Thursday, June 4, 2009

Saying Goodbye

Last month marked a milestone. We let go of the last bit of physical remains we had of Isaac when we scattered his ashes over a very special spot in the Pacific Ocean a on this past Memorial Day. It provided a fitting opportunity to reflect on all that God blessed us with through losing Isaac. John spoke of the joy and pain we experienced in having him and letting go of him. He spoke of the reality of sin as the spiritual cause for Isaac's death and the incredible hope that we have of seeing him again someday because Jesus Christ rose from the dead. We stand in awe of God's good and righteous character in teaching us so much through such a tiny, fragile life.

God blessed us in allowing us to be with a few family members and take a small boat out to the spot where Nicole used to spend many an hour reading her Bible, praying and meditating on the hugeness of God. There are a set of cliffs just North of Torrey Pines State Reserve where she used to sit and reflect on God's grace and mercy. We were able to scatter Isaac's ashes about a quarter mile off shore from that exact spot. We sang 'It is Well' and then scattered his ashes on the sea. While a few family members got seasick, we also were blessed to see a school of about 100 or so bottlenose dolphins swimming by on our way to the spot. Above all though, we were able to remember God's goodness in teaching us so much about Himself through the four-minute life of little Isaac Joseph Schmoll.

Jesus has been gracious to bind up many of our wounds and while part of us will always ache for the kisses and hugs we never got to give little Isaac, we also rejoice in the fact that life goes on. This November will mark the one year anniversary of his death and also, Lord willing, the birth of our third child who is due October 29. In all, we have learned a valuable lesson in the importance of clinging to the Giver of all good gifts and the futility of trying to cling to those gifts themselves.

The rose petals show where we scattered Isaac's ashes.

The cliffs overlooking the spot where we scattered Isaac's ashes.

Some of the dolphins we saw on our way out.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Coming to Christ like a Child

Over these past few months I have been meditating on what it means to come to God like a child. In Matthew 18:2-4 Jesus says:

2And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

I can't read this passage now without thinking of my children - Isaac and Carla - and what they're like. Children are trusting. And for good reason; they have to be or else they wouldn't eat, sleep, drink or have clean bums! At this point, my children simply receive what I give them. That's humility. And, as their loving parent, I give them what they need. That's kind of like grace. I say "kind of" because truly, grace is demerited favor. As sinners who rebel against a holy God, we don't deserve food, clothing and shelter, let alone salvation. We merit hell. But God is gracious and gives us all these good things that we don't deserve.

While Isaac has everything he'll ever need and is now beyond my care, safe in the arms of Jesus, I still get to take care of Carla daily. And, every time I change her diaper, it should remind me of what it means to come to Jesus like a child. It reminds me to humble myself by admitting my neediness and receive with gladness the many blessings God offers me in Christ.