*I entered this in Mrs. Marlow’s writing contest, but I did not win (after entering for the past three years, I did not expect to win and was not going to submit this story). If you’ve never read the Circle C Series, this may not make much sense to you. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy.*
Lord, whatever happens to Andi and the baby is up to You, and no matter what, I’ll trust in You. Help me to accept whatever You send my way, and remind me to always turn to You no matter what. In Your name, I pray, Amen.” I lift myself off my knees and stare at myself in the mirror. Grey hair frames my face and my eyes remind me of the lack of sleep I got the night before.
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” The paper beside my mirror draws my attention. Through the reflection of the mirror, I notice my black Bible on the night stand and pick it up. Flipping through it, I find several verse on trusting the Lord.
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” (Isaiah 26:3)
“Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring [it] to pass.” (Psalm 37:5)
“What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” (Psalm 56:3)
“Mother?” a low voice calls from outside my bedroom door, followed by a light knock on the doorframe. I head to the door and open it, finding Chad on the other side.
“How are you doing this morning?”
“Good,” he replies. “How’s Andi?”
“The same as last night. She looks paler and I’m not sure if the baby will make it.” My mind wonders off to the events of the night before, while we were eating supper and Riley burst through the door saying something was wrong. When Chad and Riley brought Andi in, and later that night when Mitch said the doctor wasn’t in and Andi had her baby.
“All we can do is pray and trust the Lord,” Chad reminds me. Did he know what was running though my mind?
“I should probably check on Jared and the twins.” Pulling my son into a quick hug, I hurry down the hall and into the bedroom where the twins are. I smile at the sleeping girls and hurry into the room next door.
“Mama?” Jared asks in confusion.
“No, this is Grandmother.” I bring him over to a clothes chest and dig out some clothes. He manages to change out of his night clothes with minimal assistance from me.
“Donde esta mama?” I smile at my grandson. He’s grown up way too fast. It feels like yesterday he was born. Now, he’s five years old and a ‘big boy’, as he likes to tell his uncles.
“Tu mama esta enferma,” I reply. For being only five, he’s picked up a lot of Spanish from our ranch hands and Carlos, kind of like Andi when she was five. I try not to think about my daughter. Blinking back a few tears, I lead Jared out of the bedroom and down the stairs.
“Pretty.” Jared runs his fingers along the engravings on the banister. His other hand is tightly encased in mine. I blink back tears. Just a few years ago my precious Andi was sliding down this banister. Now, I’m not even sure she’ll survive.
“Hey, little man!” Mitch greets Jared at the bottom of the stairs. “Good morning, Mother.” He gives me a peck on the cheek. At least someone’s cheerful this morning.
“Uncle Mitch!” Jared pries his hand out of mine and flies right into Mitch’s outstretched arms.
“How’s Andi doing?” he asks. I reply, giving him the same answer I had given Chad.
“I’ll keep praying.” he replies before answering one of Jared’s many questions.
“Where’s Riley?” I ask, suddenly realizing I hadn’t run into him yet this morning. He wasn’t on the cot in Andi’s room, and he wasn’t downstairs, from what little I could see.
“He left to check on Memory Creek,” a new voice pipes up.
“Did he say when he’ll be back?” I ask Ellie. She responds no by shaking her head.
“I think he’s coming back as soon as possible. He wants to be here when the doctor arrives.” Mitch places a squirmy Jared on the ground. He is immediately dragged away by his favorite cousin, Susie.
“The doctor probably won’t be able to do anything to help,” I lament.
“You’re probably right,” Ellie says. “But we can always hope and pray.” I nod and head toward the kitchen.
“God, please help me stay focused. If it’s Your will, help Andi and the baby survive. Please give all of us, especially Riley, peace. May Your will be done. In Your name, amen.” How many times will I be praying that prayer in the days to come?
I’m afraid there’s nothing I can do.” I sigh as the doctor check the baby. “I’m going to give her some of this.” He pulls a bottle of brown liquid out of his bag. He calls the substance by its proper name, but I’m too upset to pay attention.
After the doctor leaves, I slip back into Andi’s room. Picking up the beautiful baby girl, I hold her tight. Her little eyelids are squeezed shut and her button nose tries to inhale enough air to sustain herself. In the end, she opens her mouth for a breath.
“Hello, my dear girl.” She yawns and stretches. Her little body can’t be more than ten inches long. “You’re four months too early,” I whisper to her. “Your birthday was supposed to be in May, not January.” I kiss her and carefully set her back into her cradle. Turning to Andi’s bedside, I brush a couple of long wisps of hair off her forehead and give her a gentle kiss on the forehead. Just yesterday it seems James and I were welcoming her into the world. Now, she was in her mid-twenties welcoming her own children in the world. Time flies way too fast.
Upon entering the dining room, I find Riley and Jared, along with Mitch, who appears to be entertaining the three-year-old twins. Shouldn’t Mitch be working?
“Mitch! Look!” Lillian squeals.
“No, look!” Charlotte demands, attempting to have Mitch’s full attention to herself.
“Chad doesn’t have any work for you to do today?” I teasingly ask Mitch.
“He has plenty of work for me, but these little girls started crying when the doctor showed up and Chad knew I could cheer them up.
I nod before turning toward Riley. “How are you holding up?”
“Not very well, I guess. My mind keeps replaying last night’s happenings over and over again, and I keep trying to figure out what I can do to change it. I know one thing, though. Andi and the baby are in the Lord’s hands and worrying isn’t helping anything. All I can do is pray and trust.” He gives me an exhausted smile.
“Did you and Andi have any ideas for the baby’s name?”
“We were thinking about Julia Rose for a girl’s name, but we hadn’t settled on anything. Obviously, we were waiting until the baby was born, and we didn’t think the baby would be born until May.”
“Julia is a pretty name. Do you mind if I call her that?”
Riley shook his head. “Andi really likes the name Julia, and I myself have become partial to the name.” Smiling, I lead a hungry Charlotte into the kitchen. Nila and Sofia, our newest addition, have already begun working on our midday meal. Chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans. Sounds like a good meal to me. Giving Charlotte a piece of cheese, I tie an apron on and jump in to help with dinner preparations.
The evening was quiet, too quiet. I have given Charlotte and Lillian their baths, and I am very tired. Leaning against the back on my chair, I close my eyes. I should probably go check on Andi and Julia. Rising, I trudge up the stairs for what seems like the five hundredth time today.
I open the door and quietly slip in. Andi is the same way she was the night before—pale. Riley mentioned earlier today she had drunk a little water, but he was pretty sure she was too weak to do much else. I walk over to Julia’s cradle. As soon as I see her, I know something is wrong. She is pale and cold, and her chest is not heaving up and down. It hits me. Julia has died. Wiping a tear off my face, I escape downstairs to tell the rest of the family. What happens after that is a blur. Chad says something to Riley and Mitch and they follow him upstairs. Lillian whimpers, and Charlotte begins crying. I pull both girls close and give them a hug.
Slipping out of bed, my feet tough the cold floor. The whole atmosphere feels cold and dreary. Everything seems so……bitter. My eyes glaze the room, and my eyes point to my Bible lying on my vanity. Picking it up, I sit on my bed and open it. I turn to the book of 1 Peter.
Casting all you care upon Him, for He careth for you. (1 Peter 5:7)
I realize there’s something I haven’t been doing these past couple of days. I haven’t surrendered everything to Him. I say I trust in Him, and I do for the most part, but I still keep worrying. Worrying does not show complete trust in God. I’m still trying to take things into my own hands, and that’s not helping anyone or anybody. It’s like telling God I know what’s better for me, and I don’t need Him nor His help. Truth is, I DO need Him, and I need to fully trust in Him. Actually, more like surrender my everything to Him.
Bowing my head, I begin to pray. “Lord, I’m guilty for not taking all things to You. I often try to handle things by myself, and You know how often that gets me into trouble. I don’t know why You decided to take Julia away from us, but I will remember that it’s all part of Your marvelous plan. Help me to remember that. I also pray for Andi; You know she’s weak and I’m not sure if she’ll survive, but I know You know what will happen. I also know that You care. Please remind Riley that You work all things together for good. In Your name, I pray, amen.” My heart immediately feels lighter. I am so thankful I have a Mighty God who I can take all my troubles to. Not only that, but He also listens and cares.
The rest of the day is smoother than the day before. Charlotte and Lillian wanted to know what happened to Julia, and I had to tell them over and over again that she died. They wanted to know if she was in heaven, and I told them ‘yes’. After explaining what Riley did with Julia’s body, Charlotte promptly asked ‘will I get to see God take her to heaven if I stay by her grave?’ Charlotte was so serious when she asked, and I couldn’t help smiling. Of course, I explained that’s not how it worked, but Charlotte didn’t understand. She really wants to go and stay by Julia’s grave.
Humming the tune of What a Friend We Have in Jesus, I diligently finish my day’s work. My heart is light, and my attitude is much more pleasant. Even the girls and Jared seem more cheerful.
“Gwwaaaamaaa? Kin you peeese bwaid my hawr?” Lillian holds up two yellow hair ribbons.
“Come here.” I motion her to a chair and part her hair right down the middle. Before long, her hair is tied up into two braids.
“Tank oouuu!” Hopping off the chair, she runs off to play with Susie. Knowing Ellie is in the other room, I head upstairs to check on Andi. She’s been awake off and on for the past couple of days, but not enough for me to talk to her.
“Hey, Andi.” I shut the door and advance toward her bed. Sitting down beside her bed, I slip my hand into hers and give it a gentle squeeze. To my surprise, she gently squeezes back. “Hey.” A smile spreads across my face.
“Hello, Mother.” She smiles and closes her eyes.
“You want something to drink?” She nods and I pour her a glass of water. “How do you feel?”
“Weak. Where’s Riley and the baby?” I bite my lip and think of the best way to tell her what has happened.
“Riley’s at your ranch. He should be back any time. Your daughter was born too early. She survived for a bit over a day and died.” I wipe some tears away from my face.
“I know, dear. But remember this verse: ‘Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.’ No matter has happened or what will happen in the future, we need to trust God with everything.”
Scripture from the King James Version (KJV)
“I Trust in You” © 2021 Lilly Wiscaver.