Saturday, April 19, 2014

Mary was all in...Am I all in?

Standing near the cross was Jesus's mother - John 19:25

I think about Mary. A lot. And especially with it being Easter weekend I think of her more and more.  As a mother, I try to imagine what thoughts went through her mind as she experienced God's work first hand time and time again. 

No matter the task, no matter what was ahead, no matter what she had just went through Mary was "all in" for God's plan. 

She gave of herself, of her family, her own son. 

And she was still "all in."

I have often wondered, after the angel appeared to her, did she really know what was going to be asked of her for the rest of her life. 

Probably not. But that didn't matter. 

Because she was still "all in." 

Oh, if I had the "all in", that Mary did. 

Her appearances in the Bible are limited so it can be hard to get to know Mary. But what a testimony Mary carried on as a mother, as a wife, as a woman. She was willing to follow through with God's plan for her life no matter what it would cost her and cost her it did. From going through the disgrace as a unwed mother to caring for the Son of God in a day to day manner. She was there when he was born and she was there when He died. Her life had much honor but with it came much suffering.

Am I willing to be "all in" for God's plan? So many times I say I am open to whatever God has in store for me but in the back of my mind I am putting that into a neat little box that looks and feels good and I am limiting what works can be done in my life. 

And by doing that, I'm not really "all in." I've got one foot in and one foot out trying to balance myself and hearing myself say, "Here I am God. I will do this, this and this but don't ask me to do that because I can't." 

I want to strive to be "all in." God chose Mary because He knew she was "all in" and in it for the long haul.

How many times have I missed out on a call for my own life because I wasn't really "all in."

 "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us..." - Ephesians 3:20

Hold on...Sunday is Coming

Today was the first day I have had in a long with not a list of items that needed to be taken care of immediately. What a week we have had. Our bill, the Noah Dean and Nate Act (which I will blog about soon so everyone understands exactly what the bill says) was just passed unanimously in both the TN House and the Senate. Then we were off to speak at a boating conference in Nashville, TN about Electric Shock Drowning, which is what took my son's life. 

For so many months after Noah died I was scared to learn what happened to Noah. The words electricity and electrocution kept coming up and I had these horrible, horrible visions in my head and all I wanted to do was push them as far away as I possibly could. I was in that childlike state of mind that "if I don't think about it, it didn't happen." 

Well, of course, like most things in life we usually try to run from, what really happened that day caught up to me. Reality without Noah was setting in and I began to read more news reports and hear more information about that day. About that same time TWRA had closed their investigation of our case and they met with me over their findings. Then I met my friend, Angela, who also lost two children in the lake on July 4th in Missouri. I believe all those happened in a sequence of events that showed me God was at work. I can't imagine them happening any sooner or any later. If they had, I don't think we would be where we are today. 

And today, well today feels good, not great and not just ok, but good. That feeling helps me reflect on what I've learned these past 21 months without Noah. And I hope with all I have in me these feelings are ones I never, ever forget because these 3 things, along with many others, have helped to sustain me:

Trust. Trust can be questionable. Trust can be broken. But trust can be regained. 

Hope. Hope can seem unreachable. Hope can seem lost. But hope can be realized...again. 

Faith. Faith can be wavered. Faith can be shattered. But faith can return. 

And...I don't just mean these in God, even though, all three of these have been very challenged with God for me, I mean these to apply to ourselves, to each other, to life. If a circumstance causes us to lose one of these it's ok I've realized. We just can't lose it forever in everything. We can lose trust in someone that has hurt us but we can't lost trust in all people. We may feel hopeless in a certain situation but we can't feel hopeless in all situations. And faith. Our faith may be challenged like we never dreamed possible like mine was on July 4, 2012 and the months that followed and sometimes this is the hardest of all for me but faith can return and be more to us than it ever was before. I know mine is. 

I still cry. I still have nightmares. I still have those mornings when I wake up where, for a few seconds, I forget he's gone. I still lay in bed some days and just grieve over what is and what should be with Noah. And those are the times I am humbled and I am broken and I remember the One who also can understand and relate to my suffering, my agony and my pain because He felt it too only His was given willingly.

"No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father." 
John 10:18 

As this Easter comes and goes may we remember what was done for us voluntarily so that we may have a day where there is no more suffering, no more agony and no more pain. 

It may be Friday and it may look like death prevailed but hold on...

And...onward we go.