On Saturday my family did a deep clean of our sunroom, and my daughter brought something in to me asking if we should keep it or toss it. I'm keeping it.
It is a handmade stack of quotes, laminated and tied together. Wow, what memories it brought up. It's from when I was struggling to find peace, to feel God, to make decisions I didn't know a thing about with Abigail's life. I had a handful of quotes that brought me comfort, and I asked a friend to compile them into a flashcard-style stack so I could carry them with me. She did a lovely job, and I was grateful then and am still grateful.
As I read through them again tonight, it hit me how almost-desperate sounding they are. They aren't desperate, but they sure are focused in theme: be grateful, trust God, look to God, this is what to do to be grateful, trust God, He's there, be grateful. As I read through them again tonight, it reminded me of the 'Annabeth I was' during that time. The side of me that was constantly searching for peace amidst the storm-tossed chaos of pediatric cancer. Never have I struggled so hard as I did then. I didn't struggle to find my testimony, or to find my faith; they were there. It was simply a struggle to live that life. It was a very hard life.
One of the cards has the lyrics on it from a song, "He Is." I haven't heard the song or read the lyrics for years....since Abigail was still fighting cancer. But when I read them again tonight, the tune came back easily, along with the remembrance of how often I repeated it. "He is, He was, He always will be; He lives, He Loves, He's always near me. Even when it feels like there is no one holding me, be still, my soul; He is." My favorite part of that chorus was the 'holding me' part. Sometimes in our struggles we feel so alone...so isolated. But deep in my heart I knew then, and sang it fervently, that even when it felt like there was no one holding me, He was.
I just needed to type out these feelings tonight. Heavenly Father, my loving, ever-mindful, perfect Father, pulled us through that dark time. And it turned out just the way it should. Yep. A separated daughter and mother. Not what the world would say is the right way, but I know it is. I know it is, because I trust God. With life, with death, and with everything in between.
That makes everything a whole lot clearer. Trust brings peace, because I don't have to know the details. The whys or hows. I am flooded with gratitude as I look at these cards and realize--now that I'm in a different dimension in life--how trusting Him then, kept me alive. I cannot see the end or the beginning; He can. Why wouldn't I trust that?! I just am so grateful, so deeply grateful, to Him.
Faith. Always, always, always, Faith.