As this season draws to an end (we're 12 weeks from graduation people), I have to admit I think I'm more terrified of what's next. Of course, I have no clue what's next, and I think that's what makes it so terrifying. But at the same time, it's been such a joy to walk this season of life... blood, sweat, tears, and all! Two weeks into this season and I was ready to throw it all away, I had never felt such pain and walked out something so hard in my life. Honestly, I often think overcoming anorexia was simpler than learning to live life here on earth without watching my nephew, Billy grow up. No aunt (or parent) should outlive their nephew (child). But we're doing it... my family and I. I often go back to a quote from Mary Beth Chapman, "Until I die or Jesus comes back we can do hard!" I...Can...Do...Hard!! I may not always want to, but with God on my side, I can do it.
I've done a lot of reflecting lately, especially during my excursion to Colorado Springs last weekend (Aug. 27-29, 2010). How redeeming it is to watch as my sister and her family have returned to the city where they gave their son back to the Lord when he was only 5 months old.
The picture above was taken on the trip when I first met Billy. Avery was 21 months old and B was only 3 weeks old. It was a sweet and wonderful trip. Now when I look at the Darnell family and the pictures that I see I feel like there will always be someone missing. Below are pictures from my most recent trip, one with Avery (now age 4) and Billy's little brother, Nathan (age 1 1/2).
A dream has been reborn for their sweet family... as well as another addition (another boy due end of September). As for me, well... as soon as we descended into Denver on my flight, August 27 I heard the Lord say the enemy had been defeated. A smile found its way upon my face and I felt a peace. A peace that I knew meant Cheryl, Bill, Avery, and Nathan are exactly where they should be. And although Billy's body is buried in Dallas, his spirit and joy lives on amongst all the Darnell's. Cheryl asked me if things had changed since I hadn't been in Colorado since Billy had died. I told her yes, but that so had we. It wasn't a bad change, but I could feel it... but it was a "meant to be" change. It's hard being this far from my sister and her kids, but I trust it's what God has for now. If He ever makes a way for me to be closer than I'll trust in His timing... not my own.
The biggest thing I've had to learn for me in this season is that I have to find my own way. I have to live my own life. Everything changed when Billy died, and in that moment I think I knew that I could never go back to the way I was. I've found an independence that I never knew existed. And not an unhealthy independence from God, but one in which I've learned I'm fully capable of being the woman he created me to be.
This has been a hard season, but all the while truly redeeming. I believe that if Billy were still alive he would be quite the independent, stubborn (in a good/cute way) little boy. I thank God for my time with him and whether he is here on earth or in Heaven... I will always be his aunt!
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven."
~ Ecclesiastes 3:1