Last fall when I attended the Captivating retreat in Colorado, I met a stunning woman. Though she stood tall and graceful and had super-chic short hair that I envied, it wasn't her exterior beauty that drew my attention. It was her radiance. She eminated a sense of pleasure and delight throughout the weekend.
When I returned from the trip, she and I became "Facebook" friends, and it was in this social network that I learned more about this new acquaintance. I flipped through her photos, seeing picture after picture of her beautiful smile, her friends, her family, when I was arrested by a black-and-white photograph of a girl...her daughter, Hadley.
I would come to learn that Hadley had been born with an underdeveloped brain and required constant care from her mom and dad. To phrase it like that doesn't honor what was required of them over Hadley's 12 years. But I learned that Leith and Aaron parented Hadley with incredible passion, tender mercy, and enduring faith.
Hadley passed away on January 28. The video in the following post is one they shared at her celebration service to tell their story. Please take fifteen minutes to sit, tissue in hand, and watch as Leith and Aaron talk about their journey with Hadley and, through it all, their journey with God.
As I watch, I marvel at the radiant woman I had the honor to meet last fall. I am thankful for the encounter which led to this profound glimpse of loss, grief, and faith.