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Your 5th Birthday


“Happy birthday” just doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t feel like a happy day when the child you’re supposed to be celebrating, watching open up presents, blowing out the candle on their cake, is in heaven with Jesus instead.


Instead, we’re left imaging what you’d look like another year older. We’re left wondering what kind of cake you would pick out this year. We’re left with the memories of your last birthday here with us, two years ago.


Instead of seeing that number 5 sit on top of the birthday cake, we see the same number 3 we saw last year, and the year before, from our old photos.


Tomorrow we celebrate Ellie’s 5th birthday. The 2nd birthday we have to celebrate without her here with us. The 2nd birthday spent in heaven.


And instead of running around getting the last-minute decorations, wrapping up her gifts, making sure we didn’t forget the candle this year, I’m fighting the urge to not even leave my bed. I’m left with a broken heart that will never be fully healed and a list full of questions I’ll never have the answers to.


The reality that this is our new normal way of celebrating a birthday of a child who is no longer here with us just simply sucks.


Sometimes there’s just no way around it. Grief sucks. Really bad.


This one feels extra hard. Especially as we watched our youngest start preschool last week. A milestone we never made it to with Ellie. I remember every morning when the older girls would be getting ready for school and packing up their backpacks, Ellie would put her backpack and rain boots on, wearing nothing else but a diaper, and tell us “I’m ready for school!” She’d watch out the window as the school busses would pass by. And she’d anxiously wait for her sisters to pull up in the driveway. She’d yell “girls are home!” and run right up to them with the biggest hug as soon as they walked in the door.


She was so excited to go to school one day. And five is the age where you usually start kindergarten. Your school journey begins. But her time with us was up before we ever got to begin that adventure.


And it’s okay to let the hard days be hard. It’s okay to let the painful milestones be painful. It’s okay to believe in Jesus and also acknowledge what your feelings are, even the ones that aren’t so pretty.


However, we do have a choice in how we walk through our grief. We can choose to walk in pain, to walk in bitterness, to walk in anger, to walk in doubt, to walk in regret. Or we can choose to walk through grief with an eternal lens.


I’m angry and broken over the fact that Ellie isn’t here with us. But when I think about where she is now, I can’t help but feel grateful at the same time. Grateful that this place is not our home. Grateful that life here on earth isn’t that best it’s going to get. Grateful that she is in the hands of the most loving father and the world’s greatest teacher.


Ellie’s entire life was special, from the moment she was born up until her very last moments here with us. She was born to the song “Do it Again” by Elevation Worship. You can hear the lyrics of the song very clearly in the video we have. Part of it goes like this…


I know the night won’t last

Your word will come to pass

My heart will sing your praise again

Jesus you’re still enough

Keep me within your love

My heart will sing your praise again


Your promise still stands

Great is your faithfulness, faithfulness

I’m still in your hands

This is my confidence, you’ve never failed me yet


I’ve seen you move, you move the mountains

And I believe, I’ll see you do it again

You made a way when there was no way

And I believe, I’ll see you do it again


I’m not even sure how that song ended up playing at the exact moment she was born. I haven’t even been able to listen to it for the last 18 months. But I did this week, and when I really listed to the lyrics, I knew that song didn’t come on that day, at that exact moment, by accident.


This song is a great reminder for us, or anyone walking through a painful season.


Our circumstances don’t change the fact that His promises still stand. Our feelings of pain, of anger, of confusion, don’t change the fact that Jesus is still enough. He is still faithful. He can still move mountains and we will see Him do it again. He has, and will continue, to make a way when we feel like there is no possible way.


We can choose to walk through grief with our head buried down deep in the darkness. Or we can choose to fix our eyes up towards the one who holds our eternal. The one who will never fail us.


The one who holds her, until we get to do it again.

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10 жовт. 2023 р.
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Alexis: I can't imagine the pain that you're going through. As I've stated in previous comments, I have lost both parents and a wife, and that's the hardest things I've ever done. However, everyone who's been where you are have stated that losing a child is totally different. I can only say that you are handling it the right way by not giving up and allowing our Heavenly Father to look after your beautiful little girl until you see her again. You can trust Him, and He is faithful. He is the only way to deal with anything of this magnitude, and even then there will be days filled with anger, doubt, and questioning His love for you and your…

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