Faith-Full Friday, Maggie, Virtues-Grace

Faith-Full Friday Love Moved First: The Story of Grace

This part of my life that I am going to share with you has been a very closed off piece of my heart that I have held tightly to. Although very tattered on the inside, it has been delicately wrapped and gently handled.

Come, sit with me for a few minutes as I pour out this precious offering God has provided to show me how ALL things really do work for good for those who love Him….but allow me to just tell you now, He loved you first.

It is completely true that one of the most difficult things for a human to reconcile themselves with is loss. Death is not something I am unfamiliar with.

I was 18 years old and fresh outta high school when my parents called me to let me know my sister, Barbara, had taken a turn for the worse after some necessary surgery. I rushed to the hospital, but it was in the middle of NY City and it was too late. My hope in moving on was nestled inside of me, as I was pregnant with the child that is now my oldest son. God’s grace showed up that day, and Derek was born on Valentine’s Day. I could not have loved him more, and although I wished nothing more than for my little sister to have met her nephew, to have held him, and to have left her mark on his life, that was not God’s plan.

I had joy again watching this freckled faced little boy take on the world. Being young and married was incredibly tough. I was grateful for the good times, and before long we discovered we were going to add to our family. You cannot imagine the thrill as I delivered another beautiful boy into the world. He was as perfect as any baby could be, looking back at me with as much wonder and awe as I felt for him.  

Adam Corbin Sennett joined our family in mid October, 1987. I was 20 years old.

Each day, although quite challenging, redeemed some of the pain from my past and I felt hope for the first time. I loved being a mom, and felt like I was made for motherhood.

We dressed Adam like a dinosaur for his first halloween(BC). Derek was a NY Yankees baseball. Thanksgiving was a blessing. A baby has a way of bridging all kinds of gaps and making everyone smile, right?  Christmas eve was enchanting as I placed the baby seat under the tree and took photo after photo of my little gems. I dressed them both in little suits and brushed golden, wavy hair out of Derek’s face. His smile as he looked at his baby Addy made every hard moment of juggling 2 babies more palatable.He adored his brother. My favorite picture of Adam ever is of him being held on the tricycle that was under the Christmas tree for Derek. We laughed and “told him” it would be his one day if Derek left it in one piece for him.

New York winters are often cold and wet and miserable. I spent most of the winter close to home and let’s face it, heading out the door with two young boys was no easy feet.

In March I decided to go to cosmetology school. I wasn’t entirely sure what the fate of my family would be; I thought this was the best choice I could make at the time. It would involve going to classes 3 evenings and Saturday. The school administrator helped me get some grants that I qualified for. My best friend from high school was going to go with me.  

I took Adam to the mall with me that Saturday so I could get some supplies, shoes and clothes. We weren’t there too long; I don’t even remember much about that day.

Sunday morning, Addy didn’t really seem himself. I was glad to be home coddling him and fussing over him. No propping the bottle today; he just wasn’t having it. He was drinking pretty slow, but I didn’t really mind. We called him Gismo, because like the little gremlin, he made all kinds of little noises.  

By Sunday night, I was starting to get a little concerned. He felt warm and just wasn’t himself. We lay in my bed together as I held him. I looked into his face like every momma does when she is soaking in all those precious moments. Somewhere around 10 o’clock, I lay him in his bed for the night.  He was wearing his little camoflauge outfit; I stared into his enchanting blue eyes as they gently closed.

The next morning my mom came bursting through my bedroom very early. “Maggie, something is wrong with the baby! Maggie, you NEED to get up!”  

My feet were on the floor running into the room next to mine….

Adam Corbin Sennett was 5 months and 1 day old that bitter cold March day. He passed away in his sleep. He died from meningitis.He had probably contracted it from the mall. Within 48 hours it had taken him out of my life..  

I didn’t sleep for days after that. I remember just passing through those days as if they belonged to someone else. Like an out of body experience.  

I have never forgiven myself for not calling a doctor or going to the emergency room. For sleeping while that precious boy’s life was moving from this world to eternity.  

I didn’t know he was with Jesus. It tormented me to think that I never had him baptized and had any kind of assurance of eternity. I believed that I was the most selfish person and I unfit to be their mother.

That was the night that grace passed me by.

I will tell you that life went on. I still had a toddler to take care of and past trying to explain that his baby Addy had gone to be with Aunt Barbara in heaven (which I didn’t believe); eventually he stopped asking. And I suppose I just kept breathing.

The marriage ended; it was fragile to begin with. It was a slow, painful ending, at least as I see it.  I was blessed with 1 more child quickly after, which was a blessing and a curse. I immediately saw how a baby changes everything, but the pain of getting too close and losing again. It was just too soon.

I became reckless. I was on a mission to numb the pain at whatever cost. I mostly felt as if I was in a fog.  

But this is the story of when grace came flooding into my life. I am so grateful to you for listening to me all this time, But God….

He works all things for good for those who love him.

Some of the words to the song used for this post say….This is the story of a runaway

With no way home and no way out…I threw the best of me away….I had my chance, it’s too late now….Too far gone and too ashamed……To think that You’d still know my name…..But love refused to let my story end that way….You didn’t wait for me to find my way to You……I couldn’t cross that distance even if I wanted to….You came running after me…….When anybody else would’ve turned and left me at my worst……..Love moved first………What kind of grace, relentless grace…Would chase this rebel down..
Crawl into this prisoner’s cage…..Take my hand and pull me out……You knew I couldn’t make the change…..So You became the change in me

And now I live to tell the story of the God who rescues……..

12 years later…lots of things had happened. I had remarried and had 4 more children. With each one the same process of letting the unconditional love of those precious little babes keep my heart just soft enough, ever conflicted about the deep fear that in a moment they would be taken. The vile voice in my head letting me know I had no right trying to be happy.

One afternoon, however, my husband, who was working on his sobriety, came home and told me we were going to go to a bible study. Now If you have read any of my other blogs, you may remember that this man had a serious drug addiction for years. So you must know I was willing to do whatever it took.

It was at that bible study that I met a husband and wife who were sharing God’s word, wanting to remove the scales from non believers’ eyes and disciple them through as new Christians. Tom came to our home by himself one Sunday afternoon. He never went anywhere without his Bible. He wanted to know what questions he could answer for us to help us in this journey and to allow us to have fellowship with Jesus, for all eternity.

Tom spent the next hour or so slowly and methodically leading us through the word to show me that not once is a water baptism of a baby ever mentioned in scripture. He said my beautiful boy was instantly in the presence of Jesus, 12 years ago. Even though he was born a sinner, he was far too young to have any reasoning to be able to actually sin. He said all our days are numbered, and that the Father welcomed him into heaven, immediately, the night he passed away. No purgatory, no praying him into heaven (that would imply my works should be added to the gospel). Just immediate peace and joy.  

That March (1999) my husband Mark, myself and our two oldest children, Derek and Ashley, responded to an altar call at church. A church that didn’t even have altar calls. I remember the joy and sorrow mingling together.

God has unearthed this sorrow, as He has been ushering me through the process of allowing myself to be vulnerable. He has taken the pretty little box all wrapped that has held the grace I NEED for these moments. I believed I didn’t deserve God’s forgiveness. I struggled with this topic of grace because I have places in my life that I wouldn’t let grace touch.  

Adam would be 31 years old right now. I don’t know if he has gotten older in heaven or has remained a baby. My mom is there with him now. I have seen grace in so many moments of my life and I am sure I have allowed it to elude me in just as many.

Through this writing process, God peels back places in my heart and exposes them to His light. His light is filled with grace and it heals. I am trusting God to take this grief and do something incredible with it.

One more thing, if I may. As this year has unfolded, I have found myself on a journey of reconnecting my emotions to my experiences, but I had not considered that God would do this both in the past and the present. I have prayed over this and have truly had to lean into the Lord for guidance and strength.  I can not begin to tell you how amazing this journey has been. God has been honoring my prayers. My husband pointed out how God’s grace came overflowing in the fact that He restored writing to me before He led me down this path.

Music has always been a gift the Spirit of God has used in my life.  This song is simply amazing. I have to believe somewhere in the spiritual realms, as I have watched My Father In Heaven orchestrate many things over the course of the last couple days, that His timing always perfect. I heard this song for the first time tonight. My heart recognized it as mine immediately. God is so good; I think I may become  one of His favorites.

When I moved to North Carolina, Mark and I claimed Ephesians 3:20 as our verse. I am holding on for dear life.

Father, I am so grateful to you.  You sent Jesus for a fallen and broken world that was completely undeserving. We have scorned and cursed you, mocked you, and rejected you. Still you pursue us, even knowing this would be our response. I have been running from my pain, trying to escape. I have tried to fill these spaces with so many other things to bring me some relief.  Lord, You have wrapped me in your comfort. You sustain me through the hardest moments.Thank you for being there. You are grace wrapped in skin and you knew I would need rescuing, so you came. Quiet my heart before you, LORD.

“Love Moved First” by Casting Crowns

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