...she really is in my heart

"...and God, thank you for Miss Anna Kathryn,
because she really is in my heart...
and so are You!"

I don't have a lot to say in this e-mail but to just ask for your prayers.... for me, for my ranch family, and for Arissa's family. Arissa, our ten year old, got in a car with her grandfather Sunday to come back to the ranch, but didn't end up here, instead they drove all the way to heaven to be with their Father... How wonderful for both of them! PRAISE GOD that child will never have to suffer another day on this earth the way she did for 10 years! "God will wipe every tear from her eyes!" (Rev. 7:17) I couldn't be happier for her!

But I don't think I could be any sadder either..... The house is quiet... The whole ranch seems empty without her. She was, without a doubt, the joy of everyday for me, and for so many others here... I went into her room earlier and closed the door... I sat where I used to sit everynight when I tucked her in and prayed with her... and I cried...... I cried to God and asked Him to give me strength to live and work here without her..... strength to be able to encourage and comfort the other kids through this, even while I'm struggling so much.... I haven't found that strength yet, but please pray for me, with me, as I try to make it through this.....

The ranch is not empty, and I know that, because the Holy Spirit fills every inch and every crevace here! and PRAISE GOD that He gave us three months to spend with Arissa, and for her to grow to know Him and to love Him more! There's a void in my heart right now, but the void would be greater had I never known her, and I'm so blessed to have had that opportunity! It's amazing the impact that tiny, hyperactive 10 year old had on my life after only 3 months, but I loved her so much! And she is in my heart too, even though it's broken and hurting right now... But I'm certain that she's walking with the Lord right now.... giving Him high grabs, saying "blu blu"** and singing 'down at the beach' to Him, and that brings me so much joy!

Many of us at the ranch are leaving Wednesday morning at 6 to make the 9 hour bus drive to Indiana to see Arissa one last time on this earth. Please keep us in your prayers as we make this trip, and as we mourn the loss of our angel. This is Camile's second funeral in 9 days... She got home last week to the news that a friend of hers died at 14 years old, and when she got back here, she found out about this.

Y'all, I know you do, but especially now, please just pray for us without ceasing... I don't know how to be here without her... She was my everyday, she was what I did, my constant happiness, and she's gone..... As great as I know this is for her, the HUGE selfish part of me misses her so much and wants to shut down... but I've GOT TO FIND THE STRENGTH to keep going, if not for me, for these amazing kids! And they've got to find it too, and see it in the people surrounding them...

All I planned to do in this e-mail was ask for your prayers, but I ended up pouring my heart out.... Once I get goin.......... I love you guys so much! Thank you for praying for me and my girls, and all of these great kids! It's gonna be a hard few weeks before Christmas break, but I know that God can get us through it.....

Anna Kathryn

"I thank my God everytime I remember you.
In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy."
-Philippians 1:3-4

Arissa: "Do you think God cares if we repeat things sometimes when we pray?"
Me: "Not at all..."
Arissa: "Good... Because everytime we pray together I'm always gonna start like 'Dear God, thank you that we get to spend this time together.'"

Thank you, God, that we got to spend so much time together!

** our secret language for "I love you!"