The day after I received my cancer diagnosis a group of women asked if they could get together and pray for me. I humbly accepted their offer knowing prayer must pave the path I was about to walk. During our time together a friend of mine who has walked down this path herself, gave me a little cross that fits perfectly in the palm of my hand and molds to my fingers. She explained that it is a Comfort Cross and that she held it tightly during surgery and needles and tears. I was thankful for this small gift and vivid reminder to walk in faith.

Later that day when I picked up Madison from school I looked over at her holding the Comfort Cross in her hand. I had set it on my dash board and it quickly made its way into the palm of her hand. I told her all about its significance to which she replied, “that’s cool!” The next morning as I drove Marc to school I looked over to find his little fingers wrapped around the Comfort Cross. As I repeated to him the story behind the cross he also said “cool! I wish I could have one.” And each day as we drove in the car, to and from school, to and from practices, to and from friends houses, I looked over to see that little cross in my sweet kiddos hands, as they contemplated having a mom with cancer and the fear of the unknown. It became both a reminder of my diagnosis and a reminder that the Lord would be our comforter.

After relaying how much my kids loved my cross, my friend showed up with two more crosses so they could each have their own. While Madison is very appreciative, Marc has clung to his, every second of every day. He sleeps with it, he walks to school with it, he plays video games with it, he asked his teacher if he could bring it to school, and yes, he even played in his basketball game with it. In this time of uncertainty he walks minute by minute clinging to the cross of comfort.

The first few days I thought maybe it was a novelty but it has proved to be much more. Marc is literally clinging to this cross. And so, day after day as I watch him walk with his cross nestled in the palm of his hand, I continue to play in my head and in my heart that beautiful old hymn I sang so many times as a child:

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
the emblem of suffering and shame;
and I love that old cross where the dearest and best
for a world of lost sinners was slain.

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
and exchange it some day for a crown.

I think about these words. I think about my son at such a young age realizing the power of clinging to the cross. I think about all the things I often cling to, my family, my friends, my money, my health, my home, my mobile phone, my talents, my exterior. My hands are so tightly gripping the things of this world that they can no longer cling to the cross. And now I walk this difficult path before me and look at my son walking in such faith. Daily I am reminded of the comfort found at the cross. This old rugged cross where our humble innocent Jesus took on all our pain, and sin and suffering. The old rugged cross full of grace, and mercy, and forgiveness and healing, and most of all unconditional love. And when I stop focusing on my fears and insecurities, when I loosen my grip on the material things of this world, when I stop believing that I can somehow control the details of my life, I’m able to open up my hands, and with often sweaty palms, cling tightly to His promises of grace and love and peace.

What a Christmas it is! As the world pauses, as we stand in waiting, as the star rises in the sky, as we gather as families by candlelight and sing Joy to the World the Lord has come! As we wrap presents, and eat cookies, and gather with friends, oh there is truly magic in the air. But this Christmas I am not only celebrating the birth of a savior lying in a wooden manger, but with splintered fingers, I am clinging to the old rugged cross on which he died.

Waiting, clinging, being still,
Heather

PS – Thank you Kelly!

PSS – He loses that darn cross about 10 times a day but he always finds it! His teacher suggested attaching it to a necklace. I may need to order some back-ups.

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