Last year I was asked by a precious fellow bereaved mama to write a guest post for a new and exciting ministry her family is launching in honor of their son, Rhett.
It was an interesting and challenging assignment to create a single entry that might give enough background to make my voice an authentic source of hope based on shared experience.
I spent over a week working it out but settled on what you have below: The essence of my story is I am a broken, fragile vessel whom God chooses to use to share His light, life and hope in a world full of searching hearts.
Child loss is MY cross. Yours may be something else.
But our great and faithful Lord can and will use us, if we let Him.
“But this beautiful treasure is contained in us—cracked pots made of earth and clay—so that the transcendent character of this power will be clearly seen as coming from God and not from us. 8 We are cracked and chipped from our afflictions on all sides, but we are not crushed by them. We are bewildered at times, but we do not give in to despair. 9 We are persecuted, but we have not been abandoned. We have been knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our bodies the reality of the brutal death and suffering of Jesus. As a result, His resurrection life rises and reveals its wondrous power in our bodies as well. “
~2 Corinthians 4:7-10 VOICE
As a young mother of four stairstep children I copied out these verses and taped them to my bathroom mirror for encouragement.
I’ll just be completely honest here-there are some sins I don’t have much trouble avoiding. I’m not tempted to shoplift or physically harm others.
However, like all of us I have some pet sins I not only don’t avoid but I actually feed from time to time.
And like most folks, I justify my sin as “small” compared to the “big” sins of headline worthy wars or crimes or dastardly actions by those in power over those beneath them.
Why linger in the pain so many centuries after Christ’s resurrection? Because it was real. Perhaps we would live differently if we remembered more frequently (and more accurately) what the cross cost.
Alicia Britt Chole
The thing is, any time I choose to willfully so something God has expressly forbidden I am sinning.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus enlarged our understanding of sin to include thoughts and intentions of the heart even when our outward actions appear above board.
By this standard I fall short very often-sometimes by slipping into inadvertent sin but also sometimes by actively choosing that which momentarily satisfies my flesh but dishonors my Savior.
After Dom ran ahead to Heaven it was very, very hard to justify to my heart the benefits of continuing to walk the narrow path.
I was focused on what I thought was unfair and unkind-the death of my son-and found it difficult to focus on what I knew to be true-that God was all-loving and good.
‘It’s God who ought to suffer, not you and me,’ say those who bear a grudge against God for the unfairness of life. The curse word expresses it well: God be damned. And on that day, God was damned. The cross that held Jesus’ body, naked and marked with scars, exposed all the violence and injustice of this world. At once, the Cross revealed what kind of world we have and what kind of God we have: a world of gross unfairness, a God of sacrificial love.
Little by little, as I leaned heavily into His lovingkindness, mercy and grace, I once again could chooseWillful Obedience.
Today’s challenge is to fast from willful sin.
To lay down my tendency to arrange sin in categories ranging from “acceptable” to “hell-worthy” which makes some OK and excusable.
May I be more aware of the cost Christ paid and choose to honor that sacrifice in my daily life.
Jesus died for our sin. Why then do we work to keep it alive? What benefit do we perceive ourselves receiving? Does that benefit outweigh the cost Christ paid? This is not a simplistic call to stop sinning. No, this is a sincere call for us to start loving Jesus to a degree that compels us to walk away from sin where we can and get help where we can’t.