I remember Ella's excitement the first time we arrived at The Magic Kingdom at Disney World. Her eyes brightened and she gasped when Cinderella and several other princesses stepped out in front of Cinderella's Palace (Gasp! That's her palace!!!) and danced with their princes.
I remember stepping into the auditorium of my home church and seeing my Marine at the front of the church, waiting for me to walk down the aisle and I gasped with excitement. The first time I laid eyes on Ella, it caught my breath, and again when I saw my sweet Audrey my breath caught in a short gasp. I can only imagine the excitement that will once again cause my breathing to stop for a moment when I lay eyes on the baby we are waiting for now. The beauty of these precious moments in my life, ones I will cherish in my mind forever, stopped me for a moment as I gasped with the excitement of what was before me.
I have not spoken a lot of those last few moments we had with Audrey. We sat there in the quiet room overlooking Vanderbilt campus as the rain drops slid off the windows surrounding us. We wondered what we were missing out on in the eternal realm of what was going on. Or maybe we were part of it even though we didn't see or hear anything. Were there angels beside us waiting to carry our precious daughter to eternal safety and glory? We know heaven was rejoicing at the life that was joining them, and their tears of excitement were sent to us by the gentle rain of that day. And we have no doubt Jesus was holding us as those moments slowly ticked by.
But what I will never forget is the sound of that precious 2-pound baby girl as she gasped for a few breaths. She was a fighter from the beginning and even in those last moments as we sang to her, talked to her, and loved on her she took 3 distinct gasps of air among several minutes of slower, quieter breathing.
That sound ~ Gasp ~ will be with me forever.
And now recently I began to read a book I was given for Christmas titled "Heaven" by Randy Alcorn. I am not far into the book but this paragraph immediately brought back memories of those last few minutes with Audrey.
"When I anticipate my first glimpse of Heaven, I remember the first time I went snorkeling. I saw countless fish of every shape, size, and color. And just when I thought I'd seen the most beautiful fish, along came another even more striking. Etched in my memory is a certain sound--the sound of a gasp going through my rubber snorkel as my eyes were opened to that breathtaking underwater world.
I imagine our first glimpse of Heaven will cause us to similarly gasp in amazement and delight. That first gasp will likely be followed by many more as we continually encounter new sights in that endlessly wonderful place."
Immediately I stopped reading and remembered Audrey's gasps! She was slipping into heaven during those very moments we were holding her, and something was taking her breath away.
Perhaps her first few glimpses of heaven, and of Jesus?
I can only imagine.
I love the excitement on this beautiful earth as God continues to bless me with things that take my breath away, but I also continue to think about that day when we will see heaven. The majesty of this real, literal, and living place is far beyond my comprehension ~ but I know seeing it will cause me to Gasp with breathtaking excitement.
Enjoy your beautiful life here, but remember the wonder of what is to come for those who know Jesus!
I'll never forget the beautiful little dress that Audrey wore on her last day on earth, the dress that I was holding her in as we let her be carried into the arms of Jesus. It was beautiful ... simple ... what I would have imagined Audrey to be.
Recently someone brought me another dress, one that was re-created to look as much like as Audrey's dress as possible. Someone smocked a beautiful little dress to fit a 2 pound, 2 ounce little girl. It was such a thoughtful thing for her to do, and this little dress will be something I cherish.
You can read about this dress she smocked here. To hear how my family and I were being prayed for when I least expected it was such a blessing, and I am honored to know that Audrey's life has touched yet another person.