“If we live, we live to the Lord. If we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lords.”–Romans 14:8
These words are words that I have come to hold close to my heart; words that I hold close in the midst of life and death. And as we enter Holy Week and walk to the cross; to Jesus’ death and resurrection, I find myself clinging to these words once again.
Last week was a hard week. A member from church; a young 45 year old dad passed away suddenly after suffering two strokes. He leaves behind his wife, three sons, a stepdaughter and many family and friends. It is in times like this that I find myself once again turning to those beloved words from the book of Romans. In the midst of death, they bring me maybe even a little comfort. Yet my heart still aches!
Then I got the news that my dear friend Julia delivered her daughter early; at 23 weeks and one day. Kaia Gene was born into this world and lived for a mere 90 minutes. During those minutes, Kaia’s mom and dad were able to hold her as they felt her little heart beating against their own hearts. They even brought her to the baptismal waters where she was claimed in the waters of baptism. Then she breathed her last. My heart aches for my friend and her husband. My heart aches that this sweet little soul came into the world and was taken so soon. In moments like these, I find myself having a more difficult time clinging to our words from Romans.
Yet, even in the midst of the deep aches of death, Jesus reminds us of the power of God’s love for each and every one of us. God sent God’s son into the world to die on a cross for each and every one of us. Jesus comes as the “however” to our story as he overcomes death and the grave. I love what Clarence W. Hall says “Easter says you can put death in the grave, but it won’t stay there.”
The reality is that death is a part of life; a part that we don’t want to have to journey through earlier than expected. Yet God walks with us in the midst of our own grief as we lose those near and dear to our hearts. In fact, as we lift up our sighs; our silent prayers to him, God continues to walk with us in the midst of both life and death. For as followers of Christ who live our lives sharing God’s grace, mercy, and love with the world, we are born and die as the Lords.
That is a promise that, especially in the midst of death, that I forever find myself clinging too! A forever promise that comes as the “however” to our story and changes everything as Jesus dies on the cross for our sins and overcomes death and the grave!
And for an added bonus, this is a poem I wrote for dear sweet little Kaia and her parents:
A Love Letter for Kaia
By Tara L. Ulrich
Dear sweet precious child
You are loved so much.
Your parents had so many
Hopes and dreams for you.
They held your
Sweet precious body
In their arms
Your heart beating against theirs;
90 minutes of pure love.
They brought you
To the baptismal waters
Where you were marked
With the cross of Christ forever.
Our hearts are sad
So sad to see you go.
But sweet child;
Sweet child of God
You are a blessing;
A blessing forever
Claimed in the hearts
Of all those who love you.
I am linking up with Holly and Testimony Tuesday; Kelly and the RaRa linkup; Jennifer and Tell His Story; Holley and Coffee for your Heart; and Kristin and Three Word Wednesday.