Roll Call: I Want to Hear His Name

The Vietnam Memorial is a beautiful and meaningful reminder of those who gave their lives in that war.  The stark black stone highlights the 58,307 names engraved in its surface.

MEMORIAL REMEMBRANCE THE WALL CEREMONY NAMES FATIGUES EMOTION
VETERANS KRT PHOTO BY PETE SOUZA/CHICAGO [Photo via Newscom]
Names matter because they represent individuals that mattered-to family, to friends, to coworkers, to a nation.

I shared this a few months back as part of a “Loving Well” series of posts about what grieving parents feel and what ministers to their broken hearts.

I long to know my son is remembered and still matters.  

PleaseJust Say His Name.

Twelve

There are twelve tribes and twelve disciples.

Twelve stones in the High Priest’s breastplate.

Twelve months in the year.

For those who study these things, the number twelve in Scripture signifies “perfection” or “authority”.

It is also considered the number of completeness.

It was twelve days into April that Dominic completed his earthly sojourn and began his life in Heaven with Jesus.

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While from my perspective his life was cut short, from God’s it was finished.  The days ordained for my son before he was born had been completed.  The work He had prepared beforehand for him to do was through.

I don’t like it.  

But I receive it because it passed through the hands of my Father.

I can’t open my heart to love and close it to grief-so I’ll hold them both until I hold Dominic again.

Image result for all your days are ordained

 

 

 

Living With Unanswered Questions

It’s been fifteen years since the Towers fell.  Hard to believe-no matter how great the tragedy, life goes on.  

Image result for image 9/11

Like many, I was watching things as they happened that day.

My husband, an architect and engineer, saw the wobble in the first tower and knew, he knew, it was going to collapse.  Horrified I began to understand that whoever was still in that building was running out of time.

And I cried, oh, how I cried.  It was awful.

Since then I’ve lived my own tragedy.

My son was unexpectedly and instantly taken from us in an accident.

So when I’m reminded of 9/11 my heart takes me right to those left behind.

And while politicians and pundits can debate the reasons for the attack, can argue about what could have been done, should have been done and why and when-they can never answer the real question in the heart of every family who buried a loved one because of the events of that day.

Why MY husband, wife, daughter, son?  How do I make sense of this senseless tragedy?

The answer is, “You can’t.”

You cannot know why one person chose to go this way and lived and another went a different direction and died.  It’t impossible to understand the series of events that made someone late for work that day but lead another to show up early.

Last minute travel plan changes saved some from being aboard the fateful planes and put others in a seat.

I can’t know exactly why my son lost control of his motorcycle that night.  I will live the rest of my life without an answer to that question.

It’s an ongoing challenge to face the discomfort of things NOT making sense. It goes against human nature to acknowledge that the world is far less predictable than we like to believe.

It takes courage to greet each new day with knowledge that ANYTHING might happen-not only beautiful and wonderful things, but ugly and awful things as well.

If I let my heart dwell on the questions of “why?” and “control”, I am paralyzed, unable to take another step.

There’s no clear path through a world filled with the rubble of broken lives and broken people.

So I turn my heart toward Christ and His promise to never leave or forsake me.

And I am emboldened to take the next step because I know He is already there, even in the dark.

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Grieving Parents: What Helps and What Hurts

Last February I ran a series of posts about “loving well” during loss.

Other bereaved parents graciously shared both what helped and what hurt in the first few days, weeks and months after losing a child.

I wanted to share this one again because I’ve been reminded recently that it’s hard to know what to do and what to say when a friend or family member is facing the devastating pain of child loss.

If you long to help someone in meaningful ways when they are struggling in a storm of grief, read this:  Loving Well: Some Things Hurt

 

 

Lessons From a Midwife on Life, Death and the Power of Presence

A fellow “waiting” mom wrote this and gave me permission to share:

“I coached my oldest daughter through natural labor and childbirth on Wednesday night. She stayed at 9cm for 3.5 hours.

Towards the end she looked at me and said ‘I can’t do this, I’m not strong enough!’

I looked at her and said, ‘You can because you have your husband and me right here with you to give you our strength.’

We held her up while she rocked back and forth moving her little guy down into position.

While I was holding my daughter through such physical trauma I thought about how God held me up after the loss of her sister.

I didn’t have the strength to stand. I felt like I couldn’t do it.

But He held me.

He didn’t take the pain away but He held me up when my strength failed me.”

Her words brought light to my heart.  

Here was a mama who has faced life and death and learned something she was willing to share.

Her experience reminded me of this Brene Brown quote I had read months ago:

Faith isn’t an epidural.  It’s a midwife who stands next to me saying, “Push,  It’s supposed to hurt.”

As I reflected on my friend’s words and this quote, I realized there were some lessons here-for birth, for death and for grief.

A midwife does not deny the pain.

It hurts!

It hurts to give birth.  It hurts to say good-bye.  It hurts to carry grief everywhere I go.

When someone comes alongside and denies the truth of my pain, I shut down and stop listening.

But when they enter in and acknowledge my pain, I receive courage to continue pushing.

A midwife does not offer false hope.

She knows that there is no way through but through.  A midwife bears witness and lends strength but she doesn’t pretend it will be easy.

There are no shortcuts to birth and no detours for grief.  I can only face the sorrow, missing and hurt and keep going.

But the journey is easier when someone is willing to travel with me, to listen and to help bear the burden.

A midwife understands that though the pain is great and the process long, it will end.

It hurts.  But it won’t hurt forever.

She doesn’t throw that truth in the hurting mama’s face.  She whispers prayers for mercy.

For the profound wounds of life, there are no quick fixes.  There is no easy healing.

We endure because God through His Spirit lends us strength.

We make it through because Jesus promises to redeem and restore.

And because friends remind us with their presence that God is near.

kindness

What a gift are those friends who stay near when life is hard,

who choose to stick it out when pain makes us both uncomfortable

and continue to love and lend their strength when mine is gone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Encouraging Truth

season of suffereing

There’s a lot of truth packed into this little verse:

Suffering is hard but it won’t last forever.

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Revelation 21:4 NIV

The grace of God that called me and carries me will restore me.

“Even to your old age and gray hairs
    I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
    I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”

Isaiah 46:4 NIV

He will confirm me-my faith will be made sight.

He will strengthen me.

“I can do all things through Christ[a] who strengthens me.”

Philippians 4:14 NKJV

He will establish  me.  

“You will be established in righteousness. You will be far from oppression, so you will not be afraid. You will be far from destruction, so it won’t come near you.”

Isaiah 54:14 GWT

And what God has done, no power can undo.

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