Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Birthday Girl

Forty-four years ago today, a baby girl with big brown eyes was born. A new life ... what would she do? Who would she become? Her first order of business was, in her own words, making "two people who couldn't have a child of their own very proud, happy adoptive parents."

Then she became a big sister, student, friend, raiser of sheep, band member and so much more through her school years. I became part of her story the first weekend of our freshman year of college and we began to write the story of our friendship, spanning nearly 25 years with much joy, lots of laughter and some tears along the way. A million memories or more.

She became a wife and then a mom, her most treasured roles on her journey. She worked at the same company for more than 20 years and faithfully gave of herself in various roles at her church, especially loving playing in the worship band. She loved fully and completely, encouraging those around her with prayer, a thoughtful note or a quiet word of perspective.

When the mammogram came back positive, there were some scary moments of anticipation. But once she knew what her battle was, she faced cancer head-on, continuing to inspire us all with her absolute faith in God.

One year ago today, our families had the joy of sharing dinner together on her birthday, mere days after learning that the cancer had returned. At that point, the next steps of the journey were yet to be determined, but her faith shone through. She would fight the disease as hard as she could, but she knew her journey was in God's hands. Tests, treatments, prayer -- lots of prayer, always prayer, praying without ceasing indeed.

Then, four days before my birthday, God called her to her eternal home to worship Him forever. Visions of her playing in the heavenly worship band made, and still make, my heart rejoice. I miss her, deeply and always, yet I have a quiet confidence that she is where she is supposed to be.

Forty-four years ago, when God sent that little brown-eyed baby to make two parents happy, a wonderful journey of life began, a beautiful life that touched so many others, from her first giggle to her quiet, continued worship during the last days.

Thank you, God, for the gift of her life and for the gifts she gave to each of us.