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Dear One,

The wind is blowing hard, it’s snowing across the country. We’re in the depths of winter but it’s the first day of Lent and Spring is coming! I am writing this to you this morning because my heart feels a little like that. It’s overflowing and I must.

I think my flight out today is just going to beat the storm in Denver. Hopefully the wind doesn’t keep me from landing in Milwaukee or Miss Fannie will be frowning and Uncle Todd will be scowling. I don’t know what sassy cat will be doing. She’s too hard to read.

We had such a sweet visit this trip. Maybe sweet isn’t the right word because it was so full-flavored, but the aftertaste is so sweet. The conversation last night before dinner when we were lying on the bed together with your mom, has me reflecting this morning. We talked about how the tough times push us deeper into our relationships with God. You said to me, “We have lived the same lives, Auntie Debbie.” That hurt a little because I don’t want anyone to have to endure the abuses of alcohol and evil.

I don’t use that word often, “evil” but I’ve come to understand there is no other word adequate for abusive relationships—whether physically, emotionally or spiritually. Sometimes the latter two are more insidious than the first. But they play with your mind and mess with you heart until you realize your spirit has been sucked or slapped right out of you. It takes a lot of strength to own up to that in a relationship with someone we have deeply loved and given our all to. And yet you have owned up to it much more quickly than I had.

I’m so proud of you. You are a real warrior, as I said. I see you in Armor on a horse, your long hair flowing in the wind as you ride off with your Sword to fight the good fight for God’s Kingdom. You are always inspiring me, Wormgirl.

Watching you at the doctor visits this past week has been life changing for me. For one, you have proven the point over and over again, we never know what’s going on in someone’s life. So be kind. I think it was your mom who said, “We’re all just a bunch of people walking around with a lot of pain and hurt inside. We’re all winging it to some degree.” That really makes you look at everything with fresh eyes, doesn’t it?

You have hidden your pain and hurt so impressively, it’s true, but you have also hidden the degree to which your illness has effected you. I had no idea. And yet, you bring your strength and joy into every situation. “She’s still smiling!” They say over and over again. And after anyone has been with you, have you noticed? They leave smiling too.

Remember when it was your mom’s turn to face a rare disease they couldn’t it figure out until they finally did, and she spent fifteen days in the hospital? As I watched you and your sisters back then, stand behind the gurney as she was wheeled off to surgery I thought, daughters shouldn’t have to watch that. You all dealt with it with great courage and even greater love. Remember when we ate sushi in the hospital cafeteria? We had quite a spread!

I thought of that spread last night at the restaurant when you asked if they had edamame, and then found out you can’t eat that now either, along with chocolate, fish, hummus and nuts and… Don’t worry, you will. They’re going to figure this all out and you will be eating your favorite foods again before you know it. I know it. Don’t ask me how, I just do.

I say all that, circling back to my point. A daughter shouldn’t be doing the paperwork for her Power of Attorney before her mother. As I watched you with your mom yesterday answering those questions about “what to do if…” I was astounded at the depth of insights in all your answers. You have thought through things so thoroughly and graciously at such a time as this. I just sat there watching. When I could have been crying inside, you kept making me laugh and you inspired me. You aren’t afraid of anything.

Like we said, hard times push you nearer to God. We won’t go there to that place where we are so, so safe and secure in His Presence, enveloped in His love, filled with peace in spite of what’s going on in and around us, unless we are pushed. Divorce pushes us. Abuse pushes us. Illness pushes us. Like you said, we have lived the same lives and we are better for it. I don’t doubt for a minute that God is using you to transform people and situations all around you, all the time. Your heart is so large and glowing it shines the way before you and leaves a trail behind you for others to follow.

These days ahead could be scary or they could be extraordinary. You have proven they will be the latter and I will be praying every day for that, that while you sleep, and when you wake up, you know that God is with you, and has prepared the day with wonders and beauty along the way. You will have everything you need and more than you can imagine. But I don’t need to tell you this. You teach me! I will go home today a different woman because of you.

I love you, Wormgirl, with all my heart. I’ll be back soon. Don’t forget to send me the “Whodunnit” from the Mystery puzzle. I really think it was Julie! Ha! Let me know.

As Gma used to say, “Until next time!”

From my Devotion this morning:

Secret of Healing: “Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” ISAIAH 43:19 (God Calling)

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