Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Great Friday

Good Friday morning at 3AM, my little 9 year old daughter knocked on my bedroom door. I rubbed the sleep from my eyes and croaked, "Come in."

The door opened and Amie stepped in holding a big mixing bowl. "I threw up and I don't feel good." She told me in a weak little voice. I hopped out of bed, threw on my housecoat and gently led her back to her bed. She rocked back and forth with pains in her belly and I sat by her side, holding her sweet little hand and stroking her forehead while I softly sang lullabies from when she was a baby. By 5AM, I had made it back to my own bed thanking God that it was Good Friday and I could sleep in.

It was not to be. By 7:30 I was in the bathroom, sitting on the john with bowl in my lap retching violently. Down the hall I could hear Amie being sick again and called for Mark to go and be with her.

By 9 o'clock, Amie and I lay in my bed together praying for God to touch us and make us well again. All day and night Amie and I took turns in the bathroom being sick. It was the worst I have ever felt...and I have has 3 natural childbirths, so that is saying something. I cried and cried and begged God to touch us and take the pain away.

By Saturday morning the worst of it had passed - thank God. My little Amie lay on the pillow next to me and stoked my cheek. "Mommy," she said, "I prayed that if God would only make one of us better that it would be you." She smiled at me. Her hair was stuck to her forehead from the sweat and her little face was as white as a ghost. Dark smudges under her big brown eyes spoke of the strain of the last 24hrs, yet her heart was filled with love and she smiled at me. My heart melted. My sweet little girl. How much must she love me to ask God to make me better before her? It reminded me of a saying I had once heard. I think it goes something like this; I asked the Lord, 'How much do you love me?' 'This much' He replied. Then He spread His arms and died for me.

It had been Good Friday. The day we lay in bed and suffered an illness like I have never felt. The day we remember how Jesus suffered and died for our sins on the cross. The day we remember how they beat Jesus and spat at Him and hated Him. How much greater was His suffering than my own? Yet He chose to do it. At any moment He could have called the angels down to set Him free, yet He chose to suffer. It was His love for me that held Him to the cross.

Just like my little Amie, turning to me and telling me that she would go on being sick, if it meant God would heal me, Jesus died on the cross as His way of saying, "It's okay. I asked God to punish me instead of you. I will die so you don't have to." I can imagine the love in His eyes, shining like the love I saw in my daughter's eyes, smiling through the pain because of love. Beautiful, forgiving, perfecting, unconditional love. Good Friday is not what it was a Great Friday.

Matthew 27:39-44 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40and saying, "You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!"
In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. "He saved others," they said, "but he can't save himself! He's the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, 'I am the Son of God.' " In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

Lord Jesus, thank you for loving me enough to willingly suffer for me. For protecting me from my own just punishment. How great must your love be to suffer so very much? Am I worth it? I don't know, yet you did it, so I must be of great value to You. What an honor, what a humbling insight. Thank you for turning this illness into a beautiful experience that has led me closer to You. I love you so very much. Amen.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


This morning I got up, got myself and my daughters out the door for school on time (just barely), made the 40 min drive in glorious sunshine and kissed them goodbye at the door. Then, I made my way to the gym where I chatted with a few other moms and waited for the assembly to begin. How very much our lives have changed in a year.

In September, my children moved to a new school. We still live in the same place and their old school is still up and running, but I came to the conclusion that God is not welcome there. Their last school was a public school and although my kids would come home having been taught about the Muslim or Hindu Faith and celebrations, talk of Jesus was nowhere to be heard. How is that even equal?

The final straw for me was watching my (then) 12 year old cry her eyes out every night after being picked on all day for (get this!) being smart and being a Christian. I called the school where the principal quickly informed me they don't have a bullying problem.

On Saturday night, my daughter, Emily had to babysit for some friends and all the way there she shared her stories of sadness with me. How, when she would work in the milk room at lunch time some of the kids would go through her desk and read her journal aloud to the class. How she was referred to as 'the nerd' and 'the perfect little church girl'. I dropped her off and feeling totally helpless, I cried out to God again, more desperate than ever, for Him to direct me. Whatever it took I would do if He would just clearly lead me. He gave me a verse...well, part of a verse. "Train up a child in the way he should go..." Great!...but I didn't know where it was from, or even what it meant for me in the situation I was in. So, I dismissed it.

Sunday morning, my kids and I went off to our local church and I was praying all the way for help from God. I asked Him for a flashing neon sign to drop out of Heaven that said "DO THIS:...". Well, I got the next best thing. The pastor preached on Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it." I almost fell out of my pew! Wow! THAT had to be God! Then, I had this really strong feeling in my heart to look at some of the local Christian schools. The first one I clicked on had Proverbs 22:6 right there on the home page. Providence. An answer to prayer and the beginning of a change in my children that knocked my socks off!

So as I sat in the gym this morning, surrounded by my brothers and sisters in Christ I was treated to a beautiful chapel time where the grade fives lead a lesson on Lent and Easter. We sang praises to God for the gift of His Son and the redemption it bought us. My heart soared and my spirit trembled with the reality of Jesus's sacrifice for me and I sat at the back with tears streaming down my face, just moved beyond words at the depth of the love of Christ for me. My children sat listening to truth in a school where God is welcome! 'He is Risen!' the teacher called, and 300 little voices replied, "He is risen indeed!"

Matthew 27:25 All the people answered, "Let his blood be on us and on our children!"

Thank you Jesus that your blood is on us. It covers over all our sins and makes us acceptable to God the Father. Your life changed death, and your death changed life. Thank you that you care so very much about each of us. You even answered my prayer and lead me to where my children needed to go to grow in You. Thank you for your sacrifice for me on the cross. I owe You more than I can ever pay, but I will spend everyday trying to please You because I love You. Amen.