Since Grace died 7 weeks ago, Mae has began to draw rainbows. They are made out of whatever medium is around including markers, paints, crayons, Lego's, & even fruit loops. She says rainbow is her favorite color and several of them show up in her wake every single day. She even wrote an eight page book about a snake and a unicorn playing tag over a rainbow, which she told me proudly was written and illustrated by her. I think it's part of her processing Grace's death, helping her feel closer to her sister somehow.
The rainbow became a sign of hope for our family during Grace's illness. One stormy day after a blow of a relapse, the end of one settled in our yard. We'd never seen the end of a rainbow and I haven't met many who have. It was breathtaking. It was a gift which felt straight out of heaven just for us. We could hear in our hearts "God's promises never let go". The problem was the future was still unknown. We wanted to believe that it was a sign that God would heal her, but in my heart I didn't get that assurance. I experienced hope, but there was still a presence of fear too.
When God painted the first rainbow in the sky it followed an unspeakable tragedy. Because of great sin in the world the earth had been destroyed, save Noah and his family who had been found faithful. In creating the rainbow He gave a promise to never give a repeat performance. The rainbow was a sign of new beginnings, of hope for a better future. So where did that leave us? Grace went though storm after storm while she fought cancer. Why did God give us a rainbow then take her away?
I think it may be a matter of perspective. Did God take her from us or did he rescue her from the storms and bring her safely home? Did God give her cancer or did He walk through it's journey with us bringing hope and encouragement along the way? Did God stomp us angerly with his foot or carry us lovingly in his arms? Did God abandon us to our fear or did he give us signs of His presence?
No one wants to acknowledge that the hardest times in life help us grow the most, but they do. In the storm is where we are strengthened, where we are purified, where we learn truth. (Romans 5:2-5) Grace was never alone in her fight. She carried an amazing measure of faith and peace which I have no doubt were God given gifts. He carried her when she was tired and lifted our family up when we fell down from exhaustion, fear or sorrow. He gave us a rainbow to remind of us His presence and promise of new beginnings. Grace is living a new life, and we are learning to live apart from her for now... but we are all being blessed with the rainbow beyond the storm.