Things my sister learned from my son

(The day Max went to be with God, my sister started sharing what Max taught her. This is what she's shared in the past year.)

Things I learned from Max #1: The hope of heaven is sweeter when your heart is breaking.

Things I learned from Max #2: God is God, and I am not. So I bow my head and worship. God knows the tears are not accusations.

Things I Learned from Max #3: Life is short.

Things I learned from Max #4: The value of a life really has NOTHING to do with size or age or accomplishments. Max was infinitely precious simply because he was.

Things I Learned from Max #5: My sister is a strong, beautiful woman.

Thinks I Learned From Max #6: Our family's faith is genuine.
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:6-7 ESV)

Things I Learned From Max #7: There are no words that could possibly describe what it is like when the body of Christ genuinely weeps with those who are weeping--not just with condolences or expressions of regret, but by crying simply because I am.

Things I Learned from Max #8: Even halfway through gestation, the beauty of the image of God resting in an image-bearer is breathtaking.

Things I Learned from Max #9: I really can't grasp with my mind what it means for Max never to face evil, for his parents never to have to worry that he'll be safe, because I've never lived anywhere or at any time where evil did not reign. We miss him. But he's safe.

Things I Learned from Max #10: God's promises are sure. He's promised to make all things new, and He will. He's backed that promise with his one power for the sake of His own name. I can trust Him.

Things I Learned from Max #11: I really respect Max's daddy. Christopher Lovelace, you've done an excellent job of loving and caring for your wife, daughter and son. I'm thankful for God's grace in you.

Things I Learned from Max #12: Knowing that Max is part of the great cloud of witnesses is truly a motivator to set the weights aside and run the race set before me. My heart can hear his voice: "Run hard, Aunt Meli! Keep your eyes on Jesus! When you get here and see Jesus yourself, every step of the race will be worth it!"
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
(Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV)

Things I Learned from Max #13: I never thought about the precious joy of worshiping God in song and realizing that I am only joining the song that is already roaring around God's throne, where Max is singing his heart out with thousands upon thousands of other voices.
And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”
Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”
And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped. (Revelation 5:9-14 ESV)

Things I Learned from Max #14: One month is a really long, really short time. Still so thankful for Max's life. Still miss him.

Things I learned from Max #15: A heart is changed not by the amount of time spent with someone but by how deeply he touches you. The shape of my heart changed when Max was born. It changed again. permanently. when he left us to be with Jesus. Having our hearts affected and changed and reshaped is a good thing. But sometimes it hurts. And sometimes it hurts a lot.

Things I Learned from Max #16: God is only and always good

Things I Learned from Max #17: No matter how long or desperate or violent the storm, the grace God gives to praise him in it will never be exhausted.

Things I Learned from Max #18: Little ones are precious to Jesus. Jesus noticed, loved, and cared for Max in ways that exceeded even his parents' ability. Now Max is with Jesus, perfectly loved, perfectly safe, and perfectly joy-filled. Little ones are precious. Jesus said so and lived that way, and I want to be like Jesus.

Things I Learned from Max #19: We walked through the fire and were not consumed. Our God is with us.
But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. (Isaiah 43:1-3 ESV)

Things I Learned from Max #20: Tears sprout in unexpected places and unforeseen moments. And that's okay. In fact, it's a good thing.

Things I Learned from Max #21: All I really have is Christ, and Christ is truly all I need.

Things I Learned from Max #22: Living in light of eternity really changes your perspective on a lot of things. I'm amazed and more than a little chastened to realize how often I've been sucked into things that are really. not. going. to. matter. someday when I stand in the presence of Jesus.

Things I Learned from Max #23: God is the one who can hold Max gently in one arm and arrange my world the way he intends it to be with the other. Rest today! :) God is big enough...for anything.

Things I Learned from Max #24: Maxi, you remind me daily that I'm not home yet. This is not where I belong.

Things I Learned from Max #25: You don't have to live long or have many abilities to change lives. But...I HAVE lived long. And God HAS given me abilities. I have so much I am responsible to steward. Thank you, Maxi, for reminding me to be faithful and fruitful.

Things I learned from Max #26: Nothing about grief is easy. And as life unfolds, grief breaks off into jagged, broken edges that catches my breath. But fearing the pain of grief is no reason not to relish the beautiful moments that made up the life a beautiful, strong, amazing little one.

Thinks I Learned from Max #27: Every life matters. That is why we mourn the loss of relationship, whether it's someone we knew for 87 years, for 2 days, or never even met because the pregnancy ended too soon. God creates each person on purpose, for a purpose, from the moment of conception.

Things I Learned from Max #28: I can't put into words how deeply comforting it is to face the loss of babies we've loved, knowing that our loss truly is their gain. Never to have to face evil as our country has known this week. Oh, how I rejoice that the babies in our family that died so soon don't even know what evil is. And they never will. Thankful for heaven tonight.

Things I Learned from Max #29: The just shall live by faith: the bigger picture lends perspective to the present reality. And the big picture is that God is good, that God never acts without a purpose, and that God has planned the day when everything will be right.

Things I Learned from Max #30: For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (Romans 8:18 ESV) This is beyond my comprehension. I know what the sufferings of this present time feel like, and the weight of suffering and mourning is deeper than words can express. But that suffering loses its magnitude in the face of the glory that will be revealed; what must that glory be like that God has in store?! I cannot wrap my understanding around that. But I press into that reality, by faith.

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