Yesterday morning I woke to the knowledge that I was starting a new chapter in my life. It doesn’t mean I stopped missing Samantha. I still miss her every day, and I know I will for the rest of my life. And there will still be a healing process to go through up until the day I join her in heaven. That hasn’t changed.

In fact, nothing tangible has changed. Nothing outside of me or inside of me, but somehow I just know I’m beginning a new phase of my journey. Two years ago, we had just settled into our house and I learned I was pregnant. We spent a year focused on Samantha’s life, in the womb and out of it. Then this past year we spent in missing her, mourning her death. Now my steps are turning in a new direction, one I can’t see yet. God is guiding me along a new path, and I’m not sure yet if it will be a valley of sorrow or a mountain of joy. Or perhaps both, since that seems to be the pattern of my life. All I know is right now I can see a few feet in front of me, and the ground is unfamiliar territory.

I’m not scared by this. If nothing else, the past two years have taught me to trust God completely with my life. In His hands, I am safe.

So many of you continue to comment on my strength, but I have a secret: the strength is not mine. No, “this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned;struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:7b-9). Whether it’s the strength to breathe again after I sob my eyes out, or the strength to get up with a smile on my face and joy in my heart despite everything we’ve been through, I know that the power comes from God. For whatever reason, He chose us to tell this story, this story of Samantha and of God’s working in her life and ours. This is not the story I want to have to tell, but it is the story I have and I MUST tell it.

In the meantime, I would like to ask a favor of all of you prayer warriors out there. Please pray for Camille, Sasha, Kyler, and Ethan. Michael, who was husband to Camille, stepfather to Sasha and father to Kyler and Ethan, was killed in a car accident on Monday. This week, I have been praying for their whole family a great deal, acutely aware that they are going through a devastating loss. This family was a part of a previous congregation that Travis served, and though they moved away before we left we have stayed in touch via Facebook. They need prayers now as much as or more than we did last year.

God’s blessings to all of you out there. Thank you for praying for us this past year, from the bottom of my heart. You are all such a blessing in my life!