welcome to imperfect prose on thursdays. this week’s prompt is two-fold: a word: BELIEVE, or a photo (see left). feel free to link up below.

“there’s no dark valley like the children’s hospital,” she says, and the words crumble like dry biscuits in the air. like wafers, like manna, and we are all hungry.

it is coffeebreak and we are reading of abraham, who was considered a friend of God’s but was 75 years old and tired of waiting for a son. and wondering when God would fulfill his promise.

and this woman’s child had cancer, had been in the children’s hospital year-round and “sometimes all you have is a single word,” she says. “you don’t have prayers, you just have a word. like trust. or peace. or hope.”

and everything was dark, she remembers, including the room her child lay in, but she would lay recipe cards full of scripture on top of her child even as she slept, because “it’s all i knew to do,” she says. “it’s all the light we had.”

and whenever her child received cards, she’d say, “mama, just read the scripture, and the personal messages. don’t read the card’s words. those are man-made. i want words of life.” and she’d sit there with her shaven head and close her eyes and listen as her mother read life to her daughter.

“but sometimes,” she says now, “it was all i could do to believe. I believe. I believe. I believe. that’s all i would say, over and over.”

 we were girls, sitting around those tables with our Bibles open and our hands in our laps listening to this mother and seeing our worst fears in her face. the fear of losing a child. but more than that, the fear of watching your child suffer.

and she asked us about our darkest moments. and i told her about december. i told her about taking the boys in all last year, and trusting God would bless us, and then the very dark friday at the start of december when my world ended in a pile of tissue on the bed and me yelling “You lied to me!” at the ceiling, at the God above the ceiling, at the God who felt so very far and high and disinterested.

“and since then, he’s been dealing with me so very gently,” i say. “he hasn’t forced himself on me. he’s just been slowly reminding me that he loves me, and that he’s here.”

i believe, i believe, i believe.

and i do. inasmuch as i doubt, i believe.

because where else can we turn, when it’s dark, but towards the light?

every thursday, we gather together to celebrate redemption. here are the details:  

1. link up a post (old or new) that relates to this week’s prompt (or to a similar theme)
2. put the ‘imperfect prose’ button at the bottom of your post, so others can find their way back here (see button code in right-hand column of my blog) 
3. read other’s prose, and encourage them!
 so won’t you join us, as we “walk each other home”? (ram dass)

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