These verses have held special meaning for me over the past few years. First with Luke, he took away my idea of a “perfect” child and then again when my husband was called to his heavenly home at age 33, and then when he gave me Ryan and three new children. It’s this spiritual cycle of life, giving, taking, and giving again. I have personally found that the giving that comes after the taking often far outweighs what was taken, just as it did with Job when he lost so many of his children, his health, his wealth, and his life. He was given so much more as a blessing for his faithfulness after just admitting that he did not have all the answers and that only God did, and he trusted Him regardless of how the situation looked in the moment. I have struggled with Ryan being MY husband this first year of marriage. Most of that has had to do with insecurities and most of that comes with the fact that he was just someone else’s husband not that long ago. People who marry widowers tell me that it gets so much better with time and granted we did not give it that much time. I do notice that things that used to be a big deal aren’t anymore as we add days and months to “us” as a couple instead of us with them, if that makes sense? Most of our past includes them and as we continue to move forward in life we will create our own past to look back upon. The Lord has also been working in my heart about my new children as I’ve struggled with wanting so badly not to mess them up as the new mother or portray any sort of favoritism between them and my blood children. He has made it very clear to me that He is the only one who has all authority to give and take away; therefore, none of it is ever or was ever mine to begin with. He gave me Jason for 10 years and he took him home. He gave Ryan his late wife for 11 years and then took her home. They belonged to Him, not to us-not ever. We were able to walk alongside them, be one with them, and have the blessing of marriage with them, for a time as God permitted. As I continuously process this thought, it also means that regardless of the fact that I birthed four of my children and someone else birthed 3 of my children, they are all His as well. They aren’t mine because I held them in my womb and they weren’t hers because she held them in her womb, they are all His just as we are all His. I have been given the responsibility and the blessing of motherhood to all 7 of them in this chapter of our lives. I don’t know the day or the hour that they will cease to be my responsibility and will return to their Heavenly Father, but they will someday or I will before them, and all I can do in the meantime is thank Him for entrusting me with their seven precious lives. Thank you Lord, you give and take away, blessed be your name.