It was one year ago, on the Tuesday of Holy Week, that our sweet Samantha got sick. The date was different, of course, but we live our lives according to the church calendar more often than the actual calendar. And for me, the journey of Lent to the cross will forever be changed since it was also the journey to our daughter’s illness and eventual death. Last year on this Tuesday, Travis was in an all-day meeting in the community. I was home with Samantha, and she started screaming. And refusing to eat. It scared me. If had known then what I know now, I might have given up all hope on the spot. Thankfully God shields us from knowing the worst of things before we are able to handle it.

Sunday was filled with memories for me. Last year on Palm Sunday we introduced our daughter to the church. It was her “due date” so we took her out for the very first time. I held her during worship, and lots of folks got to meet her. She was so tiny, and seemed perfectly healthy despite her size.

Then two days later, everything changed. I spent a lot of time that week pondering how Mary, the mother of Jesus, felt as her son journeyed to the cross. I remember the fear and pain so clearly.

When Easter came last year, it was one of our first signs of hope. Things began to turn around, and we began to think that maybe, just maybe, our daughter would survive.

I know now that God wanted us to walk that road, the road into the dark canyon of her initial illness through the hills of thinking she would recover but be disabled, into the valley of the shadow of death. I don’t understand it, but I know without doubt it was a journey we needed to take.

Now we’re reliving those steps each day, and sometimes reliving them twice, since the dates on the calendar don’t correspond to the church year in the same way. Meanwhile, my sister has found a way to help us with this journey by taking another one. We’re participating in something called Run for God, which is a Bible study that leads up to running a 5K. Please consider participating in some way with us. We need lots of prayer, but you can also run or sponsor a runner. We’ve set up a blog specifically for the run, so please click over to it if you’re interested in learning more.