Brothers and sisters: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly,
and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion,
for God loves a cheerful giver.
Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you,
so that in all things, always having all you need,
you may have an abundance for every good work.
As it is written:
He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.
The one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food
will supply and multiply your seed
and increase the harvest of your righteousness.
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies,
it remains just a grain of wheat;
but if it dies, it produces much fruit.
Whoever loves his life loses it,
and whoever hates his life in this world
will preserve it for eternal life.
Whoever serves me must follow me,
and where I am, there also will my servant be.
The Father will honor whoever serves me.”
Encouragement comes from the promises in the first passage; acknowledgment of the truth arises from the second.
God is providing for us
Our life has fallen into the ground and died.
We have all we need in this moment
We lost our life, as we knew it, loved it and preferred it - life as a family of four.
There is an abundant harvest. This new life appears to be producing fruit, but it's not the fruit I was expecting to gather from my labor at the end of this growing season. I'm grateful for all that is given, but as the third year of living without Katie draws to a close, awareness of the pain of what is lost arises afresh.
I thought I would be moving into parenting an "only" child - the high school years with my daughter. We would have - all four of us - driven David to college, toured and experienced the orientation, celebrated with him, and driven home - as a threesome. I would have spent the next three years with my girl, as a stay-at-home mother, bonding, supporting, loving and launching her. But this grain of wheat has fallen into the ground and died.
I'm gathering sheaves of a different kind - of an empty nest, a broken heart, expectations changed, hopes fulfilled (David goes to college) and unfulfilled (no more Katie), dreams realized (David goes to college) and dreams dead (no more Katie). Celebrating David's new life with him, I am also warily considering my own new life. Gregg returns to his familiar job, but I cannot. I am faced with a new job now - what will it be? Part-time? Full-time? At home? In the city? Writing a book?
Some other fruit flourishes here: hope, worry, patience, frustration, joy, hurt, humility, confidence, humor, anger, understanding, mystery, resignation, gratitude, honesty.
Dear Lord, my life is not my own. It has fallen into the ground and died.
My life is Yours. I pray You will inhabit me fully, and enable me to use every talent You have given me, for Your purposes, Your Love and Your glory.