It has been one year since little Anna had her open heart surgery. Last year at this time on Oct. 8th we were rejoicing that she had come through the surgery just fine and was on her way to a long and healthy life. Wow, I cannot believe it has been a year. I feel like it was just last month that she was at CHKD getting ready for the biggest day of her little life.
I just went back and read my posts from a year ago recapping all of the happenings. I'm so thankful I have all of that written down. It is so amazing how quickly you can forget details. One thing I have not forgotten this year though is how the Lord brought us through that difficult time. Coincidentally, this week's Bible Study lesson has been on Joy, probably not a conincidence huh? It was a firm reminder all week of the joy I felt a year ago in the midst of one of the hardest times of my life. These are a few lessons that reaffirmed things I learned then.
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds..." James 1:2. Until last year, I had a hard time grasping that one. How can you have joy in trials. When it was time for Anna' s surgery Joe and I were both at peace and were actually joyful, in the midst of a terrifying time, we were smiling. We know that the Lord gave us joy because He had assured us that she was going to be fine. Beth Moore said, "The presence, purpose, and power of God is best discovered through difficulty." I believe that, because I lived it. I got to know God in an entirely new way through this terrible time of difficulty. I only pray I can remain true to the change that God made in me and how I approach hard circumstances.
The other lesson that hit home with me this week is that God is always willing to restore joy. Sometimes we take for granted all the Lord does for us and lose sight of Him, especially in difficult times. But, He always desires to restore that joy to us and bring us back into fellowship with Him. I pray that I will always accept that restoration and allow God to mend me.
So, again, one year later and look at this little doll. She is my joy. Her smile illuminates a room. Her petite little body is a reminder of the hardship she's seen, and yet she doesn't let it slow her down. She is determined and somewhat stubborn. I love everything about her personality because I'm just so thankful she can express herself now. She is a warrior, a fighter, a little champion already and her life has touched numerous people in just 14 months. Anna - you are my reminder of the joy the Lord gives in difficult times, and the best part is, I get to look at you every day! I love you little angel!