I do not dream about her.

Or at least I don’t remember if I do. I rarely remember what happens in my dream world.

But one morning I wake with a sense of lingering fear. My heart is pounding and the dream is still with me. I am in a beautiful forest and there is a glistening lake in front of me. My children are scattered. I don’t actually see any of them, but I know they are there. Some in the water, some on the shore. It should be a pleasant place, but I feel uneasy. Then I see why–a large bear is swimming in the shadows. I can only see his head, and he is swimming silently, but I know to be afraid. I know the danger. I stand up to shout a warning.┬áBut I have no voice.

This great danger and I have no voice.

And I cannot find my children.

The dream stays with me through the day. Later that night my daughter comes into my room at bedtime. My husband is already asleep next to me, but she has had a hard day and so she climbs into the bed beside me. She is mourning some new, hard thing. And I am whispering assurances and truths and comfort. I am reminding her to be brave.

But as we lay there in the dark with our hair interwoven on my pillow, I begin thinking of all the hard things. I am thinking of youthful yearnings and all that is unsure and unknown. I am remembering some achingly somber moments. I am thinking of all the battles, won and lost and yet to be.

I am remembering Marissa.

And then I think of my dream and the bear swimming so close to my children.

I hold her hand tightly, and I try not to cry.

I try not to be afraid.

A gradual, gentle light arises in this darkness, this palpable darkness. God speaks into my heart. He soothes my fears by reminding me of the truth of Him. He whispers peace.

All of the new, hard things are His. He will be there, always present. I can rest in His promises. I can trust in Him. I can surrender all of my cares, all of my burdens to His heart.

He carries my burdens, the burdens of my children.

He will not let me go.

It is an every day faith. An every day surrender. An every day trust.

I feel the weight and strength of it. The praise of it. Its sureness.

Faith. A gift and a promise. A truth.

I lift this knowing into the darkness.

And when she leaves, I turn and move very close to the warmth of my husband. The moon gives just a breath of light, but it is not the only light I see.

I close my eyes and sleep.

I sleep soundly, and I do not dream at all.

Light arises in the darkness for the upright. Psalm 112:4

Be strong and let your heart take courage all you who hope in the Lord. Psalm 31:24

The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1