I remember praying for you.  At the time I prayed for two of you!  We had our three boys, full of life, spontaneity, mystery.  I loved being Mom to them, but I wanted to be  Mom to you too.  We were getting kind of comfortable with those three, but something in me knew there would be You.  I had stumbled and yelled and cried my way through mothering two boys 18 months apart.  A child having children; a girl who needed to grow up, trying to grow up boys.  Then came that third little “Isaac-boy” that we named Aaron.  When we moved to Colorado I told people that he got the best Mommy.  I had finally learned the many faces of post-pardum, and I knew what and when to pray.  This is not to say your Daddy didn’t find me screaming, crying, and pounding on the floor.  It’s just that we knew what to do and the moments were fewer.

I remember when we found out I was carrying you.  We were so happy!  Then, Mommy was sick – very sick!  I remember being thankful for those rainy days, so that your brothers could be kept safe inside while I lay sick in bed.  I remember us saying we would be happy with a boy or a girl, and it was true, but I thought this time I just knew…it would be you.  The technician placed the equipment on my belly and Daddy, he saw it first.  Right then, right there – “It’s a girl! No doubt about it!”  You were Hannah Joy.  You had been Hannah Joy since before we were married.  Sometimes it’s a name that gives you new life, new purpose, new peace.  Your godmother led me to God.  She told me her name meant “Grace”, and girl, Momma has needed some grace!  So, we named you Hannah – “Grace” because of our need, because of your need, and because of the world’s need.  We added Joy because who doesn’t need some more of that?  Momma prays for it weekly, sometimes feeling joy has escaped me.  So, Joy, because of our need, your need, and the world’s need.  You touch our lives, He will touch yours, and through you, He will also touch the world.

I remember when you were born.  I remember when we went back to hospital when you were just months old.  I remember sitting close to little you, all connected to tubes and monitors.  I remember dressing you in pink; oh, so much pink!  (All that pink, and you settled on purple as your color!)  I remember picking you up when you fell, changing your diapers, holding you close as people came near – you not wanting to have anything to do with “other people”.  I remember when you started singing with Daddy and brothers.  You will be a lead worshiper – full of Grace and Joy.

So, today, I took hold of the small amount of time just you and I had together.  Brothers are out today; Daddy has a lunch meeting.  It is raining today which gives Mommy great happiness!  Your Mom – she loves clouds and rain and Autumn air and hot cups of strong coffee and instrumental music and scented candles and bruised furniture and a little dust now and then to add character.  We watched Piglet’s Big Movie.  We laughed and cuddled.  I whispered in your ear about soup and grilled cheese for lunch, and you nodded enthusiastically.  You sat right there beside the soup pot and helped stir.  We sat, I showed you how to dip grilled cheeses in soup, and we had a time I will remember.  I laid you down, covered you up, and read the rest of the chapter out of Farmer Boy.  We sang “Jesus Loves Me,” and I told you “night, night”.  You are still up there moving around, opening and shutting your door.  Could it really be that you’re starting to grow out of naps?  Oh, Little Girl, may Mommy always remember.

May I remember your smile, your grace, and your joy.  May I remember the peace I knew when I walked with you through the front door for the first time 2 1/2 years ago.  May I remember your laughter, your silliness, your singing, and your dancing.  May I remember your excitement over praying over meals and holding your little hand.  May I remember painting toe nails, finger nails, and little lips.  May I remember brushing long hair and fixing little bows.

And you Miss Grace, may you remember this: Remember always that you were wanted!  Remember always that Mommy and Daddy pray for you!  Remember always that true beauty is what you want – the kind Sarah and Rahab and Ruth and Mary had.  The beauty that is made of garments of Faithfulness to God.  Remember your name: Hannah (Grace) Joy and live it and give it away!  Remember your life is a gift and it is always meant to be given!  Remember that beauty also comes from the ashes, but only by His hand…so never let go of it!  Remember, there will be suffering  – days when the smiles we shared today will seem hard to come by – but know that Jesus suffered too.  And after He had suffered a little while, He was restored, and He promises to do the same for you (I Peter 5:10).  Always remember, always, always remember the song we sing before nap time, okay?  Because His name is a strong and mighty tower, it is a shelter like no other, and at the very Name of Jesus all will be set right for all eternity!  When you grow older and Mommy and Daddy aren’t around to hear your call, just remember Miss Grace, that “Yes, Jesus loves you!”  Go to Him, He will give you rest.  Abide in Him, He will reach the nations with the fruit you grow.  Love Him back, little girl; He has first loved you!