There are all kinds of doubts that creep in and take up residence in a mind after child loss.
Most of them have to do with the child that ran ahead to heaven.
But many are also about me: “What should I be doing? Where should I go from here?”
For those of us active in church ministries, we wonder, “When do I return to service?”
There can be a lot of pressure to “get back in the saddle” if you fill a large role in a particular ministry.
No one ever wants to find a replacement for an effective Sunday School teacher, youth worker or hospitality hostess. It’s hard when you have months of warning and nearly impossible when the vacancy opens up suddenly and unexpectedly.
But does the difficulty in finding my replacement mean that the burden is on me to keep serving, even when I am utterly broken, empty and unable to do so?
I don’t think so.
I’ve learned many things through child loss and one of them is this: the world still turns and things still get done in spite of the absence of any single person.
God invites us to join in the work He is doing in the world. It is HIS work, not mine. And He will absolutely assure that it gets done. If I am unavailable to fill a position, then He will raise up another to fill it.
Jesus said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
His yoke is easy, His burden light.
We are never to serve out of a place of exhaustion, weariness, emptiness.
Grief certainly exhausts us, wears us down and depletes our resources.
Take a season-as long a season as necessary-to allow the Holy Spirit to minister grace, mercy and love to your broken heart. That is the calling of Christ on our lives. To listen and follow our Shepherd-our Gentle Shepherd-who promises to bind up our wounds and tend our shattered souls.
People who have not suffered the death of a child will not understand. But it won’t be the first time you’ve been misunderstood if you’ve ministered for more than a minute.
Don’t let others’ expectations or your own fear of failure keep you from hearing the call of your loving Father to come to Him, to lean on Him, to rest in His arms as He sings over you.
There will be a day for ministry again.