My best friend Stephanie Orr gave me this photo on my 30th birthday last year. One of the best gifts a mommy could ask for. The original photo was taken by my favorite photographer, Carla Fell. Carla did a photo shoot for me a few years back in memory of Claire. These photo’s were to be utilized for my book…and will still be used, God willing. I took some of Claire’s special belongings and expressed through photography, the loss of a daughter. Stephanie has now only added to this photo with an image of her as a shadow walking beside me. I look at this photo and I can imagine what it would be like to still be a mommy. This picture represents so many things for me and I’m so blessed to look at this picture every day. It reminds me that Claire is still there. Just not here on this earth.
Yesterday, this sweet angel turned 7. I celebrated her birthday in Charleston for the third time. Goodness, there is so much I could tell you about my journey in Charleston but I will wait to unpack that for you later! Claire’s birthday celebration started out with a surprise birthday party from my coworkers at the Marriott Charleston. I say coworkers…but…they’ve really become my family. As they’ve gotten to know me over the past year, they’ve also learned a little about my Claire Bear. So, this year, they decided to go all out. I walk in the door…and they were all standing there all dressed in purple. Balloons, cupcakes, signs, flowers…all for Claire. I broke. The emotion hit me. I couldn’t believe it had been 7 years and God still put people in my life that are willing to go out of their way to celebrate her life. Later that day, they called me into the hallway. They were all standing there again with purple scarves around their necks. Every. Single. Person. They even presented me with one. …Gosh! This still gives me cold chills to see first hand how God works. He knows the desires of our hearts. One of my desires is to never let her memory fade away. I’ve been so blessed to have so much love surrounding me. It feels so undeserving. I’m so grateful. Thank you, once again, just isn’t enough. I praise Jesus for my Marriott family and everything they did for me.
The following day was my angels actual birthday. This year, I chose to release her balloons on Kiawah Island. Holy cow it was the most gorgeous day we’ve had! The beach wasn’t crowded and it was just absolutely perfect! I could have stayed forever. I released 7 balloons with 7 different messages. What’s really cool about releasing the balloons on Kiawah is Clarie has been there before. Matter of fact, it was our last family vacation together. One of my favorite things about being in Charleston is seeing that little girl panted all over this town! It brings back such GREAT memories!
Following the balloon release, my roommate Ashley surprised me with cupcakes for little Claire! We had our own little private birthday party at the apartment, hehe! It was so sweet. Following that evening, with exception of just a few (I sure did miss you), every friend I’ve made so far in Charleston met me for dinner. It was quite the celebration for that sweet little girl. We all went to one of my favorites and I just know it would have been Claire’s…Miyabi Japanese Restaurant. We had so much fun. Having everyone there just filled my soul.
Can you see God’s hand in all of this? I can tell you, these past two days were perfectly orchestrated by the man above. God knows how hard it can be for me to approach Claire Bears birthday and therefore he makes sure he surrounds me with people that love me and therefore love angel Claire. And it wasn’t just yesterday! God has been doing this since the day she left this world. If you look back at some older post, you’ll see how he’s surrounded this day with nothing but love.
So to all of you, thank you! From my Marriott family, to my friends & family near and far…I cannot thank you enough for showering your love on me and lifting me up in prayer. I received text, phone calls, Facebook messages, etc. And every single message was so very uplifting to me and I cannot express my gratitude enough.
I share these stories with the world because I want you all to know that you are not alone. I promise you! We have a good good father looking down upon us. Go to him in prayer and worship. Tell him your heart. He will deliver you from your sadness. He will bring certain people into our lives. Even if they only stay for a season, God has a plan and it’s much bigger than our little minds can imagine. If you don’t believe me, I challenge you to go read a some older blog post of mine. I pray that you will see what he has brought me out of. My days are getting better and better. There is beauty in every tragedy…you just have to see God’s hand in all of it…and I believe you will. This brings me to a passage I read this week in Psalm 16: 16-19, “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place, he rescued me because he delighted in me.” Have faith that God’s got you…and he will not let you go!
As always, I want to thank you for reading and sharing with your friends and family. I pray that each of you reading this will find some way to see God’s glory. I give it all to him. I cannot wait to share more post with you. I hope that you will all visit again very soon.
Until next time…