It is early.....everyone else is asleep. I have thought of Hannah and Mark this morning. Asking our Father to to be their all and all at this time. As we have been here we have seen God's fingerprints being left on so many lives. We have also asked the Lord, what is our purpose of being here?......and that we want to be used in whatever that purpose is. He has shown us we are here to pick up the pieces. It hasn't only been Hannah and Mark that have needed to be encouraged. Many friends who have also have had their hearts ripped out.
Yesterday we arrived at the funeral. Men and women in blue.......many of them. Standing tall and polished.....part of Hannah and Marks precious military family. With emotions and hurt on their faces. Some with tears and the funeral hadn't even started. I have realized these service men and woman are just people, with real families and children, with emotions just like us. I have to say that now they are really a part of our family. Never would I thought our lives would be touched by so many of our Air Force. Everyone that was they were in some way a part of getting and helping all who traveled to be with Hannah and Mark. I have to say they are such precious men and women, as my sweet man said yesterday to a few of them......."we are different because we have been here......we will pray different.........thinking always of the ones that give their lives daily for our country."
We entered the church and there was a precious young mother who I had met the night before, when our emotions were so raw. She had shared that her baby had the same thing that little Ellianna had had. She had told me her story with sobs. I couldn't make out everything, but one thing she said, "I feel guilty that my son lived". I have heard of this before. When the World Trade Center happened in New York those who lived went through the same thing. My heart was hurting so for this precious Momma and I hardly even prayed for my response to her, our family had already asked the Lord before we even went in......."who do you want us to encourage?" I told her that that was not what the Lord would want of her. I said for to her to embrace her child. To love him and give him life and enjoy him to the fullest. When I saw her at the funeral, she thanked me for telling her the night before. I'm thinking now if that was the only reason that the Lord had us out here, was for me to encourage her to not listen to the lie of the enemy, but to give her little 2 year old son the best life she could give him. It was so worth it!
It was time to go into the funeral. There in the front was little Ellianna's body. So tiny in such a huge sanctuary. The family came in. The pastor was hurting.......I mean hurting as he started to speak. He was a gift to Hannah and Mark. He was tender........he spoke over them encouragement and he also told us to continue to be there in the weeks, the months and years. That the days would be different for them. This Christmas would be hard........I don't want to forget. To not pretend that Ellianna didn't live........to talk of her in the days ahead. Right as he was talking a moth (to Bella it was a butterfly) took off in flight across all the heads of the people there. Bella was delighted......a gift to a little girl that was only 3. She will never forget. Butterflies are a big deal in their home. They have a net house full of butterflies that are hatching. They also have a huge 4" butterfly that keeps visiting their back yard. Some may say oh it is Ellianna........no it is our God reminding their family that He is in the details. The funeral went on. It was hard. Jacob (9 years old their son) got up to read. His Daddy stood behind him with his hand on Jacob's shoulder. Jacob read (he just received Christ as Savior last week and when he found out that there was going to be a funeral for Ellianna, he went and opened his Bible to this verse),
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in ay trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ." II Corinthians 1 3-5
This is one of our life verses in our home. I think it probably is everyone who has tastes sorrow. You don't want anything that you go through to be wasted. It hurts too bad. He read so well. Our prayer was if anyone didn't know Jesus personally......they would meet Him. It was time for Micah to sign. I can't explain it, but when she signs to music something happens. It was about Ellianna being in heaven......."Beautiful Place" lyrics, written by our friend Ginger Millerman (she wrote it for her little niece that died early in life). It touched the heart of everyone that was present. God's message was powerful as He used Micah. One more song was played. Listen here Prayer for HOME click on the arrow by Fernando Ortega, it is worth the time. It was, this.........God spoke of a refuge.......a place........I know most of the refuge for them will be right in the presence of their God.......resting in Him, but their also is a place of refuge ladies.......when we taste suffering......on whatever level. God wants to use us........to be representatives of HIS GRACE AND MERCY!!!!!! That my sweet friends happens in our HOMES. Homes that are built on the Rock! Homes that can bless the hurting when they enter and can be ministered and loved on. It does matters how we love and live. It hit me so hard as I sat there........my heart felt like it was going to bust. I wept silently before my God asking that Mark and Hannah's Home would be a safe place of refuge for Momma's and Daddies. Those who didn't know Jesus and were going through the hard times and would meet Him. That Mark and Hannah would be called to give the same comfort that God gave them and that they would be ushered into the presence of our living God. It was my prayer then and will be my prayer now. Hannah and Mark are being held together by all of our prayers. She said she felt the prayers of the saints. It was time to go up........to say goodbye to little Ellianna, so tiny in the casket. In my hand I had a necklace that I made for Hannah. I walked by Ellianna and then went to embrace my Hannah. I placed the necklace in her hand. I have a love for my Hannah like never before.......God does things in suffering. He strengthens relationships during hard times. I will hug my children and sweet man more after this day.
We left........to go to the cemetery.........it was serene. It was placed against the mountains in a lush green meadow. A huge American flag flew high into the blue sky. The men and women in blue were everywhere. I looked at about 6 young men and I mean young........and thanked them for what they do for our country. Our family thinks it is important that every time you see a service person.......they need to be thanked. They said, "yes Mam." After the burial we went to a reception.........then off to our home that we were staying in on base. On the ground at the entry of the door was a bunch of papers folded up. Inside were two gift certificates for the Olive Garden........God was spoiling our family. It felt good, but also very humbling. Thank you Father for another part of Hannah and Marks family in blue. I told our girls that they were seeing others reach out in times of need, we don't want to forget it.
The rest of the time we spent with family. Jacob had a baseball game.........it gave us all a break for the end of the day. God was good. The game had been planned months ago. Thanks again Father for relief. Hannah and Mark have been blessed by all you precious ladies that have been praying.........they said thank you. Today family and friends will all be going back home......leaving Mark and Hannah........pray we will have creative ways to stay in touch. One thing we do know......the Air Force will be here for them........they are so precious!
I will leave you with this. It was on the program,
"If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together....there is something you must always remember.
You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
But the most important thing is, even if were apart.....I'll always be with you."
- Winnie the Pooh
Micah, Tressa and Taylor will be traveling together. Please pray for safety...........my honey and I will drive together.........peace and quiet..........different. Smile!
Hugs to you from COLORADO! It has been a beautiful place for us to rest.