That's not to say we are in 'sad mode' all day, every day. As we move forward, we try to work around those feelings of loss--make room for them, so to speak--rather than be consumed by them. It's a matter of finding some kind of balance in this new, off-kilter world of ours.
I know God is ultimately the author of our stories. Each and every one. He knows the beginning, the end, and everything in between. Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us of the plans He has for us. Plans that include hope and a future. Each day we are given breath, we become co-authors to a certain extent. The way we do life. The way we follow His lead. This is how the middle chapters of our stories are written.
2016 started out pretty great for our family. Then it got rough. Really rough. Like punch you in the gut, bring you to your knees rough. It's definitely time for a new chapter to begin. For hope--and maybe even a little joy--to find its way back into our family. Here's a look at how we're getting started:
* The room our sweet girl occupied for 15 years now belongs to her brother. Jeremy, also known as my giant man-child, has grown inches in a matter of weeks. Fresh paint, new furniture, and wall decor displaying his varied interests (bowling, Texans, Camaros, etc.) have transformed the room into a space Jeremy can now call his own.
* Boyce returns to work next week after an almost 6-month leave of absence. He has been with us from the moment we learned of Paige's relapse in July, and we wouldn't have had it any other way. It was important to have him here those last months we had with Paige and just as important to have some much-needed time together to begin the healing process.
* I begin a new adventure tomorrow morning. I was asked to return to my former school district for the remainder of the school year. It's a junior high position that will find me teaching robotics and technology education classes. After many conversations, a visit to the school, and a whole lot of prayer, I agreed to give it a go. I decided I'll never know if I'm ready to return to work unless I take a leap--so tomorrow morning around 7:30, this lady is leaping. Add on teaching a college class as an adjunct instructor, and I'm sure to stay busy. The crazy thing is, I have seen little hints of Paige in the way all of this came about. Could it be that my girl is gently nudging--really, kind of shoving--me out into the world again? It really just might.
Our new chapter includes our sweet girl as well. Paige's time on Earth may have come to an end, but her story has not. There is still so much to tell, so much we have yet to share. What she faced over the course of three battles. What she was able to overcome. This new chapter will find us continuing to shine Paige's light, building on her legacy, and doing everything in our power to share the story of a girl whose faith could move mountains. I'd say the Lejeunes are ready and willing to learn how to shine in 2017.
...let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in Heaven. Matthew 5:16