For my spring break, I decided to take a special trip to visit my cousins. My two female cousins both live in the same city (only for another 4 months!), so it seemed like the ideal time to see them all.

Little did I realize that right after I purchased my airline tickets, multiple doctors would discourage me from traveling at all. And, they weren’t kidding. Increasing lack of stamina meant I was engaged in too many activities. All of a sudden, a small spring break trip meant (possibly) my only trip out of town for the entire semester.

It was a lot of pressure for a little five day trip. I spent the majority of the time sleeping. Even though my body is screaming in protest, I am really grateful that I went. The trip gave me the opportunity to connect with extended family, and I was blessed by a very specific conversation.

It started out innocently. My cousin-in-law Walt worked from home & my plan was to study at his house while his wife Elaine was at work — minimal expenditure of energy. Naturally, Walt and I ate lunch together and talked about whatever happened to be on our minds. One way or another we started talking about the past ten years: the struggles going on in my heart and the battles within and without.

Perhaps I’ve focused too much on grief, on acknowledging loss. Perhaps I’m drawn too much to the past. Walt helped me see a whole other angle.

New things in the future were easy to see in my cousins’ lives. Walt & Elaine are expecting their first child and also moving across the country at about the same time. My other cousin Nora is about to close on a condo. She’s started a new position at her company, and Walt is looking for a new job on a different career path. There is a lot of uncertainty and even trepidation when we talked about all these different things, but mostly, we were celebrating. New life! New space! New directions! New possibilities!

By looking forward into the future, Walt assured me that it’s possible to consider healing and restoration. Even musing upon this idea was so helpful.

Walt shared with me about the gospel and its promise of salvation from a host of things. Sometimes, the Lord heals in a straightforward manner. But that’s not always possible and it’s not always His way. Walt mentioned knowing people, not from dysfunctional families, but who literally never had a family. In this scenario, it might be impossible for a nuclear family to be created, but God can still come in and heal the brokenness.

I didn’t really understand a lot of what Walt said. But, one thing stood out to me. I have hope in Christ. That hope has always been there. But my definition of God’s healing and restoration has been too narrow. He’s not limited to rectifying the past.

As Walt prayed for me in closing, I realized that I might not understand what’s happening. I might not be able to find words to articulate my experience. But one thing is certain. God knows what He’s doing. His promise is enduring and encompasses so many things, even things I’d assumed were out of reach.

It was just a simple lunch-time conversation. But it was also deep heart-to-heart fellowship. It was about being genuine about who I was and about what he knew. It was about thanking God for His work in my life and in my heart, praising Him for His blessings and arrangements, and petitioning Him for further healing, physically and emotionally.


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