The family within
As we pulled onto the street we could see the Christmas lights at the end road and a smile crept into my heart. We turned the RV onto the drive of my oldest sisters home and I said aloud "it is great to be here. I love how good it feels to step into this house."
"It's not the house that makes it feel so good. All of their houses have had the same feeling. It's the family within it that makes it feel like coming home. The people are what feels so good", Dave said.
My heart was so warm in those first few moments of our arrival and I knew that our holiday had begun. This is why we were here.
My brother in law waved to us from the kitchen window. Two of my Nieces came running out in the cold air and as their uncle Dave opened the door I heard them say " well, hi stranger. We have been waiting for you. My mom came right out to see the "baby". Ashley Kate will always be the "baby". I stepped into the warmth of my best friends home and it flooded my soul. Home. It feels good to be here again. The smell of a delicious candle burning, the sound of the fire crackling, and the lights of her tree twinkling. Yes, it feels like coming home to me. In just few short hours we will be surrounded by our family. The tables will be set, the games and laughter will begin, and I will sit next to my youngest daughter and say a prayer of thanksgiving to the One who allowed us to keep her through another holiday season. Ashley Kate will be surrounded by those people who have loved her deeply, even before she ever came to be, who have cried gallons of tears over the pain in her life, and have prayed without ceasing for her every single day of her life. It's the moments like this that we have fought so very hard to give to her.
I am so very blessed.
My hope for you my sweet friends is that today as you look around whatever home you find yourself in you find yourselves surrounded and blessed by the people within it. Those people around your table will be the very ones who carry you through the darkest times of your lives. They will be the ones who allow you to cry your tears without passing judgement. They will be the ones who pray for you when you can't find the words to pray anymore. They are the family with whom God placed you for a purpose. Love them well. Laugh with them hard. Live today with a spirit of thanksgiving for those very ones He gave to you. Life is precious. It is fragile. It is short. I refuse to waste a moment of it.
Happy thanksgiving to the "family within" ashleys story. You make me feel like I'm home with each day that i spend here with you. Thank you for loving our sweet Ashley and for praying her here to this moment. I promise you she will be well loved today as we thank our God for her precious life. We love you guys.