Sunday, January 8, 2012

Treasures in Heaven

Matthew 6:20 "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal."

I have been ruminating for days on a blog post. And then I ran across this woman's blog. She pretty much wrote my post. I couldn't believe it. In fact, I almost checked the signature at the bottom of her post to make sure my name wasn't there. I had read the exact same New Year's post this gal refers to, and I, too, had the same exact thoughts. Only she beat me to the keyboard.
 ***The following is an excerpt from the blog link above. This is not the post in it's entirety.***

A few days ago I read a New Year’s post written by one of my favorite writers, Kelle Hampton. If you’re like me, and you dabble in self pity and ennui daily, I’d bookmark Kelle this year. After I read her posts, I’m re-inspired and invigorated and awake for at least twenty minutes. She’s better than three Red Bulls and a kale smoothie.
Kelle wrote a wonderful list of what she’d learned in 2011 and I found myself nodding, yes, yes, yes along with her inspired words- as I always do. But then I got to one which read:  “Family is everything, everything, everything.”

And something forced me to pause and stop reading. Inside that pause I realized that after living through 2011, I don’t think that’s true.

2011 Lesson #1 – Family is not everything.

It can’t be. Because sometimes beloved sons die. And husbands leave. And daughters lose their minds for decades. And beloved babies are broken by broken men behind the wheel.  And fathers abuse and mothers neglect and sisters and brothers betray. And friends walk away.
Family cannot be everything, everything, everything. Because if it is, then everything can be taken away in the blink of an eye. Or maybe never offered at all.
If family is everything, everything, everything, then it follows that if my family was taken from me, I would have and be nothing. And because if family is everything, then I would need to parent my kids and love my parents and Sister and husband in a state of constant fear. And fear taints love. Fear makes the lover hyperventilate and the beloved suffocate. Fear makes love a cage.
Down past the terrified, ridiculous part of me that believes something terrible will happen if I acknowledge this- I know that family is not everything. It’s a lot. It’s a whole damn lot. If my family were taken from me, or never given to me in the first place, I would feel shattered. But I would still be something. I would still have something. I would still have the most important part of me, as a matter of fact.
And this is something I’ve learned only this year. At the start of 2011, I definitely would have told you that family is everything.
But a few weeks ago I sat with my friend Anna, who lost her Jack this year. She is suffering  through excruciating pain that I’m afraid might just morph and never ease. But listen- when I looked at Anna- I was not looking at a woman with nothing. And it wasn’t just because she has Tim and Margaret left on this side. What I mean is that I was in the presence of a woman who has the entire world in her hands.
Anna is a woman who has power to heal -herself and others. Because Anna has choices. She could curse God and die, and we would all understand. But she doesn’t. She’s alive. Anna’s decision to write, to stay open, to invite us in when she’s most vulnerable, to get out of bed each morning, to keep choosing hope and love and life and to face the horrifically painful truth instead of hiding – her determination that THERE WILL STILL BE JOY, DAMNIT – these choices are healing and awakening her family, friends and readers. A teeny, teeny bit at a time. And since the worst has already happened, Anna is a woman who, at the moment, is loving and living without fear. And that is something.
I know she’d trade all this in a hot second to get her Jack back. But the fact remains that she is still Anna. She is a new Anna. A very, very different Anna. 
 Matt's death has changed me forever. And I struggle daily with the choice to cling to my pain and sorrow or give it to God, to let Him bind up my wound, and to trust Him with my future. Tim and I went to a church service tonight at a friend's church and heard a very powerful, healing message. It was titled, "Deadly Wounds." In a nutshell, Satan would like nothing more than to deliver a deadly blow. That's his goal. The good news is that Christ comes to deliver life. God can and does heal. But let's not be naive. A wound leaves a scar. Jesus Christ had scars. And he wasn't ashamed to show them, either. I could go on, but honestly, you'd need to just listen to the sermon for yourself. :) 

Thinking of what Christ did for me, the scars he bears, are because of what He did for me, taking my sins upon the cross. Is it any wonder that I should bear some scars as well, since I belong to Him? Anyway - all this to say that it got me thinking of Scripture. I've seen some verses in a whole new light. Especially the one above, at the top of my post. "Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven..." I think I can honestly say now that I have a treasure in heaven. My son. Waiting for me. Something to think about.

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