But I'm not writing to tell you only about their music. They have a ministry right now that extends way beyond this side of heaven.
Let me first just confess to you tonight that I sometimes have a tendency to take my children for granted. I'm not wanting to say that out loud, but there it is. I get so caught up in and exhausted by the mundane tasks of motherhood that I sometimes do my job begrudgingly, as if wiping another snotty nose or telling that same bedtime story or doing that 5th load of laundry in one day is just too much to handle. Sometimes I snap, or yell, or say things I wish I could take back. Sometimes I use a harsh word or tone. Worst of all, there are days I forget what a gift they are to me. I don't intentionally set out to do this, it's just something that dwells in my sinful nature, and admittedly, it happens more often than I'd like. I'm not at all proud of it. I've read your blogs long enough to know that I'm not alone, which is why I probably feel the freedom to write it out loud here. I'm human. I fail.
As I caught up on Audrey's Caroline's blog today, I began to cry. Really hard. My heart was so heavy for this sweet family, and I began to grieve for them in a way I hadn't before. I don't know what it was about this particular day...perhaps it was the overwhelming reality of recent posts that just brought me to my knees for them. I can't begin to fathom the grief they must feel over the loss of their beautiful baby girl. I have only followed their story since April, but that's not where it started for them. It's been a long process. And yet, they live it, day in and day out. They live it out loud for all to see, because God has given them this story to tell. We don't understand the "why?" of it. But because we have faith in the same loving God, I know that He undoubtedly has a plan. He always has a plan for every single one of us. And I am convinced that God is using this particular family's story as a living testimony of His goodness, His grace, and His faithfulness. Even in the grief. Even in the unbearable sadness. He is to be praised because He alone is God and He knows what He is doing.
I've never experienced the kind of pain Audrey's family is walking through (and of course, I pray I'll never have to), but if God chose that for us, whatever His reasons, would He still be good? Yes. Would God still be loving? Yes. Would God still be working out His plan? Yes.
As for today, I have another level of appreciation for my precious children. Tonight, I watched Cody's eyes light up in wonder as we watched our town's fireworks celebration. I made fish faces at Caden while he sat on my lap, grabbed my face with both hands, and proceeded to give me sticky wet toddler kisses. And tonight, in the quiet of this late hour, I can hear them both breathing and snoring in the baby monitor. They are simple yet profound things that I easily overlook, day in and day out. All is well in my home tonight after this full day of summer fun.
And Audrey's in heaven.
And loved ones are grieving.
And God is still good.
And I'm reminded afresh how fleeting our lives are. And how quickly time passes and how much we take for granted.
And I'm reminded again that I need to choose God's ways over mine. Over and over and over again.
And, regardless of your own current circumstances, I want to encourage you to do the same.