A red heart created in Sunday school, colored and cut out, and brought to me by a 6 year old boy. “It’s for you, Mama.” And I smiled at a gift all simple and innocent and beautiful and leaned it against a jar on my desk.
Later, one word was added in black. A name scribbled in kid font. And he brought it to me again all sheepish smiles, handing me his love for his sister on a crumbled piece of paper. His heart for Aida. And I brushed away tears and we hung it on my bulletin board.
The red heart.
I recruited some help. Our boy drew his heart for me again and this time he added two more words. His daddy scanned it and shrunk it and copied it over and over. Then our little artists, the three year old and six year old, sat down. They colored and painted and created 80 hearts all unique, all special, all perfect. And we finished our magnets and slipped them into envelopes now exactly the right amount of full.
Christmas break we traveled over the river and through the woods to Georgia and then North Carolina. And for two days on our long way home to Texas, as we traveled through hills and trees, and over long bridges, and through big cities and middle of nowhere back roads, I thought about her and what was coming. Her 2nd birthday. And I thought about her 1st birthday and how I never dreamed then that I would celebrate her next one without her too. And I thought about the moment months ago when I quietly released my hope that she would be home for Christmas, be home for her birthday. And I thought about how I didn’t know what to buy my daughter for her birthday because I didn’t know her. And I thought about her birthday gifts from last year wrapped and unopened at the top of my closet. And I wondered and we discussed and I prayed over and over as we drove, what do we do for her birthday? What do we give to a child we don’t know? Can’t see? Can’t sing too?
And I thought about the heart.
And the last words added to it.
Pray for Aida.
And I breathed deep, knowing the answer fully. We could give her the gift of prayer for her 2nd birthday. What better gift could we give her? But not just us praying for her. I could beg and plead and rally the saints. I could use this blog that I have forsaken and ask you humbly, graciously… will you help these weary parents give a birthday gift to our daughter? Will you cover her in prayer today? Will you give 2 minutes, 10 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour? Will you ask our Father to work His best out for her, no matter what that looks like, regardless of whether it involves us? Ask Him to protect her and love her and draw her to know Him, please?
And if you give this most precious of birthday gifts to our girl, will you do one of two things?
1. Comment below with your name so we can write it on a heart for her.
2. Or print out the hearts from the file at the bottom of this page, write your name on one, and stick it in the mail to us so we actually have it in your handwriting (send us a message for our address)!
One day, Lord willing, we will make something with all the “hearts for Aida” and give them, the physical symbol of all the prayers lifted up on her behalf, as a gift to her.
So, today on our darling Aida’s second birthday, we celebrate her. We celebrate the beautiful child that Our Creator brought into being 2 years ago and even then, set into motion writing His perfect story for her life. We celebrate the Aida that we may never know but yearn and beg and plead for; the Aida that is known and loved fully by Him.
And we ask you to celebrate with us too. Will you give her the birthday gift of praying for her today and write your name into her story? Your heart for Aida.