Wednesday, October 8, 2008

This is JOY!

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!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Rest of the Story

Thank you all for your sweet comments about Erin's big news - I'm going to try and figure out a way to print them out for her keepsake. Last Tuesday we were heading into the grocery store and Erin stopped and prayed one of her random prayers that she does throughout the day. She has been doing that a lot lately and also asking a lot of questions about God. After her prayer she asked me if everyone went to heaven and I told her no, only people that believe in Jesus and ask Him into their heart. I then asked her if she had done that and she shrugged her shoulders and said no. I didn't push the conversation since we are on our way in to the grocery store.

That night at dinner I brought it up again and asked her to tell Daddy her question. She repeated it and then repeated my answer. We asked her if she knew what Jesus did for her and she responded with He died on the cross for my sin. She told us what sin was and we truly felt she grasped it all. So we asked her if she would like to ask Jesus into her heart. She said yes, and immediately bowed her head and led herself in the salvation prayer. We just kind of looked at each other in shock, but pure joy. She was so excited after that and she's had so much fun telling everyone that she asked Jesus into her heart so she can go to heaven! We thank the Lord that she has made this decision very early on and will grow up knowing Jesus as her personal Lord and Saviour - what more could we ask for?