Yesterday I was putting Aili's recently taken 5 year old pictures in her 4 x 10 frame on our picture wall. Each 4 x 10 picture consists of 3 poses/images from whatever landmark birthday we were celebrating at the time, and I always keep the previous years pictures in the frame behind the current pictures. As I placed Aili's 5 year old 4 x 10 in the frame, I then began flipping through all the prior years pics, marveling at how she has grown and just loving the joy I saw in her face in each picture. 4 years old, 3 years old, 2 years old, 18 months, 1 year old, 9 months old, and even though I knew it would be there, I didn't even think about it, her 6 month pictures. Aili had an enormous smile on her face in each of these six month pics. She smiled a lot as a baby.--We have a friend that still calls her 'Smiley' because of this. With Avelyn not here, it's hard to know what she would be like today, but seeing Aili's big, cheesy smiles gave me a glimpse of her. Oddly enough I didn't cry this time, just a small smile. Missing her, but knowing she IS smiling, bigger than any of us ever imagined a smile could be.
There are so many uncertain things in this earthly world. Today I have a friend mourning the loss of her father, killed in a car accident -not his fault - gone long before his time. This friend has already lost her mom to cancer. Unimaginable. So many things on this earth we can't control. We go through so many things in this life - some minor, some major. This earthly life is just not fair. In fact, a month or two ago I told Brooklan and Aili we are no longer to use this phrase 'no fair' in our home. It's a given. It's NOT fair. And by no means do I pretend to understand any of it. We are in our last week of our Beth Moore Thessalonians bible study. The first lesson this week talks about prayer, focusing on the 'receiving' portion, not the 'achieving' portion of prayer. These past few months I have relied on this, not telling God 'I need this or I want that'--trying to achieve things, but asking Him to help me feel His Holy Spirit, feel His presence, receiving Him. Ironically, and most likely by God's divine plan, this week in my Hope devotional is on hope, and today's reading 'coincidentally' had a similar message about prayer; it was titled 'More than Wishful Thinking.' The prayer at the end of today's lesson says: "Faith Giver, so often I settle for the uncertainty of seeking what I want when I want it, and I'm left disappointed. Show me what it means to place all my confidence in You. Fill me with the assurance that my greatest hopes and dreams are fulfilled in You, even when I can't see it for myself." I don't understand the way God works OR why. So many things we don't understand in this life. As Nathan Stiles' dad told me one of the verses he has relied on since his son passed is in Proverbs 3: 5 "...lean not on your own understanding" and lately in life group we have talked a lot about Isaiah 55: 9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts." We may not understand, but God also promises in Romans 8:28 that He "works for the good of those who love him." Have I mentioned I love this verse...I rely on this verse? Even though sometimes I don't understand His ways, have cried out to Him and He hasn't answered the way I wanted, been so saddened by the things He has planned at times in this life, and been so angry with Him at other times, I can say with all that I am that I still "love Him" and I am SO thankful He has been right by my side to help me through all this. And I am even more thankful this life isn't al there is for me, for us, for those that "love Him."--He has bigger and better plans for us. Salvation. Eternal life. Which will no longer involve this pain. Hurt. Loss. - All the things we don't understand now. All of that GONE. Finally all things beautiful. Forever.
As I have shifted now from where I sat earlier when starting this post (as my 5 year old has me moving lots ;) ), I now stare at the roses Josh sent me. They represent so much. My husband's love for me. 6 roses for our baby girl's 6 month birthday and just now as I think about it, delicate 'baby's breath' surrounding the roses; wow, what a thought. And the beauty of the whole arrangement - from His creation - put together gives me peace, peace I can only get from Him, peace that my daughter is now healthy, in His arms, in His presence. Smiling.