2 Corinthians 9:6-10
My husband died suddenly when I was 25 and our son Carl was 7 months old. When Carl was almost 5, God gifted me with Ken, who asked me to marry him. Rather than being elated, I found myself faced with a tortuous decision. I knew with a clarity borne of suffering that we were both going to die and there was a 50-50 chance Ken would die first. If I said yes, if I gave my entire life and my whole heart to him, I risked going through this hell all over again.
I prayed and agonized over my decision. Could my heart survive being torn apart a second time? Could I expose my son to the risk that he’d have two daddies die? If I said no I would lose Ken anyway. Yet it would happen immediately, when our lives were not so intertwined and it was easier to say goodbye. I could stay safe and avoid the potential of profound pain.
And yet, saying no meant I would miss the potential for great joy. I would be safe, but I would not be stretched, remaining a seed that refused to be broken open by life. I would deprive myself and my son of the depth of relationship that can only happen when one risks it all. I would be saying no to the cross, and no to the fullness of life to which God calls me. Is that what I wanted for myself? And is that the model I wanted to give my son?
With quaking heart I said yes. Carl now has two brothers, Ken and I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary in October, and our family is rich in joy and love. Yes, Ken will die, and there is still a 50-50 chance he will die first, but the pains of hell that follow will be more than worth it for the happiness we have shared. In a very profound way, I had to lose my life, my sense of security, my desire for control, and the safety of the familiar in order to follow where God called.
My decision of 25 years ago continues to inform my life as the challenge of risking, losing, and giving without measure is constantly present. How often do I make easy decisions instead of stretching myself beyond what I think is possible? In what ways do I try to control and hold onto my children instead of letting them grow away from me with freedom to become who God created them to be? Of what situations, possessions, or attitudes do I need to let go? How cheerfully do I give my time, acceptance, forgiveness, and love? Where do I look for security, and how tenaciously do I cling when I think I’ve found it?
I don’t know what the future holds, but I know these challenges will never cease. I pray I have the courage to sow bountifully, give my heart fully, and lose the safety of my current life for the boundless love of Christ.
Amy Florian is a teacher and consultant working in Chicago. For many years she has partnered with the Passionists. Visit Amy’s website at http://www.amyflorian.com/.