Trading Places

Trading Places

At 7:00 a.m., wrapped in my coatigan, I sip my Even-Keel coffee. One sleek cat figure-eights through my legs. The other sprawls on the kitchen table, all silken tuxedo elegance. I don’t have the heart, or after all this time, the resolve to reach for the no-no spray bottle. “Great Are You, Lord,” the Bethel version, plays on my IPad. Because it’s 37 degrees out, the heat kicks on and I think, surely the end is near for my morning glories that have expanded their territory in the back yard—spilling over the landscaping timbers to invade the grass and climb the green bean trellis. Morning glory blue is my favorite.

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[/pullquote]As I offer up a prayer for the freshly-hatched baby girl of church-friends, I recall my first days as a mother. The day my husband returned to work, I wept as I studied our daughter in my lap. I thought of my best friend Laura Jane having a baby alone at 24, a thousand miles from family and friends. I’m four years older than that, have a husband, and this is so hard. How did she do it at 24, all by herself? And teen moms? I wipe my nose on my hoodie sleeve. There was no way I could have done this at 18, at 14.

I turn in my Bible to Psalm 139 and read how He knows us—in our mother’s womb, when we sit, when we rise, our thoughts, the number of our days. Somewhere in this book it says my name is graven, etched, on His hand. He knows the number of hairs on my head. The psalmist says I am the apple of His eye. According to the apostle Paul, God loves me every bit as much as He loves his son Jesus. Over and over I try to comprehend that truth.

Once I became a parent, I understood God’s love a little better. A little. I know now that most parents are more than willing to do whatever is necessary, to sacrifice anything, for the well-being of their beloved child.

And then our niece comes to mind.  Lovely, petite, sassy and smart, 31-years old with wide-open, liquid brown eyes and hair like a lamb’s—springy and soft. Five years ago she married our nephew and they now have a darling little lamb-haired boy who is almost two.

For at least 18 months now, she has courageously battled leukemia, suffering greatly. I cannot fathom what she is enduring physically and emotionally, what her family is going through. I believe though, that her parents, without hesitation, would switch places with her—would be sick instead of her, would face uncertainty if not death, in order for their daughter to live.

Suddenly I get it. That is exactly what Jesus did for me, for each of us. He saw us in our sickness. He knew our terminal state, that each of us is a flower marching toward winter. He also knew there was another way—a switching of places—whereby He would suffer and He would die, so we don’t have to. I try to grasp understanding, but all I can hold is gratitude.

Our God embraced our death because as the song says, “He’s a good, good father.”

Grace & Such strives to advance Christian growth among women. While we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, we also recognize human interpretations are imperfect. Grace & Such encourages our readers to open their Bibles, pray for wisdom and study for themselves what the Word says. For more about who we are, please visit the About Us page.
Diane Tarantini
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  1. Diane on November 23, 2016 at 8:17 AM

    Oh my. What an absolutely gorgeous devotion to start my day! Thanks, Diane, for inspiring in my small, human perspective what the sacrifice was that Jesus made for me.

  2. Jen on November 23, 2016 at 12:34 PM

    “He also knew there was another way—a switching of places—whereby He would suffer and He would die, so we don’t have to. I try to grasp understanding, but all I can hold is gratitude.”

    Beautiful, Diane.

  3. Karin Fuller on November 23, 2016 at 12:58 PM

    What an amazing perspective you have given here. Thank you for this!

  4. Barbara Whittington on November 23, 2016 at 7:43 PM

    I totally understand trading places. I’ve often thought if one of my children or grand babies was critically ill I’d take their place in a second. However we aren’t given the choice. It’s been hard for me to fathom the love of the God, who gave his son for a sinner like me. Awesome post and awesome song. Thanks for sharing. Hugs and happy Thanksgiving.

  5. Diane Tarantini on November 23, 2016 at 11:22 PM

    Thanks, friends. It really was an “a-ha” moment when I saw more clearly a truth I’ve known for 15-ish years now.

  6. Gretchen on November 30, 2016 at 11:10 AM

    Saying a prayer for your niece through tears of sorrow and gratitude.

  7. Carla on December 9, 2016 at 5:10 PM

    Great example of how God makes His message of love and forgiveness in everyday life situations. Wonderful how your eyes were open to God’s message to you and that you relayed it to us in such a wonderful, easy-to-read way.

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