Today I’m remembering the parents at Uvalde, Texas.
When I first heard the news last year I was enveloped in a fog of disbelief (like most folks) and utter horror (as only fellow bereaved parents can comprehend).
I was processing. I was mourning. I was angry.
I relived the awful reality of learning that my child will never again walk through my door, hug my neck, call my name, sit at my table or contribute to a family conversation.
So I want to share something I wrote a couple years ago because I think it’s important.
I have written before that Grief is Not a Hammer in the Hand of God.
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.
Read the rest here: Unwanted Assignment: Enrolled in the School of Suffering
I first shared this this several years ago when I was pondering the FACT that no matter how wonderful the moment, how beautiful the gift, how marvelous the fellowship of family or friends, I am simply unable to feel the same overflowing, unadulteraged joy I once experienced.
I absolutely feel JOY but it’s mixed with pain.
Since then, I’ve been thinking about the great heroes of Scripture and studying their stories in detail.
I may be wrong, but I haven’t found one whose life did not contain pain.
It appears that sorrow and suffering in this world is one of the chief tools God uses to help the hearts of His people long for the world for which we are made-the eternal city whose Builder is God:
It was by faith that Abraham obeyed the summons to go out to a place which he would eventually possess, and he set out in complete ignorance of his destination. It was faith that kept him journeying like a foreigner through the land of promise, with no more home than the tents which he shared with Isaac and Jacob, co-heirs with him of the promise. For Abraham’s eyes were looking forward to that city with solid foundations of which God himself is both architect and builder.
Hebrews 11: 8-10 PHILLIPS
Some point to lack of abundant joy as proof of a weak faith.
I counter that obedience, in spite of the lack of abundant joy is proof of rock-solid faith.
Walking on in spite of my empty bucket means that I am trusting God to fill it even when I can’t see how.
Here’s the original post: There’s a Hole in My Bucket
If I had my way I’d store up grace like green beans-stacking one can atop the other “just in case”.
Then I could decide if and when to open it up and pour it out.
But grace isn’t like that. It’s a perishable though infinite commodity-like manna.
When God led the Israelites into the desert, He promised to feed, nurture and sustain them.
Read the rest here: Daily Bread: His Provision Is Sufficient
I read A GRIEF OBSERVED in my 30’s as another in a long list of “Books You Should Read”. I gleaned a bit here or there that I thought might be of use later on.
But when Dominic ran ahead to heaven, it was the first book on grief I bought for myself and I read it like a starving man set down to a full table.
This passage, in particular, was helpful in understanding how my absolute trust in the FACT of ultimate redemption of my pain and sorrow did absolutely NOTHING to take away the pain and sorrow-it only made it bearable.
If a mother is mourning not for what she has lost but for what her dead child has lost, it is a comfort to believe that the child has not lost the end for which it was created. And it is a comfort to believe that she herself, in losing her chief or only natural happiness, has not lost a greater thing, that she may still hope to “glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” A comfort to the God-aimed, eternal spirit within her. But not to her motherhood. The specifically maternal happiness must be written off. Never, in any place or time, will she have her son on her knees, or bathe him, or tell him a story, or plan for his future, or see her grandchild.
C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
Read the rest here: Wisdom From C.S. Lewis
In my grief and sorrow it is tempting to dig a moat, draw up the bridge to my heart and wait out life like I am under siege.
But that would be wasting this pain and I won’t do that.
I won’t dishonor Dominic and dishonor Jesus by refusing to love.
Read the rest here: Resisting Fear, Embracing Love
It’s been just over nine years since Dominic left us suddenly, unexpectedly, and without warning.
Thankfully my heart has healed enough that every day is no longer filled with tears.
But there are still hard days, still challenging seasons.
And when they feel like they might last forever, I remind myself that even the worst day of my life was just twenty-four hours.
Night fell, the earth turned, and another sunrise showed up on cue.❤
I don’t know just when I figured it out, but somewhere in this Valley it dawned on me-NO day lasts forever.
Many feel like they do.
The day I got the news stretched impossibly long in front of me as calls were made and people came to be wtih us.
But even THAT day ended. Night fell, the earth turned, and another sunrise showed up on cue.
Read the rest here: Twenty-four Hours
These years since Dominic ran ahead to heaven feel like instrument flying.
I’m in the clouds.
The landmarks I’ve used for navigation all my life are obscured and sometimes I can’t even tell if I’m upside down or right side up. I don’t know if I’m going fast enough to stay in the air or if I’m about to stall. I’m tempted to use my feelings to determine true north and to decide on a course of action.
But I know if I do, I’m likely to crash.
Read the rest here: Flying Lessons
So much of the “faith” handed down today through Sunday School lessons and sermons is one that simply doesn’t leave room for mystery or for doubt or, honestly, for many of the actual Bible stories if you read them straight from the Book and not get them second hand from a loose retelling .
Jesus Himself-the exact representation of the Father (Hebrews 1:3)-didn’t greet skeptics with absolute proof. He pointed to the work He was doing, the truth He was telling and the miracles He performed but He left it to the audience to decide if that qualified Him as the Christ.
Yet we treat those who bring questions to the table of grace at best as immature and at worst as apostates or faithless wannabes.
Read the rest here: The Opposite of Faith Isn’t Doubt
The first time I shared this I was trying to distill years of walking the broken road of child loss into a relatively few, easy to think about, “lessons”.
Since then I could add a dozen more but today I’ll only add one: Being a bereaved parent is not my IDENTITY but it impacts who I am in ways I’m still figuring out.
Just as being married or being female or being from the southern United States informs how I walk in the world and interact with others so, too, does having buried a child.
There’s a lot of pressure to pretend that’s not true.
But I won’t do that.
I’ve had awhile to think about this. Nine years is a long time to live with loss, to live without the child I carried, raised and sent off in the world.
So I’ve considered carefully what my “top ten” might be.
Here’s MY list (yours might be very different):
Read the rest here: Ten Things I’ve Learned About Child Loss
Today is the day on the church calendar when we pause and reflect on the Last Supper, and the last words of Jesus to His disciples.
A year’s worth of sermons is contained in John 13-17 but this week I have been drawn to just one verse:
[Jesus said] ‘Now I am giving you a new command—love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you must love one another. This is how all men will know that you are my disciples, because you have such love for one another.’John 13:34 PHILLIPS
Read the rest here: Maundy Thursday