"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:17
I find myself clinging to this verse on the eve of what would be Samantha's first birthday. A year. It's been a year. I can still see the joy and fear on Travis and Stephanie's faces. I can remember going back in the room and seeing her. Taking a video of Travis whispering to his precious little girl how much he loved her. I remember trying to capture moments to take and show Stephanie as she was in recovery and her sweet daughter was in the NICU. So many memeories. I remember the people in the waiting room that day, sitting there with my mom, I remember watching the clock, getting a coffee (I realize that for me this probably doesn't seem like a 'vivid' memory since I'm always getting coffee, but they had an old fashioned coffee vending machine where the cup drops down and fills - I remember that). She was so beautiful. So much hair. So alive!
I'm terrified to start this four month period this year. A four month period that last year started with such joy and then ended so wrong, so horrible, so....hard. The four months of Samanta's life here on earth was the hardest four months I have ever lived through. Her life journey alone could have made it such - but added to it our immediate family went through two major surgeries as well as many of other 'normal' difficult things (lice, tax audit, etc.). I think back, I look back, I don't know how we did it. I don't know how we are still alive, still breathing, still walking, still talking, still pretending like somehow things are 'normal'. There is no more normal, at least not like it used to be. We are changed. We are different. One day accepting, the next day angry. Sometimes all the 'stuff' of those four months overwhelms me to the point that I feel like I'm suffocating and can't breath or take another step. Then the next day I am rejoicing and praising God for all He has brought us through and the healing (both temporal and eternal) He has given. But wherever the emotions of the given day are, it is still true that we are changed, there is no going back.
Perhaps this is why I cling to the One who "doesn't change like shifting shadows." The same one who holds our past and holds us now also holds our furture. He will not change. He will not leave. He promises to take care of us and love us. Some things we can look back on with new understanding and appreication, other things still have me angry and wondering "why?" God doesn't promise that we will get to know the explanation. But He does promise that all He does and continues to do is for our good - and even though we may lose heart and struggle - He does not change. The one who holds our precious Samantha, also holds us here on earth and will continue to do so until we meet her again. That will not change. He does not change. She was a gift, that is now perfected in heaven with our Father, tomorrow we will celebrate that gift from above.