Pilgrim Road Blog Photo

Pilgrim Road Blog Photo

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Happy Birthday, Hannah Mary Rejoice

Today she turned 18.

My baby girl, who entered the world like a freight train on the downhill, so quick from the dark to the wide world that her collar bone fractured on my pelvis.

We held our breath, as we waited for hers...

Finally, she inhaled, and we exhaled.

At 3 weeks old I wondered when they would begin...the colicky screams her older brother wailed for months on end.

They never came.

She cooed, she rested, she was content.  Even a little melancholy, like her Momma.

A girl.  All I had ever known was boys.  Brothers.  Husband. Son.  Here was someone like me, but not like me.  I was transformed by this child.  This double X chromosome with wavy hair and a poets soul.  I continue to be changed by her.  And I live in the fierce love for her that bears every pain, grasps every victory, and will never relent in hope for her future.

She talked early, and loved words from the beginning.  She wrote poetry even in first grade, delighting in the  cadence of the sounds.

She excelled in school, and though usually on the quieter side, could be goofy and loud with the best of them.

The ocean's rhythms delighted, and still delight this girl who ponders much.  The ice cold waters of Coast Guard Beach could not keep her out.  For hours, blue and salty, she dunked and splashed. She endured for the sake of joy.  Her father stayed with her in the waves, diving straight in to the mighty, frightening waters.  He stays with her still.

She spent the whole day, non stop, reading the last Harry Potter book.  She grew, and waxed beautiful.

At 13 she fell in love with Jesus, and found grace to be great.

And then, the sin of another bore down, and suffered her to suffer, and turned the tender days into difficult times.  When the man, intoxicated, plowed 2 tons of metal into her and her father, the world gave way and my heart sank, nearly drowned.  I held my breath, waiting for hers.  When they pulled the breathing tube from her young lungs, I stood outside, gasping for my own air.

All parents hope and pray for the safety of their children.  That they will live long, and prosperous, happy, fulfilling lives.  That every birthday will be all joy.  But into every life, sorrow and disappointment come.  And this one, who roared into life, was suddenly so still and wounded.

But there is mercy.

The years that followed, they were hard.  So very hard, and Momma spent and spends each day with knees bent for this beloved of my heart.  And she continues.  She perseveres.  She presses on.

She cannot see Him now, this God who adores her.  But He, oh He...sees her. Pain can bring a veil.  But veils are made to be lifted.

Jesus, who raised Jairus' daughter, raised her.  Continues to raise her.

And now, she drives a car.  She works a job.  She returns to the high honor roll.  She will go away to college in August, to study English.

She climbs a mountain only she can climb.  Except that I climb with her, silently beside her, though she doesn't know it. And her father, bearing his own load from a body broken by the day of disaster, he climbs too, and stays close like he did in the cold, crashing waves.

She doesn't know the little girl in french braids holding 15 stuffed animals in her bed is still her.  That when I wrap my arms around her, my daughter, taller than me, a million memories of joy and sorrow rise up like the waves of the sea. That the mountain she must climb is always in the sight of the one I too climb, and I am filled with a powerful love I cannot adequately express.

As her beloved William Shakespeare has said:

"The course of true love never did run smooth."

Hannah Mary Rejoice...Each part of that lovely name tells a piece of the story of her life.  Hannah:grace.  Mary, from the Hebrew for "Mara": bitter.  Rejoice...rejoice.

I wanted peace and light alone for this child.  She has seen days I could not protect her from.  I don't know why.  But He giveth more grace.

Happy Birthday to my darling daughter.  May the next 18 years give her back all, and more.

She will rejoice.

Your friend on the pilgrim road,



  1. It took me three times to get through this post . . . I kept not being able to read the screen through the tears in my eyes. Beautifully written, Loriann, beautifully written. Hope springs eternal for our precious daughter.

  2. Thank you Loriann.....our children will never travel their roads along. We know that and they will also...

    1. Dear Laureen, so, so true...Blessings to your and yours:)

  3. Beautiful, simply beautiful! Man prayers have been answered and The Word will never return void as we all continue to pray. I can relate to the struggle in so many ways, not as a mother but a fellow survivor who has been shown much Grace though the struggles remain VERY, VERY real!!

    1. I know you understand, and for that I am ever grateful...