A reflection of His Love

Early summer mornings were filled with listening to little feet run down the hallway in frantic steps.  She figured out quickly that having accidents was not the way she wanted to start her days.  We would stumble out of our room, bed head, only able to see with squinted eyes.  There she would be sitting on the toilet.  “I had to go potty, I don’t want to go in my bed”.  With the same hurried feet that led her to the bathroom, she would race back to bed and tuck in.

Veil Eden

We go places and I have people ask me her age, after listening to her have a conversation with me or her siblings.  Usually there is a perplexed look on their faces.  I am use to it and most of the time, I can’t help but smile freely.  I quickly inform them, “well, she is the youngest of 5 kids, she learned if she wanted to communicate, she had better talk clearly”.  

This little turkey did so well at her preschool screen at the ripe old age of 2.5 that when she finished, I was told, “she did really great, she is really smart”.  Which meant, don’t get your hopes up that she will be in need of early preschool programs.  She didn’t qualify for any speech help…

Its been such an interesting balance with her.  I have found in the 3 years of being her momma that I was blessed to really embrace the tender years of infancy and toddlerhood.  She didn’t have to fight for space, she didn’t have to be set aside so I could run and attend to another baby.  When she turned 2, I felt like I was experiencing a phase that was so foreign.  Every time I had a 2-yr. old since 2010, I had a newborn baby.  But this last year, Veil Eden has remained my baby.

She has been held longer on school mornings, many times after nap time I can be found curled up in her bed with her, waiting for her to wake up and start the second part of her day.  When I am trying to cook dinner and her little arms reach up to be held, there is no one else in line, in front or behind of her.  Truth be told, the majority of the time she is the one that I look for when I first come home from running errands, work, etc.  Who wouldn’t want to be greeted with “hi momma!” followed up with a running start to land in my arms?

Veil Eden, she sees the world with JOY filled sunglasses.  So many times, throughout the day we hear her laugh to herself.  It could be at the dog, the blue jay that has flown on the tree branch that hangs over our dining room table window, but the absolute best is when she laughs and we can’t see what it was, because she has just witnessed something that we were too busy to stop and see.

Always the first one to point out the bird flying over the ocean water, the cruise ship sailing through our small town, the salmon berry on the branch, the fish jumping in the stream.  God’s creation hasn’t lost its majesty to her, she doesn’t take those things for granted.

I have watched her be the buddy that each sibling needs.  

For Cayden she is his adventure buddy.  He is always taking her to experience something new, at times I get nervous, but then I watch how he fiercely he protects her.  He never leads her to harm, but instead is wanting to show her the big world, but deep down he wants to see it through her eyes.  I don’t know if he has ever loved someone as much as he loves her.

Ezzy searches her out when life gets too much.  When she needs an excuse to work out what she is facing though playtime.  She will find dolls, get out art supplies or turn on baby cartoons and hold her tight while they both laugh together.  For Ezzy, Veil has become therapeutic support.

Kyrene, the name that Veil only knows to use, in all these years of being around us, she refuses to call her Kyre, but instead always by her full name.  Kyrene can be overwhelmed with the placement of family members and fighting to believe she has a place.  When those days come, I find that Veil is permanently attached to Kyre’s hip.  Going all the places that Kyre wants to go and not be alone.  Kyrene finds comfort in caring for her, offering to shower her, get her dressed, put her down for bed with a book.  Veil has become someone that Kyrene can serve and love when she doesn’t feel loved.

Ya’el doesn’t for a second let Veil forget that she is the big sister placed in Veil’s life to teach her ALL about the world.  There are constant instructions on “this is how you get ready for school,this is how you put away the silverware, this is how you put your shoes on, this is how you brush your teeth…”  Their friendship is so deep, I can’t tell if the love is because they are siblings or if it is because they are truly friends.  They do everything together.  I need to worry if I don’t see Veil with Ya’el, which means Veil has found something to explore and is finding trouble.  Ya’el has coached her through potty training, through weaning, through sleeping through the night.  Ya’el has big plans for her sister and is making sure that she doesn’t forget that she is capable of anything she sets her mind on.

If you dare to enter into our home and sit your body down at our breakfast bar and blend into the background or better yet just sneak in (we probably wouldn’t even notice – we have yet to have a day without extra bodies in our home) you would see that we can’t stop smiling when she talks to us.  Her voice is so gentle, so sweet.  She can carry on full conversations with you and you will wonder how she learned to talk that way.  The other day she told me “I wasn’t expecting you to do that”. 

You will find her on the counter when brother is loading the dishwasher.  She will sit on the toilet and have early morning conversations with daddy while he showers.  Her favorite spot to sit at the table will always have spilled milk and some remnants of cereal left behind.  Her clothes never match, but they are at least put on the right way 85% of the time.  If she is in my arms, its because we both need our heartbeats to sync and settle each other, leave us be, just give us 5 minutes and we will be able to keep going about our day.  Music will bring out her artistic talents and you will WANT to watch her little recital.

Veil Eden, today you are 3 years old.  I haven’t blinked, I can’t even say where has the time gone?  You have filled each day on earth with this all-encompassing awareness that you were the perfect soul to end the baby years with.  

You have been loved by so many in your short 3 years.  Your tender smile is something that makes grown men stop and talk to you at the grocery store.  I will never forget when an old nana stopped and saw your gentle eyes and she couldn’t help but stop what she was doing and come over and tell you that you were the most precious little girl she had ever seen.  Peace, peace that others crave can be found just by being in your presence.  God is so good to grace this dark world with your gentle soul.  

I pray that you will continue to marvel at all that God has made and find comfort that you are one of his beautiful creations.  I hope that you never lose your JOY filled sunglasses, life is too short to go without laughing.  I pray that God will always give you the gift to love others just the way they need, that you will be the reflection of His deep love for them.  I also pray that God will watch over you, placing His angels all around you, because this world can’t stand bright lights and always tries to take them out.  I also pray that because you have been given the gift to communicate so clearly that you will be one that can speak for those who don’t have a voice, that your words will be heard and taken seriously. 

Veil Eden, sweet bean, love doesn’t seem like an adequate word to use when I try to convey how I feel for you.  But it will have to do sweet girl.  Happy birthday, can’t wait to see how God continues to reveal His deep love through you this next year

Her new song

I was stalking up on camp food essentials.  Ran into a friend, they asked what I was up to for the Memorial Day weekend.  I admit an eyeroll most likely was attached to my follow up answer.  CAMPING…in the great outdoors…with campfire and smoke…bugs…air mattress…no showers…nature…

After she saw and heard my heart, without missing a beat and a huge smile on her face she said, “oh you are a princess”.  Without missing a beat, I said “you do know what Sarah means? Princess”

I am not shy about who I am or how God created me.  Some he made to love the great outdoors, getting dirty and stinky, cooking food over a fire pit, finding critters in your sleeping bag or having a gun or bear spray on you when you want to walk in the woods.  Some he made to love hot daily showers, pillow top mattresses, a straight iron, electricity.  Each to their own.

This year we had accepted that we were not going to church camp.  There were reasons that came and we adapted and moved on.  Then a month out, we realized camp was going to happen.  It was hard to spend months with the idea that we would not be enduring 5 days off the grid to then all of a sudden have to accept it.  I even quizzed the kids, asked them if they REALLY wanted to go, already knowing the answer, but still wanted them to have the out, praying they might see it in the same light as me.  But as each little set of eyes lit up, as memories came flooding of the last few summers at Naha and as God was quick to remind me of what he does every time we go, I found myself developing the packing list shortly after.

Anytime that I have to do something that I am not all that thrilled about doing, but still see that it is through God’s master plan I am doing it, then I ask myself what is the WHY for me?

It was cold and rainy on our first day, I was given the opportunity to kayak in with bean and avoid the 2+ mile hike with 50 plus people.  We got soaked.  We saw seals.  She ate Cheetos so that I could carry on a conversation with our kayak buddy.  

When we arrived and saw the green cabins with the massive green lush lawn, I literally felt my soul leap with anticipation.  Wait, what? Could it be, my soul actually longed for this place that has bats in the ceilings, mice running in the kitchen?

Veil and I walked up to the main cabin and met smiling faces that seemed like our own little welcoming party.  The place was just as I remembered it.  It provided a strange comfort to me.

When the campers all arrived from their hike, we all began to unpack and get settled in our new lodging for the next 5 days.  Just like riding a bike, I watched those of us who have been coming to Naha find our well-known rhythms.  It was like a dance, the camp was filled with laughter, kids running and at times hopping because they were so excited.  Camp staff’s reactions matched if not were larger then the kids. This place has such a unique hold on one’s soul.

Leading worship, watching kids sing with abandon, unashamed of their heart’s cry, are the moments any worship leader will make a point to embed in their memories.  There was one worship service that the kids were literally shouting “JESUS” at the top of their lungs that I thought to myself, not even the rocks have a chance to cry out.  Child like faith.  We “mature” believers must witness it from time to time to remember what it was like to have enough faith to move the mountains.

Richard and I signed up to do the nature hike with kids.  Each group was different.  Each we gave them different assignments as we encouraged to look for God in nature.  But a few groups we taught to listen for God, away from the noise, away from the distractions. We asked them to say “speak Lord, I am listening” and then sit in silence.  When the silence ended, we asked them what they heard.  Oh, my goodness.  The youngest group and the oldest group had concrete things, specific words that God spoke over their individual hearts.  It was surreal to witness.

The days were filled with little bodies beginning to tire from the long days of playing and late nights.  Their little minds and hearts were being challenged to understand who God is.  Our camp director said that camp is equivalent to a year of Sunday school in 5 days.  Wow.  Watching groups of kids holding bibles in their hands, hear little voices read his Word, watching how the souls entrusted to the counselors were doing a work within the counselors themselves was inspiring.

I realized that camp was coming close to ending, I in my heart still was asking God, why did you send me?  Did I feel used?  Did I feel like I came and reached his purpose?

I was standing back, listening to our camp director deliver one of the most powerful salvation messages I had ever heard.  Memories of my years going to church camp were weaving in and out as she shared.  All of a sudden, I looked and saw that the wiggling bodies, the chatting mouths, the kids that always had to be separated were stone still.  You could have heard a pin drop.  I heard the Spirit say “PRAY NOW!”  so that is what I did, I prayed for seeds to fall on fertile ground.  I leapt to lead them in worship, couldn’t wait to give God glory with them.

When the kids were dismissed, I went to put my uke away, when I all of a sudden recognized two little feet that were standing close by.  I was met with a soul that was at the brink of breaking.  With tears fighting to fall, a lump in their throat, they uttered these words.

“I know you are studying to become a pastor one day; can you please tell me what is going to happen to you guys when I go to Heaven”.

“what do you mean, Ez?”

“when I die and go to Heaven, what are you guys going to do”


There was not enough air in the room to fill our two sets of lungs.  There were not enough words to form to answer her searching heart.  I stumbled over my words.  I talked about Ken.  How he is in Heaven and we are on earth, still living life, trying to live out his memory and looking forward to seeing him again. I reached for her, she kept her distance.

She nodded, tears waiting to fall and quickly left my presence.

The world was spinning, my heart was racing.  I ran to our Children’s leader/Camp Director.  My words were laced with grief as the tears fell from my face.  I told her what happened and without missing a beat, she told me she would go and talk with her.

After collecting myself, I witnessed my little warrior cry as she faced her understanding of mortality and what her family will do when she goes to be with her maker.  I realized in that moment that was my WHY.  Camp this year wasn’t because God wanted to do something in me, it was because God wanted to do something within Ezzy.

I know that her talk with our Children’s leader changed something in her.  I saw the heaviness in her soul lifted and she had joy about her.

Sometimes we can be so focused on ministering to the kids that are lost, who need to find Jesus.  Sometimes we can forget the kids who have verses memorized in their hearts, have accepted Jesus is Lord, can be in need just as much as the others to understand the concept of salvation and eternity with God.

The fears of life going on without her, the fears of how her family will cope when she is gone all came spilling out of her.

Spilling out of her in a place that has been revealed to me as a touch of Eden.

God orchestrated every detail.  He met her little heart that has been asked to face so much the last few months.  The weeks spent in the hospital, the scary procedures, the months of school missed, the daily reminder she is different then everyone she knows.  It all came crashing.  It all came bubbling up in a place where she was removed from the loud world, we live in. The reality became apparent that each of us in our family went straight back to normal life after crisis hit, leaving no time to wrestle with the hard stuff that happened for each of us.

I am ever grateful for the chance that our family had to go.  Ezzy can’t go to camp without me, I have to be able to do her therapies with her, get all her extra care done on the sidelines, things people don’t think about, I also know the warning signals when things are going to go bad with her.  Which means her little sisters have to tag along.  We are blessed that there were many hands and willing laps that didn’t find her sisters a bother and actually told us they are so glad we come each year.

I read this psalm the other day and it has been sitting with me as I process what took place less then a week ago.  I believe it is a testimony that Ezzy will be able to sing.  I believe God did a work in her and met her in a way that has grown her faith and understanding of what eternity means with Him.  She sees the world different then others and in return God met her in a way that she could receive his truths.

Naha, yet again you hold a special place in my heart.  I know without a doubt that my girl will look back on this summer and recall the time that her fears of the future, the fears of her life with CF were met with HOPE.  How her soul has a different song to sing now. 

“When I open up in song to you, 

I let out lungsful of praise,

My rescued life a song”

Psalms 71:24