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ok, so I’ve had a couple days of reflection and maybe in the last few moments I’ve been able to think through a couple things.

One, I’ve debated posting anything about this, but after the day I’ve had today, I decided to. Many of you have probably heard about the tragedy that Steven Curtis Chapman and his family have faced in the last week. If not, I would encourage you to check out this news article about Maria Sue. It is so sad, but tonight as I have read through a blog I found on his website, I was so moved by the way their friends have surrounded them. Of course he is famous and of course you will recognized the name of his friends who came by their side, but really, he is human and I have no doubt as my heart hurts for them tonight, their heart is broken as well. Much like you guys have done for me, his friends dropped everything to be there. Matt Redman was sitting in an airport in Atlanta on his way home to the UK and heard the news and walked away from his “plans” and got in a car and drove to Nashville. Michael W. Smith, called, came, sang in Maria’s memorial service and kept calling just because that is what friends do (sounds like some people I know…). Geoff Moore sang a song that SCC had written for family friends who lost a child 10 years before.

I talked with a friend last night about how God has this amazing sense of humor. Now, that is not the word I should have used in this situation, but hear me out. 10 years ago, Maria was not born, Maria was not part of the Chapman family, but SCC wrote a song to minister to another family and it was able to be a song used to minister to him last week.

K-Love actually played this song on the radio this morning and I had never heard it. When I pulled into the McDonalds drive-thru line this morning the song started playing. Yeah, not a good combo. An already emotionally set girl who has been moved by this story from the beginning, on a day when I wasn’t feeling good from the start, and now, I am being rushed by the woman on the McDonald’s headset to make my order. (side confession: since I was the only one in the line this morning, I asked her to hold on because I had not made my decision. So, that may have been a little lie, but I needed to hear this song and I was not in a proper emotional state to order the chicken biscuits and breakfast burritos that were on the “list” I pulled into the drive-thru with).

The song is called “With Hope” and it is on his ’99 albumin Speechless . I couldn’t find a place to play it, but here are the lyrics.

this is not at all how
we thought it was supposed to be
we had so many plans for you
we had so many dreams
and now you’ve gone away
and left us with the memories of your smile
and nothing we can say
and nothing we can do
can take away the pain
the pain of losing you
but we can cry with hope

we can say goodbye with hope
’cause we know our goodbye is not the end oh no
and we can grieve with hope
’cause we believe with hope
there’s a place by god’s grace
there’s a place where we’ll see your face again
we’ll see your face again

and never have i known
anything so hard to understand and
never have i questioned more
the wisdom of god’s plan
but through the cloud of tears
i see the father’s smile and say well done
and i imagine you
where you wanted most to be
seeing all your dreams come true
’cause now you’re home
and now you’re free and

we have this hope as an anchor
’cause we believe that everything
god promised us is true so we wait with hope
and we ache with hope
we hold on with hope
we let go with hope

Yeah, that’s hard. I cannot imagine. I cannot imagine life without my parents, so I cannot imagine it the other way around. I guess maybe it gives me a better glimpse of what my parents are experiencing through all this. When you are the parent maybe you think everything is supposed to happen to you and you are not supposed to witness these things happening to your kids.

The Chapman’s are amazing; people I have always admired for their commitment to each other and to the International adoption world. It’s amazing.

So, yeah, I hear this song on the radio on my way to work and since I wasn’t feeling terribly great, I was in a somber mood. Then, not long after I was at work, I found out that a girl who graduated from Ouachita last year was killed in a car wreck over the weekend. Seriously, life is fragile.

You know sometimes people ask me how I can be handling this so well and while I don’t think I have ever said this out loud until this moment..”I’m still alive”. Yeah, days may stink. I may not be able to get out of bed, I may be more grumpy than normal, my wrists may hurt sometimes, I may more pills in a box than I ever expected to see before I was 87, I may have weird food cravings (I’ve eaten more Taco Bell and pickles in the last month than you could imagine), I may get lonely, I may spend too much time on the Internet stalking my friends on Facebook, but you know what…I’m still here. I still laugh, fix my hair, go out to eat, work on crafts, read books, eat ice cream, cook and have parties with my friends. God is good and we often forget His simple blessings. I mean really I have an air conditioner that I could turn on this weekend! I can turn on all the lights in my apartment, I have a cell phone that is annoying me because it is dying, I have furniture in my house, more food in my refrigerator and freezer that I could eat before it goes bad. I mean really.

I had a conversation with someone today and she asked me a question I had not thought about, “So, are you tired of talking about this or about hearing peoples stories?”. I told her no. Immediately. And as I’ve thought about that conversation this afternoon, you know that is still my answer. I am so grateful for this journey. I was reading through a journal last night and read back through the previous entries and had forgotten that there was a time during this journey that we didn’t know for sure what this was and that we were praying for a miracle. I shared with so many at that time, but while everyone was praying for God to do a miracle, I knew that He had a different plan. Please don’t miss read that. I know God is so big and He does miracles every day and it brings tears to my eyes as I read that phrase for fear that I would ever think that He is not bigger than my problems, but I knew He had a different plan. My dad has always challenged me to realize that for my entire life, God has had bigger plans. For whatever reason, He has always put me in places that I shouldn’t have been (like being Director of Admissions Counseling at Ouachita at 25), but every time, He has sustained me, given me direction, and shown me His way. So, I praise Him for the way He loves me and how His grace is so much bigger than any mistake I can make. So, I know God can do miracles, I’ve been in places where I have seen him work things right in front of my eyes. And, He is doing a miracle…maybe not the one we “wanted” in the beginning, but every time I laugh it’s a miracle…I have cancer! I still have hair…its a miracle, I haven’t gotten sick..that’s a miracle…there are so many. But, God has been good to me. I know the only reason all these miracles have happened is because of Him. Because He is in control and He has a plan.

Maybe He is trying to teach me some lessons…I could probably use them. Talk about irony and God’s sense of humor…last night in that same journal, I found an entry two weeks before all this happened, where I wrote the words to “Bring the Rain” and finished the article, with these thoughts,” Lord I want you to do what ever it takes to draw me to you.” Let me just tell you, He has delivered!

On my way to Taco Bell tonight, I ended the day the same way it started. With a song I had never heard being played, God speaking to me, and me pulling into a drive-thru and asking the lady on the other end to wait. Here are the lyrics to Never Let Go by David Crowder (if you click on the title link, it will take you to a You Tube video I found tonight):

when clouds veil sun
and disaster come
so my soul
o my soul

when waters rise
and hope takes flight
o my soul o my soul o my soul

ever faithful ever true
you are known
you never let go
you never let go you never let go
you never let go you never let go
you never let go you never let go

when clouds brought rain
and disaster came
o my soul o my soul
when waters rose
and hope had flown
o my soul o my soul o my soul

ever faithful ever true
you are known
you never let go you never let go
you never let go you never let go
you never let go you never let go
you never let go
o my soul
overflows
o what love o what love

o my soul
fill with hope
perfect love
that never lets go
you never let go you never let go
you never let go

o what love
o what love
o what love

joy and pain
and sun and rain
you’re the same
o you never let go

Praise God He keeps holding out His hand, it’s us who let’s go.