Several years ago I was sitting on a rock that was jutting out of a river in the rain forest of Guatemala.
I had just come from an impromptu swim in the river, and as I sat on the rock drying out, I thought about my life.
I was quite certain that I had everything I needed in life.
I had a good job.
I had great friends.
I had a supportive family.
I was able to travel and see new places.
I was involved in what seemed to me then, the most important thing I could ever be doing: humanitarian work.
I was being pursued by a handsome, older dentist.
I was in great physical shape.
And as a side note, I had great hair.
I'm sure I have a picture...hold on a second while I find it.
Up to that point in my life, I don't think I had ever been more content.
And while marriage and a family would have been a great addition, I knew I didn't need it to be happy.
* * * * *
Yesterday Emily experienced a breeze for the first time.
It was warm enough that I finally dared to take her outside.
We stood on our front porch for a few minutes before we braved the big world of the street in front of our house.
I carried her in my arms, and watched her as she looked at the world through eyes that were as wide open as she could get them.
Every time a breeze blew across her face Emily would catch her breath and reach her arms out and draw herself closer to me.
Today I watched as Emily's eyes followed a flock of newly hatched chickens. She wouldn't break her gaze away from those chicks for anything.
Tonight as Emily and I were snuggling in the rocking chair before bedtime, Jason came in to give Emily her medications.
Emily opened her drowsy eyes when she heard her daddy and sat up in my lap.
She watched him intently as he put the medicines through her tube, and when he left the room she stayed with her eyes fixed on the door.
After watching for a few minutes she decided that her daddy wasn't coming back.
She turned herself towards me and snuggled back into my arms. She put her binky in her mouth and within minutes had drifted off to sleep.
* * * * *
When Emily was first born I was afraid to let myself love her.
The first 36 hours of her life had been more traumatic on me than anything else I had ever experienced, and I still wasn't sure that she was even going to live.
If I let myself love my baby I was afraid that I would never be able to endure the heartbreak of losing her.
* * * * *
Our hearts are where the greatest miracles occur.
And as long as our hearts are open for whatever it is that God has in store for us, whether it's joy or sorrow, it could be that a breeze on a daughter's face becomes infinitely more beautiful that a river in the middle of the Guatemalan rain forest.
It could be that a flock of baby chicks makes up for the hair that has turned prematurely grey due to the stress that life has been, and the love a baby girl feels for her daddy is a result of the best kind of humanitarian work there is.
I'm grateful...more than I will ever be able to say...that God took a chance with my heart.
That He trusts that I will continue to find a way to put the broken pieces back together.
And I'm most grateful that he gave my baby girl's heart a fighting chance.