Measuring Up

“I wasn’t TALL enough. Tough. Handsome. Cool. Worthy enough. At least that’s what I thought about me”. Braden

“Son, if I could have taught you one thing about mirrors, they only reflect that upon which the viewer focuses their own eyes. God looks only on our hearts, and yours was larger than any I’ve known”. Braden’s Dad

Measuring our kids

As we near the anniversary of October 30, I’ve had so many friends and family gauging me on how we’re doing. What an amazing blessing to have others thoughtful enough to be thinking in such terms. By this phase of loss, typically those most immediately affected are the few who still remember.

I want to just acknowledge that we are ALL subject to loss. Only recently, I’ve lost two dear friends who were fathers with young families. I’ve attended more memorial services than I wish to recall. Another special friend lost her mother and just a week ago, a friend and fellow dad lost his bride at the young age of only 49. She left behind two beautiful young ladies and one handsome young son. All to live the rest of their days to grieve their loss.

Last evening was the service for this young mom. Standing room only. As each person stood to share the stories and memories, my mind drifted ahead to my own memorial. What will people say about my life here. Was I a loving and faithful husband? A caring and wise father? I’d certainly like to think those qualities would be the theme, but inside my own mind, I had my doubts.

More likely, if honest they’d say I was short-tempered and highly impatient. Demanding. Conditional. Selfishly motivated. Prideful and hypocritical. And those are just my good days!

But then I stopped. No, that would be a personal eulogy for myself. Don’t we do this too often? We put down the rose colored glasses and look at ourselves with a microscope. Are we not our own worse critics?

I certainly am.

Braden constantly measured himself in every way. Physically, intellectually, spiritually, and relationally. He grappled with how the world perceived him. Sadly, he was one of the best looking people I’ve known (no bias) yet he thought he was unattractive.

We told him thousands of times how good looking he was and that physical looks didn’t matter. “It’s the heart God sees”. Yeah. That went over like a lead air balloon you can imagine.

He always ran just below the charts on height and weight. It didn’t help that we had him on ADHD meds which quashed his appetite. You really do need to eat if you want to grow but he ate like a bird.

Every couple of weeks he’d say, “Hey I think I’ve grown. Come measure me” or he’d weigh himself desperately looking for another inch or an ounce. Too often he was disappointed to find little to no development had occurred.

Sadly, we could see him growing in every way but he could not. I truly believe the Bible is accurate in describing Satan as a deceiver and a liar who comes to steal and to destroy. He tells each of us we are not good enough and that we could never measure up.

Ironically, it’s true. We can never meet that goal of perfection. Anything short of it fails the test of measuring up. Here’s the awesome good news: God NEVER expected us nor wanted us to “measure up”. You see, that term isn’t in his vocabulary. He made us, knowing we would fail miserably in our own efforts. So much so that we would have no choice but to fall on our face and to look to Him. What a perfect plan and awesome good news!

We know Braden never felt he could become “good enough” but are confident he understood God’s grace was sufficient. The note he left for us clearly confirms that he asked God to allow him into Heaven even after making such a terrible choice. And I’ll go to my grave knowing that when I do so, I’ll meet my son on the other side because we both gave our hearts to God and that’s all He sees.

Our hearts will measure up when it counts the most.

Prayer for readers:

Lord, we love you so much. We acknowledge that our words are insufficient to express that love. You have shown us through your perfect plan that nothing we can ever do or not do will separate us from you. Although our words are insufficient, please know our hearts in this.

I pray over every reader. Every single person who right now thinks they don’t measure up with what this world expects from them. Let them know they are being deceived by the master of lies and they need simply to look to You as their measure, knowing accepting Jesus is sufficient to receive the ultimate rewards.

We pray these things in the name of your son, Jesus. Amen

Romans 8:38-39

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

6 thoughts on “Measuring Up

  1. Beautiful, raw, honest and true words Mark. Yours and Cathy’s transparency is changing lives. Love you both so much and still think about you much.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Knowing that nothing I say or do or don’t say or do can separate me from God’s love brings me great comfort everyday. I’m so glad that you know that too. It will be a great day when we can see Him face to face & join those we love who have gone before us!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks so much for being so transparent and sharing your heart. If we could all only see ourselves the way that God sees us. One of my favorite examples of how hard we are on ourselves is …. if we all take a group picture. After the group picture is taken, we all want to see how the photo came out. The first thing that we do is to not look at the picture as a whole. But we look at ourselves and 9/10 times we critique how we look, and can only say how horrible we look.
    I always think about what an insult it is to our creator , that we are so critical of his Masterpieces. I am just as guilty as anyone. My girls all 3 grew up hearing me criticizing myself.
    My prayer is that we will all see ourselves as our creator see’s us…..
    Continued prayers during this anniversary week. I pray that your precious family would continue to have opportunities to share Bradens story!!
    We love y’all!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for continually sharing your heart and Braden’s voice. It matters…you and your family matter and Braden definitely does.

    Thank you for bringing light to a very hard and very real battle.

    Liked by 1 person

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