Chance's casket at his funeral the following day
The Cemetery Director talked us through our options and Brandon would ocassionally turn and ask "What do you think, babe?"
What do I think?
I think I wasn't prepared for this. . . that's what I think. I think this happened all too fast. I think I want to go back and freeze time to the moment our son was in my arms. That is what I think.
"I don't know babe," I would reply. "I can't even fathom making this decision. I feel like I'm going to burst. I have no idea. I trust you. Can you please just decide for us?"
And in that moment of wanting to freeze time I heard very clearly the Lord hinting to me, "But you are prepared for this. Your faith in the One that does not change is what will pull you through. Your hope in life after death is what will keep moving you forward. You were prepared for this because you spent time tending your soil and building your house."
And it was in that moment I was reminded of the teachings in Matthew 7. It is here Jesus encourages his followers to be wise and to build their house on rock, the one and only true, solid foundation, so that when the storms of life come, the house will not fall. Jesus compares a house built on rock to one built on sand. And we all know how well sand withstands a storm. Not well. When the winds pick up the sand is scattered and tossed and thrown with vengeance.
Sand cannot stand up to the trials this life throws our way. It was never indented to.
God did not create sand for the might task of house support.
Since losing Chance, the truth of Matthew 7 has become so real and alive to me. Here is what I am being reminded of and what keeps me moving forward, day after day, pursuing the Creator of the universe. Even on days when I don't feel like it.
When crisis hits, we don't have time to build our foundation.
The foundation must already be laid. We must put in the work upfront, so that when the dark clouds come rolling in, and they will, we will not be thrown under. We must invest daily in foundation work. Yes, we might be taken by surprise, but our foundation won't.
Intentionality - This is what I have learned. . . I have to get to the place of making intentional choices, day after day after day. Spending time in the Word, reading it for what it is and asking God to help me understand the words on the page, is key. I cannot claim the promises of scripture, promises that hold me up when the storm comes, if I do not know them. Spending time in prayer is a second key component. Prayer builds on the scriptures truths. The act of prayer is intentional worship . . . Talking to Him, claiming His truths and thanking Him for His sovereignty, wresting through my struggles and areas of sin and pride. Prayer might feel odd at first, it did for me, but over time it becomes a more natural way of living. I want to practice worshiping Him through prayer in the good times so that this same worship naturally flows from my lips in the bad times. Intentionality might take some sacrifice of time or schedule or even sleep. Building with sand is a much easier option. But let's think of the tradeoff here. Am I trading rock for sand in my daily choices of making Christ an intentional part of my day?
Stillness - In our current generational mindset, being still is not a popular life choice. We are inundated with constant to do's and enough social media options to keep us constantly moving from one thing to the next to the next. Noise is not lacking in our generation and intentional stillness is not seen as a virtue but a character flaw. But what I have come to find true is that sometimes it is necessary to shut it all down. To rest before our Creator with hearts and hands wide open. To be completely still before the Lord and just sit and listen. To say "Ok I am here with no agenda and no 'please make this happen for me or my family' list and I am ready to receive what you have for me so please speak so that I can hear you." Learning to be still in the times of plenty helps us hear his voice so much more clearly when famine strikes. Stillness produces mental clarity. And we so need this mental clarity when walking through the graveyard of loss or financial crisis or family disappointment or medical diagnosis (or whatever your own personal storm might be).
We left the cemetery that day and while I still felt a sense of overwhelm, I knew the overwhelm would not overcome. And I knew I had a choice to make. . . I could choose to place my hope in my ever-changing emotions, or I could choose to place my hope in the rock of which our home was built.
Investing in foundation work is investing in faith and investing in faith is investing in the hope that will pull us through when the waves creep in and threaten to throw us overboard.
Build your house.
(To read the full story in Matthew 7, click here.)