I rolled over this morning, grabbed my phone, checked my email in my normal first-thing-in-the-morning routine. Because I’m so very important, I read the one new email I had received over night. It was from my neighbor and friend, who happens to be an incredibly talented photographer.
Last week we rounded up my crew to see what we could capture, mainly for Turner’s six month pictures. I dressed up the other kids just in case things were going smoothly enough to grab a couple shots of them.
Turner’s pictures were so cute, as six month old baby shots typically are.
Calvin’s were, well, what you capture when you tell a nearly three-year old to smile.
But Elena’s, my sweet Elena’s.
What you don’t see behind this picture is that the last six months have been an incredible challenge for me. I have battled frustration, anxiety, fear and hopelessness with this precious one. You see, she’s my darling baby but can be my greatest challenge. Every day can be a struggle. I have not let myself appreciate this smile, unable to feel the joy that it brings to my heart. I’ve been consumed, overwhelmed even, by the challenges of having a child who is visually, communicably and mobility impaired. I have let the daily struggle overshadow the gift that she is.
And then I wake up, to this. Thank you, Jesus. This is what He wanted to remind me. This smile. It is everything.
My friends, I’ll struggle every day until the day I die over what happened to my girl. I’ll struggle every day with the unique challenges our family faces as a result. Every morning, it’s a battle to suppress the fear and frustration. But God has been so faithful, reminding me that she lived and her life is more precious to Him than I could ever imagine. And that His presence, His love of her and me is constant, I’m not in this alone. That amid the pain and struggle we face, there is always joy to be found, hope to grasp and Elena smiles to shine into my heart and into the world. His blessings come when I least expect it, but when He knows I need them the most. Our path is far from easy, but gosh, what shines through her, what she teaches me, the love I have for her is so worth it.
My heart is so full this morning. My beautiful girl.
Thank you, Chelsey, for capturing these. I’m so grateful. This smile is her gift, snaggletooth and all!
(For the record, she lost that front tooth the very next morning!)