Five hours into my day, I realized I had only gone through one drawer. It was full of cards and letters that D had saved that must have been special to him. There were cards from all four children. A homemade card from a former first grade student of mine who hoped he felt better after his "operashun". Piles of cards from D's sister. And every card I had ever given him.
I loved reading through my old cards, and being encouraged by the amount of hope God granted us even during the darkest twists and turns in our long journey with cancer. The cards I'd sent are somewhat of a timeline of operations, procedures and tests taken along the way.
This one from a Valentine's Day that fell after an amputation but before the (then unknown) brain tumor operation: "Wow. This has been quite a journey, hasn't it? Through it all, God has been so merciful and faithful to us. The grace and provision He has granted us were certainly much more than we deserve, and for that I'm forever grateful. Read Psalm 126. Verses 1-3 are about what God did as a blessing the past. Verses 4-6 are for the blessings to come. We are standing right in between those places, waiting (patiently, I hope) for God's next move on our lives. You walking and working again. A future and a hope that is still ours. I can't wait. If I had it to do all over again, of course I would if I knew it would bring me to this same place with you."
At the time I wrote that card, I was doing Beth Moore's Bible Study "Stepping Up". It deals with the Psalms of Ascent: or the songs the faithful sang as they were on a pilgrimage to the Holy City. The Psalm I referenced in the card contains one of my favorite promises: "Those who sow in tears will reap with joyful shouting."
Sowing in tears. Reaping with joy. A continual cycle in the seasons of our lives. And as autumn begins to creep into central Texas, I feel some unexpectedly cool breezes blowing. They hold a lot of hope for a relief to the record heat of summer. This has always been my favorite season. And I'm looking forward to reaping joy in the days, months and years ahead.
The house did not get clean yesterday. But my soul? That part of me that contains my mind, will and emotions? It was cleaned and refreshed through good memories and the faithfulness of promises kept. Knowing that the worst can come to pass, but there is still the promise of good things ahead.