She looks at me with the face of an angel and I cannot help but get lost in her beauty, in her innocence. She needs me, depends on me and knows nothing more than being carried on my hip, even at a chunky 27 pounds. And as heavy as she gets, I don't put her down, as much as she blossoms into a toddler, I still see the face of a baby....my baby. So as she laid in my bed the other night, crying out in what seemed like pain, clutching constantly to my arm.....what could I do? She just needed to know I was there, every hour or so she would grab onto me and pull me into her tight embrace. I woke up the next morning in tears, after two nights of enduring her crying and restlessness, I found myself in an eerily familiar place.
Over a year ago, we went through this. My little chunks-a-lot would spend every night for weeks on end crying all night long, waking up constantly in pain, always searching for mommy's hand or finger....just something to know that she was not alone. It would be months before we knew why she was living with so much pain, that the monster of a tumor in her brain had grown, pushing on the delicate structures of her brain. I can only imagine the misery she was enduring.
So as we have gotten lost in the beauty and normalcy of life lately, a part of me has been happy to temporarily forget those hard days. But what I realized as the shadow of fear reared its ugly head again is that as much as I smile, as much joy as I feel deep inside of my soul, those emotions and that pain are still just lurking beneath the surface. It only takes a night or two of watching my little girl struggle to completely tear me apart. I thought at first it was a lack of faith in Christ but I think it's really that I am just tired of watching her suffer. I just want life to stop for a minute, just stop and let us lose ourselves in the beauty of the world around us. Let us enjoy this time that we have, let us be freed from the fear and the anxiety that abounds in this vicious journey through cancer.
My fear is that we are starting all over again, starting back at square one down a road that we've already traveled and hoped to never travel again. Yet I know that He can heal her, He can relieve her from the pain she is experiencing, He can be her peace. It's just the unknown that kills me. Never knowing when to worry, when not to, when something is a signal of a greater problem and when it's not. And I never want to look back and wish I had worried more about something, or even worried less. And whenever I find myself overwhelmed with the fragility of my little girl's life I feel like another piece of me floats away. Lost forever in the pages of this story, yet somehow belonging there anyways. I think sometimes I almost have to be empty to allow Jesus Christ to take over. Sometimes I have to be trimmed back almost until it hurts to grow even a little bit. I see how He always takes the hard times and uses them to teach me about faith, hope and trusting Him regardless of where I stand.
And I think that the unknown, even though it kills me, forces me to give this life to Him. It forces me to admit that this is not my story to write, regardless of how many times I try to pencil in my own chapters. I could have never predicted the road we would go down, the lessons we would learn and the heartache we would experience on this journey. But He already knew it all. And whether we be standing joyously in the light or grasping for peace in the darkness, He sustains us with His constant presence and grace.
So just as she clutches onto me as she struggles through the darkness, I will cling desperately to my Savior. For I realized, she needs me the way I need Him. Searching for comfort, seeking some relief, just finding peace in the fact that I can grab onto His hand and know that I am not alone in this. And I'll keep giving her all of me that she needs, knowing that He will fill me back up each time that I am empty.
"I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them."