We have been walking through a valley.
Not the valley of the shadow of death, the valley of the shadow of trauma.
Star recognises the changing length of day and as all her big moves have occurred in spring, this is a season full of difficult memories for her.
Her body is telling her that Spring is the time to move again.
We have been trying everything we can think of to demonstrate that she is safe, that she is staying, that our family is forever family and that she stays here.
But like rain falling on impenetrable ground, the truth is not sinking in.
And so with her fear comes regression,
screaming in the evening – wide eyed and terrified,
Saying “NO” to everything
Running off in school, and outside of school.
The teachers, her one to one, the speech and language therapists are at a loss. I sat in an uncomfortable school meeting as they described her behaviour in school. And I could feel the tension in the room.
“The staff don’t know what to do next.” I thought.
Eddie and I talked it over. We prayed, lots of people prayed, and a new plan was devised and agreed on for school.
Last week we seemed to be turning the corner.
At the end of our valley was a light. That light is a family Christian conference with members of our church. A few days where we can go away from normal life. Where there is space for bible teaching, for worship with hundreds of others, time to have tea and cakes with our good friends. Time to watch my children grow spiritually and in relationship with the young adults from church, who are family to them.
The man organising Star’s children’s program rang and has someone who is experienced with children with Down’s and they are looking forward to meeting her.
After an exceptionally busy week at work clearing my desk to go away and a 350 mile round trip to meet my new niece. We were nearly ready to go.
And then Star woke up with Chicken pox.
Infectious for the whole period of the holiday, so therefore not allowed on site.
Eddie will take our older two, I will stay home with Star, if she is well enough he and I may swap half way through the week.
I am gutted.
I have asked God how I can keep giving, without being filled?
How I can keeping going without resting?
Why had he allowed this to happen, today, to her. Didn’t he know how much I was doing, didn’t he owe me this one..?
And I cried a lot. Because I am tired, because I will miss my friends. Because I wonder if God is saying “she is not ready.”
And I realise that the bible is true when it says the heart is deceitful above all other things:
Deep down I still act like I can earn God’s favour.
Like God has a heavenly score board where I say “I do this for you, so you do this for me.”
In everyone else’s life I can see this is wrong, ludicrous even.
God has done everything so that I can have a relationship with him, all I bring to the transaction is my sin.
I know that life this side of eternity is not always fair.
I know there are much worse things than missing time and fellowship with my friends due to chicken pox.
Last week at the end of a thirteen hour work day, I went to visit a man, a believer, who had been promoted to glory. My job was to confirm he had died. As I stood listening for the heart beat that was no longer there, as I shone my torch into eyes that no longer responded to light, I thought about hope.
I hugged his wife and confirmed he had died. She asked me if I would disconnect the syringe driver with his pain medication in,
“because he does not need that anymore.” she said.
As I peeled away the dressing and carefully removed the syringe I silently agreed with her.
He does not need that anymore, where he has gone there is no need for morphine for pain, or midazolam, for distress for levomepromazine for nausea.
Because where he has gone there is no more pain, tears or sickness or death.
That is God’s great promise for me and for Star.
One day we will finally exit the valley and Star’s fear and pain will be washed away. She will see her Heavenly Father face to face and he will wipe away the tears from her eyes.
On that day, the longing to be with God and to be with his people, will be permanently fulfilled.
Nothing can prevent that day, the gathering of God’s great redeemed forever family.
Revelation 7:13-17 NIV
 Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?”  I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them whites in the blood of the Lamb.  Therefore, “they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.  ‘Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them,’ nor any scorching heat.  For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’ ”