There is a mist hovering over the little lake each morning when I walk beside it. A long, winding driveway takes me past a rolling pasture where the Clydesdale horses roam and into a shady wooded area where the gray mare comes to the fence each morning to watch me. It is the kind of woods with scattered trees so that there is both shade and sun, a perfection of balance. Across the lake there are kind grandfather trees that whisper in the wind and a lone heron that gingerly steps along the edge of the water.
It is quiet here in a way that life mostly isn’t. It is beautiful in a way that settles the heart.
This place is a gift.
If you ask me how I found it, I can’t even remember. But I can tell you Who the giver is.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17
So many gifts along the way have lightened our load and lifted our burden. Your words of encouragement and faithful praying have ministered sweetly to our souls. Many of you have given sacrificially so that we could pay bills and pursue treatment. While we’re away in Durham, you have been loving my family by feeding them delicious meals. I can’t count the number of times we have received a text or a card or a message exactly when it was needed.
You all are precious gifts to us.
I don’t take things for granted these days. My children hug me a little harder and I hold them tight a little longer. I listen even when I am tired and I focus on what their hearts are saying. I go to soccer games on Saturday when I have a thousand things to catch up on. I go to Home Depot with my husband and he goes grocery shopping with me. We are grateful in a new way, and I hope I am getting better at giving and loving.
Because to love, to have people to love, is a gift.
I am spending every day with Marissa. On Mondays we are at Duke all day long, but on the other days we are only there an hour or two. When she feels well enough, we are exploring Durham. It’s a college town and there are lots of neat shops and interesting restaurants. The Eno River runs through and there are beautiful spots to sit by the river or go on short hikes. We bought some craft supplies, and we are working on a different craft each week. We bake goodies to take to her team at Duke. We walk on the farm and feed carrots to the horses. We read and we talk and sometimes we are just quiet.
Because every moment is a gift.
I remember when I first thought of writing things down during our journey and I woke early with the name on my heart: Tracing His goodness. It felt like the only way to get through was to look for His hand and recount His kindness along the way. I knew that some days it would be hard to feel Him near, but I could trace His goodness like a golden thread, unbroken and beautiful.
So I trace the bountiful thread of grace. I cling to the precious gift of faith. I follow His hand, and I see His glory.
He has been the best gift. He is the quiet beauty that settles the heart.
Your eyes will behold the king in his beauty. They will see a land that stretches afar. Isaiah 33:17
For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD gives grace and glory; no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11