Julia had two enemies. First and always was herself. Try as she might, pray as she would, follow as she must–there was that old Julia McCord trying to bust out. Like an ingrown toenail, something no longer alive but able to hobble her just the same.
And the second enemy: biliary atresia.
When a baby was born, you counted fingers and toes. You didn’t poke their belly to see if their liver was filling up with garbage. Your baby boy is ten pounds and lively, and that jaundice is natural, they said.
Until the baby couldn’t gain weight even though he was a hearty eater. Until his stools were like clay because what God designed the body to be rid of was being trapped in the abdomen that Matt loved to tickle. In that belly was a perfectly good liver, going bad because the bile ducts just wouldn’t work.
Julia wanted to punch God until she remembered she had no choice but to love Dillon. She’d once had a choice, when Jesus came calling. She could have said no. Long before she knew Matt, long before they became one and Dillon became theirs, Julia McCord suffered from her own spiritual biliary atresia.
She was lost in bitterness and bile and she could not get clean until Jesus said He would do it for her. And she had felt that untangling, that draining of toxins, that constant and loving presence of life, and she knew then as she knew now that she was held. That was why she could be furious with God–for a moment–and fall into His arms for an eternity.
Julia had friends, she had enemies. And she had love. Matt, steady and unpretentious, was the ballast to her sails, the canvas to her art. Not perfect, which made her love him more. Dillon, whose heart beat with hers for nine months, now a funny-voiced, shaggy-haired young teen. And who could ever deny the love shown by Dr. Ann Rosado, with her chaotic hair and summer-sky eyes?
Count your blessings. Friends. Family. Love.
And now–now what?
Two daughters whom Julia had loved enough to walk away from. They would be appalled, offended, disgusted by what she was about to ask of them.
Love compelled Julia to take this journey. Could grace compel them to join her?
Excerpted from To Know You by Shannon Ethridge and Kathryn Mackel. Copyright 2013. All Rights Reserved. Published by Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN. Used by Permission. Not to be copied without Publisher’s prior written approval.