For Rissabean on her birthday

Here we are in October again. Another trip around the sun for us. Pumpkins and apples and shorter days and reminders all around of that fall six years ago when you were diagnosed with cancer just a week before your 25th birthday. Autumn is this confused feeling–chilly mornings and turning leaves and warm memories of our October girl mixed up with sorrow and shock and a sharp turn in the road.

Like a tangled basket of yarn with your strands in all of it.

How blessed we are to know the Weaver who takes the tangled mess and skillfully creates His intended masterpiece. To know that every good gift and every adversity is from His hand. That He holds you as firmly today as the day you stepped into His presence. That He carries us through all of our days with faithfulness.

The days are still warm with only a touch of cool at night. But it’s dark in the morning and much sooner at night, and the air is filled with change.

Remember when you were a teenager and I wanted to paint the living room? But it was overwhelming to me–the pulling down of all that wallpaper in preparation. And you understood. So you woke up one morning and just started scraping it off. And of course we all joined in and scraped for days. We moved furniture and repaired walls and painted.

It brought a fresh coziness to our little home.

I was so thankful that you were there pushing me to do something hard.

And I miss that determined optimism. I miss your encouragement, your enthusiasm for life. I miss your cheerfulness and confidence.

I miss the strands of your life being tangled up with mine.

On the 31st anniversary of your birth, I cherish all the memory of you. I wish I remembered more, took more pictures, wrote more of your story.

That must be the saddest part of grief–no more pictures, no more memories, no more birthdays. No more of you in this life.

But for the Christian, the story goes on.

And on your birthday, we remember the beginning of your story. We remember the immeasurable ways you blessed us. We remember light and joy and laughter. We remember the things you loved: sunflowers and vintage clothes and children. Books and coffee and people. God and His word.

We remember your courage. We remember your faith.

We are remembering all of you.

Happy birthday, Rissa.