Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Happy Birthday

Dearest Avery,

Happy first birthday, precious girl. How I wish you were here to celebrate.

Daddy took the day off of work today so we could be as a family. He made us a special breakfast, then we went with your sisters to a movie. After that, we took flowers and balloons to the cemetery. Your big sisters shared things they loved and remembered about you before they let the pink balloons float up and away into the sky, like they did the day of your memorial service. Liv asked, "Do you think God will catch them?" I told her he would definitely let you know that they let the balloons go in honor of you.

We rested a little this afternoon and then went to dinner. We talked about what you might be doing in Heaven. Emily thought you were probably dancing, and Daddy said he thought you might be singing too. I said I wasn't sure what you were doing, but whatever it was, you were doing it beautifully with more joy than we can imagine.

We watched your video when we got home. I love reliving the memories of our time with you. It was the best in my life...I loved having all five of us together. I miss you so terribly. It hasn't been the same since.

The day we brought you home from the hospital was one I didn't think we would see. And I began to hope that maybe, just maybe, you would defy all odds and stay with us a long time. I imagined for a moment celebrating your first flowers and balloons all over the house, cupcakes adorned with millions of sprinkles (applied by Emily, of course), and family and friends celebrating the wonder of the occasion with us.

But that wasn't God's plan, and soon, too soon, you were gone. I was so glad Daddy decided to throw you a "One Day Old" birthday party at the hospital. I'm glad you got to hear the voices of loved ones singing and celebrating you. You were a miracle.

I miss you, Avery. I miss you so much I can't put it into words. As difficult as it was to lose you, and continues to be to move forward without you, none of that compares to the joy you brought us in your short little life. I would do it all again a million times. I am so thankful God gave you to us. To say it is a privilege to be your mom is an understatement. Everyday I thank God that He chose us to be your parents. Everyday I ask Him to tell you how much I love you. Everyday I ask him to tell you how much I would have loved to have taken care of you for the rest of my life.

You changed us, Avery. God used you to grow us in ways I couldn't have grown without you. For a long time I thought I would never consider having another child...there are never guarantees, and I didn't think I could risk going through that kind of pain again. But now, here we are, expecting your baby sister in a few months. You gave us the courage, Avery. The moment I met you and held you in my arms, I knew every risk was worth it.

Avery Joy, you are my precious girl. I am so thankful that we have the hope of seeing you again in eternity. My heart couldn't take it if I thought it was all over. But I believe you are with Jesus, and I can't wait to be there with you someday.

I love you, Avery. I love you so much.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Usually the New Year marks a new start, or at least the feeling of one. This year we are struggling a little. 2013 is another marker of time without Avery...a measure of the growing chasm between the time we shared with her and where we are now. It hurts. We miss her so much. More than I can put into words. That precious little peanut...

This morning I spent time going back through the year in my head, thinking about Avery, reading verses given to us by our pastor and one of my mentors, and reading a couple of my favorite devotionals. My sweet friend Jeannie gave me the book "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young last year, and it is such a wonderful daily read. And today the words touched my soul deeply. The words were (as if Jesus were speaking to me), "My abundance and your emptiness are a perfect match."

Emptiness...oh how I have felt that this year. Empty of understanding, empty of peace, empty of trust, empty of energy, empty of joy, empty of hope, empty of faith, and most of all, empty arms that so desperately want to hold my precious baby Avery.

But, this emptiness is of no surprise to my God. He is there to fill the holes. He loves me even when I feel like I've failed to have faith like a "good Christian." He loves me even when I question what He is doing. He loves me even when I feel hopeless.

He has shown me His abundance this year. He changed my heart as I carried little Avery. I thought somehow I had brought Trisomy 18 upon her as some type of punishment. Rather, He showed me what an enormous privilege I had been given to be the mother of such a beautiful, precious, special little girl.

He gave us six incredible days, six more than we thought we would ever have, with our sweet Avery. He gave us memories in our home. He gave us time for pictures, videos, visitors, and moments alone with her. He gave us loved ones who held her at times when we needed rest, so she was held nearly all of her little life.

He gave us you. He gave us your prayers, your meals, your gifts, your hugs, your cards, your emails, your thoughts, your presence...the list is endless. We have been so blessed that I am still working on Thank Yous. And we sincerely to want to thank each and every one of you.

So, His abundance has been endless, exceeding my emptiness. 2012 was difficult and painful, but also filled with more love and joy than I new was possible. I would do it all over again.

I have no idea what 2013 holds for our little family, but I do know that others are entering 2013 with a lot of uncertainty. Health, relationships, jobs...we know many people experiencing difficulty in these areas, and we want you to know we count it a privilege to pray for you. We don't just say that, we mean it. We want to be there for others the way so many were there for us.

Many blessings to you in 2013.

Much love,

PS-If I ever figure out how to post the beautiful slideshow of Avery my friend Melissa did for her service, I will. =)