Bittersweet Release

05 Dec

After writing about the flow being constricted, the floodgates opened today. I’ve tried to write something intelligent that was helpful or showed how we’ve progressed through our journey of grief. Instead, I think I just needed to be honest about how and what we are feeling.

While driving to work this morning, I had an intimate time with the Father. The tears flowed, words were groaned and my heart was released. Lately, I have been missing and thinking about Isaac even more. Perhaps it is because we are in the Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year season that we realize more vividly he is not physically here.

Today, I had a picture of Isaac’s smiling face near me while I was driving (safely). As I touched the image of his face, I could feel his skin and the outline of his cheekbones and jaw on my fingertips. I remembered lying in bed between him and David, praying and singing as we fell asleep. Isaac would usually be asleep before I was finished, having completed a hard day of exploring and reenacting some Civil War battle. I miss the laughter and life that he brought to our home. I imagine what Isaac may be exploring and learning today up in heaven and anticipate the day that he might guide me on an exploration of the wonderful place that the Lord is preparing for us. Since I miss Isaac’s touch, when I hug our other children I seem more aware of their presence and cherish the time and contact.

My heart aches for the mother who misses her firstborn son, the one for whom she made so many changes and sacrifices. My heart aches for the sister who misses her big brother, protector and best friend. My heart aches for the brother who doesn’t have his wrestling buddy and sparring partner. My heart aches for the littlest sister who barely knew her biggest brother; but we keep Isaac’s memory alive for her. My heart aches for the grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, other relatives and friends who touched Isaac’s life and on whose lives Isaac left an impression.

I don’t have any clearer understanding of why this happened. I struggle to reconcile the sovereignty of God with living in a fallen world. I know that God is sovereign and in control. He is all-wise and all-powerful. I know that His Word says that all things work together for good to those that love Him and are called according to His purpose (see Romans 8:28). So we cling to these promises and trust Him, even when we don’t understand.

We still feel angry at times. Sometimes we can identify the trigger of our anger and sometimes we cannot. What do we do with the anger when we know that hastily acting out on it does not honor God? We talk it out together, pray to God to help us see clearly and forgive, forgive, forgive…

Sometimes I reflect on the accident and the day everything changed. The memories are so vivid and almost unbearable to reflect upon. Yet, as we look back, we can see the arms of God around us immediately protecting, comforting and shielding us from our enemies. You see, in the instant that everything changed, the enemy immediately started shouting in our heads, trying to destroy us. Why was the enemy after us? Because I believe that when we are at our most vulnerable moment, the enemy will come in and try anything to destroy our faith. Yet, God was there supernaturally guiding us, sending his angels to speak truth and comfort to us – their gentle whispers somehow drowning out the harsh shouting of the enemy. Even today, as the enemy tries to condemn us, we have God’s Word to tell us truthfully who we are in Christ Jesus. It is so important for us to meditate on Scripture and remain connected to the Body of Christ.

It was good for me to release this today, although I am emotionally and spiritually exhausted as I write this. I leave now with a quote from the chorus of the Crabb Family’s song “I Sure Miss You” (thank you JM for the CD that comforts me and helps to release my emotions):

I sure miss you; life will never be the same with you not here

Each passing day has brought much pain

But with God’s grace my strength remains

I sure miss you, but heaven’s sweeter with you there

Missing my boy and trusting my Lord and Savior,



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8 responses to “Bittersweet Release

  1. Susie

    December 5, 2011 at 9:48 PM

    Just read your post and stopped to pray for you all.
    Love you all,

    The Eternal God is your refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms. ~Deut. 33:27

    • Ephesians 5:16

      December 5, 2011 at 10:24 PM

      Dear Susie,

      Thank you for taking a pause from you life to read our post and pray for us. We believe that God uses the prayers of saints such as you to lift us up and carry us through.

      We love you and are thankful for your encouragement. We pray for God’s peace and guidance in your life.

      In Christ,

      Andy & Brenda

  2. Cheryl

    December 5, 2011 at 9:52 PM

    Thanks for being real about your loss. Even three years after the death of our little Caleb we struggle a lot with the sovereignty of God and the deep grief that we still experience at times. It always feels better to be able to speak the truth about our grief and then move on the best way we know how…holding on to God’s promises and Hope.

    My heart aches for your family and the loss of your beloved Isaac. After hearing so much about him, I can’t wait to meet him in Heaven some day! He sounds like such a special, beautiful soul.

    With Hope,

    • Ephesians 5:16

      December 5, 2011 at 10:20 PM

      Dear Cheryl,

      We appreciate your comment and being honest about your struggle and grief. It does feel better to express our grief and find the strength to move forward.

      We do think Isaac was a special, beautiful soul. I wonder if he and Caleb have met each other and if they know that their parents have formed a special bond here on earth? Oh, what a happy reunion that will be someday.

      Thank you again for your prayers and encouragement. We pray for God’s comforting arms to sorround you.

      In Christ,

      Andy & Brenda

  3. Martha Goudey

    December 6, 2011 at 10:50 AM

    Andy, This is a beautiful and honest post. I can’t imagine what it’s like to lose a child. It’s beyond imagining. But I know grief…and what I’ve learned is that it’s always going to be there, sometimes noisy and disruptive, sometimes quiet and subdued. Making peace with grief is not everyone’s task the way it is yours, but we all have to deal with it sooner or later. Something I’m sure you didn’t want to be is a role model…but that’s the task you have apparently been handed. God’s blessings.

    • Ephesians 5:16

      December 6, 2011 at 9:27 PM

      Dear Martha,

      Thank you for sharing your insight from your experience with grief. We hope that sharing about our journey can help others in their grief and ultimately point them to Christ for their strength, comfort and healing. We pray that you have comfort and peace through your grief journey. We are looking forward more everyday to our everlasting rest.

      God bless you,

      Andy & Brenda

  4. Elizabeth Martin

    December 6, 2011 at 6:36 PM

    Andy and Brenda,

    Thank you for sweetly expressing your soul. Issac will be celebrating the birth of our Lord, with the angels in Heaven. May you have a blessed Christmas holiday with your precious children.

    Love and Prayers,

    • Ephesians 5:16

      December 6, 2011 at 9:30 PM

      Dearest Betty,

      Thank you for your sweet comment and wish for Christmas blessings. I can only imagine the celebrations in heaven, especially when one soul is saved. We pray for you and hope that you sense the Lord’s presence abundantly though this Christmas season.

      Love in Christ,

      Andy & Brenda


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