I remember meeting Marianne when I was in 6th grade and she was in 1st grade. That’s the year her older sister, Amy, became my best friend. And somewhere along the way, Marianne became not just my friend but someone I consider to be like family. Those of you that know the ladies of this family (Marianne, Amy, and their sweet Mama Debbie) know what I mean when I say that each of them have joy in their souls that is so rare and different. Their joy is loud, it’s contagious and it’s special, and it’s one of the most precious gifts from God I’ve known in my lifetime.
“Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You. I will praise You as long as I live, and in Your name I will lift up my hands.”~Psalm 63: 3,4
Marianne and her husband, David, found out at the end of November, at her 20 week anatomy scan that their third baby girl was measuring two weeks small and had two spots on her heart. And, soon after that, they were given heartbreaking news that their baby may not live through birth due to a chromosomal disorder.
They chose to name her Eleanor Mae, after each of their maternal grandmothers. Eleanor means bright shining light, and their prayer is that her life would be a bright shining light for Jesus. (Please read Marianne’s blog, A Reason to Sing, where Marianne explains Eleanor’s story much better than I ever could.)
“Like a shepherd will find His flock, He gathers the lambs in His arms, close to His heart. He will gently lead those who are with young.” Isaiah 40:11
Ellie Mae is a bright shining light. Her parents are honoring her life and glorifying her Creator, as her light continues to shine brighter with each passing day. Her legacy is strong and mighty. It’s hopeful and faithful. It’s full of confidence of the hope of the glory of heaven. It’s a miracle. It’s one of the brightest legacies I’ve ever known, and it’s only just begun.
This past weekend, we had a quick photo session to celebrate Eleanor Mae and her family that loves her intentionally and passionately. As I look through these images, I am reminded again of the first text I got from Marianne soon after they found out the news of Eleanor’s prognosis. She asked me to keep praying for them to remain hopeful and to bring Jesus glory. Even through all the pain and uncertainty, she and David are boldly courageous and extraordinarily joyful as they rely on the strength of their Savior.
Take a look at these faces and see what I mean….