I’m trying to find words. I feel this urgency to find them because it’s what I do, it’s my thing. I find the words that become hard to find and I write them down. That’s my gift and how I manage.
But it’s getting harder to find words that merit being shared about this situation. If I’m being honest, even though we keep getting good news and we are being so encouraged and supported, I’m finding it difficult to sit down and write something that’s worthy of being read.
I can’t seem to explain.
Then I Face-Timed with Zoe for a while and realized I didn’t have to fully explain because it could never fully be understood, but that didn’t mean I shouldn’t try.
My family was all napping and I went down to our favorite café to read, write, and call Zoe. We talked about what this has been like for my family and how close we’ve gotten, desperately leaning on each other. And our conversation turns to my family.
I use words. I write them down and make sense of life through them and share them with whoever wants to read. But that’s pretty much all I do and if I were alone there would be nothing to write about.
Thankfully I’m not alone.
I’ve got tens of thousands of people fighting with me. And I’ve got my family by my side. I have a family filled with people who are so different, with their gifts, that each aspect of the Lord and how He has made us shines through like a lighthouse in a storm.
Me, my mom, Haley, Meg, CJ, and Emily. A small army with each soldier holding a different weapon.
We’ve established that I have words.
My mom? Well if you haven’t already, read the post completely dedicated to her. She has prayer and strength out the wazoo.
Haley may roll her eyes at this, but she’s so completely gifted at managing, administration, and getting stuff done that she practically got my parents out of Siberia and to Paris. Admittedly, she had a lot of help from some pretty awesome people (such as Clay Arnold and Bob Deuell) but from the beginning Haley didn’t back down from a challenge. She was just as scared as the rest of us. Just as exhausted and terrified and broken. But she didn’t let that rule her. She didn’t succumb to the fear, but instead charged forward and started making sh*t happen. She called everyone around the globe, looked up flights, fought with travel guard and the evac companies, pulled teams of people we needed together, and worked through the nightmare until we were all together in Paris. If I’m honest, she’s the reason we are all here.
For a moment there, I think Meg felt like she couldn’t do anything. She didn’t have as much to write down and she didn’t make as many calls, though she did help. I don’t know for certain, but I think she thought she was too scared to be of any use. But that is so completely not true that it would make me laugh if I wasn’t so annoyed at the way the enemy whispers lies to us at our most vulnerable states. Meg’s emotions have actually been a gift. Haley and I (me more than Haley) have such a problem with showing and feeling emotions that we needed Meg to prompt us to. We needed her to give us permission to cry and be afraid. We needed Meg to lead us on the emotional journey we were going to have to take eventually. She has such a gift of empathy, I’m sure it gets exhausting at times. But truly, it’s beautiful.
And her camera. Her creativity. Don’t ever tell me that’s not useful because I’ve seen the way Meg uses her gift of creativity to capture a moment, a feeling, better than all of my words ever could. Meg makes things last.
My dad hasn’t been able to fulfill the strong, fatherly role we are all so used to him playing. This left a gap in our family dynamic that CJ was quick to fill. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without CJ through all of this. When I first walked into my dad’s hospital room in Paris, CJ was already in there. He tried to warn us about what we were going to see, but nothing could prepare me. I pulled on the thin paper smock, walked into the room on shaking legs, looked at my dad, and broke. I turned to CJ and fell into his chest, bawling as he tried to calm me down and explain. “It’s not as bad as it looks.” “He could look so much worse.” “Healthcare just looks scary.” Okay, I don’t remember his exact words but I remember how comforting his arms around me were. CJ has been a trooper with all us girls being as emotional as we have ever been. And his nursing background has been SUCH a blessing as well. He talks to doctors and nurses and checks on my dad and explains everything to us in ways he knows we will understand and receive it the best.
Emily. I’ve told so many people Em is my sister, though I guess technically she’s our cousin. But we need her like we need each other. When all this started, Em was away at camp where she is working all summer. She’s in an important role and wasn’t sure she could leave but when things got serious, she couldn’t stand it. She talked to her bosses, got in her car, and came to be with her family in Greenville while this storm was attacking us. Em has such a gift of love and peace that being in her presence does wonders for the heart. I’m not sure if this makes sense, but she’s so good at being present. She keeps us grounded. And she also pulls us out of pits. She couldn’t come with us to Paris immediately but she did join us a couple days in. And as soon as she got here we started showing a bit more life. We still spend most of our days at the hospital but we’ve also gotten some time in the city and actually laughed a lot last night. This isn’t all because of Emily but I truly believe a lot of it is credited to her and her spirit.
God told my mom at the beginning of the year that it would be one of restoration for our family. The first few months seemed to be the exact opposite. And these past 10 days are anything but. Even still, God’s faithfulness has been shown better than ever and our family is closer than I think we’ve ever been. We respect each other and need each other and love each other more. It’s not that we didn’t before, but things were harder and we fought more about things that seem so incredibly stupid now I want to invent a time machine and go back two months ago to drop kick every single one of us until we realize what really matters.
I don’t know what I would do without this wonderful family of mine. God has knitted together such a beautiful family with such important unique gifts that each point back to Him and His glory.
And I couldn’t be more grateful.
Get better soon Daddy, because you’re going to want to see what He’s done. Both in the world and right here at home.