"Once more heed the exhortation- stand close to the cross of Jesus! It is the most accessible and precious spot this side of heaven- the most solemn and awesome this side of eternity. It is the focus of divine love, sympathy and power. Stand by it in suffering, in persecution, in temptation. Stand by it in the brightness of prosperity and in the gloom of adversity. Shrink not from it's offense, humiliation, and woe. Defend it when scorned, despised and denied. Stand up for Jesus and the gospel of Jesus. Oh, whatever you do, or whatever you endure, be loyal to Christ's cross. Go to it in trouble, repair to it in weakness, cling to it in danger, hide beneath it when the wintery storm rushes fiercely over you. Near to the cross, you are near a Fathers heart, a Savior's side."
Yesterday was Good Friday and tomorrow will be Easter Sunday. Last year we squeezed the funeral service of my second born daughter in the middle and I hardly remember a detail.
That is mind numbing grief.
And yet last night as I sat in church and heard scripture read about the magnificent sacrifice that my God gave for me and my family and you, I was choking back the word "thankful". Not yet thankful for so many details that my life has held, but immense thanks that all is not in vain. Not all is loss.
It was promised to me.
This week we will acknowledge with the heaviest hearts I ever could imagine carrying with me, that it has been a year since Piper was here in my world. I am not certain that I ever even noticed that she died so closely to Easter, the holiday that once was my favorite. Now it holds a meaning and a reminder much deeper than just a "holiday"...it is a season I will grieve both my daughter and my God. It is a season I will ache and yearn for both my daughter and my God. And it is a season that will remind me that I will indeed, be reunited with both my daughter and my God.
It was promised to me.
This me that hurts so deeply and consistently that I should have died many months ago from the sheer weight of trying to carry it with me...of forgetting so many of the steps are not mine to take and the burden is not mine for eternity. That if I stay close to the cross, I am strengthened and encouraged and reminded of how good that the ugly of the ugliest can be.
That when Jesus was hung on that cross with my face in his mind and He chose to carry my sins although He knew, he knew, he knew that I would never be able to repay him or fully appreciate what he had done....that He still did this. And when I remember the details of holding a daughter who is breathing her last breathes and I knew, I knew, I knew that there was simply nothing more I could do to buy more time or fight any harder...and still I would do it again if only I were allowed. I was able to fully love this girl simply because of the strength of my God and the hope and trust in His words.
And so last night as I was weary, grieving, aching for so much, I chose yet again to stand close to the cross. To be thankful that all is not lost and all is not in vain. It is indeed the most "accessible and precious spot this side of heaven" and I will simply fade away if I chose to lean on anything else and to forget that Jesus's death gave life.