Today I'm thankful that my brother is home.
I'm thankful for day 2 of a brightly shining sun.
I'm thankful for an AMAZING junior high service last night. Simply amazing. To see 33 junior high students on their knees, raising their hands, and worshipping our Almighty God gets me every time. These students have so much potential and they're inspiring and they're beautiful. I'm thankful for them. They make ME better. (Sorry parents, I know it's supposed to go the other way!)
Mostly today, and this week, I'm thankful for a special little girl I met. I can't get her out of my mind.
Two days ago, Hannah and I went to the park. They have a swing there for kids who need a little extra support. I've told Hannah she can't swing on it because it's for people who have a hard time swinging on the big kid swings.
Well, we always play at this park, but for the first time, we saw a little girl on the swing who needed its extra support. She was having SO MUCH FUN on this swing. Her mom would push her and she would squeal with delight. My guess is that she has cerebral palsy but I really have no idea. It doesn't matter anyway - her legs didn't work well.
Hannah and I were two swings down playing "spider" on the swings. (Basically we were swinging together :) And she just watched this little girl having fun and even imitated her "WEEEE!" on our swing. It was sweet.
Later I saw her mom (I'm assuming that's who she was) trying to navigate and climb up through the castle-like structure with her little girl. She guided this little one through the smallest of crawl spaces and up the stair. I was standing at the foot of the slide playing hide and seek with Hannah when I heard the girl's mother say,
"You can ask her when we get to the top of the slide."
Obviously she was talking about me because I was the only one there!
When they got to the top of the slide the little girl asked me,
"Will you catch me at the bottom of the slide?"
"I would LOVE to catch you!" I responded.
So her mother pushed her down the slide and I caught and lifted this beautiful and incredibly stiff bundle into my arms.
We stood there nose to nose as her mother climbed around to meet us.
"What's your name?" she asked.
"Melissa, what's yours?"
"That's a beautiful name! How old are you?"
"I'm nine. Will you catch me again?"
"Of course I will!"
By this time, Hannah has come to see what's happening...She'd been hiding a while and her mommy never came to find her...haha. Hannah said "I want to help catch her too!"
So Alexa went down the slide again and again I picked her up. She noticed Hannah and with that permanent and beautiful smile she asked,
"What's her name?"
"Her name is Hannah."
"THAT'S MY CAT'S NAME!"
"Is it? Do you like Hannah Montana too?"
Then her mother came over and I passed the little one to her - desperately wanting to spend more time with her. This little girl was the biggest ball of sunshine I've ever seen. She was so beautiful, so sweet, so lovable.
Part of me wanted to ask God why - but I couldn't because this little one was filled with hope and joy. I felt SO HONORED to hold her in my arms albeit briefly.
I was grateful that Hannah saw her mommy talk to, play with, and touch someone who was a little bit different than her without batting and eyelash. I hope it was a lesson for her that she won't forget.
Lastly, I hope little Alexa felt extra special that day - even though I was the one who was truly blessed.
I know this story might sound dumb - or like I'm blowing something small up to be something big, but it's on my mind. It had a huge impact on me and I'm thankful for the experience.
We've been praying for her every night before bed! I'm so thankful to have met such a beautiful little angel.