A few years ago we traded in the Volvo that we had for the CR V that I currently drive. Yes, the Volvo was a very nice car, it looked great and had some really nice features. However, there was something better for our family. Our CR V is not fancy, but I love it! It is sporty, reliable, decent on gas, and cheap to maintain.
So many times in our lives God asks us to "trade in" the nice, the comfortable, the fancy, and the seemingly good for something that is better, something perfect. In the gospels Jesus shares a story about a rich young man. The man comes to Jesus and asks what he has to do to have eternal life. In Mark 10:21 this is Jesus' response: Jesus, looking at the man, loved him and said, "There is one more thing you need to do. Go and sell everything you have, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come and follow me." In essence, Jesus is telling him to trade in his possessions.
Last night as I was scrubbing in to visit Brinkley in the NICU, I looked down at my wrist and realized that I have been asked to trade some things in too.
The things that we wear on our body tell the people around us a lot about who we are. For instance, the beautiful diamond ring and bands that I wear on my left hand tells people that I am taken. The watch you wear may show how many zeros show up on your pay check each week. Like a wedding band or a fancy watch, my current adornments (or lack there of) tells a lot about my current place in life.
Three weeks ago today I took off my rings (due to a lovely side effect of pregnancy, swelling) and put aside the bracelets and other cute pieces of jewelry that I like to wear as I checked into the hospital. On Thursday, September 9th at about 5pm, those things were all traded in for the stunning white bracelet that you see in the picture above. Like any other jewelry, that white bracelet tells a lot about me. Literally, it says that I am Crystal Holder mother of a baby boy born 9/6/12. More importantly, it says that I'm a NICU mom.
The story of the Rich Young Ruler is found in all three of the gospels, but I chose Mark because of one word... Love. Jesus looked at him and loved him. It was because He loved him that He asked him to put good things aside to receive better things. As much as I love cute jewelry and the beautiful rings that my husband chose for me, I know that for this time in my life I have to trade those good things in for something better. (In the NICU you can not wear any type of jewelry on your hands or arms for germ control purposes.)
Looking down last night I saw that white bracelet in a whole new way. Trading in my jewelry for a NICU bracelet is a temporary thing for now, but there will be many permanent trade ins that we will make on this journey of raising a special needs child. I know that every one of them will be a blessing and that God is preparing us for each one. I know that His plan is far better than any plan I have now traded in on this unexpected journey.