Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Our Hope

Seven years ago, we experienced the miracle of having our first child. After two miscarriages, hope and prayer were all we had left. I don't know that any other name would have fit her more. She IS our Hope. Hope that there is still good in the world. Hope that there's so much more to this life than fancy things and having all the stuff that other people have. Hope that the love of family and the grace of God can help a child become a shining light in a sometimes very dark world. Our Hope has helped us learn so much more about the unconditional love that God has for His children. What a joy and blessing she has been to us. We've watched her grow, learn, discover, and bloom into someone so beautiful throughout these quickly passing years.

God has blessed her with many gifts, most of which make her an amazing big sister. I'll never forget the first time she met her baby brother, Hank, at the hospital the day after he was born. She was so excited, she could barely contain her joy. Possibly the biggest smile I've ever seen on her face. And she absolutely had to hold him, right away!!! She held him for the longest time, smiling all the while. And when we finally had to take him from her, she cried. She already loved him SO much. I truly believe that is the best example of the kind of love she has for each one of her siblings. She has such a nurturing nature. And a loving heart. Sure, sometimes it's hard being the oldest, but she's stepping up to the challenge of being an example that her younger brothers and sister can look up to. She'll make an amazing mother someday.

And our Hope's got a huge heart full of compassion for others in need. A few years ago, we were shopping at Christmas time for a few children that we had chosen from the "giving tree" at church. As we shopped for a few toys, we talked about why we were buying presents for children we didn't know and about why these families might not have much, if anything, for Christmas. I could tell she was really thinking about this and processing the situation. Later that day, Hope asked me if it would be okay to make the children cookies and include them with our gifts. It brought tears to my eyes. It was clear to me that she understood. Not only did she want to help pick out "store bought" gifts, but she wanted to go the extra mile and make them something special--our homemade chocolate chip cookies. Her compassion continues to grow. She's often putting money in her "world" bank, which she has designated as her place for saving money to send to Joel, the child we sponsor through Compassion International. She enjoys drawing pictures and writing notes to people that are needing a little something to brighten up their day. She's thoughtful beyond her seven years.
...our Hope that love can change the world, one person at a time.
That's our daughter. Happy Birthday, Hope. We love you more than you know.

And speaking of birth days...have I got a story to tell you, about how the newest member of our extended family made her grand entrance into the world. But that will have to wait until another time...