Philippians 3

8)What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things……

……..13)one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14)I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

18)For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19)Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. 20)But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,

As much as I love this passage, as much as the passage inspires me to keep on keeping on,

I find myself fighting this verse tooth and nail. Struggling to grasp what God is asking of me. Struggling to make sense of His Words.

See, when I think of Nick and Adrienne I don’t want to forget what is behind…..

I can’t.

They were, are, and always will be a part of who I am.

And honestly in losing Nick I have somehow been drawn back to Adrienne in a more powerful way. I think I had tucked away the pain of losing my little baby girl as we tried to “move on” with life as God gave us Todd, then Nick, and then the adoption of Olivia. I always believed that Adrienne was waiting for me in Heaven, so I felt a level of peace.

Life had become busy with five kids and a teaching career. While I always changed the flowers on her grave for every season year in and year out and looked forward to the day when I would be reunited with her, I had somehow suppressed my grief.

So when Nick was first diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of seven, I remember crying out to God, “Please, no, please don’t take another child from me.”

Then suddenly the loss of Adrienne was overshadowed by the struggle to keep Nick alive.

Tonight I sit here facing the reality that two of my children have gone Home before me.

So, I read the verse about “forgetting what is behind,” and I want to scream, “HOW?! WHY?! WHAT ARE YOU ASKING OF ME?!?!?”

I think I am just now beginning to wrap my mind around the depth of what the verse is saying.

I believe it is not so much about “forgetting” as it is about “dwelling” on what is behind me.

In a race, the victor is generally one who keeps his eye on the finish line. He is not constantly glancing back to see who or what is about to overtake him. He is focused on winning, on reaching his goal.

That’s the kind of spiritual runner I want to be.

Not one who forgets that I am in a race.

Not one who forgets the aspects of my race that have made me the runner that I am.

But one who takes the hurdles as they come yet stays focused on the finish line.

I will never forget Nick.

I will never forget Adrienne.

They are a part of me that can never be taken away.

I hear a whisper from somewhere in my heart, “God doesn’t ask us to forget His Son.” In fact, He calls us to remembrance of Him and His crucifixion every Sunday morning as we gather around the Lord’s Table to break bread. God says, “Do this in remembrance of Him….of me.”

Comfort engulfs me as I realize I am created in the image of My Creator. My longing to remember my children comes from Him who longs for us to remember His Child.

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for modeling healthy remembrance.

But as I remember my precious children, I also have to stay focused on the finish line. I must truly “strain” toward what is ahead. I cannot sit down on the track because the race is getting too difficult. I cannot throw in the towel.

I believe that is why Paul wrote these verses in Philippians. He wasn’t trying to tell us that we should forget everything in our past. He was trying to encourage us not to get bogged down in our past to the point that we cannot finish the race victoriously. He knew that one of the devil’s schemes is to keep us so broken from this world’s pain that the thought of finishing the race seems impossible. I cannot let the devil win.

Oh, believe me, I am in a spiritual battle.

My legs are weary. My feet ache.

So, how do I handle this spiritual fatigue from grief while trying to remain strong in the race of my life.

I cling to more and more promises from God’s Word.

I remember that “Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.” (Is. 40:31)

I remember that Christ says, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

If you are tired from the race and losing sight of the finish line, I encourage you to search God’s Word for promises that remind you that He will be with you even on the toughest days.

I Thess. 5:11 says, “we must encourage one another and build each other up…”

I want to encourage you today to keep your eye on the prize!!!!

This life may be fleeting, but……..

The prize is eternal!!!

Cheering you on and thanking you for each prayer for me…………….

Through my tears,