“Sometimes in small ordinary ways we experience the presence of God, as in the ability to get out of bed in the morning and keep our children alive. Other times we know for certain in the way a particular thing has fallen out, by its timing and our lack of control over it, that we’ve witnessed an unusual gift of grace. A miracle really, though we hesitate to call it that.” —Margie Haack, from Notes from Toad Hall (Issue #1 — 2006; Still Winter)

I read this the other day, just before I found out the very hard news that my mom’s tumor did not, in fact, shrink as a result of the radiation treatments she endured. Surgery is no longer an option, and new “shadows” were detected via the CT scan, on both her liver and lungs. Since radiation obviously is also no longer an option, she starts chemo again tomorrow. She is exhausted, she is in pain, and she is losing weight.

And we live one day at a time, hour by hour, trusting that God’s grace is sufficient.

This past week, I’ve been recognizing my utter dependence on God in a profound way. This is not a new revelation, but it is something that I can too easily forget when things are going well. Now I am treasuring every breath—the ability to get out of bed and do what needs to be done. I am grateful for the gift of laughter, and even for the tears.

Lots of tears lately, but also lots of love.

I am a beloved daughter of God, and He is showering me with reminders from others that this is true. That this is true for my mom as well. I pray that she feels it as tangibly as I do at this moment, through the notes and phone calls and hugs. And I pray for my dad and my brothers and my niece, and for all the people who love Mom and the rest of us.

I was writing in my journal last night that I feel like George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life, in the final scene, when his brother toasts him as “the richest man in town.”

One friend shows up with a mocha and a hug.

Others, who are hundreds of miles away, assure me that the minute I ask, they’ll jump in a car or a plane and make their way to my side.

Many offer prayers and tears and encouragement and funny stories.

One tells me, even as tears are streaming down my cheeks, that I’m having a great hair day. This makes me laugh. Another hears the news and figures out why it is I’ve been on her mind so much lately, and why she’s been so sad. This makes me cry.

I’ve been prayed for by people I’ve known for a few months and by people I’ve known most of my life—and even by someone I knew, very briefly, a long time ago, and with whom I only recently reconnected.

I call all of these things miracles, and I can boldly pray for more—for comfort, for healing, for strength, for peace. For life everlasting.

Let nothing disturb thee. Let nothing frighten thee. Everything is changing. God alone is changeless. Patience attains the goal. The one who has God lacks nothing. God alone fills all our needs. —St. Teresa of Avila

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