Judson's Legacy

Parenting Grace

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It was the dead of night and I was jarred awake by sudden screams from my Jessie-Girl.  I jumped out of bed, startled and concerned, and ran to my lady’s bedside.

“I love Juddy so much!” she cried, “But I don’t want to die.  I don’t want to die!   I want to live forever.”

The substance of her dream hit me like a punch in the gut.

I stroked her back without saying a word.

Her inconsolable cries continued as she writhed in bed, “I want to live a really long time.  I don’t want to die.  I don’t like death.”

“Oh Jessie…” I didn’t know what to say as I kissed her face over and over while trying to hold her.

My mind was racing.  These concerns are much too heavy for such a little heart, I thought to myself.  I don’t want her worrying about death at this age.  This burden is too great for her developing soul.

I felt powerless.  I felt so powerless as worries of death poured out of my little girl.  How do I relieve this load of fear that had clearly been growing alongside Jessie’s growing awareness over the loss of her brother? 

I also felt responsible.  I felt somehow responsible that the way we have handled Judson’s death has in some way triggered these fears.  Have we been too open with Jessie?  Should we have approached our loss differently?

But as my mind flooded with questions and concerns, I began to consider how natural these feelings are for all parents, no matter the substance of one’s journey.  We feel powerless when our children hurt.  We fear responsibility when we see their struggles connect back to our parenting.

But there is grace.  I felt like God was saying, You have done the best you can with what you have been given, Christina, and that is all I ask of you.  Grace.

I desperately need God’s grace as I endeavor to care for this precious little child entrusted to my care…and the greatest thing she needs is God’s grace too.

I began to whisper, “Even though we may walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we don’t need to fear any evil, Jessie.  For God is with us.  His rod and staff, they will comfort us (Psalm 23)… And all the days ordained for us were written in God’s book before one of them came to be (Psalm 139).  He has a plan for each of us, Jessie.” I took a deep sigh wanting the truth of my words to settle in my own heart.

I gave my ladybug more kisses and softly reminded her, “You are precious to me, Jessie-Girl, and you are precious to God.”

And it was as though God was simultaneously reminding me, You are precious to me, Christina.  And my grace is sufficient for you (2 Corinthians 12).

Both Jessie’s heart and mine began to calm.

4 Responses to "Parenting Grace"

  1. melanie says:

    Oh, bless you, Christina! I knew by the title that I needed to read this… And for the record, from my perspective I think the way you have handled this with Jessie is phenomenal. It is only our recent, Western culture that has (generally) had the option of avoiding matters of death while children are young. It is part of life and it is certainly part of the gospel, and because of Christ it is nothing to fear. Way to allow the Spirit to speak through you. I was blessed by this post.

  2. Thank you for the reminder that God’s grace is enough. Jessie is truly blessed to have you and Drake as her parents.

  3. Sue says:

    Christina, this post ministered to my heart in so many ways. So thankful that the grace of Christ ministered to your heart and to Jessie’s.

  4. Aw,love her heart….she’ll be fine. She has you and Drake.You have done so many wonderful things for her not involving any mention of Jud….so really she has had a good family life.I think every little one
    goes that…you are a REMARKABLE mother…and Drake is a REMARKABLE father!!!!!! Love you all so much!!!!!

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