I had something entirely different to write about today but after misplacing (sort of) the notes I had already made on what I planned to write about I decided to write something different. And this time I am stealing from another blog entry I wrote for parts of it (for the most part what you see in italics is from a past blog)
Recently one of the twin loss groups I am sort a ‘creeper’ of… I don’t post there too often, there have been so many posts about faith such as ‘Why do people say ‘God answers our prayers’? He didn’t answer mine.’ Or ‘Why do people keep telling me that God gave me the strength to get through this? I don’t want the strength, I don’t want to get through it. I want my child back’.
There were many comments to these posts but most were along the same theme and were not really filled with answers or help to cope etc. I knew that I had written about this subject before and so I searched through my blog until I found it. I posted it and within hours I had many who had read it and many who had commented on it…with thanks for the way I presented it.
It is so hard to find hope after loss. It is so hard to understand God when you hate the life you are living now because of the loss. I know, I struggled with it too. I struggled to find hope when all seemed so hopeless and I struggled to understand the whys of it all. But I did find my way out of that darkness. So when these ladies posted with such hopelessness my heart ached for them. I want them to know the God I know, the one that holds me when I can't stand anymore, the one who wipes my tears when the pour down my face as I look at ultrasound pictures, read things I wrote during my pregnancy, look at pictures of my son's broken and battered body. I wanted them to know the Jesus I know… the one who came to take my son home when no other healing could happen, who healed his body in the best way possible. The Jesus that that has lead me back to God time and time again when I have struggled and questioned. In the past I have told my grieving online firiends... God loves you so much and understands your pain...he lost a son, he knows this pain. He knows what we don't ...he knows just how much we can handle and he is there to hold us up when we can't stand anymore."
But I know how hard it is to hear the voices at times when your heart is broken. I get it. And sadly so do others in our groups who also are struggling to make sense of it all, to find God in all of this. Another mom wrote about her how hard it was to get her head around why a loving God would give her so many trials... take her parents from her when she was very young and then take her beautiful baby. It made no sense to her and it makes no sense to so many of those who are grieving. They feel God has no right to do this and can not get past the reminder of what they are missing out on, especially when you are raising your angel's identical twins. They just feel so abandoned by God, like God has let them down, like they have angered God and he is punishing them. Like God hates them.
And when I blogged this the first time I wrote that I struggled to find the right words to say and then, by divine intervention, a book was placed in my path with the perfect s words…
It is called Through Every Storm and is one I just randomly picked up off the shelf in the church library. It is about a couple who lose a two year old child in a choking accident and how they both struggle afterwards, how hard it is for them to grieve... and eventually how they both come to Christ because of it. In it their marriage falls apart and they end up in a sort of separation situation.
Her father comes to speak to his son-in-law and instead of reprimanding him for all that he has done wrong, instead of showing one sided support of his daughter, he instead confesses that he, too, has experienced the loss of a child. It was a child that had been conceived out of wedlock and had been stillborn. His words were so powerful.... "We felt sure God was punishing us for our terrible mistake, our awful sin (when they could not conceive another child for 4 years after getting married to each other a few years after the baby had died). Later in life, when we gave our lives to Christ, we discovered some amazing things about His grace and forgiveness. We didn't realize until later just how much He loved us in spite of our imperfections."
Powerful enough but the next part really hit home in what I wanted to say to those struggling... needed to hear myself at times... " God does not deliberately bring on despair and grief as a means of getting back at us for our wrongdoing. He does allow circumstances to to enter our lives that will draw us closer to Him though." "I believe God wants much more for you"... It's time you learned to trust Him. He's not out to hurt you. In fact, just the opposite. He wants to guide you, give you direction for your life, help heal your past hurts".
And this is what really drew me to repost parts of this blog. God wants to guide us, he wants to help us heal, he wants to give us hope. He never wants us to hurt but he also knows that the hurt brings us to a place where we need to rely on Him to help us get through, to pick us up, dust us off and guide us down the next path.
Later in the book a pastor speaks on the same theme and once again God spoke to me with ideas of what I wanted to say to those who are struggling with their feelings about what has happened in their lives. So often people are troubled by tragedy...I know that I was. You can't understand why God allows it. How often do we hear 'why do bad things always happen to good people'? The fact is that evil surrounds us. What I never realized until earlier this year when I truly read Genesis and studied what happened there on that fateful day in the garden of Eden is that is where evil began but that God knew all along that it could happen. He created Adam and Eve with free will just as he creates us with free will. They chose to disobey and since that day their choice, the results of their original sin has continued to plague us. But one thing is so so so very clear to me...GOD DOES NOT CAUSE EVIL...but he does allow it. Evil entered the world on the very day that Adam stood by and let Eve be taken in by the snake. Evil began when Eve took that first bite and then convinced Adam to do the same. But God understands what a problematic world we live in and he wants us to live victoriously in it. He gave us Jesus so that our sins could be forgiven because he knew we could not do it alone.
He gave us Jesus to give us hope. Jesus is our hope….
28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28
It is so hard to know what to do when your heart is so wounded, when you feel so lost. So often we look for the answers in the wrong places and you wait for something to happen that will fill us full of hope and peace. I know that I did that for a great many months after we lost Cole. I kept thinking that I knew the reason things happened. I knew why we were experiencing this, the lesson we were to learn... I mean it had to have been to make us work better as a family and damn it why couldn't Geoff figure that out, why did he have to call me day after day with complaints about how hard it was for him with the boys and the house and.... Yeah...I was so sure that I had it all figured out and I never listened to voice of the spirit telling me to open my heart to him. I think as children and young adults...heck even as older adults that we are taught to look for God through the 'good things' in our lives...job satisfaction, success, popularity, dedication to a church etc.
We seem to think that if we are doing good that God gives us good things and if we aren't getting what we want then we think He must think we are bad. We are often lead to believe that if we live a life of service, do good deeds, go to church, donate money, help others and say we believe in God that we are doing what we need to do to ensure our place in Heaven. When we question what God is doing in our lives then we question if Heaven even exits. But Jesus tells us in his word that He is the answer to our deepest longings. Only He can relieve us of that heavy load of guilt and sin we carry around. Only He can lift the burdens we carry, the sorrows that fill our hearts. If we turn to him and tell him how we feel, tell him how lost we are, how guilty we feel, how confused, angry, bitter etc... if we tell him he will not be surprised... he already knows. He knows what burdens we carry and he just wants us to hand them to him. He is just waiting for us to come to the cross and lay them down at his feet. It may not ever be easy to understand why things happen.
Once again I say…Jesus is our hope…
It may never make sense and it may hurt forever... God never said it would be easy and never promised our lives would be free of pain. But he did promise us salvation and an opportunity to see our loved ones again if only we could accept that Jesus came and died for us so that we could live eternally and commit our lives to trying to follow his teachings. Doesn't mean you can't question, doesn't mean you won't be angry, doesn't mean your life will be without sorrow. But it does mean that one day your life will be filled with much joy, hope and peace.