I've been writing this blog post in my heart for three weeks.
Even with all that time the words I have are anything but easy.
In fact the words break my heart.
Almost twenty-seven years ago I came into this world and completed the family of three waiting for me.
My two wonderful parents are more than I can ask for.
When I look at all the broken relationships people have with their parents I just thank God for what I have.
I thank Him when I am angry with my parents.
I thank Him when they are the only people I feel like I have in this world.
But God didn't just bless me with them.
He gave me a sister.
She is everything to me.
As kids we were just that...
Making up pretend games, sibling rivalry, and just growing up together.
I have lived in my sister's shadow for most of my life.
And even though at the time I found a reason to not enjoy that spot.
Secretly, I was comfortable there.
I was happy knowing that...
Where I was, Rebekah had been.
Rebekah's friends became mine.
What I saw her do, I wanted to do.
When she is around I feel most comfortable to be myself.
Over a decade ago my sister met, dated, and married a wonderful man.
Somewhere is the last ten years, I realized that Austin was so much more than my sister's husband.
He had suddenly become the brother I always wanted but never got.
I can actually remember the moment when I looked at Austin and realized I loved him like a brother.
I was feeling particularly unimportant.
We were riding in a car together.
And out of no where he just said,
"Jen, you look really beautiful today."
As that statement crossed my heart I could only think of one reply.
"Really? I think you are the first guy, besides my dad, to tell me that in months. Maybe longer."
And all he could say back was,
"That is not right. Someone should tell you that every day."
That one little statement meant more to me than he could have possibly known.
And from that point forward, Austin grab a special piece of my heart.
Two years ago I was in a bad place.
When I reflect on my life, this was a time marred by heartbreaking experiences.
But even in the dark, there is always hope of something beautiful happening.
And that is just what happened.
There is a little piece of my heart that thinks God made this miracle happen early just for me.
He knew how badly I needed to see a glimpse of Heaven.
So He sent her early.
And life from that point on was forever changed.
The valley I was in suddenly had a ray of light.
And that little light has grown.
The word love cannot encompass how I feel about my niece.
So when I got the news three weeks ago I felt my heart break inside my chest.
These three essential parts of my heart and life will be just that.
I know a new break in my heart now.
So different from breaks in my past.
I don't write this for sympathy.
I certainly don't write this to make you sad.
I don't write this so you can tell me it will all be okay...
I already know that everything works together for good.
I write this because when your heart hurts anything is better than crying.
Writing helps me say what my tears cannot.