Saturday, February 11, 2017

Happy Birthday Ellie!

Tomorrow my sweet girl turns 7.  She came into the world in a flash and changed ours that quickly as well.  Who is she?  What is she like?  Ellie Kate is a big personality stuffed inside a petite little body. She loves fiercely and you never have to question where you stand with her.  She loves everything girly and everything magical.  She dreams big dreams and believes anything is possible.  I love this about her.  I don't want to tell her that unicorns aren't real and you can't be a princess who lives in a castle when you grow up.  I especially don't want to dash her latest dreams of using a horse as transportation for her and her cats.  She'll find out soon enough but for now--I want to let her believe for as long as possible.  Ellie is strong, independent and determined.  She doesn't take no for an answer. She marches to her own beat and has her own style-which usually involves one of the following; a dress/tutu, boots, tiara and accompanying jewelry.  She doesn't do what everyone else does--only if she wants to.
We have had some significant challenges this year: in May our lives changed forever when she woke up with a hot swollen knee, limping and crying in pain.  Fast forward through a lot of specialists to June when she was diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis.  Immediately she began medication but we had to become more aggressive with treatment when we found out later that month that her eyes were also affected.  The leading cause of blindness in children is uveitis--the inflammation in her eyes caused by her arthritis.  This required us to begin weekly Methotrexate injections on top of the additional medications.  Methotrexate is a low dose chemotherapy drug.  So you can imagine the side effects are not fun to deal with--especially for a child.
Suddenly our lives went from the calendar being filled with playdates to a calendar being filled with specialist appointments and trying to plan our calendar around when she would feel good enough to have some fun.  It has been a complete game changer for our family and I struggle to think of one aspect of our lives that hasn't been affected.
I believe that everything happens for a reason.  I have no idea of the reason for her arthritis.  She has had to learn to live and push through pain at the age of 6.  One thing that I do know is that the personality that we have seen in her since birth has helped get her through this first season.  The determination and strength will continue to push her to go on when days are hard.
One thing that has brought me encouragement is clinging to Psalm 139--and I love The Message translation of it-- the fact is that this diagnosis was no surprise to God.  He knew we would face this day on the day she was born.  With that in mind--He also knows the entire journey up ahead.  He knows how her story ends.  I pray that He helps me to be the Mom she needs---especially on the hard days.
We look forward to what her 7th year of life will hold.  What new interests will she have?  Will she start any new hobbies?  Will we see even more of her personality and character take hold?  It is a blessing to be her parents and watch her blossom.  In good times and in hard times.
Happy Birthday Ellie Kate!  You are loved and cherished beyond measure!

Psalm 139The Message (MSG)

A David Psalm

139 1-6 God, investigate my life;
    get all the facts firsthand.
I’m an open book to you;
    even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking.
You know when I leave and when I get back;
    I’m never out of your sight.
You know everything I’m going to say
    before I start the first sentence.
I look behind me and you’re there,
    then up ahead and you’re there, too—
    your reassuring presence, coming and going.
This is too much, too wonderful—
    I can’t take it all in!
7-12 Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit?
    to be out of your sight?
If I climb to the sky, you’re there!
    If I go underground, you’re there!
If I flew on morning’s wings
    to the far western horizon,
You’d find me in a minute—
    you’re already there waiting!
Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark!
    At night I’m immersed in the light!”
It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you;
    night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you.
13-16 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
    you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
    Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
    I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
    you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
    how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
    all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
    before I’d even lived one day.