Chuck and I went to see the movie "Courageous" last night.  It is more accurate to say that we cried through the movie "Courageous".  SPOILER ALERT:  If you haven't seen the movie and plan to, you may want to step away from the blog.  It was an incredibily inspiring story and so difficult to watch at the same time.  In the film, the lead character looses his 9 year old daughter in a car accident.  I felt like a part of his family as I grieved with them through such a difficult time.  As morbid as it sounds, its pretty easy for me to put myself in his place.  Having a daughter with a serious medical condition has sent my mind down that path a few times.  There is a much greater possibility of Shelby pre-deceasing me than for my typical child.  Such an unnatural thing.  It's been said that there is nothing harder to indure than the death of a child.  But we live.  And our challenge is to live well.  Life to the fullest. 
In the movie, the father's nightmares consisted of the moments he would miss.  He dreamed of his little girl graduating from high school and of her wedding day as he walked her down the isle.  He grieved for what he would never get to do with her - what she would never get to experience.  It occured to me that many of those lost moments I have already grieved over, even though my child lives.  I long ago gave up the dream of Shelby attending college, getting married or ever living on her own.  During a counseling session in the movie, the pastor character challenged the father to decide if he was going to be angry about the time he wouldn't have with his daughter, or grateful for the time he had.  That challenged me as Shelby's mom.  I must choose to remember that for every dream that's died, a blessing has risen up to take its place.  Although Shelby lacks the understanding to make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, she maintains an innocence that knows no sin and is closer to the heart of God than my deceitful heart could ever hope to be.  And although her disabilities are such that she will probably be made fun of many times in her life, not ever will her sweet spirit degrade another.  And no matter how frustrated I get with her, it all melts away with a smile and a hug from her.  Shelby may never play on a sports team or get invited to a sleepover party, but I can cherish the way her face lights up at the Sea Life Aquarium  I choose to live my life with joy.  No, the circumstances surrounding Shelby are not ideal, but I strive for contentment daily through the grace of Jesus Christ my Lord. 
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted."  Matthew 5:4