Courtney Elizabeth-I remember the first time I held you, my heart bursting with joy. I had waited my whole life for my daughter.
In those first hours, I whispered my every hope and dream, praying joy over you and every beautiful adventure there was to come.
Then our whole world went sideways and we had to dream anew. Even as my heart broke and the dreams I had hoped for you vanished, God was working moving mountains, calming seas and preparing a way for Daddy, Jonathan and I to accept what was and trust in a future filled with hope.
Jeremiah 29:11 was to be your verse for decades to come.
You taught us that joy can be found in hospital rooms, doctors offices, physical therapy gyms, wheel chair labs, and in classrooms filled with your disabled brothers and sisters.
You taught us that EVERYONE OF US IS DIFFERENTLY ABLED and those unique gifts are to be celebrated.
You taught us that life is precious and time is short, so quit wasting it complaining about what is and what is not and LIVE!
You showed us that to walk in the valley of the shadow of death, there was no evil to fear, just gift after gift of redemptive suffering to bear for the One who made you for us and us for you.
Every life has purpose. Every voice deserves to be heard. Every heart desires to be seen, known and loved and oh how we love you Courtney Elizabeth.
When the heart loves deeply, the grief is deeper still. Death has not won Courtney. Love wins!
The gift of your life continues to teach and guide and inspire so many, but especially Daddy and me. We promised you that we would fight to protect you and make sure the world respected the dignity of your personhood. That promise extends to all who have no voice. We will not be silent.
We will continue to speak your name and celebrate your life until there is no breath left in ours. We will continue to share the gift you gave us of acceptance and surrender to God and His plan, and the JOY and PEACE that comes with walking in LOVE and HOPE, no matter what comes your way.
Happy Birthday my beloved daughter. Thank you for showing us how to love without ceasing and to truly see the face of God in every person we meet.
You will always be my sunshine.