Thursday, May 22, 2014

hope in the hard places {a tribute to my birthday girl}

It was nearly midnight when I landed on last year's post.

I had been meaning to go to bed for over an hour but found myself wandering deeper and deeper back into our story.  Reading post after post of words and wonder that depict people...the ones I share meals and germs and a roof with every day.

It was her 'birthday post' from last year...
the words I had written the day she turned five,
the wish I whispered over the cake and candles almost like a prophecy...
I want to see you be brave.
The weight of the days we've lived since then pressed the tears clean out of me.

I saw my year-younger self sitting at the keyboard with fingers dancing across the letters that would frame my daughter at five.  There was not a single corner of my mind that could have predicted the tumultuous year that would carry her to six.  And yet from somewhere there came a light that shone on that word...

And so I picked up those shiny five letters and recognized their form...having seen it lived out in her little life ever since the day she was laid in my arms.  And I breathed that one small word as big as I could into her life...

Our good God has made countless provisions for our family this past year and this one I nearly missed.

Before I saw the symptoms
and predicted the diagnoses
and heard the confirmation
and held her tight as our world flipped upside down...
before any of that
I began praying for it...

And she is...

Perhaps God, in his infinite wisdom and mercy, didn't prompt me to those prayers as much for her as he did for me...because with every prayer I have lifted for Lucy since May 23, 2013 I saw it...the courage that continued to grow.
And when I watched them insert IV's in her arms and needles in her fingertips and insulin in her tissue I wanted it to be me but I knew that it had to be her...
the one whose bright eyes never fade,
whose frame always stands strong,
whose heart is filled with courage.

I never wanted my baby to have to be that kind of brave so young.
But God knew she would need to be
so he filled her,
covered her,
surrounded her,
and sealed her...with His strength...because no five year matter how brave...has it in them to endure all that she has endured.

When I consider what she has carried it breaks my heart and then goes right ahead and fills it back up with joy...
because she hasn't just carried pain and suffering...

At 6 years old she has carried the burden of two serious autoimmune diseases and the difficult life that comes with them,
but she has also carried the strength and courage and grace of the Spirit of the living God within her...I have no other explanation for how she has endured and who she is becoming.
So early in life she has had an eternal hope rooted deep inside of her.
Our weakness...His strength
I don't think she will ever know another way of living...and for that I am grateful.

Through every hormonal Graves' rage, every sobbing question of 'why', every needle poke, every finger prick, every gluten free-sugar free-dairy free piece of food that was different from everyone else' thing has remained...

Even on the worst of days she has always recovered, always managed a smile and sometimes even uttered these words that speak hope straight to my heart...
I can't wait for heaven, Mama.  When I am there with Jesus I won't have diabetes any more....and I won't ever be sad.
Her weakness, His strength.

I have fought alongside her to keep it from going out...that fire that glows bright inside of her.
And this year it shines on that glittering word...
Every time I look at her I nearly go blind with those dancing flames of hope reflected in her face.  I have never seen the hard, beautiful truth of Paul's words more clearly.

And so this year I pray for the hope.
That it would grow to consume her and others.
Like a hot, burning gift she would offer it up.
Finger to flame is painful, but watching it's glow is magical and warm.
She endures the pain and offers the magic...and everyone around her knows it's true...God is using her little life to prove it...
that suffering leads to endurance,
endurance leads to strength of character,
strength of character leads to confident hope,
and hope...
hope. does. not. disappoint.

Here's to a year full of bright hope...
  Happy Birthday Doodlebug.