I only had to wait half a day for the answer.
I only had to wait half a day for the answer.
In early 2017 we moved from Indiana to Texas. I was asked many times how I could move when my daughter was buried there.
Honestly, I had to look at it like this- a person has to live for, serve and devote themselves to the upbringing of their children in their day to day lives. My husband and I had checked out our future home thoroughly and knew it was be an awesome life for our kids. We were moving to an area with a huge number of other homeschooled kids. They would have awesome opportunities in either place, but the spot we chose offered so much we couldn’t pass it up. Regarding Lila- she doesn’t exist in the ground beneath that stone. She’s in Heaven with the Lord. I fiercely believe I am close to her no matter where I go. Being near her grave does not bring me any closer to being with her.
I spent a lot of time at her grave after she had first died. Over time I started to find it added to my anxiety because I knew her body was beneath me, and there was nothing I could do about it. For some people going to the cemetery is healing and helpful. It can be that for me, when I go on occasion.. but only when I remind myself that she is not there, that’s simply where we put her remains until the day of the Lord’s return.
Living after the death of a loved one is hard.
Especially a child..
It’s a daily struggle to find a new normal, but it does eventually come. Everyone’s walk is different, but honestly I believe we are all searching for healing and peace. Let’s do it together.
It’s just a simple dry erase calendar. It’s also one of the very things that helped me stay sane after my daughter passed away. I couldn’t process thoughts clearly or remember where I was supposed to be. I also had extreme anxiety about my schedule and seeing people. This calendar made it possible for me to keep track of everything and to not stress out so badly about it.
It became a crutch for me. If I was out and someone would ask me if I was available to (insert any social activity with other humans here) I would panic. This calendar gave me the freedom to say, let me check my calendar when I get home. Then instead of feeling cornered, or unable to make a decision- it allowed me to think about it later on my own time in the quiet serenity of my own home. Seems like something so small and insignificant, right? That’s the way grief can be though for some of us. It can cause us to be unable to process simple daily tasks, it can make a mountain out of a molehill.
Back in 2017 when we were getting ready to move I took a last look at this calendar. I was finally able to use a simple calendar on my phone (google calendar), and I BURNED THIS CALENDAR. Yes, I burned it. It was very symbolic and healing for me. I relied on this for so long. I chucked it right into our campfire pit and lit it on fire with some paper and sticks. And I cried, because I knew God had used this tool to help me on the day to day, and He helped heal my heart enough that I didn’t need it anymore. There are probably people who will read this blog and think, “It’s been ten years, aren’t you able to move on from it?” And those people will likely be people who never lost a child. You never completely move on from a loss of child.
You didn’t just lose that baby, you lost a toddler, an elementary school kid, a graduate, a daughter or son getting married. Every stage, every lesson, every moment that you expect your child to have is gone. That’s why grief resurfaces. I didn’t just lose a baby, I lost a lifetime with another person.
That’s why it continues to hurt, and that’s why the hurt changes as time goes on. (I use the term lost here, but really they aren’t lost, they are in Heaven… Just acknowledging our loss here on Earth).
If you have a friend who has lost a child, I challenge you today to reach out to them. The sweetest thing you can say is that you are remembering that person today, that they are in your minds. Parents love to hear that you are remembering their child. It is very meaningful. A card in the mail with a simple line acknowledging your remembrance is huge in the life of someone who is hurting.
Will you spread some love today?
Grief is a crazy trip.
It’s something that never really goes away, it just settles in the cracks like dust. The slightest movement, thought, smell or feeling can stir it up. If stirred up enough, it can become a fog.
After our daughter departed for Heaven, grief came over me in waves. Some were small, some were large. To this day, ten years later I have a literal phone anxiety issue. Not everyone understands this. If you do, or if you suffer from the same issue, I would love to hear from you. I can text, email, chat in person, you name it, but phone calls STRESS ME OUT. Now, if I am 100% certain of the mental state or attitude of the person on the other end of the line, I can do it, just fine. But– if there is the slightest question of there being bad news, sadness, unpredictability I can’t handle it.
The ringing of the phone and an unscheduled phone call is worse. If I can schedule the call, like “Hey, would you like to chat later today at 5?” It’s ok. If someone calls me out of the blue at a random time and the ring cuts through the silence…. I might panic. My heart races, I sweat, it’s anxiety time!
I think people have the wrong idea about me, I think they feel snubbed if I don’t call. I try to explain, but that’s a difficult thing to understand for other people who don’t experience it themselves. They might think I’m making it up, or should be able to just overcome it myself by staying calm.
You’ve overstayed your welcome, but I understand you are pretty proportionate to the amount I loved someone so I get it.
I was considering a different title for this post like: “Seeking God despite my Failures”, but decided to stick with the current title above.
I’m writing this post because grief (a small word for that horrible, scary, overwhelming ocean of pain) can really make you question the reason for existence, question God and several other things. And, if you are anything like me, you’ve probably asked yourself why you’re here, or what your purpose is on Earth. Maybe you were six, or 16 or 26.. Or maybe it’s been a continual question in your heart. For me it definitely started at a young age. I honestly don’t think I ever understood or truly heard the purpose until I was 25. I spent plenty of childhood Sundays in Sunday school class, so I likely could have heard the truth about our purpose, but I didn’t commit it to memory. Not knowing this left me with a hole in my heart. I tried to fill the hole with a job, money, starting a family, but even before experiencing great loss and grief, I was discontent and felt like I lacked value or purpose. The biggest lack was in that area of joy. I could enjoy my family, don’t get me wrong, but it felt shallow, like I was missing something.
I remember 2007, being eight months pregnant with Lila (our second child who passed away), and sitting on our Pastor’s couch. They had invited us over to dinner because we had questions we hoped to get answers to. I explained to him and his wife that night that I wanted to be saved, but something about the gospel wasn’t clicking for me. I didn’t completely understand, and I personally felt ‘stuck”. I bit my lip and held back tears before confessing that my problem wasn’t believing the gospel, but believing that I could be saved.
What I did believe in these early stages of my messy walk with God was that I wasn’t good enough to be loved by God.
In six short months I had gone from
“Don’t call me a sinner, I’m a good person”
“I’m ashamed of my past life choices, why would God ever accept me?”
That’s when he said it.
‘It’s a gift.’ He went on to explain that gifts aren’t always given when someone deserves it, sometimes they are given because of the grace of the giver. (I quickly associated this with buying our oldest child Christmas gifts even though she had produced a series of tumultuous tantrums from October through December.)
It finally clicked. God gives us grace, love and the hope of a future with Him because of Jesus, not anything we have done.
Though, in return, we show obedience, gratefulness, and that’s where the fruit comes in. (Or – at least, it should..) Our good deeds and works don’t earn us a spot in Heaven. But instead, our obedience shows God our love and thankfulness to Him. If we didn’t love God, why should we be allowed in Heaven? And if we truly love someone, we show it, right?
Finally I understood that our purpose on Earth is to Glorify God, to love God and love others. I hadn’t known that, and it was causing me so much strife.
It’s hard not to get caught up in a legalistic mindset where we decide what we should and shouldn’t do. It’s equally hard not to be overly casual and start making choices based on a moral code we make up ourselves instead of checking the Bible and our hearts to see if we are on the right page.
I have struggled with that part for 10+ years. Have you? Knowing I have to guard my heart and watch my tongue can be hard (even my typing/blogging figurative internet tongue included) lest I be a stumbling block to another soul trying to find the truth about Jesus. What I want/need/do/think should all be put through my filter in my heart asking myself, does this glorify my Great God. I have to hold myself accountable.
Sometimes I feel intensely guilty for my words. I ask myself how they would look as a tattoo across my forehead. Would I be proud to wear them, would God be honored, would my kids be willing to claim me? Thank goodness for Grace, because a lot of times the answer is a big, fat NO. Insert Heavy Sigh here, I have failed DAILY. I won’t lie. But- and I do mean BUT- I can keep trying. I have a forgiving God who gives me repeated chances to try again.
Who doesn’t want to hear this when they get to Heaven,
‘Well done, good and faithful servant!” Matthew 25:23 NIV
We’re not perfect, but we can certainly be loved by our Great God.
I grew up in a loving home and attended church off and on at different denominations. As an adult I hadn’t been to church much and after a bad car accident had that feeling of “if I had died today, where would I have gone?” It ended up being the perfect timing for going back and learning about God, I had no clue my child would be vanishing from my life in just a few short months and that I would be crying out to this God I was just getting to know.
I came to faith and decided to pursue God, to really get to know Him, to read the Bible, to try and shape up my life. Not legalistically, but practically -I had always heard that hymn (and maybe you’ve heard it too- How deep the Father’s Love for Us) that convicts me and makes me think.
Here are the lyrics, I’m highlighting the ones that grab my heart the hardest when I hear them. If you prefer to hear it, here is a beautiful version from two sweet ladies from our church (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0a5Oveznmc)
How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasureHow great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to gloryBehold the man upon a cross
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffersIt was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished
I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrectionWhy should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom
I’m reading Heaven by Randy Alcorn for the second time. It was inspiring the first time I read it, which I believe was about 10 years ago, and I felt that my heart could use a refresher.
I love reaching further into the truths about Heaven that the Bible shares with us, and I love knowing that what the world teaches about Heaven is inaccurate. It’s not a boring, cloud filled, harp plucking eternity– It’s everything beautiful and promising and wonderful that God has offered through his Son Jesus. I was talking to a friend recently about a trip to the Oregon woods I took back in 2016. I told her everything was so lush, full of life and green. It felt so clean and vibrant, new and exciting. This book sheds light on the New Earth God will create, what Heaven is really like. God created us, our thoughts, and all the awesome things we can picture in our minds.. Why would we ever assume Heaven is a boring place of monotony or anything less than amazing. How do we absorb these lies from the world?! I adore this book and the way it has opened my eyes to how exciting Heaven will truly be.
I also have to add- it breaks my heart when people tell me my baby is in someone’s arms being rocked. My baby, is in Heaven. She is not bound by time or the body she had here on this sinful Earth. God is not going to be restricting babies to baby bodies forever, considering issues like abortion- can you IMAGINE if God made all those fetus’ remain as fetus’ forever?! No! Why do we bound Heaven up by time and try to put God in a box. Our perceptions of this marvelous place are so off base.