Do I Love My Kids More Than I Love Jesus?

via Worth James Goddard on flickr

via Worth James Goddard on flickr

A tiny casket lowered into the sullen dirt and the sky, swollen with grief.

The parents stood to the side, watching their baby girl being buried in a box and my scarf was soaked with tears. I kept stealing glances at my friend, wondering how she was still standing. Wondering how to comfort her, because there is no comfort any human can offer for the loss of a child.

I still have their daughter’s picture on my fridge and I tear up when I look at her delicate face, this baby born with a rare genetic disease to a couple that tried eight years for a child.

“If it has to be something, give me cancer or let me lose my house but please don’t take my kids,” I pray at night. “Please God, don’t make me go through that–”

Getting pregnant was hard for us too. We were told we would probably never have children because of my anorexia, and then a pastor prayed over us on national television for a son within the year–and we conceived a son within the year. And now we have two boys.

But I’ve also lost two babies, while they were in the womb, and it’s near-wrecked me. Those miscarriages bore stillborn faith and for awhile it was all I could do to just keep going.

I didn’t know, before having kids, the agony of giving birth to your heart and not being able to protect it.

via ILinca Vânău

via ILinca Vânău

The excruciating pain of sending your vulnerable little heart–with his puppy-dog backpack–into a world full of sin.

And the truth is? I don’t know if I love Jesus more than I love my children.

I don’t know if I love Jesus enough to say, “Anything Lord–whatever your plan is, whatever it is you want to use my children for, whatever your will is for this family–please do it.”

I’ve heard of parents giving God the glory when their children die and I want to be that person and yet–I also believe in grief, because what is the resurrection without death? And what is praise without sorrow? Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.

Some things in life are just really, really hard. And we’re not supposed to be able to comprehend the pain of losing our children–it’s supposed to be heart-wrenching, because otherwise God sacrificing his own son wouldn’t mean much.

I recently returned from Uganda and Rwanda, where I met women who’d lost multiple children, and I met children who’d lost their mothers and fathers, and death was a reality for everyone there.

But God was a greater reality.

He rose off the face of every person I met, he rose triumphant and joyful, he rose with the promise of an eternity filled with life.

Jesus says to love him more than we love our sons and daughters.

Jesus says a lot of hard things and I’m a sinner saved by grace and it’s all I can do some days to repent. But I want to want to love him more than anything in this world. I want God to be a greater reality for me than death.

via Irena Selaković

via Irena Selaković

And I know that I don’t serve a heartless savior. When I commit my children to him in prayer while seated at the scratched wooden kitchen table, my sons watching Thomas the Train in the background, I don’t commit them to just anyone. I commit them to their Maker.

And when I pray that Jesus would be glorified both in my family’s living and dying, I know God weeps–not only out of joy for the surrender of our hearts, but out of pain–knowing how hard it is to give up a child.

“I just wish I could be there to show her around heaven,” my friend said to me following the funeral of her baby girl, her eyes blurry with tears. “It’s such a big place–I just worry she’ll get lost.”

Oh friends, these mother hearts–they’re meant to ache with the thought of loss.

But this earth, is but a glance, and then, we have forever to spend with Christ and our children. Hallelujah.

Blessings,

Emily Wierenga

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Comments

  1. Cat @ MaryMarthaMama.com says

    “Some things in life are just really, really hard. And we’re not supposed to be able to comprehend the pain of losing our children–it’s supposed to be heart-wrenching, because otherwise God sacrificing his own son wouldn’t mean much.”

    I’ve never thought of it this way. Thank you so much for sharing your sweet thoughts this morning.

  2. Natalie says

    What is praise without sorrow? What a marvelous question, and like all the best, one that won’t be can’t be answered flippantly. Thanks for sharing your words. They nudge my heart and mind to consider so much.

  3. says

    The mama’s last line nearly broke me. God, yes. Even in Heaven where we are all praising God and He is so in charge, it is still a mama’s heart to want to protect, to make sure.

  4. Erica says

    This is what I most struggle with too. I read Anything by Jennie Allen in the fall and I felt a sense of urgency to surrender my children… and I’ve been grappling with it ever since. I keep feeling like if I was able to easily surrender them, it would be as though I was giving my blessing for them to be taken early (maybe that sounds irrational, I don’t know)… after months of prayer on this I realize that surrendering them isn’t only in death, but in life! To willingly let God use their lives for His plan and to purposefully teach them to choose that same surrender. That makes sense to me! And I still continually pray that if the the unthinkable happens of losing a child, that God will give the strength needed to keep standing… breathing… and in the meantime not to dwell on what could be but embrace what is right now.

  5. says

    I love Jesus/God more then my children, because, if I don’t I have nothing to look forward to at the end of my life here on earth.

    If I don’t love God more then my children, I will not be able to send eternity with my family in perfect peace where there will be no more death, sorrow or crying.

    Peace to one and all.

  6. says

    This is beautiful e. A constant battle for me, even though I hold ebenezers of His faithfulness and love… Helps me to remember that He promises strength in the moment needed…not beforehand necessarily. I will never feel “prepared” for that kind of heartache and grief again. I don’t think it’s really possible to feel ahead of time, how it will be to wade through pain that deep. And I know you have felt this…I wept over your last little one. But I do trust who God is and His love for us. And I can go back to all the little extra ways He showed His love during that season of pain-beyond-words. For me, I always feel a bit like I pray along with the man who said, “I believe, help my unbelief”…entrusting our kiddos to Him…it’s a daily wrestling still. Keep that photo up for a long as you are able…I still go over to friends’ homes and see our Selah’s face…it heals my heart a little more every time.

  7. Amanda says

    My dear friends are burying their 19 year old daughter today. She was a healthy, happy college girl 3 weeks ago and after a sudden illness, she was gone. She loved her family and she loved and served Jesus. Your words are beautiful and so true and so needed today! There is comfort in knowing we will have forever later.

  8. says

    So thought-provoking. I ask myself too-Do I love my children more than God?-And sometimes I’m ashamed to admit that I do. I can’t imagine the grief and loss felt if I were to lose one of them. But I hope that if I do, I would be able to hold onto God through it and not let go. It’s hard to remember that they’re not really mine..they’re His. Always have been and always will.

  9. Elizabeth Stewart says

    Oh, for grace to trust Him more…each commitment of our loved ones to Him is such a daring act of trust. You say what I’ve felt and struggled with.

  10. Melody Cahoon Haase says

    Thank you for this. This mama heart is outpouring in tears right now reading this. I lost three daughters almost 7 years ago on my eldest daughter’s birthday (she was not in the vehicle) when my friend fell asleep while driving us. You said it right, all the way around. Our children are on loan to us, to raise for Him. No earthly understanding for why tragedies are allowed except there is sin and satan. I’m ready to move on, but I still have an important job with my children here (almost 18 year old, and 2 little ones I’ve had since). Life is hard, it sucks, it hurts, but there’s love, comfort, redemption, and eternity with our loved ones and our Master. Take your jobs seriously ladies….and hug your babies one extra time tonight before going to sleep. And your husband. Don’t go to bed angry. Take that job as your husband’s helpmate seriously, too.

    • loni says

      Ohhhhh Melody….yes life is hard, sucks and hurts….and I rejoice with you that it’s temporary. I’ve buried a stillborn daughter in 1998 and a 16yo son in 2004. I am so sorry for the earthy loss of 3 precious daughters….at one time….sounds incomprehensible …unbearable. The baby we had after our still daughter…named Melody Grace. :). May our Shepherd continue to grant us peace.

  11. Mary T says

    I have grieved the loss of two of my medically fragile students, Jayla and Eddie, both at 6 years old, last year and tomorrow will attend the funeral of a former ASD student, age 17, perfectly physically healthy, due to medical error/negligence. I have also grieved the loss of other students in the past and other young people seemingly senselessly taken. It is heart breaking! But it is through faith and His grace that i am assured that each has been called home by our heavenly Father, who knew the number of their days before He knit them in their mothers’ wombs. I celebrate their lives and memories by living a life that remembers their great gifts and shares their love in my heart with others! Knowing we will see each other again on the last day! Each of the families have coped with their suffering in different ways, but the families that believe in Jesus share my hope for eternal life and believe that God blessed us with the time we had to nurture and cherish His precious children! The grieving process can culminate in sadness that never ends or joy that is endless! I believe in eternal life filled with endless joy! Praise Jesus!

  12. Amy Hunt says

    When we confess, it enables Him to do such powerful things in us. It brings us to our knees and says “less of us, more of you”. When we confess that we aren’t sure whether we love Him enough to say “whatever” it’s like saying “we could have a disjointed focus”. It’s considering that maybe there’s something not quite pure and Holy about us. It’s truth-telling. In my own journey I said “nope! you can’t have that! and nope, I’m not doing that!” and then He broke me . . . very slowly and very delicately and yet very painfully. And, it was the most beautiful thing ever. It was His revelation of my need for Him and His incredible love for me that for many things, wanted to release me from the burdens I carried to be all together and loose me from exhaustion.

    I went from “nope!” to “I’m not sure” to “I’m willing to be willing” and “I want to want to be willing” to . . . “Yes! Anything!” and my *anything” became this WHATEVER kind of heart He wanted to work in me. It was a slow loosening of my grip and my fear and my control and this ME ME ME kind of life that wanted to be validated and affirmed and purposed and safe. It isn’t over yet. But one thing is for sure, I’m not in the wilderness anymore, and I’m not outside His gates, and I’m not on the fringe of His glory anymore, either. I’m right there, at His feet and humbly saying “Yes, Father, WHATEVER, while I confess how I am still afraid of what that might mean. Less of me, more of you.”

    Lifting you up, sister, in the only way I know how, as He leads . . . knowing with such assurance that this is such a crucial and monumental moment in your story. I’m privileged to walk alongside you.

    {hugs} and much love.

  13. Rayla says

    Thank you for this! After a painful miscarriage, I now have a beautiful boy who I hold a little too tightly. You and the commenters have ministered to this Mama’s heart. To Him be the glory!

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