I stand here, shamed-faced at the foot of the cross. My hands are empty. I hold them up and look at them, turning them over to see the short-cut nails, the rough skin, the creased palms...the hands of a working woman, of a dish-washing-dinner-cooking wife, of a baby-rocking-clothing-feeding-bathing mama...
But them most notable thing about them, at least to me, is that they are empty.
I stand here, at the foot of the cross, with empty hands. Completely empty. I do not stand here with my children, I do not stand here with my husband, I stand here alone, with empty hands.
Because that's all I have. Nothing. There is no offering that I can give that's not already His.
The most valuable thing I have to offer, these children that I have, they're not really mine. Not really. They are on loan to me, entrusted to my care, but on loan to me, and here to fulfill the plan that God has for their life.
And my anger, while perhaps understandable, is not justifiable, and not righteous. My anger, this anger that I felt at what I saw to be an injustice, was, in fact, a display of my lack of trust in God's plan for my children.
And I am convicted.
I know I have been talking about Beth Moore a lot, but this last lesson on Daniel really struck a lot of chords with me. In one of the sessions, Beth talked about how there are some lessons that we don't want to have to learn the hard way. Some lessons we should really just learn from someone else so that we don't have to do the suffering. And for me, this is one of those.
I need to commit to memory, and seal away in my heart, never to be forgotten, this truth:
My life, and the lives of my children, are in God's hands. He is in control, and I need to trust that.
How can I doubt God's grace? Has He not saved me from myself? Did he not keep His hand on Jesse when he swallowed the battery, had a seizure and developed a heart murmur? Did He not keep Gabriel from being more badly hurt when he fell and needed stitches? When he got bit by the dog? Has He not watched over Elizabeth as she grows into a responsible young lady of whom any mother would be proud? Has He not given us Jo, who is fearfully yet wonderfully made?
Did He not perform miracle after miracle over our sweet baby Hazel Grace?
And yet, I have the nerve to shake my fists at God and ask Him why?! Even after God proves to me again and again that He is in charge and that He is in control, I continue to fight and struggle and attempt to lay claim to that which I think is mine,
But in the end, I always end up here,
At the foot of the cross
With empty hands.
And I am ashamed.
But the glory of empty hands is that when you finally let go of that which you should never have been holding on to in the first place, you are ready to receive the abundant blessings that God has in store for you,
And the glory of standing alone at the foot of the cross, in repentance, is that there is no buffer between you and the grace of God.
And, oh! How that grace does flow!
Today it flowed in the form of the cardiologist telling us that the irregular reading of the EKG was not supported by the echo that they performed on Jo. Her heart is perfect, each chamber its correct size, rhythmically performing its designed function.
Fearfully and wonderfully made.
So let me remember this. Let this close-call scare sear its way into my heart so that I never have to hover over the edge of the fiery furnace again. Let me have learned my lesson so that I don't have to go down this path again.
And let me wash myself in the waters of God's grace to get rid of any last smell of smoke that may be lingering.
And let me come up out of those waters not ashamed,
But with empty hands,
Thank you, dear friends, for your prayers and support. All is well with Jo and her heart. There is no explanation for the irregular EKG reading, which was irregular once again today, but the echo showed a perfectly formed heart. Hazel continues to get stronger every day. She is home and back off the oxygen. Her pneumonia is slowly clearing and her food tolerance is slowly coming back.
God is good, all the time!