Monday was Ellie’s 5th birthday! My parents and I brought a cookie cake to her school to celebrate with her class. I loved watching Ellie interact with her friends. You can see the respect and love they have for her because she is so kind to each one of them. It makes me so proud when I hear from another parent how much their child cares for Ellie. God’s given Ellie Grace the gift of making each person feel like the most important person in the room.
During the school birthday celebration, I thought it might be special to read Ellie’s book, The Ellie Project, to her class. It was so fun seeing the kids’ reactions to the pictures. Some of them already had the book and were telling me which one of Andrew’s drawings was their favorite. Gratefully, I made it through the book without bursting into tears. For some reason, Ellie’s birthday is always an emotionally difficult day for me. As I was driving around that morning running errands, I couldn’t help but cry as I thought about what life would have been like if Andrew was here to celebrate Ellie’s birthday with us. I wondered what their relationship would have looked like. I wondered about how his influence would have shaped and molded her.
I know Ellie feels a mix of emotions on her birthdays, too, because last night she told me she wanted to send a balloon to Dad on her b-day and write on it, “I love you always, Daddy.” We did and she sent it up to him. Last week she told me her friends at school felt sad she didn’t have a Daddy and so they were all going to help her get him back. Not really sure how they intended to do that, but the effort really touched my heart.
Ellie’s starting to notice all of her friends have Daddies and she doesn’t. She often tells me it’s not fair. She also says if Daddy was still here, she wouldn’t be as lonely. She has one sweet friend who often offers up her Daddy to Ellie and says she will share him with her. I’m blown away by the precious hearts of Ellie’s friends. They are so sensitive and compassionate toward her feelings. I often pray God will continue to put these kinds of people in Ellie’s life.
In my heart, I have to believe God has purpose in all things, and there are reasons beyond what my earthly perspective could understand as to why Andrew’s life was cut so short. This belief helps me to trust God’s plan and to keep moving forward with purpose in my own life. I think God has an extraordinary plan for Ellie’s life and the pain from her loss will be used to create more depth in her soul, to connect with and help others through their healing process. As her mother, my plan is to continue to show her she has a choice in how to handle life’s many challenges and when we keep the faith, press on even when it doesn’t feel good, use the lessons from our pain for good and believe in our hearts that God will give us everything we need to handle whatever comes our way, we will be ok.
My birthday prayer for Ellie:
Lord, thank You for the beautiful blessing of having Ellie Grace as my daughter. Her presence gives me strength and motivation to be all You created me to be. Please bless her as she grows, continue to heal her pain, and use the challenges she’s faced to make a positive difference in the world. We love YOU and praise YOU! Amen.
Thank you all for your birthday wishes for Ellie. I am so grateful for your love for her. We love each of you, too! Blessings.
PS – Do you or someone you know have a group in need of an inspirational speaker? If you want Ellie and me to come speak and sign some Ellie Project books, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. My presentation is powerful, inspirational, and about living your legacy today! It’s good for men and women, corporate groups, mom’s groups, Bible Study groups, community groups, etc. We are excited to come share this powerful message with you!
PPS – Are you searching for new, fun, and meaningful ways to connect with a child in your life? Share the gift of building lifetime character lessons for each letter of the alphabet with The Ellie Project! To get your copy of The Ellie Project or The Ellie Project Stationery Set, click here!