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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Be Strong

It is the beginning of the new year and my granddaughter Acadia is home from the hospital following a long, two month stay. I wish I could say that she is better, or that they found the cause of all her problems, but of course they did not. I find myself struggling with discouragement and sadness and my mind full of questions. These emotions beg to be settled with words on paper. Writing has always been my therapy, my way of understanding what is really important to me, of holding on to whatever that is, and clinging to it when the emotions have passed.

In reading Boyhood and Beyond by Bob Schultz (a gem of a book!) aloud to my boys, I came across this poem. It seems to be my call for the New Year and what lies ahead.

Be Strong!
We are not here to play, to dream, to drift;
We have hard work to do, and loads to lift;
Shun not the struggle--face it; 'tis God's gift.

Be Strong!
Say not, "The days are evil. Who's to blame?"
And fold the hands and acquiesce--oh shame!
Stand up, speak out, and bravely, in God's name.

Be Strong!
It matters not how deep entrenched the wrong,
How hard the battle goes, the day how long;
Faint not--fight on! Tomorrow comes the song.
-Maltbie Davenport Babcock

And then in reading Home to Holly Springs by Jan Karon (another gem!), she quoted the English clergyman Jeremy Taylor:

"Nothing is intolerable that is necessary. Now God has bound thy trouble upon thee, with a design to try thee, and with purposes to reward and crown thee. These cords thou canst not break; and therefore lie thou down gently, and suffer the hand of God to do what He pleases."

It is hard to still see Acadia struggling. If we knew that "this" or "that" was the answer, that working on "this" would finally bring results, it would be easier. But there are no easy answers. I watch her and I feel so helpless. I pray and cry and hope and the only answer God gives is to be thankful.

So I am praying that way for her now, "Lord, thank you for the gift of Acadia. Thank you for having her here this morning. Thank you that she could do her math, even though the handwriting page sent her into a tailspin. Thank you for her mother who calmly handles her, who loves her sacrificially and carries on. Thank you for what you are doing in her life even when I can't see any progress. Thank you that all your promises are true, even for Acadia. Help me to claim those promises for her. Help me to be a light for her in her darkness. Help me to be the grandmother she needs. Help me to shun not the struggle of praying for her, but to consider it my gift from You."

Both these poems allude to a day down the road when the song comes, when God rewards and crowns. I pray, knowing that that day lies ahead, and I pray for the day that God brings Acadia to her "place of joy".

Acaida- a place