“The Gift of Meredith”
July - August 2008
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
Psalms 139:14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
She burst into my life like a warm ray of sunshine on a cold winter’s day. The date was February 24, 1995 and from the moment our eyes met through the glass partition, my heart exploded with an overwhelming love for her. Right then, in my spirit, I knew my life would never be the same and that our lives would be woven together on a soul-deep level that would change my life forever.
Not long after my first encounter with Meredith, the doctors let the family know something was wrong, so they quickly placed her in the intensive care unit to be closely monitored, while they ran a battery of test to make a diagnosis of her condition. The results were grim and she was given only a slim chance of surviving. What the doctors hadn’t factored in was that God, not man, was in control of the length of her days, here on earth. That he had placed within Meredith a fighting spirit and a strong will to live.
During those first days, word spread of her birth and of the need for a miracle in her life. Heaven was bombarded on her behalf with prayers of intersession all over Alabama and the surrounding states. God, in his infinite mercy answered those prayers and she slowly began to gain the strength to go home after her surgery.
Many doctor visits, years of attending intervention programs, and therapy sessions followed. Through them all God grew her stronger in body, mind, and spirit. She developed such intelligence for communicating her choices…be it for a favorite toy or certain food... to be picked up or to play… or when she desired to be taken to her room and laid in her bed. Just like any child she also found ways of letting her dislikes be known. Her intelligence was further evidenced in how she creatively learned to communicate differently with each family member’s personality. Observing her demonstrate those skills was delightful.
Those who were fortunate enough to experience Meredith’s personality, in full bloom, would quickly tell you she was feisty, sassy, vivacious, and quite the people person. She took great joy in the simplest forms of interaction, her enthusiasm for life was contagious, and she gifted everyone in her presence with unconditional love – no matter their color, race, size or station in life!
Meredith’s strong and courageous spirit was an inspiration for us not to give up, but to persevere when the task or storm ahead seemed insurmountable. She never allowed her special needs to excuse or prevent her from fulfilling God’s mission for her being born. Because of this, her life influenced so many of us to redeem the time God blessed us with… to not waste it on unfruitful pursuits, but to live fully making each day count for the cause of Christ, bringing glory to His name. Her example challenged us and encouraged us to step out of our comfort zones and joyfully embrace the path God had personally chosen for us.
At 3:42p.m.on May 28, 2008, at the young age of thirteen, our precious Meredith drew her last breath here on earth, and took her first breath in the presence of God. Upon receiving that call my heart couldn’t help but rejoice for her, knowing the fight was over and she was at home with the Lord… she was at rest, no longer struggling for each breath… she was free from all physical challenges and limitations.
Now to be honest, the other part of my heart was breaking as I uncontrollably wept tears over the loss of her felt presence in my life. The grief of the moment rushed over me like a tidal wave and my mind was flooded with memories of her… the touch of her tiny soft hand caressing my face, the joy I received from brushing her silky brown hair, the sigh she would make when I massaged her with peppermint lotion, the cute playful winks she would give with both eyes at the same time, how she would hold her hand up to our mouths for us to blow it, how she’d follow with anticipation every move we’d make while fixing her meals, the sweet kisses she planted on my cheeks, and the warmth of her precious little body pressed close in a snuggly hug. Memories of the sounds of her also overflowed into the channels of my heart… her from the toes up laughter, her belly giggles, and her on tune humming along as we sang to her. Even memories of our last full day together washed over me with its specialness. I was remembering and feeling so much that it really can’t be properly expressed. All I can say is that through experiencing these memories, I felt wrapped in God’s comfort just like a warm winter’s coat feels in below freezing temperatures.
The legacy of Meredith lives on in the lives that were changed, while God graced this earth with her loving presence. Her influence far exceeds the grave and will be felt in the lives of those that took the risk to love her, to accept her the way God wonderfully made her, who took the time to experience getting to know her, and in turn accepted her unconditional love for them.
I fervently appreciate the blessed gift of her in my life and will feast daily on remembering our special days together. It is with a thankful heart I offer praise to God, for allowing me the privilege of getting to know my incredible niece… and even if I had known what was in store for us down the road… that my heart would be heavy with sadness and that my soul would be in a state of distress mourning the loss of her… I would still have chosen to be a part of her life.
Our sweet Meredith definitely wasn’t here by chance – she was here by God’s divine plan. He handcrafted her perfectly the way He desired for her to be and then graciously presented the gift of her to the Powers, Killian, and Thomason families to ensure she reached “His” potential for her.
God gave her time for her story to unfold, for her journey to be made, to become who she was born to be, for her purpose to be felt, and for filling the unique voids in all our hearts that only she could fill. He also gifted us with time spent in her presence, time to grow stronger in His grace, to face the day He would take her from us, and He compassionately left us with the comfort of His Word especially in 2 Corinthians 5:8 that reminds us, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” Not for the world would I wish to bring Meredith back, now that she’s celebrating in her new body and is at home, in the arms of Jesus. You see, when my life’s journey comes to an end I will see her again because of my relationship with Jesus Christ… because I accepted His work on the cross and received Him into my heart.
I must confess that even though I’m at peace and have the assurance of being reunited with Meredith, my heart is still bruised and bleeding with the freshness of losing her. But, my life is richer, my faith is stronger, my heart is blessed with a treasure chest of memories, my time is more sacred, and God’s comfort is more real to me than ever – all because of the “Gift of Meredith”!
Psalms 138:3 In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul.
God bless you until our next visit,
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