"Despite a life-threatening illness, there is still gratitude. There is still light," penned Julia Attaway, editor of Daily Guideposts: "Your First Year of Motherhood," a book of devotions for first-time moms.
Attaway, a mother of five who homeschools, shared in a Nov. 25 post that her 21-year old daughter is coming to visit for Thanksgiving. "I am thankful she is alive, thankful that she is coming. She went through a bad scare with anorexia a year ago, dropping to 89.5 pounds. I spent five months shuttling between her home in the Midwest and New York, re-feeding her and tending to her emotional needs. And now she has relapsed. I have no idea how much she will weigh when she arrives."
She also stated her daughter loves the Lord, goes to church and a prayer group, prays daily for guidance and help. "I am thankful for these things, thankful that if she dies, she will die a believer. Yet it breaks my heart that we could lose her."
"This is hard stuff," writes the New Yorker. "I do not blame her for the relapse; I've read the scientific literature and know this is an illness, not a means of trying-to-die. It's not stupidity, or stubbornness or just something weird. The mortality rate for anorexia is higher than that of any other mental illness. If she could stop the negative mental chatter and just eat, she would. She grieves deeply over the stress and strain she causes others; she wants to be well."
Attaway said she reminds her daughter to pray and rest in God each time before she has a meal, and she texts back with a heart. "I talk her through three meals and a snack seven days a week, so she doesn't have to be alone with the challenge of eating. And I am thankful each time she responds, thankful each time I know she is still alive."
The mother said she prays deeply, profoundly, that her daughter's life will be saved, that she will be healed and grow into the loving, generous person she was created to be. "God does work miracles-and then again, at times He doesn't. I have made my peace with that: I am the servant of the Lord, regardless of the outcome. I turn my heart to thanksgiving, turn my heart to praise. The fact that there is great darkness in my world is no reason to stop being grateful for what light I have been given."
"So thank you, Jesus, for knowing what I suffer," concludes Attaway. "Thank you, Father, for moving me forward one small step at a time. And thank you, Holy Spirit, for sustaining me from moment to moment. There is love in this world, and I intend to live by it. Even if my daughter can't eat a bite of pumpkin pie."