I write this with tears streaming down my face. Happy tears, lest you worry something bad happened and immediately want to read further to find out what.

Actually happy tears because I never, ever, thought we would get here.

My sweet, sacrificial, lion-hearted, gentle-and-strong spirited oldest daughter, Annalise, turns 17 today.

And for those of you who have been a part of the Welcoming House through her last 5 years or so, you know what an incredible, beautiful miracle that is.

She has been through more in those 17 years than ANY human being should have gone through, having spent more than 4 of it total in hospitals, having had 2 brain surgeries in the last 4 years…..and overcoming each and every one of them with a smile on her face and a song in her heart.

She is my dancing girl, hands thrown up in worship to the King who she clings to with all her heart…her faith is stronger than that of most adults I know.

She is my joy and my right hand, a companion I praise the Lord for each and every day. Her quiet spirit of joy fills the house, and her smile lights up the room.

I want to tell you how her life has changed.

3 years ago we started a new journey, one filled with alternatives instead of medications. One where we worked from the bottom up on what health really is, and our journey, adventure really, spilled out into here where we shared.

We put it all on a video for you, explaining everything, and she asked me to share it with you today.

She is strong, and healthy…two words we would NEVER have used before 3 years ago. Strong in spirit, yes. Weak in body. And were told that would never change.

But today…she IS strong. She IS healthy. SHE IS living life as a teenage girl with youth group meetings, and homeschool parties, and volunteering at the library, and being in a play…and I could go on and on and on.

There. Is. Hope.

And I wanted to take this precious moment of time to share our hope, and our victory on her birthday, with you.  She is a bright and shining light in our lives, a daily reminder of God’s grace and favor on a broken set of parents who had already buried their firstborn child. I wait with anticipation to see what God does in her life. How He uses her amazing story to show others what is possible, and encourages them in dark places.

Feel free to watch our story, and also to wish her a Happy Birthday. You all know Anna….she will love every single piece of it, and thank you. <3

Blessings to you and yours,

~Heather <3

PS–the link to our video will take you to our sister blog, where we talk very specifically about natural alternatives and how we use them. It is still our site. 😀