Today was one of those pause and take it in kind of days. Where, for just a second, I can kind of stop and see through the business of every day, silence the constant din, and take one brief moment to reflect, remember, and erect a remembrance stone in my heart.

I was working in the church nursery, a job I used to dread but now find pretty enjoyable, and just chatting with other women. The kids were all in great spirits today and playing pretty well so it was very relaxing and sweet.

As women do we covered everything from jeans, to mixers, to obesity, to diapers.

We discussed our mothers, the mothers we are or hope to be. The wounds, the triumphs. Life in general.

Somewhere in here I had a moment to think on Zoe's birth and the moment she was placed on my chest in the post surgical recovery room.

Zoe's pregnancy was filled with reassurances. Every test. Every ultrasound. Every routine appointment. Each and every one was confirmation that she was going to be ok. That she was coming home with us, whole and healthy. That our arms would be filled when we exited the hospital doors. That all of our tears would be tears of gladness (or exhaustion from sleepless weeks).

Yet, I don't think I exhaled for those nine months.

When she was born, Steven looked at me and whispered "She's perfect." So much in those two words. "God heard our prayers. He's blessed us beyond measure. There won't be heartbreak this time. we can rejoice."

The wave of emotion was palpable.

Yet still, hearing her precious cry and looking into her little face for the first time...those were nothing compared to that first moment where I could lay her on my chest and just drink her in.

Holding God's promise, skin to skin, in the quiet curtained space...I will never forget.

Unlike with all the other kids, there was no rush to share her with the world. I was grateful for that enforced time of just us three. I needed to hold her, alone. I needed to silently praise a God who had stood with me in the darkest time in my life, holding me up and giving me strength beyond myself. I needed to embrace her with every piece of my heart, including the parts I couldn't open before I held her.

So today, I watcher her walk, and laugh, and eat cherrios by the cupful... and I drank it all in again. My God, who never stopped loving me, though He asked me to walk a painful path, also set my feet here, in this place of much rejoicing.

Thank you Lord, for every gift you have given me...and those things that brought me anguish, that you allowed to open up such deep places of joyfulness. Thank you...a million times, Thank you.

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