I’ve been sharing a picture of Olivia as a little girl each day for the past week on Instagram and Facebook.
I’ve chosen to reflect on a very specific era in Olivia’s life, because it was the chapter in which she was bringing such joy to our family after losing our daughter Adrienne.
But it was also the chapter before Nick was diagnosed with cancer.
In this tiny window of time, my first grief was overshadowed in a beautiful way by the gift of Olivia’s smile.
My heart was freed up to feel as if I had somehow conquered the deepest sorrow I thought I would ever experience.
Within three years of Olivia becoming our daughter, though, we heard the words “brain tumor” and since that day, life has never been the same for our family.
Olivia spent a lot of the next few years being shuffled between several of my friend’s homes as Nick was in and out of the hospital.
She spent many months either living out of a suitcase and even had a dresser at one of my friend’s houses just to make her feel more at home.
I’m thankful for Tiffany, Martina, Donna, and so many more who stepped in to help take care of our little girl when our lives were pulled into a storm that many days seemed like more than we could survive.
It wasn’t the story I would have written for our family, but by the grace of God we’re all standing on the other side of yet another season of deep sadness.
Tim and I have felt many times that while we saw Olivia as such a blessing after the loss of our baby girl, God knew way before us that she would be a double blessing in that she would keep our hearts smiling and our lives busy after the loss of our son Nick.
He would have been our last child at home as all the other boys grew up and left for college, marriage, and big adventures.
I still sit amazed today as I think about a day seventeen years ago when a desperate mom in India allowed her sister to take her newborn daughter and drop her from a bridge because she had no way to take care of her on her own.
I’m brought to tears as I think of how, at that very same time, Tim and I were praying about whether or not to move forward with adoption, not realizing that the very daughter God had already planned for us was being found by a policeman and taken to a nearby hospital and then ultimately to an orphanage.
This policeman named her “Pallavi” before leaving her in the hands of the medical world.
I love that this name means, “New beginning….new leaves.”
Our Olivia Faith-Pallavi may have been abandoned in the world’s eyes; but she was never, ever abandoned in God’s eyes.
He always had a plan.
As I was reading this morning about Abraham and God’s call on His life, I was struck by the verse in which Hagar, who had been mistreated and then ran away from Sarah, is met by an angel of the Lord who comforts her in the wilderness.
Hagar realized in that moment that she had never been alone as she wandered in the desert, and she gave God a brand new name.
She called Him,
“The One Who Sees Me.”
I love that God always saw Hagar.
And I love that God always see us……………..no matter where we are, no matter how alone we may feel, no matter how broken or sad.
God saw Hagar.
God sees you and God sees me.
This past weekend, we took Olivia and her boyfriend on a ski trip for her birthday.
I wish I could put into words what joy feels my heart and Tim’s when we are with these two.
I wish I could explain what it feels like to have KLove playing on the radio and hear both of them singing along in the backseat.
I wish I could somehow wrap up all the joy that’s inside me when I am near two teenagers who love God as much as they do.
Today, I want to share a few picture memories from our trip, but I also want to remind you of this truth –
GOD SEES YOU!
He understands your deepest heartache, and He always has a plan.
He never misses a tear that falls from your eye, and He longs to bring joy back into your life.
Trust Him on your saddest day, because somewhere down the road there is laughter again.
Cling to Him when there is nothing else left to cling to; because He never, ever lets go of you.
God walks through the deepest valleys with us and even when we can’t find the tiniest ray of hope, He can.
He actually is that very ray of hope we are searching to find.
He is right beside us with every step we take.
This past Sunday night, Olivia said
“I’m just going to call this my birth week, because we don’t really know for sure when I was born.”
I found this statement sad and sweet at the very same time.
Olivia will never know her actual birth story while she’s on this planet, but I love the promise that one day she will know
“EVEN AS SHE IS KNOWN.” (I Cor. 13)
Because of that, I am thankful today.