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The Bible talks extensively about stewardship. It is a concept that our worldly broken hearts have a very hard time reconciling with. What we have in our lives does not belong to us. We are temporary caregivers. We stand in place of the real owner. Much like managers who govern in place of a king. This analogy reminds me of a Lord of the Rings reference when in the movie version of The Return of The King, Lord Denethor, the steward of Gondor refused to acknowledge that the true king had returned to claim his throne. Denethor forgot who the “owner” of his kingdom was.

We don’t own anything here. Everything is God’s and we deserve none of it. This includes our children.

He gives them to us for a short time. Our job while we are here is teach them about the Lord. We teach them to say their prayers and love others as He loves us. We take them to Sunday School and sing “Jesus Loves Me” and “Amazing Grace” to them as we lay them in bed. We long for them to become adults who want nothing more than to honor the Lord with their whole hearts and lives. We should be raising a generation that will lead others to Christ and serve the Lord as they walk in their calling.

So how, then, do we accomplish that when our children die before they reach that adulthood? How am I doing my “job” as a mother if my daughter has died before I could raise her up to be strong and courageous for the Kingdom of God?

The answer is she was never mine to begin with.

My job was to care for her for two years and nine months. My job was to  battle for her as she fought childhood cancer. My job was to hold her as I helped walk her Home to her Heavenly Father. My job now, is to tell her story.

Luke 14:26-27 says, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters and yes, even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”

After losing my daughter, I think I’m beginning to understand what this means. I’ve always thought, Lord you can have my money and my stuff but, I need my family and those important to me. When you’re truly a follower of Christ, you must be willing to give it all to Him—even your children. The Scripture says we cannot be a disciple without giving them to Him. That is SO hard for our human brains to comprehend. We seek to be completely in control of our children and their well-being. As mothers, we are genetically designed with the instincts to care for and protect our children. Our bodies carry and birth them—they literally come from us yet, they don’t belong to us. It’s not an easy thing to think about. The thought of “giving them up” to the care and authority of someone else is ludicrous.

Then you remember, they were never yours to begin with. They have always been and will always be His.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139: 13 & 14

Losing a child is the worst pain imaginable. There are days I feel like I failed in my mission to protect and care for my daughter. It’s on these days I lean on the Lord’s promises the most. He loves me and He loves my daughter. He has a plan for my life and He had a plan for hers. God’s plan for my daughter’s life was that it would only last two years and nine months here with me. His plan for my life is that I was able to be her mother while she was here and now I get to share her story with the world. Having faith in His greater plan doesn’t mean I’m happy about losing my child or that I at all accept or understand why it had to be her. However, believing and resting in the promises that her death is not for nothing and that there will be a day when death is finally defeated brings me comfort and peace.

She is His—and so am I.

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Shelby Skiles

Shelby Skiles is a wife, teacher, and mom to her two-year-old angel, Sophie. Sophie passed away in January 2018 from Lymphoma. Shelby chronicled Sophie’s entire battle through her blog Sophie The Brave and hopes that transparently sharing her journey through, motherhood, cancer, and now grief will inspire others to look passed their circumstances and see that God is bigger than all of it. She’s deeply committed to honoring Sophie’s memory by sharing her story and I spring others to ‘Do More’ and make a difference. 

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