The "rule" I discovered about his departure bringing minor calamities has proven true as well. RJ got splinters all over the bottom of her feet (and she won't let me remove them), a big diaper rash suddenly formed, Gabe's laptop just wouldn't turn on so we couldn't use that to communicate, Raychel has bled for the first time from a fall... and then repeated it twice more...
Not that I'm really complaining because honestly, these things just make the situation funny. We are so crazy blessed... The splinters aren't hurting her, her rash went away with treatment, Gabe has a smartphone and his computer kicked back in, and RJ now knows not to lean back on her walker.
And God uses these times. Last week RJ was crying and I really didn't know how to help. It was her nap time, but I thought she could use a little more milk, too. So I laid her down in her crib. I was hesitant, but it was as if God was right there with me holding my hand as I quietly left her room and closed the door. She was screaming and I felt a peace...
"It's okay. Give her a minute. Let's see if she'll sleep."
When she wouldn't, I went back in without any panic and nursed her some more. God didn't tell me exactly what would work, but I felt affirmed and very much supported. I was co-parenting only Gabe wasn't there. I don't know if God was really speaking to me or if it was just something I fabricated, but I do know that the peace was from Him. I didn't feel overwhelmed because He let me know somehow that I wasn't alone.
Beyond that, there has been a calm here. I was so nervous before Gabe left because past separations have been so, so hard and that was without another little human needing constant attention. Yet God is showing me such incredible grace and guiding us so sweetly. Last week I was thinking about it and felt so scared to say anything to anyone. I didn't want to let the secret out and invite Satan to ruin my good time... Almost immediately after the thought surfaced in my consciousness I was convicted by the Spirit,
"How dare you? What makes you think you have the right to keep God's mercy quiet? What makes you think you are allowed to sit on the glory He is revealing?"
So maybe everything will fall apart. Maybe hitting "publish" on this post will be the last thing I do in this state, but if that happens, it won't take away from what God has done. I have enjoyed a week and a half of joy and peace with my sweet daughter. I honestly didn't think it could be this good. We miss Gabe so much. We both want to be with him - our protector and provider. But we are also being visited by a personal, generous Savior God in a new way. He is showing me once again who is the protector and provider. I know myself well enough to know that what we are experiencing is absolutely not my doing. His love is intimidating and inviting all at once. He has opened His great arms to us and we are so safe in His embrace. I truly have no other explanation for the state of mind I'm in.
One way He is holding our hands is through this amazing community He's placed us in. To all of our brothers and sisters: thank you. We have been flooded with love in many forms: notes, visits, gifts, favors... It's overwhelming. Last night Hannah and Mikel heard I didn't have a car and sent me home from Bible Study with theirs!! I mean, really, what kind of love is this? It's the good kind and we know just where it comes from.