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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Just for Us

Tomorrow is June 1st. It's Ann Catherine and Melissa's birthday. It's also the anniversary of Melissa's death.

No day on the calendar carries the weight that June 1st carries for our family. So much joy, sadness, hope, comfort, tears and love are wrapped up in that one day.

Let me tell you how amazing God is.

We went to church today and I knew it would be a tough service for me. I had such a heavy heart.

We began to worship and as the first few chords of the song began to play, I had to smile.

We were singing "Everlasting God." It is one of my favorite songs and it always makes me think of Melissa. The chorus says:

You are the everlasting God, the everlasting God
You do not faint, you won't grow weary
You're the defender of the weak
You comfort us in need
You lift us up on wings like eagles.

I locked my arm through Chris', held on tight and sang as tears streamed down both of our cheeks.

I have shared before that I always think of Melissa when we sing the part that says, "You're the defender of the weak." I think of how sick and how weak she was when she was born and how God just wrapped her in his arms and held her and loved her while she was in that NICU.

You comfort us in need.

Man, could I write a book based on just that phrase. God comforted our family when we were too hurt and heartsick to even speak. He loved us and loves us still today, four years later when the pain still hurts so bad and we miss her so much.

You lift us up on wings like eagles.

That's exactly what he did for us. In the days after Melissa died, it was an effort to even put one foot in front of the other. I remember wondering if I would ever smile again. And on those days, he just lifted me up and carried me. And he still does today.

As if that wasn't enough, we finished that song and started another one.

As it began to play, I thought, You have got to be kidding me.

It was "Mighty to Save" - the other song that means so much to our me. The song speaks to me in such an incredible way. The chorus says:

Saviour, he can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save, He is mighty to save
Forever, Author of Salvation
He rose and conquered the grave, Jesus conquered the grave.

Saviour, he can move the mountains.

And he did. He moved them when he gave Ann Catherine, who only weighed one pound, 15 ounces, the strength to come off that ventilator after only three days. He moved the mountains in her life from the moment she was born and allowed this little miracle to continue to live and grow strong. She is alive today because of him.

He rose and conquered the grave, Jesus conquered the grave.

And because of that, I can have hope on June 1st. Because Jesus conquered the grave, I can have the assurance that Melissa is with him. Man, imagine the birthday party she's having tomorrow! And Chris and I have the assurance that we can be with her again one day. Thank you, God.

I stood there in church feeling like Chris and I were the only two people there. I felt as if those two songs were chosen especially for us.

What an awesome God. The God of the universe, the God who created the Earth and sky, clouds and sun cares so much enough about two people in Huntsville, Alabama, that he allowed us to sing the two songs that give me the most comfort on the day before June 1st.

Isn't that amazing? What a mighty God we serve. He loves us so much. I am so grateful.

But it doesn't end there.

This afternoon we had baptism at our church and Chris and I attended to support some of our friends whose children were being baptized. One of those boys wore his Swim for Melissa t-shirt. I thought it was so neat that he had it on, but I only thought he was wearing it to the baptism. I didn't realize he would be wearing it during the baptism.

So when it was Peyton's turn to be baptized, he comes out in his Swim for Melissa t-shirt. The camera zooms in and on the big screen you see our preacher, Peyton and the words "Swim for Melissa." There was my daughter's name - my daughter's name. I will never see Melissa baptized on Earth. But God allowed me to watch my friend's son's baptism wearing a shirt with her name on it. I cannot put into words how powerful that was for me and Chris. We both had tears just streaming down our cheeks. It was, without a doubt, the greatest gift He could have given me today. I am completely amazed at how much He loves us.

Please pray for our family as we head into tomorrow. Pray for God's comfort for us, pray that we can give Ann Catherine the perfect day that she deserves, pray that we'll have time to spend with Melissa and grieve and celebrate her beautiful life, pray that it won't be a sad day, but that God would wrap us in his love and peace.

As he already has.


Love my 2 BoYs! said...

All I can say is how Awesome, I love when God shows his love in such amazing ways. Those songs being sang and the little boy with the swim for Melissa shirt all happened because God loves you and his ways of comforting you as tomorrow approaches. Amy please know that I will be praying for you and your family. I hope you all are able to have a joyful day :)
Thanks so much for sharing!

The Titsworth Family said...

Happy Birthday Ann Catherine & Melissa! I can't wait to see pics from your special day and hugs Amy to you and your family. I admire you so much and I love when you share stories about Melissa and how you feel.

Kim Houser said...

Oh Amy, how beautiful. I too love the Mighty to Save song. I view the day of Emma's passing away in wonderful way - as her homecoming. It takes away some of the sting of that day. I don't know if you know but our son's name is Peyton. He will forever be Emma's big brother. He was baptised on Easter sunday this year and that song, Mighty To Save was the one they were singing when I went back into the service, after his baptism. God is GOOD, all the time, isn't He? In good and bad. Thinking of you..and your beautiful family. Happy Birthday Ann Catherine and Melissa.