To My Little Match Girl

To my little match girl,

You are radiant.

Growing up, it was simply a story that you read to us at Christmas time, a small chapter of an anthology that you gifted us. Yet, looking back now, it’s much more than a simple story, much more than a Christmas tale, much more than a childhood memory.

It’s your story.

It’s one of the most bold and beautiful chapters in the anthology of your life.

It’s what you gifted us.

It is your legacy.

To my little match girl,

Despite the “terribly cold” trials that you have faced in this life, you have always carried a bundle of matches in your hand. Despite sickness and years of treatment, you have continued to strike match after match, illuminating the world around you with vibrance, with “really a wonderful light”. Where others would see cold and darkness, you have been the true little match girl that has found joy, warmth and celebration in the midst of suffering, and for that- for that, I could not be more proud to be your niece, to watch you shine, and to have the privilege to stand and live in the radiance of your light.

To my little match girl,

Her story, and your story, will not go untold. Just as you sat with us those years  and read us her Christmas tale, so will I sit with Ann Leland, and any future children, and read them this story each Christmas. For when they hear her story, they will hear your story. They will learn of their very own little match girl who went throughout her life with a bundle of matches in hand, striking a light against the darkness, finding the good in her circumstances, and shining that light for all to see. They will learn of their little match girl, who displayed with such zeal and grace how to walk through the valleys of life. They will learn of your unique light, your love for fashion, your “no such thing as too many accessories”, your ease of conversation, your mischievous expressions like their Mac Macs, your deep love for giving to others and your ability to make special occasions exactly that.  They will learn of the little match girl who fought with abandon, who never let her light quit shining, whose vast courage and resilience I pray that they obtain.

To my little match girl,

You are radiant.

I know those are words that you will hear when you see Jesus. I know that because through this life, through the valleys you have journeyed, your light has shined and has shined for Him. You have inspired and pointed others to Him through your simultaneous boldness and peace with your fight. Your light comes from within, comes from Him, and I know that your life has been chock-full of purpose and power through His light within you. My prayer is that whatever valley I face in this life, that I can do exactly what you chose to do and strike a match against the darkness. My prayer is that I have your strength, through Him, to hold so tightly to the bundle of matches in my own hand.

To my little match girl,

Thank you for preparing me all those years ago, for reading me the story of your life, for choosing to live out our beloved Christmas tale, for taking this chapter of suffering and transforming it into a brilliant anthology of joy and light. I know that just as she did, you will “fly upwards in brightness and joy far above the earth, where there is neither cold nor hunger nor pain”.

To my little match girl,

I can’t wait for the day to see you again, to see you in a place without pain, without suffering, without disease, to walk into His presence where you will be waiting, to see even more so your eternal light, and say,

“You are radiant.”

I love you.

Missing Brad in this picture! April 2019

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