Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29: 11 (NIV)

Gran,” she began to say knowingly, “can I watch the last part of the movie with you, sitting together in your chair?”

It was as if sung by a chorus of Angels. And even though my youngest granddaughter Ellie Kate knew the answer before she asked it, it was what my heart needed to hear at the moment.

It was a few years ago, and we were keeping the girls and watching the movie “Secondhand Lions” while eating granddaddy’s famous popcorn and drinking Fresca. Our elder granddaughter, Hannah, was snuggled with her Mimi on the couch, watching the movie for the first time. I was doing kitchen runs for my three girls, having seen the movie before.

Until Ellie’s question slowed me down and reminded me of the most important of those things and people which God places in our lives.

It was very much like the moment thirteen years ago today when the sun began to rise in Tampa, Florida to announce the birth of our newest granddaughter, Elise Katherine Whitaker (Ellie Kate or Ellie, as she likes to be called today). As the sun’s rays broke through the windows of the closed hospital cafeteria—which had been our dormitory through the early morning hours of waiting—our son, Nathan, advised us that the doctors had to do a C-section to bring Ellie into the world, and in the process Ellie had aspirated some liquids into her lungs.

Even though the medical staff had been able to suction most of the fluid out of her lungs, she would still need to be isolated within the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for about five days. No holding. No touching. No snuggling with her Mommy, or holding by Daddy. No sitting together with Mimi or Granddaddy. The closest we came to any of those wishes was occasionally having the opportunity to look at her through the see-through sides of the incubator holding our precious gift from God.

There was something about all that she endured during that brief, yet difficult period, which God has used to make her who she is. Ellie is a bright, curious, adventurous, sensitive and creative child. Exactly what you would expect me to say and more, right?

Especially since yesterday was her birthday.

Many a time we would find her having climbed up on a countertop, with little regard to the tile floor waiting below, ready to put a serious knot on her should she fall. Many a time has she done a kind act to someone else, or written a note of encouragement to a friend. A few times we would find her needing some time alone to get over some misunderstanding or momentary hurt feelings. And many a time she has prayed for others and shared how much Jesus loves them in word or a song she made up.

It never ceases to amaze, how God takes whatever we go through and always uses it for our good and His glory. Always. He did it with our precious Ellie, and He has done it in my life, and I suspect, if you stop for a moment and think back—you will see that God has done it, time and again, in your life, too.

One of God’s great mission statements and promises for our lives, which we started with above—

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

May I suggest that you adopt that promise for your life. Embrace it. Believe it. Expect it. Be thankful for it. And be blessed by it.

Whether she realizes or not, our precious Ellie has adopted that verse as a mission statement for her life! What about you?

It was a very special birth. Of a very special life.

But so were yours and mine.

What will we do with the lives we have been given? Maybe start by believing this—“For I know the plans I have for you…”

And, of course, Happy Birthday to you, our precious little girl!

We praise God for your life. We praise God for you.

Happy Birthday, Ellie! Happy Birthday!

In His Name—Scott (Gran)

Copyright 2017. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.