My heart was full the other night as we watched "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."
Lily Baker was snuggled in my lap in the recliner and Ann Catherine was laying on the sofa with her Daddy.
I smiled as I took in the moment.
The man I love with the girls I adore.
God has done "immeasurably more than I could imagine or hope for." That verse in Ephesians 3:20 is one of my favorite's now.
In the days following June 1, 2005, I would have completely struggled with whether it was true or not.
My prayer was that Melissa wouldn't die.
That wasn't God's will.
I had never hurt so badly in all of my life. I could not, for the life of me, understand why that prayer had not been answered.
Four-and-a-half years later, I still hurt.
But I understand.
In death, Melissa has touched more people than she probably would have on this Earth.
I think of the close to a million dollars in eqiupment in the NICU that has been purchased through Melissa's Fund. NOT because of me and Chris, but because of those who have partnered with us to help those precious babies. So many of those people also lost children, but didn't get the recognition Chris and I did because of our careers.
Those parents are my heroes.
Through Melissa's death, and my subsequent journey of healing and faith, God has given me a true testimony. Again, NO glory to me. I have just tried to share as honestly as I can, hurts and all.
Now to the "immeasurably more" part.
God could have just "stopped there" when AC came home after 68 days in the NICU. She was alive and with no developmental delays. Chris and I couldn't have asked for more.
But we did anyway.
We asked that another child would find its way to our home and our hearts. We didn't care how - pregnancy, adoption, whatever. We just wanted AC to have a sibling after losing Melissa.
It was the FIRST time in my life that I truly turned something completely over to God.
A few months later, I was pregnant with Lily Baker. And as scared as I was, God allowed me to experience a "normal" pregnancy (Well, we did make a Saturday night trip to the Labor and Delivery floor at 28 weeks, but hey - for us - that's as close to normal as possible!).
With Ann Catherine and Melissa, I went on hospital bedrest at 19 weeks and delivered at 26 weeks. I didn't get to do "normal" pregnancy things - routine doctors appointments, wearing maternity clothes until I was sick of them, and waking up each day and going to work pregnant.
God allowed me to do ALL of that with LB.
Then she arrived. On time.
And we never had to step foot in the NICU.
Three days later, we rode home from the hospital with her in the backseat. We went into the hospital to have a baby and then we all left the hospital together.
We never got to do that with Melissa and Ann Catherine. After they were born, we left the hospital empty-handed. Chris said the drive home was the loneliest drive of his life.
But not with LB. We brought her home, our hearts bursting full of love, hope and joy.
Think of your life. We all have "immeasurably mores" if we just stop and think. Even those of us who have been to the lowest point imaginable.
God sincerely wants to bless us. The answer isn't always what we're expecting and it isn't always in our time.
But I promise you: the blessings will come.
On this Christmas Eve, I have sadness in my heart. I miss Melissa and wish she was here more than anything.
But I look at my two precious children who ARE here, and I am overcome by the "immeasurably mores" in my life.
My hope for you on this Christmas is that you can see and feel the "immeasurably mores" in your life. And when you do, tell God thank you.
He is so good.