My Fab Fam

My Fab Fam
Photo by Thousand Hills Photography. Click on photo to visit their site.

Monday, December 17, 2012

And Still There's Grace

The world hurts.  Parents grieving.  Homes left with large holes.  And I hold my babies tighter.  Kiss them more.  Hug them often.

I don't watch the news.  Ever.  My man comes home and friends come over.  They tell us their son called to tell them he loved them.  My man asks if I know.  I know.  A short stint on Facebook told me of parents' loss hundreds of miles away.  I cried and got up and went to the kitchen.  I busied myself with cooking.  Hours of cooking.  And now, the cooking is done and our friends are here and my man says what I've said so many times.  What kind of world will our girls live in?

Somehow we change the subject and eat.  And the girls only eat spinach dip, then beg for a lollipop.  Beg, and beg, and beg.  Our friends laugh and we give them the coveted lollipops as big as their heads.  And their heads and hands are covered in sticky.  I wash and smile.  Have I ever smiled at sticky?  And we move to the living room.  And the girls wrestle in the floor.  They scream and giggle and we can't hear our conversation.  I ask them to be quiet, but I'm glad they are here to make noise.  Our friends read them books and we drink coffee and eat pumpkin cupcakes.  The girls spread a blanket on the floor and cover it in pumpkin crumbles.  And I'm glad they make a mess for me to wash.

And we sleep and rise and play.  And more friends come.  The men and kids are in the living room, talking, playing.  She and I warm left-overs and make apple dessert.  And we nearly cry.  And I admit that I have tried not to think.  I've prayed.  I've cried, but not what I feel is enough tears.  I've asked God why.   I am certain He has given me peace.  Without it I'd do something rash, like home-school, I say.  Rash for me, because it would be pure reactionary.  Sure, it crossed my mind.  It was the very fist thought after the initial shock and grief.  But He sent peace.

And we sleep and rise and get ready for church.  And I join twelve fifth and sixth graders to study the one who cried, "Prepare the way of the Lord!"  We pray for those grieving families and friends.  And we pray for these kids, right here, who are scared.  Their faces show it.  No words.  Just blank stares.  We pray.  And now I feel the tears coming, but somehow I get the words out instead.  And I feel the burden of protecting these kids and being strong for them.  And we go through the lesson, quietly.  And they leave, me wishing them a good week, praying for them later as I fold laundry.

And we sleep and rise and read His Word.  My mom calls.  And she says something I have been feeling.  I'm not sad for the kids who are gone.  They are safe, comfortable, happy.  Face to face with pure Love.  Grace has spared them from anymore pain in this world.  Yes, still there's grace.

I'm sad for their friends, for the ones who witnessed such horror, for their families who wanted to run to their children, but were held back so others could investigate.  I'm sad for the children everywhere who are scared to go back to school.  I'm sad for the teachers that have been so harshly reminded of their grave responsibility.

And I'm sad for parents, like me; we have to let our children go.  To go out into a world that seems very dark.  But we don't release them into darkness.  We release them into the mighty, capable hands of Love.  We release them as we hang on tight to faith, faith that He Who Is Love will do what is best.  Always.  Even while He allows free-will, He is good.  We don't see the whole picture now, but we know it is good.  We don't understand because His ways are not our ways, but higher than our ways.  His thoughts are not our thoughts, but higher than our thoughts.  And we can trust.  Never will He leave us or forsake us.

And my prayer is two-fold.  For God to draw people close to Him, for people to turn to Him, to know Him for salvation, to know Him intimately, to know His Love, His peace, His Joy.  And for comfort to come to them as they realize the grace that comes through death.  The light that came from such darkness. The joy that came from such sorrow.  Because twenty children are dancing in the Light, on bright streets of gold.  And because, Jesus comes in the darkness, especially in the darkness.


Dear Jesus,

It’s a good thing you were born at night. This world sure seems dark. I have a good eye for silver linings. But they seem dimmer lately.

These killings, Lord. These children, Lord. Innocence violated. Raw evil demonstrated.

The whole world seems on edge. Trigger-happy. Ticked off. We hear threats of chemical weapons and nuclear bombs. Are we one
button-push away from annihilation?

Your world seems a bit darker this Christmas. But you were born in the dark, right? You came at night. The shepherds were nightshift workers. The Wise Men followed a star. Your first cries were heard in the shadows. To see your face, Mary and Joseph needed a candle flame. It was dark. Dark with Herod’s jealousy. Dark with Roman oppression. Dark with poverty. Dark with violence.

Herod went on a rampage, killing babies. Joseph took you and your mom into Egypt. You were an immigrant before you were a Nazarene.

Oh, Lord Jesus, you entered the dark world of your day. Won’t you enter ours? We are weary of bloodshed. We, like the wise men, are looking for a star. We, like the shepherds, are kneeling at a manger.

This Christmas, we ask you, heal us, help us, be born anew in us.


Your Children

© 2012 Max Lucado

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