Today I speak to all "small" souls. I write because of my deepest gratitude for them. I know I could not bear this time in my life without the grace they have obtained for me. The gift of a "small " soul comes in many packages. It is a gift that many do not choose to open. My heart bleeds at the blessings lost. Do we not have that saying that the greatest gifts come in small packages? I believe the smaller the package, the greater the gift. I learned and continue to learn from first hand experience, of how even the smallest of souls fulfill great purpose. A grave work was done and continues on in my life because of these very small souls.
I think I've mentioned how Stella's conception was a shock to Phillip and I, but here's the recap. Stella was conceived on our wedding night. I know that for a fact. Phillip and I waited until we were married and we also practice Natural Family Planning. I remember telling him that if my cycle showed signs of fertility on our wedding night, we would not consumate our marriage because I was not "ready" to get pregnant. I had "big" plans. The day of our wedding, I believe the Holy Spirit really convicted me and I decided to trust in the Lord. I know many people who did not get pregnant during the woman's "fertile" time. I had no strong signs either of being fertile. Anyways...we abstained for the next three and half weeks until I took a pregnancy test. It was positive. I cried for about a month as I saw my "plans" change. And just as the Lord prepared us for Stella's death, He prepared us for her life too. Days before I found out I was pregnant, I read the Scripture verse about our ways not being God's ways and our thoughts, not God's thoughts. I knew when I read it, He was telling me something. I was so frightened. I wasn't ready to put my career dreams aside and stay at home just yet. For Phillip and I knew before we married that when we decided to start having children, I would stay home.
Phillip recently recalled when I was towards the end of my pregnancy how his sister pulled him aside and told him when she was praying, she sensed the Holy Spirit tell her that God had something REALLY special in store for us and the baby. Phillip assumed she meant parenthood. His sister knew the Lord meant more. Occasionally over the last five and half years Phillip would think of this conversation and ask himself, "What is Stella going to be? What is God going to do with her?" Well, we see a glimpse of it now. She was called, like all of us, to be a saint. She didn't have to grow up and "be" anything to achieve her great worth. She is God's Stella. He created her not to find her identity and success in anything else but the marvel of the soul she was simply, made to be, just as I am His Francesca, Phillip is God's Phillip, etc. Stella loved and accepted her Creator's love. She answered her calling. It is actually the only true calling any of us have. The wisdom in a little child astounds me.
Stella as a small soul, could see the signficance of other smaller souls. One day close to Christmas she and John were talking about presents they would like. We were sitting at the table eating lunch and I was due to have Gia any day. She stopped and said to me, "Actually mom, it's okay if we don't get any presents at all." Not believing her I responded, "Oh, really." She continued joyfully, "Yeah, mom, because we are getting the greatest present anybody could ever get." "What is that?" I asked. "We are getting a new soul. And that's the greatest gift anyone could have." That moment sticks out to me perfectly. I could picture her smile with peanut butter around her mouth and her perfect little with her beautiful long fingers holding her sandwich. I smiled in return as I looked down at my bulging pregnant stomach and said, "You're absolutely right, Stella. A new soul IS the best present we could get. What a special Christmas." Again, are we not asked by Jesus to become like little children? Stella, a little child had more grace and wisdom, I, as well as many other adults have. It was a conversation I will hold very tightly to my heart for the rest of my time on earth (And yes, I have tears in my eyes).
The gratitude I experience to the Holy Spirit is unsurmountable. I am beyond thankful to the conviction of being open to life just a little on our wedding night. I gave God a crack and He swept in with blessings beyond belief, the gift of such a small soul in my daughter. I've heard a quote from a saint I think that says, "Save someone's soul, and you save your own." Stella as well as each of my children, carry much more weight than they even realize. For each one has played a gigantic part in the forming and growth of my soul and I know for Phillip's as well. They won't even know until they are all in heaven how grateful their mother is to them and their openness to being vessels for God. God used Stella from the moment of her conception and continues to use her to "save" my soul. For she has helped me turn to my sweet Jesus, the one who died so that all souls could be saved. He used such a tiny one as a gateway for a deeper conversion of heart for me. It has been in serving the small, Stella, John, and Gia, even when I didn't want to, was scared, discouraged, and exhausted, that my heart has stretched and enlarged in its capacity to love; the capacity to desire my Creator from the depths of every cell in me. And to think as I look back, I had no idea all that God was doing in me, through me, and especially, for me. I am grateful for the grace to have fully embraced Stella and the change God had in store for my life. For without full embrace to God's call, the gifts from them could not be fully revealed either.
So,I thank you God, for all the small, for they hold treasures of heaven in abundance. Help me to grow with more gratitude for the smallest and weakest in this world. For they are accomplishing the greatest of things for the Kingdom next. Help me to become more like them. And Stella, thank you. Dad and I know you have always been a unique gift to us and will continue to be forever. You were our wedding gift from our mighty God who is Love himself. Thank you Jesus for the grace to say yes to new life and grace to trust in what it would come from it. Life is good. God is great. Thank you Father for all of the small.