As I look back at the past year at all that has happened, sometimes I still can’t believe it’s real. We moved for the 15th time (just guessing, I stopped really keeping track) and bought a home less than two hours from family. Awesome. We created our own mini farm and bought animals for our kids to enjoy. Exciting. Less than a month later, three of them died. Tragic.
My mom got diagnosed with cancer and suffered a sudden cardiac death within a twenty-four hour time period. Devastating. Then she made an unbelievable and miraculous recovery when she really shouldn’t have survived. Incredible. Four months later she was cancer free without medical intervention. Amazing. Six months later our family suffered another loss of life when one of our most beloved animals died during a routine procedure. Incomprehensible. It’s been quite a year.
Almost five weeks from now will be the anniversary of the day my mom’s heart suddenly stopped. Tough to think about. It’s also crazy there’s a chance my book may be released close to that monumental date. My mom was the first person to see my finished book because it was all for her to start with. There would be no manuscript without my love for her and my wanting to do something to make her happy. This has been a theme for me my entire life. I was never a child who ever wanted to disappoint her because she was and still is my light.
So that’s why I began to write about her experience, because I wanted to be her light in the darkness. I can’t imagine what it must feel like not to remember an entire week of your life. A week that will never be forgotten by everyone else around her. So if there was any way I could make it better for her and put on paper the phenomenal sequence of events from that week, I was going to do it. But it goes beyond that. God flooded my brain with details from the past 20 years I didn’t know I had. He showed me that beyond that week, He has been performing miracles both great and small in both our lives all along. It’s just that when we don’t take the time to really examine our lives and look closely at our past, we don’t see them for what they are.
You can ask any of my friends from college and none of them would say they thought I would move all over this country like I have. I’ve always spoken of my love for my hometown and family, and I’m sure that’s where they thought I would stay. To me, the actual town never mattered, it was always the people. But God planned for me to take a road less traveled, one that at times felt like that of a wanderer. Yet just when my mom would need me most, He brought me back, to be by her side in her darkest of days. Coincidence? I think not. Did I know ahead of time that would be the reason we would be here? Of course not, because I am not in charge.
I have a wonderful friend who told me once, “Be careful what you ask of God.” We were actually talking about our children at that time, and I was telling her that I had been praying for patience. “Hmmm,” she said. “He’s going to teach you patience, but I doubt you’re going to like it.” She was right. I have since changed my prayer to asking for peace, I’m full up of the patience lesson.
But it is that lesson that I have seen elsewhere in my life. From the time I made my first move out west, it was the beginning of my prayer to follow where God would lead. I didn’t know it would take me to so many distant places, but as I have told my mom many times over the years, “Just because I would love to live close to family, it doesn’t mean it’s God’s plan.” If I pray in His will, I have to go where He leads. That’s hard because I think some people take for granted being able to live close to the ones they love, but for me, I knew I would always cherish it if given a chance.
Living within two hours is the closest we’ve been in 13 years, but I am grateful. Writing this book has given me a special insight to see where we have been led and things God did years before they would be important. It’s truly amazing. Ultimately, no matter how difficult the journey at times, I’m glad I asked for His lead.
It has been a year of ups and downs, triumph and tragedy. But it has really been similar to a lot of our lives. Sometimes, unfortunately, the greatest masterpiece comes from the most difficult of days. I believe God is painting something big. A path less traveled yes, but one that is filled with God’s footprints; sometimes leading us, sometimes carrying us, but always providing us with a purpose that is bigger than we realize.
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