Where do I start? From the very beginning Malachi has impacted my life. From the moment I got word that something was wrong to the moment I heard of his death. My prayers ranged from "please let him be ok" to "please let John and Marissa be ok" to "God, what are you doing?"
To tell you the truth, I almost wanted to "run" in the beginning. I wanted to pretend I wasn't online when you were or that I didn't have time to talk. But I resolved to stand by you and walk through the valley with you. I learned so much about what it means to bear one another's burdens. It means you don't suddenly become unavailable when being a friend becomes uncomfortable or even heart-breaking. It means you put aside the "what if I say the wrong thing?" excuse. I guess I'd say the biggest thing I learned from Chi's life was the true meaning of compassion. Am I still lacking? More than I care to admit. But I know that through the grace of God, a very naturally uncompassionate person (namely me) was able to stick with you in the valley. Did I ever look around for an escape route? Yes. Once or twice. But then I was reminded of the perfect example of selflessness, Christ on the cross, and it made my own selfishness seem so petty.
I also learned about prayer. Throughout Malachi's life I would pray for him, but time and again, the thing that God really laid on my heart to pray for was your's and John's faith. I started praying "Help them to trust You, no matter what happens." It became a prayer that I said with the girls at bedtime, as well. "Lord, Help us to trust You, no matter WHAT."
It's like your Pastor said at Chi's funeral. It's worth it. I tell that to myself now, when the road gets rough. "It's worth it." When I think of all the what-ifs now, I think "Whatever God brings into my life, it's worth it." My prayers are more focused on running the race well, on glorifying God in everything. The bad stuff is going to happen, but God has a plan and in the end, we are going to see and know fully--it's worth it.