Archive for May, 2011

Updated: The video is public now, so you should be able to view it.

I wake in the morning early
And always, the very first thing
I poke out my head
And I sit up in bed
And I sing, and I sing, and I sing!

by Rose Fyleman

This is Ava. And that is her story. For seven years, I have been the primary benefactor of Ava’s songs, the songs of her heart.

She wakes up singing; she goes to bed singing.  She sings to her stuffed animals and to her crayons. She sings to keys on the piano and to the produce in the store. She sings to cars passing by and to people eating nooodles.

When I first met her seven years ago this morning, my very first thought was “Hello Ava.” Until that moment, she was going to be Evelyn. Her dad had the very same thought and so, she was Ava. We knew that Ava meant “life,” but soon discovered that it also meant “bird.” It was as though she said, “Hello Daddy. Hello Mama. I sing!”

And oh, what a song bird she is. She has songs for getting dressed and songs for folding laundry. She has songs for wearing tap shoes and songs for cleaning the bathroom. She has welcome home songs for daddy, love songs for mama and lullabies for Jude.

This morning on our ride to school she sang a little ditty about how her doll’s hat’s name was Joey. And wasn’t Joey such a beautiful name.

Even her artwork sings.

She marks all special occasions with her own spontaneous songs. You know that feeling when something is so wonderful that you wish that you could break out into song–she does it. They burst out of her filling the air with her jubilee.

Today on her seventh birthday, I thought I would share one of those moments with you. During her brother’s first birthday party, after the candle had been blown out and the presents had been opened, Ava saw a room full of guests with nothing left to do. She disappeared  for a costume change and reappeared with her own gift.

Happy Birthday my beautiful song bird! May you always sing and sing and sing!!

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exhibit a:

exhibit b:

exhibit c:

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Two years ago, we went to the Saturday night service at our church. It was Mother’s Day weekend and our friends were dedicating their little girl to the Lord. Our church honors mothers who have lost children by handing out white roses. I was relieved to be going Saturday night because the thought of walking out of church Mother’s Day morning and passing moms with hands full of children while I was clutching one small hand and three rose stems was unbearable.

I sat in the pew heavy with disappointment and despair. May was the darkest of months. Our hopes for another child were growing dimmer and it felt as if our prayers were falling on deaf ears.

That evening our pastor preached on love, God’s glorious love.

“The Lord is good to all,” he read, “and his mercy is over all that he has made.” He said that “God wants you to know yourself loved” and “I have preached this message so that you would know more fully and experience more deeply how you are loved.”

I did not feel loved. I believed I was loved, but I could not feel it. Each truth felt one-part hope and one-part sting.

He closed by saying, “Life is hard. We need all the help we can get now to know the greatness of God’s covenant love for his sheep. Come to Christ and discover that you are loved with invincible, never-ending, covenant love.”

I could not move. The church emptied and I was still sitting there weeping. Nate lifted me up and led me to pray with him.

I remember looking up at him through my tears and saying, “I believe what you just preached. Every word. I believe that God loves, but we have lost three babies and our hopes for another one seems bleak. And it is hard to feel that God loves me when what we want, another child, is being kept from us.”

He put his hands on us and prayed for us. He praised the Lord for evidence of his work in our lives through the testimony of our faith. And then he prayed that God in his mercy would give us another child. We thanked him as Ava skipped past us, up to the front to pick out our white roses. She turned and marched out in front of us waving the roses like three little flags of surrender.

Three weeks Saturdays later I stared stunned at a positive pregnancy test. The dark clouds began to break as sweet mercy rained down on us.

And two years later, in the brightness of the morning we stood at the front of the same church holding a red rose and twenty-three pounds of love. We came to dedicate our son to the Lord who had given him to us.

Our Jude Matthew. His story is written into his name. He is the rejoicing that comes in the morning. He is the gift from God for which we prayed.

After he was blessed, Jude grabbed hold of that red rose and waved it up and down. I am here. You prayed and God sent me. Up and down, a bold red flag. God loves you. God loves you. God loves you.

Jude Matthew, you are a gift. A sweet providential gift from God. We pray that you will know the giver of all good gifts, that He will be your counselor and comforter. May you be a man who is strong in the Lord and mighty in his power. May the Lord deal bountifully with you all the days of your life and may you always trust in his loving-kindness. In the days of hope and gladness and in the days of sorrow and darkness, may you rejoice in the Lord’s salvation and sing to Him forever and ever. Amen.

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