can't really say there are bad days, just bad moments, and they pass. I have no doubt the Lord will carry us through this valley too and we will look back with a smile and praise Him for it!
I've used this scripture before, but tonight it seems "relevant"....
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Cor 4:8-18
Prayers, Praise and Pink