I am so blessed. I have really be thinking about the many blessings that are in my life recently, and I just can't express how thankful I am for all that the Lord has given to me and my family. Do we have challenges? Yes, of course. Everyone has challenges. And some of ours have been whoppers lately for sure! But I truly believe that the challenges we have been given only serve to highlight our blessings.
When you read about having a special needs child, all the books address the mourning process. And it is just that- a mourning process. You go through the stages of grief that you would had you lost a loved one. In fact, this has been harder to accept and I have experienced more sadness and grief than when I have lost loved ones in the past. I have even heard it compared to loosing a child. I am not sure I would go that far. I have never lost a child- so that is not a sorrow that my heart knows. But I do have friends who have lost children. And I see their sadness and their grief and I am so thankful that, despite my daughters challenges and limitations that her condition places on her, she is here, with me on Earth! I can hug her, kiss her, love on her. My friends cannot.
I was at Bunko tonight, and I was talking to my dear sweet Bunko friends (I just love them all so much- talk about a blessing to my heart!) and someone asked how Ava was doing. Then they asked how I was doing. For some reason that question always catches me off guard. I guess because I don't really think about how I am doing that much. I am just doing what I have to do for my daughter- what any mother would do for her child in the same situation. And the truth is, I really am doing okay. There are still times when I see a typical child doing something, and my heart is just hurts, knowing my baby girl will never be able to do that. But overall, I have accepted it and am moving forward on this new path that has been set before us. I always try to remember that, just as we are not promised so many days on Earth, we are also not promised that those days we do have will be easy or that we will be "typical" without suffering or sickness. We are just promised that all things will work for the good of those that love Him and are called to His purpose. And Ava's condition will, in some way, work for good. And I know that the Lord loves Ava. She has been made in His image. She has this terrible condition that prevents her little body and mind from working together and reaching their full potential. BUT she is STILL fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139 13-16 says:
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
That is not any less true for Ava because she has Angelman Syndrome. I painted part of verses 13 and 14 on her name canvas for her room while I was pregnant. And I remember thinking then how awesome it was that, even though I had yet to see, hold, smell, kiss my child, GOD had! He knew everything about her before she was ever conceived. And He loved her and sent His only child to die for her.
I met with our very sweet Children's Minister from our church today. Emily is so kind- you can really see her sweet spirit and her love for children. We talked about how to move forward now that Ava is getting older, and she had some great ideas and was very enthusiastic about not only ministering to Ava and our family, but to other families that have special needs children and who, for that very reason, feel that there is not a place for them at church. And I love that we have a church that is willing to do all they can to help meet the needs of their members. What a blessing and a testament to the heart and mission of our church. (here is their website, by the way, in case you are looking for a church in central AR!)
Speaking of blessings, I am going to go enjoy a movie on the couch with the hubs, but I leave you with a precious picture of my precocious Angel, who now enjoys sitting on the side table when I am not looking! Stinker!!!