Happy New Year! It's 2008! Do you ever start the new year wondering about what lies ahead. I wonder what joys, surprises and challenges this year holds. I wonder what ways I will learn more about the God who loves me deeply. I wonder how He will show His faithfulness, love and compassion. I don't want to know now - as I truly believe that He only gives us the grace to handle things when we need them, not in advance. Sometimes it doesn't even feel like there is enough to get through the day.
Just one year ago, I started on a new adventure for me - blogging. Yesterday Roger pointed out that the one year anniversary of this blog was coming up the following day. My very first post was an attempt to share pictures of our new little girl. She was just 2 weeks old - but it had been a difficult first two weeks between medical diagnosis of heart problems, feeding difficulties, a stay in the NICU, 2 weeks of sick family members and much more. I felt broken, confused and sad. This just wasn't how I imagined things would be. I hadn't had an opportunity to share photos of our little sweetheart and thought a blog might be a good way to share.
Here are those first posts if you want to see them.
I didn't know what having a blog would mean to me either. I never really understood why people blogged. I knew blogging wasn't for me - afterall, I'm not a writer and had no idea what I would say. With Eliana's birth, all of that changed. We had a lot of information that we wanted to share with family and friends so that they could join us in praying for our little girl. We wanted others to know what was going on as we walked this new path God layed before us.
When I look back at photos, I can see how hard this was for me. The joy and lightness I've experienced after the births of my other children just wasn't part of the experience with Eliana. That kind of makes me sad now - like I somehow missed something. I know though that I was doing all that I could. I was trying my best and giving my all to our sweet baby girl. I was learning how to trust and lean on God in ways I hadn't done before. God was showing me that He was enough, that He is faithful, that He loves me. God had much to teach me and I continued to pray that I would be open to learning what it was He wanted to share.
Thank you for caring for Eliana and our family. We have experienced love in so many different ways - prayers, letters/notes/emails, phone calls, meals, hugs, housecleaning, gifts and so much more. I can't even begin to share how deeply I've been touched by each and every act. I wish I had been better about writing thank you notes and hopefully I'll still get caught up, but I am grateful nonetheless. Each thing has touched my heart. I've been encouraged that people want to know what is going on - and humbled when something has touched their hearts too.
As we start a new year, I can say with all of my heart, that I'm thankful. I'm thankful to be Eliana's mom. I'm thankful that Eliana's heart is repaired. I'm thankful for my precious family and dear friends. I'm thankful for the services we have received - both for medical and therapy needs. Mostly, I'm thankful to be a daughter of the King. I'm thankful to know that God loves me (and you) with a love so deep we can't even imagine it - and a heart so forgiving that nothing can drive Him away. Isn't that amazing?!
Eliana's name means "My God answers". A year ago, I wondered what exactly He was answering. He certainly had not answered all of my prayers - but instead He has given me more. He has given me the opportunity to learn things I would never had learned without Eliana. He has given me the chance to experience His love and faithfulness in ways I've never known before. He has shown me grace, power and beauty in ways that truly touch my heart. The exciting part is that I know that this journey will continue and that there is much more ahead of all of us.
This past year has been an amazing and memorable one. At times I wondered if I would ever get to a place where I was thankful for this path. Would I have chosen for some things to have turned our differently - yes. (I think the thing that still hurts deeply is not being able to nurse Eliana. I still wonder at times if I did all that I could.) However, I am thankful to have walked this path. I am incredibly thankful for a delightful daughter named Eliana that has taught not only me - but so many others - about love, courage and strength. And Joy! Oh, does this little girl bring joy!
I would walk this path again. A year ago I could only fear what lay ahead, but now I'm able to look back and give thanks. I can truely say with a thankful heart - God is good.
PS Eliana has her first tooth! I noticed it just after midnight last night! We had a wonderful celebration and I'll post more about that later this week.