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My Daughter's Last Birthday

Today is my daughter’s 24th birthday. 24 times I have had the privilege and joy of planning a birthday party for you and dreaming about a gift that would make you smile. Not always easy, nor have I always been successful. But, for the 24th time, I celebrate my beautiful, talented, peace-loving, patient, courageous, independent, giggling, God-fearing daughter.

The difficult part of the celebration comes as I realize that apart from a true miracle of God, this will be the last birthday I will spend with you on this planet. I was sitting in my car in front of Maurices (a clothing store) when the reality of life hit me hard, and that’s when the tears started. Lots and lots of mascara stained and black streaming tears that eventually turned into gut-wrenching sobs.

Suddenly the thought of buying my sweet girl a birthday outfit seemed so small and inappropriate. What do you get someone for their last birthday? I needed something big. something over the top amazing! Something unforgettable.

Forget a lame bath bomb! I want to capture a wave and put it in your bathtub or train a thousand sharks (your fav) to play in your front yard or build a life-sized gummy worm village and let you explore it for days.

I wish like Katniss from "The Hunger Games"I could yell out “I volunteer! I volunteer as tribute”. Tribute, tribute, tribute! Like a toddler throwing a tantrum, I have cried out to God “Take me God, let me trade places with Hade. Let her live here and grow old with Adam and have babies. Let her stay and use all the powerful gifts you have blessed her with to continue to point other people to you and the good of your Gospel.” "This can't be the best plan God. It just CAN NOT BE THE BEST PLAN!"

I continued to protest and scream out “life isn’t fair and you’re a mean God to let this happen, especially when you could stop it. Why God Why?”

I look up and see my reflection in the review mirror and think, “I can’t go into Maurices looking like this.” I’m not an attractive crier. I dab my eyes and just sit there, then in a whisper, the kindest small voice is in my head singing “Peace be still, You are here so it is well, Even when my eyes can't see, I will trust the voice that speaks”.

Ah, the lyrics to the Lauren Daigle song you just sang sitting on the floor in your bedroom with Micaiah begins to flood my heart and mind. I’m broken before the Lord and I think on all that He has done to care for us since cancer Hade. The Doctors, the meals, money, prayers, the gifts, stories of hope, testimonies of faith, changed hearts, relationships restored, friendships made and strengthened, airplanes, Collegiana, the people, the blog, SCCA, God's name lifted high. Oh, the many memories, and it's like the very arms of Jesus are wrapped around me, holding on tight.

When I think on all the ways God has loved us through this storm and He never leaves us and He has cried every tear with us, wow! To think that you get another birthday, had a wedding, been given an amazing man to walk with you through this trial and that our family didn’t blow apart. I’m right, life is not fair and God has blessed us with so much more than we deserve.

God has called us to a very hard task and He hasn’t left us alone in it. He has used the whole world and its people to care for us. He knows about hard roads because he sacrificed His perfect son on a cross to purchase a people that shake their fist and yell at him and say He isn’t fair or good. Yet while we were sinners Christ died for us. Hell isn’t part of our journey now.

Truth is, everyone has a "last" birthday. The best gift possible is Jesus Christ and being reunited with God and His people in heaven. Hayden, you will be there before me. I don’t like it or always get it, but I know the God who planned it so I will trust it.

My sweet, sweet love bug, my schnugg-a-bug!!! Today is your birthday, so I bought you an outfit, and I planned a small party. This season is ending, but oh what Joy when I think of what’s to come!

No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this, Never so much as imagined anything quite like it— What God has arranged for those who love him. 1Cornithians 2:9

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