i have 30 days until i celebrate my 30th year of life. i thought i would share with you 30 people, events and situations that have shaped my life and who i want to be. it has been very challenging to come up with 30…i hope it inspires you as it has me. this part of the list is in no particular order.
day 23: andrea and ella mitchell
tomorrow, my sweet friend ella celebrates her third birthday. her mom, andrea, is one of my closest friends. we first met when andrea was about seven months pregnant with ella. she was my first dallas friend to have a baby and the shower for ella was the first shower i went to in dallas.
[girls, let me take a minute and say, y’all know how to throw a shower! i specifically remember thinking, i feel like i’m in a magazine!]
from the minute i met andrea, i knew that i wanted to be her friend. she is funny and outgoing and fun to be with. and real. that’s one thing i appreciate most about her. and, her husband joe is really cool, too. i really wanted michael to be friends with him (which he now is) because i thought they’d get along great (which they do) and so that we could all hang out together. finally, we convinced the mitchells to like us and now we’re great friends. *smile*
three years ago today, with the rest of our sunday school class, michael and i eagerly awaited news of ella’s birth. unfortunately, through events you can read about at andrea’s blog, things didn’t go smoothly for ella in her first hours of life. she contracted strep b, which resulted in meningitis. which, resulted in many hours of uncertainty over ella’s life. andrea and joe were told she might not live through the night.
in a way i’d never experienced, our class banded together to fight along side the mitchells for ella’s sweet life. they asked for a 24-hour prayer vigil and, ironically, michael woke up at 3am, the only spot unfilled, checked his email and prayed for ella.
our class prayed, cried, took meals, sat at the hospital. and, rejoiced when ella went home with her mommy and daddy.
today, ella lives with cerebral palsy. she has the sweetest smile and the best curly hair. and she loves michael, which of course wins her points with me, too. it’s fun to watch her play with her little brother and to watch her eyes light up and listen to her talk to you when she knows you’re talking to her. she is a joy to be around.
i’ve learned a lot from ella. to esteem her life for the fact that she is made in God’s image exactly as he intended, not for what i think she might be able to “give.” to value prayer because it’s powerful and effective and we still regularly see God answer it in her life. to remember that we fight the battles of this life together, side-by-side.
as i’ve walked the last three years of ella’s life with andea, i’ve grown to appreciate her tons. i love her honestly and vulnerability, especially when it comes to spiritual things. i’ve learned to be less guarded and more open. i love being able to take luke to her house and just veg together while the kids play. i love that we value the same things and want the same things for our families. and that we both want to pursue Christ, though we both do so imperfectly.
i can’t imagine having lived in dallas without these dear friends.
happy third birthday, my sweet girl!