I found out this morning that someone very dear to my family passed away late Saturday night. She was someone who meant a great deal to my sons, as well as my husband and I. We each prayed for her healing during family prayer time and I, in my nightly alone time with God, outright begged that her pancreatic cancer would just disappear. She was someone who embodied kindness, gentleness, and love, three things this world needs more of not less. So, despite her worsening condition I was certain God would answer my prayers and those of hundreds of others.

When I found out she passed I was not surprised, but I was heartbroken. I told my boys at the breakfast table that she had passed away. My oldest, who is six, immediately climbed in my lap and said, “Momma, God didn’t answer our prayers.” His little voice so small and sad. I rubbed his head and though there was a part of me that felt the same, that God had not cared enough to listen to our pleas. I was able to answer him with confidence that God had heard our prayers but God understands things that we cannot. For some reason, that we do not understand, God allowed this beloved woman to join him, not because he was lonely or missed her, but because somehow, someway her passing fits into his greater plan. A plan where he conquers sorrow and death. How can I tell my son this with such confidence? Because he is my son, and the truth is if my prayers had been answered seven years ago, he would not be. A thought so painful I stop it as soon as it enters my mind. I prayed seven years ago for a biological child. And I thank God daily that He did not answer that prayer. If He had, we would not have adopted when we did and our sons would not be our sons. There is no other thought that can break me to my core as quickly as that one. So, I am reminded every time I look at my beautiful boys that God’s plan is far greater than mine.

Tonight during family prayers my youngest, not fully understanding what death means, prayed, as he has for the last several months, for Ms. Carmen to feel better. His prayer brought tears to my eyes. Her loss is felt deeply in my house and in my heart. Our community lost one of its greatest and humblest members. Hearts are breaking over and over again throughout our area. We mourn her loss from our world, and we feel incredible pain on behalf of those she loved deepest and had to leave behind. But I confidently believe that God’s plan is greater than ours, even when that plan seems full of pain and sorrow.