Who would you give your life for? Family certainly rises up in the mind of each person taking time to read this story. Yet, would we dare consider sacrificing our lives for people who despised us, betrayed us, and beat us to a pulp before imposing a slow death on a cross? Jesus did, because His Father so loved you, me, and everyone in the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believeth in Him would have everlasting life. That agape love keeps us singing as we go and writing love stories that touch eternity when Jesus reigns in our lives. When Jesus lives in our hearts, we are covered with eternal insurance – premium paid in full by our Savior! Trusting obeying, and enjoying each day God gives ensures happiness here and in heaven.
When I opened my computer to write this story, a tattered page from an old hymnal was stuck to my slender, silver gift of technology James bought for me. He watched me write stories through many seasons with my old, slow, aggravating computer. One day, he surprised me with a trip to Best Buy and a new computer. Precious memories of those who colored our world with love are sweet ‘kisses from God’ that remind us of their love and His. When loved ones leave us, people watch as we adjust to life here without them. Many marvel when we rise above grief and glorify God. Some things just can’t be explained unless one is deeply in love with the Lord and looks to Him for strength in trying and triumphant times. I am happy, fulfilled, and excited to live the last trimester of my life serving Jesus and sharing HIs love. Alas, there are many nights and moments during the day when I go to Gethsemane. Crying out in the night to the One who created and cares for us brings joy in the morning.
My writing stopped for a spell after that last sentence to survey the wonder of God’s love in my life on the bookshelves in front of me. Pictures of my blended family bring tears that wet my keyboard and fill my heart with joy. I could sit and dwell on sad times or those who are no longer here, but in every picture I see years of loving and praying for each one and how God has answered those prayers. While I never prayed for my parents, Tim’s dad, James’ dad, my sister, Tim, or James to be called Home in the prime of their lives, God’s ways are higher and His promise of heaven gives peace to my heart. I look at each picture of loved ones living with Him today and celebrate happy memories made when they were here. My time with Jesus, in the middle of writing this story, has healed another piece of my broken heart and hopefully, helped you to embrace healing also. The hurt never goes away, but the Promise Keeper heals our hearts, binds our wounds, and gives joy for the rest of our journeys. We do not celebrate happiness because our loved one are no longer here; our joy comes from deep within hearts where Jesus is right at home and gives peace knowing they are in heaven!
Reflecting on Jesus’ birth, life, and death causes me to wonder how His mother stayed strong from cradle to cross! Mary experienced kisses from God from the angel’s visit, Jesus’ virgin birth, visitors bringing gifts to her baby (God’s Son) in a manger, riding a donkey while fleeing to foreign soil to save His life, watching Him excel as a woodworker, hearing Him teach about a loving Father and being a living example of His love, finding Him in the temple, experiencing His first miracle while telling the people to do what Jesus said, experiencing miracles of healing that made people marvel, hurting when people Jesus’ own hometown didn’t honor Him, dealing with Pharisee minded people wherever He went, knowing He was sent for a divine purpose, hearing the cries ‘crucify Him’, watching Roman soldiers chain Her son and beat Him until HIs bones tore through His flesh, climbing the hill – close to the Son God sent for her and Joseph to raise – as He carried the cross to Calvary, crying out to God with memories of her little boy rushing through her mind, heartbreak turning her world upside down as her loved One endured pain and persecution, and joy rising in her heart as Jesus asked John to take care of His mother. Surely, Mary remembered years of caring for and ‘training up the Son God sent to her and Joseph in the way He should go’, while watching His divine assignment happening before her eyes.
When Jesus said, “It is finished”, Mary tasted the sting of death and endured grief beyond measure. Then, she experienced God’s promise of healing and bringing good from the bad according to His plans and purpose for our lives. When words of joy rang throughout the land that He had risen, Mary must have praised God and danced through the streets telling people the good news. I can only imagine the joy that filled the heart of Jesus’ mother when she realized …’He’s alive’!
The story of Easter is personal, painful, precious, and promising…just as it was for Mary. Jesus lives in heats and gives peace beyond understanding, when we ask Him to come into our hearts.
If you are stuck in grief, anger, or a place where peace does not prevail in your heart and home, go to Gethesame. Get on your knees and cry out to Jesus who gave His life for you to be free from the debt of sin and longs for you to live closely connected to Him.
Next week, I will share about the page from an old hymnal. Until then, sing songs of joy celebrating that He is alive and our loved ones called Home to heaven are too!
Becky Spell Vann is the owner of Tim’s Gift.