February 21, 2008: My day of “fasting” went very well. It was a very relaxing day, mostly because of the way I approached it, and also partly because I was limited in how busy I could be without turning on the computer. It is amazing how dependent I am on the computer, even my grocery list is kept on there. As I did my devotions today (Woman on a Mission Bible Study) I ran across a verse that jumped out at me. II Corinthians 9:8 says: “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” As many of you know, Emma means complete or whole, and Anne means full of grace. So put together, they mean Complete Grace or as in this verse: all grace. After her name popped out at me in the verse I started thinking what that meant. The time of my life so far where I have felt God’s presence most completely, where I have felt true abundant life, and where I found myself effortlessly abounding in good works was during Emma’s life. Many people would mention that they didn’t know how I did it, or that they couldn’t imagine going through what we were going through. And yet, to me it was never so easy to live the spiritual life. Since that time I have found it harder to continue to live in that abundance. Sometimes I miss what we had with Emma, the excitement, the drama of her life. But perhaps, hopefully, it is really this abundant life that I am missing. If so, according to this verse that is available to me even now in the humdrum of everyday life. I thought through this longer and realized that all that needed to be done to tap into it was to act, to make a decision to do something for God and then to do it. As we do, he begins to pour his grace into us, making it easier and easier to continue to abound in good works until we reach the point that it feels easy, natural. But through it all, it is obvious that it is God who makes the whole process work. Realizing how easy it all was has encouraged me to begin to make those little decisions and act on them. Every time I choose to say a kind word to Elise even though she has interrupted me for the umpteenth time. Every time I get up from the middle of something intriguing without letting out a tremendous sigh to get Will from his bed. Every time I choose to joyfully clean my house. Every smile I give to someone I meet. These are all little things, but I do believe that as we start acting on the little things it becomes easier to do the big ones.
As I said, my day went very well, that is until I got ready for bed. As I had mentioned before, John was gone for a meeting, so I was heading to bed alone when the realization that the anniversary of Emma’s death was just hours away hit me. I thought of Will, the same age Emma was when we lost her, and I thought of the crib he slept in, her crib, and even the room. The memory of awaking that morning and finding her breathless, of fighting for life, all that is still there and I started to feel a bit panicky. I tried to reason with myself, that time is not cyclical, that anniversaries are something that we make up to mark time, but that Emma’s death on this day two years ago had nothing to do with my son. I remembered his name: William, and that it means “strong protector,” a reminder of God’s protection on him. I called John thinking I might ask him to come home, or at least find out how long he was going to be. Once I had to actually try to explain how I was feeling I fell apart and cried for perhaps the first time in a long while. It was good to have the release of tears, and by the time John made it home I was already beginning to feel better. John stayed with me for awhile before heading back out to his almost all night work meeting. I slept soundly (with the monitor by my bed in case I woke in the night needing reassurance) and so did Will.
February 22, 2008: I spent the morning at Fun City with Elise and Will. Gail Stice was there and I am so thankful as she was able to hold Will giving me a chance to run around with Elise. The day was busy, ending in Ladie’s Bunko night at the church. I was pleased and blessed to receive 4 different flower deliveries from people remembering the day with me.
February 23, 2008: We spent most of the day Saturday finishing up things around the house. We listed it tonight with our realtor.
February 24, 2008: We went out to eat after church with my parents and John’s parents. After naptime, we went out on a shopping trip and bought flowers for Emma’s grave. Elise picked them out. The cashier asked Elise if the flowers were for her birthday and she replied: “They are for Emma’s cemetery.” It was the first time we’d been to the cemetery all together since Will was born. John got the above picture of all three of our kids.