July 17, 2014

During the past year, Keith and I have experienced countless "signs" and "mystical" experiences that have strengthened our faith and reminded us that Lauren is safe and joyful in the presence of Christ.

Today, I prayed and prayed for just one more sign--just like the upside down rainbow over Brookside pool, or the smile in the clouds at her Play Day, and so many, many more that we treasure. Yet, Keith reminded me that there could be no stronger, more significant or powerful sign than the one we've experienced all year: LOVE. As we celebrated Lauren's first heavenly birthday, as we read and reread every text, email, message and card, as we accepted phone calls and talked with loved ones, as we looked around the yard and beach of the lake house--Lauren's favorite spot on earth-- LOVE ABOUNDS.

One year ago, we lost our greatest, most treasured, priceless gift ... the greatest blessing of our life in one moment of tragedy and horror. But, in the past year we have been blessed immeasurably by a community who has showered us with love and hope over and over and over.... We have learned that joy and sorrow are two sides of the same coin. While we have experienced unfathomable pain and grief and loss, we have also experienced love and grace and blessings that are indescribable and simply overwhelming.

Only God could turn a tragedy as ours into something that begins to resemble hope, grace and redemption. Lauren was a quiet, humble, gracious, loving, playful child. Lauren did not want attention on herself. I often wonder, "what would she think of ALL this?" But the unfolding story is God's story, not Lauren's. And, it is laced with love and friendship and kindness.

We are no where near healing. In fact, today is little better than one year ago. But, we now see that we have been given the gift of mercy. We have God's grace. We have hope. We have a temporary separation from our baby girl and a reunion so fantastic and awesome and beautiful that I can only dream of and can't begin to imagine the joy we will feel when we see her face again. And we have love. That's our sign.

Thank you to a community of friends who we are truly blessed to be a part of and to call our earthly home.

Peace to you all,

Lori and Keith