Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Story Time

I've had such wonderful conversations with Noah the past several days about God, mostly due I think to our new nightly devotional.  This came from an idea of a friend and fellow blogger (coffee with carolyn) who writes a post about the daily Bible verse, which matches the month and day on the calendar.  I thought this would be a neat way to share some one on one time with Noah and encourage daily Bible reading with him.

For his age, one verse is great.  It isn't too much and we can discuss in detail what the scripture means to him.  And, on days when the verse doesn't make sense, it gives me an opportunity to explain it to him.  Our nightly "bedtime story" is something I find myself looking forward to all day long.  It's a way to reconnect with God, spend quality time with Noah, and maybe most importantly, helps me to shape him into the person he is meant to be.  I don't know of a better book to read to your child!

This week, I've switched gears and am reading him a passage each night leading up to Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ.  While he is still at a somewhat tender age, I think it is important to share with your children the true meaning of Easter.  It is not about bunnies and chocolate!  Sure, those are fun traditions I've enjoyed with my boys over the years but we've always tried to bring it back (a bit more each year) as to why we really celebrate and remember this holiday. 

This reading has really opened up such deep and meaningful conversations with Noah.  I'm amazed sometimes at the things he asks, at only 11, which tells me how much he is paying attention and processing it.  Last night's conversation was somewhat emotional, on many levels, as he asked me, "Mom, if God knew this would happen to his son, why did he send him?  Why would he want him to be hurt?" 

That's a hard question but such a powerful example of God's love for us.  As a parent who has lost a child, I can connect to this message on an even deeper level.  I struggle daily with my loss and I don't think I could ever imagine knowingly sending my child to danger or pain.  For me, knowing what God went through to show his love, reminds me in a very clear way how much he truly does. "For God SO love the world, that he sent his ONLY son..."

It also opened up the conversation with him that God doesn't purposefully hurt us but in all things there is a reason and plan to them.  It felt like a good opportunity to stress to Noah that even when we are hurting, He is there with us and for us.  Sometimes we don't understand God's plan but we have to believe and trust in him that everything happens for a reason.

And, through child loss, it certainly is an issue I've struggled with, questioned, and even momentarily shook my faith.  When we are hurt, suffer loss, or live through a disaster, it's our nature to ask why.  Why me?  Why us?  Why did this happen?  On the other side though we rarely seem to question when something good happens.  Is it right to accept the good and not the bad?  It certainly isn't easy but as Christians, something we must all learn to do.

This time of year is an emotional one for many reasons...As Easter approaches, I am spiritually reminded of God's love, Jesus' sacrifice, and the weight of that knowledge - in living up to feeling worthy of such.  I can't think about the burden Jesus must have felt in knowing what he had to do or imagine the excruciating pain he took for us without crying.    There is gratitude...and responsibility.

I am reminded of my sweet boy who is missing from our family Easter photos...of straightening his tie for him on the one day of the year he'd wear one...and even of the tradition of filling his baskets with his favorite goodies.  As with all holidays, and every day in between, he is missed.  There is sadness.

But, there is also hope.  I know that even though I don't understand, some day I will.  I know that God's plan for Austin was set from the beginning.  He didn't take him from us, Austin just fulfilled the journey that was written even before he was born.  I'm refreshed in knowing there's more...that through life's trials we form a closer and more personal connection to God...and most importantly, that I know the end of the story.  Because "The End" of this story.....well, it is packed with JOY!  This time of year is especially a reminder of what a Glorious Day it will be.  And I can't wait for it!


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