We are having a church conference this weekend and after tonight’s meeting the youth was selling gourmet hot dogs as a fundraiser. I was starving, and ended up eating my hot dog next to a dear older lady from our church whose adult daughter died after a long battle with cancer a few years ago. I had been wanting to bounce some ideas around with someone who is a little further than me along this road and who has a real walk with God, so I jumped at the chance to ask her a few questions.
It was sooooo good to talk to her. As you all can glean from my latest posts, I have been getting advice from people lately that I have been trying to receive in the correct spirit. I have been trying to find the balance between following my own heart and conscience and yet allowing friends the freedom to speak into my life. Sometimes they don’t comprehend the grieving process and I get hurt. On the other hand I realise they may see blind spots that I can’t see and I want to have a teachable spirit. It can get so confusing for me sometimes…
As I drove home after our talk I felt encouraged. As far as grieving mommas go, I realise that I am really in a good place. I am truly at peace and I do not wrestle with why this had to happen. I am not angry, nor do I feel like I am lugging a heavy burden of grief with me wherever I go. There is pain, yes. How can there not be? I miss Jenna. Sometimes it is a searing pain that slices right through my heart. But I do not feel anguish or despair. For that, I am thankful.
I remembered the days immediately after Jenna left us. I cannot possibly find words to tell you all of the grace and peace that enveloped us at that time. But more than that, something sweet had happened in my own heart. Laying my most precious possession at the feet of Jesus with the firm determination that I would praise my God regardless of the outcome, had produced in my heart a tenderness I had never known before. Things that would normally irritate me or push my buttons were inconsequential. For just a few days my heart was so sweet and pure before the Lord that there were moments that I thought I would never sin again. Those are huge words and quite presumptuous, and of course it didn’t last long (sigh) but that is exactly what I felt.
As I drove home tonight thinking about the sweetness that sacrifice and suffering had produced in me, albeit for a short time, I realised that sacrifice always brings with it a fresh sense of God’s grace and favor surrounding us. I think that the God who sacrificed it all just so that he could have a relationship with you and me places a special value on the times we freely offer up something (no matter how big or small) that we would rather hold on to. When we do that we are mirroring Jesus’ own heart and I think something about that moves God’s heart. I can picture him looking down and saying: “That’s my girl, how can I bless her?” And his blessing comes, he wraps us with a tangible sense of his goodness and his favor. Sacrifice, like that grain of wheat that has to die, brings forth his life and much fruit in us.
I have to admit to you all that lately, I have been bothered with a sense of ‘dullness’ in my walk with God. I have lacked some of the passion and fire for him that I have experienced in times past. I realised, right there in my car this evening, that I have been praising God with my lips but not with my heart. I have been looking for the easy road and not the road that costs me something. And it has sullied me.
The bible talks about the ‘sacrifice of praise.’ Sometimes (and I just gave a big sigh as I typed that 🙂 ) praising God is a sacrifice. It means letting go of my desire to be in charge and it requires a ‘sweet and low’ spirit.
So tonight, I will offer the evening sacrifice to my Lord. I want to turn off this computer and turn my face to see his sweet face smiling down on me. I want to read his word and let it breathe life into these dry bones.
So what if it costs me a bit of sleep.