IMG_6507“How do you plan for something you can’t predict?” I asked my husband, Dana, earlier this year when my mom was diagnosed with cancer.

“You don’t,” he said. “You take it day by day.”

For someone who plans her life around a schedule – when the older kids catch the bus to school, when the baby takes a nap, when I sit down to work – the thought of not being able to plan is deeply unsettling.

Planning helps me feel secure. It helps me feel that life is under my control. It gets me through each day. Then cancer comes along and reminds me just how not in control I am. So, how to prepare when life – and the lives of those you love – change as rapidly as New England’s winter?IMG_6505“Focus on what you can predict,” God quietly spoke to my heart.

Based on what I knew for sure from scripture, I began a list.

I know that God will never leave us.

I know that he supplies all our needs.

I know that he is with us in our suffering.

Over the past few weeks, I have experienced these promises to be true.

As I pray for my mom, I am filled with a peace that defies circumstances. When I’ve had a need, such as finding a place to stay near Mom for Thanksgiving, God provided – just as he’s provided for my family when I’ve been away. And as for being with us in suffering, isn’t this the message of Christmas?

The Divine Spirit who created the earth and the stars and gave us life entered into humanity as a baby. A baby who felt hungry and cold. A baby who got sick. A baby who cried when he fell and was frightened of the dark and felt lost when he toddled too far from home. Only, he didn’t remain that way. Scripture says that as Christ grew he, “grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man,” Luke 2:52.IMG_6518[1]So should we. Wisdom says that our security doesn’t rest on any earthly plan but on God’s great love for us. More than gaining height or age, growing in stature means gaining maturity.

That’s not to say life doesn’t hurt, that I’m not afraid, that I don’t sometimes feel lost. But when prayer defies me and I mutely drive down a back Maine road through dense winter dark, as I did one night last week, and come upon a village where window after window softly glows with candlelight, I am reminded of the light that entered our darkness.

“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light,” the prophet Isaiah promised seven centuries before that first Christmas. “For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.”

I can’t predict what’s around the bend, but I know I’ll be in the light.

So will my mom.

On Friday, December 19th, 2014, less than a week after I wrote these words, my beloved, brave, creative, brilliant, faithful mom went home to be with the Lord. I love you, Mom! I miss you more than words can say. Merry Christmas as you enjoy the greatest gift for all eternity.IMG_6522[1]