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.

8 thoughts on “For Rissabean on her birthday

  1. When I saw 1st thing this AM that it was Marissa’s birthday, Jer. 29:11 immediately popped into my mind: “plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” –written originally to people in a very frightening spot in their lives–BUT GOD–always faithful, always good–STILL using Marissa’s beautiful, short life (in exile on this earth) for good, pointing us to our future and our HOPE.

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  2. I love what you have written today. I love that your feelings and remembrances are not diminished and that another cycle of months with its changes and our own aging does not take away from that. In the wee hours of this morning, I was thinking about how the Lord experienced loss and pain and deep sorrow during His earthly life. He understands like no one else can, and He knows all the little triggers that prompt a memory. No one else could supply such comfort. He keeps our tears in His bottle. I’m so glad you will someday see your beloved girl again. Thank you for sharing what the Lord has been teaching you. It is very beautiful.

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  3. “No more of you in this life.” I remember thinking this when dad passed away. It used to bother me a great deal in the days right after his death, and then the Lord brought to my mind that I was a part of him and every other member of my family. I wanted to walk first of all worthy of God’s calling me as His child but I also realized the importance of walking in a way that would honor my earthly father and then to love all the rest of my family the way that my dad faithfully loved all of us. Trust that God will continue to use you and your family as you are a part of your sweet Marissa!

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