I can’t believe our little girl has been gone for a whole year. Today is the anniversary of her death. We plan to spend it at home, with family, marking the day with a few special things, but mostly just remembering and thanking God for a year of healing.

One year ago today I woke up with a smile on my face and excitement and joy in my heart. I was CERTAIN that she was going to heaven that day, and I was excited for her! I can’t explain it, other than God gave me that joy. He is the source of all joy and peace, and I can’t begin to thank Him for those gifts during this past year.

That doesn’t mean the journey has been easy – far from it. Many of you have walked with us during this year, and it’s been impossible at times. Some nights I’d lay awake sobbing so hard I couldn’t breathe. Some days the black cloud of depression would envelope me to the point where I couldn’t function. I still give myself guilt trips that I am not accomplishing enough at work, at home, in my relationships, with this blog. I have to keep reminding myself that I am functioning at a pretty high level for someone who has had their world blown to bits.

I’m so thankful that my sanity has remained intact, for the most part. There have been moments where I saw glimpses of what I could become if God was not protecting me from a total mental breakdown. The fear of that possibility brought me to my knees. But I know without a doubt that God has placed a hedge of protection around me. He is keeping me safe and holding the pieces together of my shattered existence. It is knowing that His hands are holding me together that keeps me moving through each day.

Paul could have been writing to me in Philippians 1: ” thank my God every time I remember you.In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (verses 3-6, emphasis mine). I have total confidence that God is working in me, and that He will continue to until He brings me home.

I just had a conversation with someone yesterday who is about to lose a friend from this life. She said that there is a party going on up there. She’s right! Some days I feel like I’m missing out on that party, but I know that I’m not late. Samantha isn’t early. When we are together again, in that party up in heaven, time will no longer matter. We will have forever to be together!

To close, I want to leave you with the letter I wrote long before the day of her death, in preparation for it. I know that God gave me the words, because when I read it I cannot imagine that I actually wrote it. We still need your prayers and hugs, we still miss our daughter tremendously. But most of all, I want you to know that the love of Christ is the center of all of this. He is the reason I keep going, keep sharing our story. Without Him, there would be no point.

Original post

Samantha Renee Pittock :  March 10, 2011 ~ July 10, 2011

Hey everybody!

My mommy helped me write this a while back, so I could make sure I said my goodbyes to you personally. I’ve gone home to be with Jesus. I’m out of pain and spending time getting to know so many people who knew and loved my parents and are so happy I’m here, including my brother Jonah. We get to spend our days worshiping God! During my time on earth I knew a lot of love, but I also experienced a lot of pain. Now all I know is love. Thank you for loving me and getting to know me for a little while – I can’t wait to see you! Jesus tells me that I will see you soon, which I guess since heaven is forever, a lifetime really is soon!

Please take care of my family for me. They are sad that I’m gone, and they need lots of love and hugs right now. My mommy and daddy love me so much and they are missing me a lot. So are my aunts and uncle, my cousins, my grandparents, and all of those friends and family who have been praying for me for so long. It’s amazing how many people wanted to know about me during my short time on earth – I just hope that I helped to point the way to Jesus for them all, because I would love to meet all of you here someday.

The most amazing thing is how much Jesus loves me. My mommy and daddy made sure I knew it every day, but even they couldn’t tell me how much He does! He loves me more than all of you put together – and He loves each and every one of you that much, too! Please take some time to talk to Him and get to know Him better – He loves you so much.

It’s ok if you need to cry right now. My family will be crying and will need people to cry with them. But remember through it all that I am safe now, and out of pain. I wish I could have stayed with you longer but I’m also happy to be here in heaven.

See you soon!