I started this blog to tell you what was happening with Jace. I want to continue it to inspire and make people feel good and make everyone understand Jesus better. There isn’t much I can tell now about the case and updates about my day to day would pretty much say – I get up. I cry. I work. I cry. I sit around waiting to go to bed. I cry. I sleep. I want to write, but how do I try to be inspirational when I just feel like crap? So I’ll go on with this blog writing about whatever comes to mind from day to day as I go through this. I’ll talk about God and loss and faith and sorrow and gratitude. A recent conversation with Tim Roberts had me thinking about God and Christianity.
So yes – I feel like my life is crap right now. Did you know it is possible to love Jesus and feel like crap? You can love him and have a bad day. You can still love him and act like a jerk sometimes. You can love him and not say hallelujah at the end of every sentence. Sometimes Christianity seems like a product that is marketed to people that haven’t bought into it yet. People are told – get happy, healthy, and wealthy – just by coming to church! Other times it is marketed as a set of rules: don’tdrink, don’t have sex, don’t use major cuss words (minor ones are ok sometimes depending on the context and as long as it’s not on Sunday). If you do use a major cuss word on Sunday, you will probably burn for all eternity.
I’m convinced that being a Christian isn’t so much about what I do or don’t do. It’s not about what I get out of the deal – not about my return on investment. It’s not about me keeping or breaking the rules. It’s about the fact that God loves me. He loves me. He loves me. He loves me. I used to roll my eyes at my mom before, when she would tell me I couldn’t understand how much she loved me. She loved me so much that when I made bad choices, it made her crazy and willing to do anything to get me back to being safe. I think through my relationship with Jace, I started to understand what a parent’s love is like. I wasn’t his birth parent. I didn’t even adopt him. But I was there singing him to sleep, getting him up and dressed in the mornings, and alongside my sister , mom, and dad, trying to teach him to be good. I understand going a little crazy wanting to protect him, because I loved him so much, and now that he’s gone, I understand the immense pain of losing a child. I know maybe my feelings aren’t even as huge as if he had really been my son, but I can’t imagine them being any huger. I know for sure my feelings aren’t as huge as the feelings God has for us.
In helping to raise Jace, I really wanted him to share. I wanted him to say please and thank you. I wanted him to be a good friend and to be kind to people. I wanted him to do these things because I knew it would make his life better. I knew his life would be easier and more fulfilling if he followed the guidelines we set out for him. That is why God wants us to be “good.” Not because he is ready and excited to pounce on us and punish us if we are “bad” but because our lives will be better if we stay within his guidelines. Messing up – treating someone badly, gossiping, punching someone in the face, lying, cheating, stealing, killing - doesn’t mean he loves us less. Do you love your kids less when they break your rules?
It’s not about rules. It’s not about being one way or not being another way. It’s about the fact that he loves us. Kids ultimately don’t like to disappoint their parents. I remember crying more because my mom was unhappy with me than because I was getting spanked. That is why I want to be “good.” Not because I am afraid of going to hell. Not because I will be struck by lightning if I sin. Not even because the Bible says I should. I want to be “good,” because I know Jesus loves me, and I know it hurts him when I don’t do what he asks of me. He loves me so much, that I don’t want to disappoint him. I want to help other people, be kind, and do good things, because I think it makes him proud of me.
That’s what it means when people use the cheesy saying, “It’s all about a personal relationship.” I am thankful that loving Jace helped me understand God’s love for me more. Loving Jace has made me a better person. My sister said,“I want to live a life that makes God and Jace proud.” That’s right. I don’t want to take the gifts that God and Jace gave me for granted. I want to take the huge love that I learned from Jace and make my life worthy of his love and the love that God gave me through his son.