03.07.2013

A Sure Cure for Sorrow

Dear Eli,
I wish I could promise not to “talk out my sorrow” any more. That I won’t ever get caught up in my own stuff again. That I will notice you more than myself. That I won’t waste a moment of our lives together.
But in an effort to be somewhat honest, let me just say that I will certainly try my best.
You are such an observant 7-year-old. You notice things. You notice people. You notice me.
Sometimes, I forget you are so aware of things around you. I’m so used to having all of you near, that I sometimes float along in my own little bubble, as though I’m by myself. But today you reminded me of your potential to pop into my bubble and that the walls of the world I live in are glass. You see everything.
We were on the way home from school, and all of you hopped into the car. (You are a loud bunch – Lucy was already in the car, so with our four kids and two friends, six kids in the car makes for a noisy crew.)
You took your “seat of honor” in the front seat. You are so proud that you sit in the front now, since everyone else is still too young to sit in the front seat.
I’m not even sure what I asked you. I’m sure it was something along the lines of “How was your day?” Or even “How was your test?”
I don’t even remember your response. I was consumed in my own thoughts of work, busyness, and on this particular day, a world of fragile friendships.
You gave your standard answers, I turned up the music, and we were on our way.
But about halfway home, you reached over and turned down the music.
“Why do you talk out your sorrows?” you asked.
Oh, Eli.
You didn’t quit. You mimicked me to perfection. You started talking under your breath to yourself in an agitated way, mouthing words, but not saying them out loud. I even think your forehead wrinkled in concern while you pretended to be me.
I looked over at the front passenger seat of the van and didn’t like the mirror image you presented of myself.
You were right.
I know you will learn it soon enough. But sometimes life hurts. My insecurities creep in, and on this day, my heart grieved. I felt like a failure. And somewhere in my world, if I just talked it through in an imaginary conversation, it would somehow get better.
But nothing got better. The conversation was only pretend. You clearly saw my worry. And most importantly, I missed you. You are just 10 days away from turning 8. You will never be my adorable 7-year-old boy again. I don’t want to miss another minute.
Later that night, after you were all in bed, I stumbled upon a Bible verse that felt as though it had been written just for me. Over the past few months, I have compulsively read and reread the “red letters” of the Bible. I have to know the heart of Christ. So I have repeatedly studied Jesus’ recorded words in the Bible.
In his words, buried otherwise unnoticed to me previously, were words that wrenched my soul in two. They leapt off the page and into my heart.
“Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” (Mark 5:19).
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That’s it. That’s how Christ directly instructs people to tell the world about him. He shoves fanciness aside and embraces simplicity. Just go. And tell people how much God has given you that you don’t deserve.
Eli, you are “my people.” No one else will ever tell you about Christ like I can tell you about Christ. We pray as a family for unreached people groups across the world, but when I am by myself, I pray for you and your siblings. “My people.”
You are the ones I care most about. Not a rocky friendship. Not a problem at work. You.
So, that night, as I lay in bed wiping tears from my eyes, I planned to tell you of the great mercy God has shown me. Before bed, we talked about studying for a Civil War test on the way to school in the morning.
But the next morning, we tossed Robert E. Lee and Abraham Lincoln aside and I told you of the “great mercies” God has shown me. How good he’s been to me and your dad. As I told you, tears spilled out of my eyes. You listened intently, and about halfway to school, you started adding your own.
As I write you this letter, I wish I could go back to that moment. To hold onto that memory and seal it in both of our hearts. Because when I explained to you that God has been merciful – he’s given us so much we don’t deserve – it made sense to you.
How have I missed that simple command? To tell my own people how much the Lord has done for me and how he has poured out his mercies on me.
It’s that easy. From the time you were inside of me, I always wondered how to tell you of Christ. How to convince you that it’s worth it. That if the Bible is true, and God is alive, then give your heart.
But in the car, it all came together for me. It’s by the blood of the Lamb and the Word of our testimony.
My testimony of God’s grace in my life is one of a healer, a savior, a provider, a comforter, and a generous God.
How different two car rides can be. In the first, I muddled through a one-way conversation with myself over my “sorrows.” In the second, I shared from a mother’s heart of a gracious God who has
been better to me than anyone or anything else. I want you to know Him. I want you to love Him. I want you to give your life to Him.
So I share his mercies over my life with you. And as I shared with you, my heart started to heal. My situation didn’t change, but suddenly, as I remembered his mercies before, it made me certain He would pour his mercy over me again. And give me a second chance that I probably don’t deserve. A second chance in friendship. And a second chance with you.

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