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I have been wrestling with what to name this blog post. I chose not to blog over Christmas because I wanted to give all of my attention to my family as we navigated our first one without Ella. But, I've continued to have this thought in my mind throughout the holidays; "She's supposed to be here!" I know that scripture says "it's appointed to man once to die and then the judgment." So, to even say "she's supposed to be here" may initially come across as a contradiction. But, before we jump to a conclusion of judgment, let me explain: my faith doesn't always make sense. Just as my faith doesn't always make sense to me, scripture doesn't always make sense to me. I know where Ella is. That's never been my issue. But if I'm honest, I don't want her there, I want her here....with me. I want things like they used to be.

Having said all of that, I am also fully aware of the fact that I don't get a choice. And THAT, my friends, is where my faith steps in and brings my understanding of scripture into line with my disapproval of my reality. I cannot see outside my current circumstances. Just as Ella having a ruptured AVM and leaving us was never on my radar, I have no idea what tomorrow holds. My faith in God and His ability to see the things I cannot see is what I choose to lean on. His promise to "work all things together for good for those of us who love Him and are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28) is what I cling to on a daily basis. I believe He is working things together for good in ways that couldn't be done while Ella was here. I know that He has used her passing to impact hundreds, maybe thousands, of lives in 2 short months. What more might He have in store in the years ahead? Faith tells me to trust. Faith tells me He is faithful. Faith tells me there is more to come, and by faith I desperately long to watch it all unfold.

We took a family trip to New York City the week before Christmas. I will tell you more about it in an upcoming blog. For now, let me just say it was magical. It hurt, because it was the first time we allowed ourselves to laugh together and build new memories without her. She was obviously missing. But, we found ways to honor her while celebrating each other. At the top of this blog is a picture in St. Patrick's Cathedral where the kids lit a candle in her memory. We don't believe there is supernatural power in a candle, but it was a great time of healing for us and an amazing way to honor her. We also made her a part of our visit to the Empire State Building. The picture here is in the Starbucks inside the ESB. If you look closely, you will see Ella's name on every cup.

Yes. She was supposed to be here. Before she was conceived, God had a plan for Ella, and that plan was for her to live 10 short years with an impact that would outlive her physical presence on Earth. Our hearts are shattered. We cry daily. In fact, I'm having an emotional moment now just trying to recapture the sound of her laugh in my mind. She is supposed to be here! And guess what......she is. Though Ella is in heaven, her impact and her legacy lives on with us. Together we can be her voice and make this world a better place. More than a candle in a cathedral or a coffee cup in the Empire State Building, Ella is the good in each one of us that seeks to be shared. She's the joy in the midst of suffering, and she's the comfort we offer others during their darkest hour. We will forever remember Ella because she is a part of who we are. And we will forever share Ella with the world because........she is supposed to be here.

#Christmas #NewYork #2016