I’ve written at length in this space regarding my conviction that denying pain diminishes the power of the cross.
If death isn’t awful, if life in this fallen world isn’t full of sorrow, if eternal separation from God is not Hell then why the cross?
Right here, in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus acknowledges the terrible cost of salvation, of redemption, of restoration:
Only Jesus, the Father, and the Holy Spirit understood the unspeakable cost Jesus would pay for our sins to be forgiven. Under the crushing weight of all that was to come, Jesus offered variations of the same prayer three times: ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will but as You will.’
Alicia Britt Chole
God created me with emotions.
They are not “bad” or “good”, they simply “are”. What I do with them and whether I allow them to steer my actions is another matter.
I can make a choice to bring my feelings to the Father and allow Him to fill me with strength so I can submit to His will even when it’s not easy or painless.
Note that Jesus did not try to deny His emotions in the garden but instead expressed them honestly, respectfully, and repeatedly…Honesty is of intimacy with God and, conversely, denial is an enemy of intimacy with God….From Jesus’ example, it is clear that a misalignment between our desires and God’s will is not sin. Jesus was victorious not because He lacked uncooperative feelings but because He affirmed and reaffirmed His commitment to honor Father’s will above His emotions.
Alicia Britt Chole
What cup would you rathernot drink?
Ask the Father to help you bring those feelings to the Throne of Grace so that you can receive help in your time of need.
**As promised, I am sharing thoughts on 40 DAYS OF DECREASE (a Lenten journal/devotional). If you choose to get and use the book yourself, I’ll be a day behind in sharing so as not to influence anyone else’s experience.**
When my perfectly healthy, strong and gifted son was killed instantly in a motorcycle accident on April 12. 2014 my world fell apart. My heart shattered into a million pieces. And after almost eight years, I’ve yet to even FIND all of those pieces much less put them back together.
So what does a heart do when that happens?Because, try as I might, I cannot stop time.
Even THAT awful day only lasted 24 hours.
When the sun rose again, the pain was still there. And behind that pain and mixed with it was something else-disappointment, disaffection, distrust.
If you are in the early days of this hard, hard journey, do what you have to and find the safe circle that gives you time, space and grace to help your heart toward healing.
It may take longer than you’d like, but resting from the constant pressure of trying to protect yourself from the hustle and bustle in a world where child loss is misunderstood and frequently ignored will make a difference.
If you’ve joined me here for more than a minute you know I am a fierce advocate for bereaved parents in particular and all grievers in general.
But you’ve probably also noticed that, at least in my own life, I recognize how traumatic and/or difficult circumstances can make it hard to see past the hurt and the shattered world a broken heart inhabits. I can judge others harshly without meaning to.
A couple of recent incidents have reminded me how easy it is to interpret every offhand comment or heartfelt opinion as targeted at ME when, in fact, they are simply a reflection of that person’s experience in the world.
I can’t insist that others see the world through MY eyes if I’m not equally prepared to try to see it through THEIRS.
Look, I know how painful it is to scroll through social media posts and feel the darts land square in the center of my heart. Parents bemoaning their children leaving home (all the while I’m thinking, “yeah-but you can call, visit and still hug your child”); folks complaining about how hard it is to manage schedules and meals or trying to figure out family vacations with teens or young adults (“gee, I wish I had the privilege of including ALL my kids for holidays“); and then there are the “miraculous deliverance from a wreck” posts (I’m wondering why Dom wasn’t delivered).
ButNONEof those folks are posting or commenting with me in mind. They are simply sharing their thoughts and feelings just like I share my own.
I’ve learned to just scroll on past.
It’s neither healthy nor helpful for me to type some long (or short!) snarky comment trying to “correct” them. I’m not entirely sure they need correcting.
Before it was ME that sent a child to Heaven I had No. Idea.
They don’t either.
So save your energy for the work grief requires. Save it for the family you’ve got left. Save it for a rainy day when tears fall as fast as drops from the sky.
I do not for one minute believe that the Lord I love inflicted this pain on me for the purpose of “teaching me something”.
But I absolutely, positively believe that He can use it (and HAS used it) to make me more compassionate, kinder and more grace-filled than I was before Dominic ran ahead to Heaven.
Still, “becoming” is painful and requires that I submit to the hand of the Potter.
Grieving is not passive. Suffering isn’t something that happens to you and then you ride a wave of emotions until the circumstances quell. Suffering is like school, and grieving is how we accomplish the coursework. It’s not the kind of education anyone signs up for. But, when devastation enters our lives, we are automatically enrolled into the seminar on suffering. And, just as we would prepare for any class, we must download the syllabus and begin to faithfully complete the assignments.
Ann Maree Goudzwaard
This is truly insightful.
I think that’s what makes the difference between finding a meaningful way to live in the “after” or not.
Of course, at first NO ONE is keen to “download the syllabus”.
Dear brothers, is your life full of difficulties and temptations? Then be happy, 3 for when the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, and don’t try to squirm out of your problems. For when your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete.
James 1:2-4 TLB
So for those of you fresher on this journey, don’t be dismayed or discouraged!
But at some point, what I (and others) refer to as “grief work” must be done.
In the meantime,I pray that the God of all hope fills you with His grace and strength and helps you hold onto hope-even on the days you feel overwhelmed and abandoned.