God Talks, My Kind of Average, Writing

The Story of a Miracle

Today my youngest sister turns two. In celebrating her birthday, I decided to write her a letter. As smart as she is, she just hasn’t quite mastered reading yet, so I thought I’d post it here. One day I’ll pull up the ol’ blog and let her read it for herself, but for now…

Dear Ellen,

Two years, really? I can’t believe how fast time’s flown. All of it’s been an adventure, that’s for sure, but it honestly seems like just yesterday I was meeting you for the first time.

I guess the story really starts years and years (and years) ago. Back before I hit the double-digits, middle school, and got to enforce my own bedtime.  I started praying for just one more sibling. Why? I don’t know, I just did. And I did it with that childlike faith everyone talks about. I’m pretty sure I’ve got several examples written down in my old journals. Whenever the family went somewhere together, I thought for a moment that we were missing someone, but after a head count, I accepted the fact that there really were just five of us. As weird as that may sound, it’s completely true. I continued praying for several years. I guess it’s about the time I hit the high school age when I decided God answered my prayer with a solid “no.” Yeah, it was a little sad, but at the same time, I knew God knows best.

Fast-forward to the summer before my senior year of high school. Our parents called a family meeting. This totally freaked me out, because that’s not something we do very often. So, as our sisters and I ate our pasta, we learned we were going to have a new sibling. I honestly accused Mom and Dad of joking. Wouldn’t you? Maybe you wouldn’t. Anyway, I could write an entire book on that family meeting alone, so for now I’ll move on.

Even though I was still in denial, I began praying for your tiny life immediately. Whenever I thought about you—which was often—I begged God for your health and safety. The reality of things finally started to sink in when I heard your little heartbeat for the first time. Getting ready to meet you was one of the most exciting seasons of my life. It seemed like forever before January arrived.

On January 26, I got the privilege of witnessing you take your first breath, hearing you cry for the first time, and watching your eyes look around for the first time ever. It was like a big sappy moment for me. You can’t blame me, really. As I held you for the first time, it hit me full-on: God’s answer to my years of praying wasn’t a “no;” it was a “wait.” I just didn’t know it at the time.  When it was finally my turn to hold you, a million thoughts bombarded my mind. In that one instant, I realized life would never be the same. I immediately knew I’d aim to be the best big sister ever. Even though I’d just met you, I knew I’d do absolutely anything for you. I loved you as much as I loved our other two sisters.  I knew that one day I would be helping with your homework and stalking your friends on Facebook, because that’s what big sisters do. I knew I’d eventually tell you no, you can’t borrow my car, because that’s what Mom and Dad’s is for. I decided one day I’d be calling you to babysit your future nieces and nephews, and I’d get your services really cheap, since you’re my baby sister.

Thankfully, those days are still far ahead of us. But I know that the years between now and then will fly by at least as fast as these first two have. So while we’re living through your toddler years, I’m trying to enjoy everything about them. I love the way you insist on calling me “Nan,” even though everyone knows you’re perfectly capable of saying “Anna.” It melts my heart when you run up to me for hugs and kisses and when you tell me you love me “so much.” I absolutely love when you come sit by me and say, “talk to you,” then we sit in the middle of the floor or wherever we happen to be and discuss the drama of your life. It’s precious how sometimes you only answer when we call you “Pumpkin Baby,”  and how you still call blankets “dub dubs,” even though I may never understand why. I don’t know why you’re terrified of an imaginary chipmunk you created, but I think it’s hilarious how, when he enters the room, you climb me with monkey-like skills.

You’re not a baby anymore, but thankfully you’re still little. I never imagined myself in college with a toddler sister, but God in His great love gave me a huge blessing. A blue-eyed blonde-haired blessing. And by the way, all those years of waiting were totally worth it.

So happy second birthday, Ellen. It’s the start of a new chapter in your life, and I’m blessed to be a part of your story. You’re a miracle in so many ways, and I love you.



“Every good and perfect gift is from above…” – James 1:17


5 thoughts on “The Story of a Miracle”

  1. Anna you are an amazing big sister and I know when Ellen reads this one day she will be just as teary as I am right now (probably more so) and she will treasure this letter always. May God continue to bless you, Ellen and the rest of your family!


  2. YOU are a jewel, Anna, through and through! You, Ellen, and the rest of the Schaeffer family are a blessing! Love you! Mrs. Wanda


  3. Anna, I just read your blog about Ellen. What a sweet and special letter! I love what you wrote. I know she will treasure it always, when she can read it, and when she is older. It will be special to her.


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