Is the cross a barricade?

My daughter was reading the book, “But Don’t All Religions Lead to God?” in the van while we ventured out for a day of shopping the other day. She read aloud as I drove, and a paragraph from p. 57 (chapter 7) about the cross struck me with wonder.

The author writes that those who reject Christ “will have to push past the cross of Jesus Christ, which He has erected as a powerful barrier to stop people from going to hell.” I had never thought of the cross as a barrier before. The Bible tells tells us that God desires that no one should perish (2 Pet. 3:9), but there are those who refuse to look to Jesus Christ for salvation. They have been blinded by satan, deceived. They see the cross as the enemy, a killjoy to their life of pleasure and self-sufficiency. They don’t see their need for saving, and they certainly don’t want to change the way they’re living; to glorify God in all that they do, say, and think. They see the cross as restrictive, offensive. Worse yet, some believe they are already saved. They think Love excuses sin, allows loopholes because, after all, that’s Love. Finally, they have swallowed the lie that this life is all there is. They have no hope or realization of eternity, whether in heaven or hell.

To this I say be careful. Just as a road barricade is put in place to safeguard against impending danger, the cross is raised before each of us to guard our lives. The cross compels us to consider our path. It begs us to examine our way, to inspect it’s claims. The cross makes incredulous statements about our life here on earth. Have you stepped up close to it, felt the rugged wood on which Christ was crucified for you? Will you stop before it, trusting that it is there to save your life instead of rushing past it, refusing to look up, believing that somehow the road ahead isn’t washed out, that it doesn’t lead to eternal death? Friend, take caution. Please don’t run past the barricade. Let it save you.

Blessings,

Angie signature

Am I over it?

Just ten weeks after losing our son, I was asked, “So are things all better now?” Let that just sit in cyberspace for a few minutes here, people.

Five years later, my daughter was asked a few weeks ago, “Is your mother over it now?” Yep. Let’s let that spin in the cosmos a few times here, too, folks.

I have absolutely no idea what possesses people to say things like this, to ask these kinds of questions.

But I will tell you this: These kinds of statements and questions are EXACTLY why I am honest with my grief. I am honest with my grief so that I can educate those who are clueless. If being real about life after child loss saves just one bereaved parent from hearing these hurtful comments, then I have done well. If my vulnerability keeps just one person from asking the stupidest question ever, then I am raising my fist in victory.

Though I understand many of the comments are well-intended and often asked out of ignorance or helplessness at not knowing what to say, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE DO NOT ASK A BEREAVED PARENT, “Are you over it?”

Over it?

By “it,” do you mean my son? Since when do we call our children “it?” This is not o.k.

My son existed. Dear sweet, bereaved parent, your child existed. Do not let anyone else tell you to “get over it.” I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: The absence of my child does not erase his existence.

And neither does my child’s absence erase my love for him.

When a child dies a parent’s love remains. Death steals our child’s earthly presence and future, but it can never steal our love. A parent never gets “over” love for their children.  Love is what remains.

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To insist that one must “get over” the death of their child is to essentially say they must stop loving them. I can do naught but shake my head at this. Absolutely and definitively wrong. Bereaved parents do not get over the death of their children. Ever. Will we move forward? Absolutely. Will we laugh again? Yep. Will we find joy in this world? Yes. Yes, we will reinvest ourselves in this world, knowing that the best way to honor our child’s memory is to live our lives well. We will continue to tell others about our son or daughter because, while death may have hidden them from our sight, they are more alive than ever in our hearts.

Here’s to educating just one person on grief. Here’s to sparing just one bereaved parent further pain. Here’s to love.

Blessings,

Angie signature

 

Yawning into Thursday

How funny that several of my kids remarked how fast the week has flown by for them. Yay for them! As for me, I was thinking, “It’s only Thursday?!” However, I have to say that though the week has been overflowing with appointments, we’ve managed to get school done by 1pm each day. That alone is reason enough to celebrate. Not to mention, for the most part, my “students” had have good attitudes. That alone is half the battle.

This Thursday morning I am tired, but thankful. Three of the kids are currently sitting at the dining room table coloring. Conversation sounds like this: “I’m going to put warts on her face to make her uglier.” “I’m going to color her teeth yellow.” “Eeeehehee, eeeheehhe.” (Cackling witch sound)

coloring-contest

I call this art class. They call it fun and a break. (Two of them call it competition.) Whatever. It’s the quietest my dining room has been in a while. Perhaps I should find some more coloring contests in the area.

Blessings,

Angie signature

Got vacation?

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Made it through airport security and waiting at the gate to board!

 

Several weeks ago my husband and I took our first vacation, sans children, in 23 years.

Yeah. It was a big deal.

We flew to Florida to surprise our Brazilian-exchange-student-turned-son for his 21st birthday. We managed to pull off the surprise and loved every second of seeing the shock on his face. He knows I don’t travel or do vacation. Truth be told, I hadn’t flown in about 15 years.

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Coming into Fort Lauderdale for landing

Honestly, I had no idea how good vacations were. For one thing, my husband and I are complete opposites when it comes to relaxation. His idea of relaxing is gallivanting across the countryside sucking up every bit of activity one can as fast as one can. My idea of a good time is lying on a hotel bed reading a novel. Vacations just aren’t our thing, as you can see.

I wasn’t sure I’d even survive the Florida heat and humidity, but in September it was pretty darn close to Minnesota’s! I marveled at the creativity of God everywhere I looked. I had no idea there were so many species of palm trees. The vegetation and flowers were incredibly delightful. I wasn’t too keen on the iguanas, big or little! They are everywhere.

 

But do you know what made vacation so awesome?

What made it awesome was being with the people I love.

Little did I know that when I left Florida, I would be leaving a piece of my heart there.

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It’s a good thing love carries, love lasts. Love knows no bounds and is not confined by space and geography. As endless as the grains of sand, so is my love for these people.

Here’s to vacations, past and future.

Blessings,

Angie signature