Grace is a popular name in some circles, and there may be a reason for that. When my little girl was born two years ago today, though we didn't know before that she would be a girl, we had already chosen the name Grace (with no alternate girl names). That was because through her birth we experienced God's gentle grace in a special way. Grace has an older sister named Eva. Eva is in heaven. She was still born on August 3rd, 2005. Her death was the most difficult thing we have ever experienced, but through it, God revealed to us in a tangible way that He loves us deeply, and would sustain us even through the valley of the shadow of death. When Eva was born at 8 months, I wasn't sure I wanted another child. I know that may sound strange. My husband, in an effort to comfort me, said through his tears; "Honey, we'll have another one." But my heart was not prepared for that, and not for many months after. I loved my Eva, and it seemed like a desecration of her memory to me at the time to even think of having another child. But God had different plans, and as my heart began to slowly heal, He opened it up to love another. My pregnancy was good, but I won't say it was without fear. It was a walk of faith in itself. When Grace was born, she immediately stole my heart. One of our Seacoast pastors (Shawn Wood) recently wrote a post about the expansion of our love, when we have a child. We think we have a limited amount and couldn't possibly love another child, since all of our love is already in use. Everyone who has lost a child (and probably most people) know there is no such thing as replacing a child. Your heart expands yet further, to make room for each precious gift God gives you. Grace is special, in so many ways. She brings us such delight, and we are so thankful God gave her to us for this time. We look forward to how He will grow in each of our children and recognize that if Eva had lived, we may not have Grace (because of the timing). I know that is a strange way to look at it, and nearly impossible to figure out, but I am so thankful the God is in control and that He is loving Eva perfectly while we wait to see her, and enjoy the sweet gifts He has allowed us here. Happy Birthday my Dear Grace. I thank God for you and love you so much.
Psalm 23 has always been one of my favorites. A friend sent this in an email, with a beautiful photo to go along with each phrase. It is great for meditating on how much God loves us!
The Lord is my Shepherd = That's Relationship! I shall not want = That's Supply! He maketh me to lie down in green pastures = That's Rest! He leadeth me beside the still waters = That's Refreshment! He restoreth my soul = That's Healing! He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness = That's Guidance! For His name sake = That's Purpose! Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death = That's Testing! I will fear no evil = That's Protection! For Thou art with me = That's Faithfulness! Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me = That's Discipline! Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies = That's Hope! Thou annointest my head with oil = That's Consecration! My cup runneth over = That's Abundance! Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life = That's Blessing! And I will dwell in the house of the Lord = That's Security! Forever = That's Eternity!