It is very difficult to comprehend that this past Sunday (March 18) marked 11 months since our beloved Isaac passed into Heaven. It all seems so recent – the memories, raw emotions, confusion, doubt, cloudiness, blackness, emptiness, loss of time, etc.
I am usually backwards about asking for help, but I request your prayers for our family over this next month. As spring has sprung (actually we are experiencing almost summer-like conditions here in our part of the country), we are beginning to relive those last few months, weeks and days with Isaac. As we play, work and garden in our backyard, we almost expect Isaac to be here with us. Yet even more firsts to experience…
Some days are still difficult. I must confess that I am having difficulty processing outside pressures right now. Being an accountant, this time of year is especially stressful at my employer (and I’m not even a tax preparer). We are also planning our garden and actually tilled the ground and planted a few items last weekend (which is about a month earlier than we usually get to it). Yet, I am experiencing a diminished joy in these activities and responsibilities. Even with the change in season, while I appreciate the songs of the birds in the morning, my ability to truly immerse myself in the ecstasy of God’s creation is hindered. I believe this hindrance is caused by my grief. It is as if I cannot fully appreciate life because a part of me is missing. Yet, I can look at our other children and love and appreciate them in a new light, more fully comprehending what precious gifts they are from the Lord.
We are finding the GriefShare sessions to be very helpful. GriefShare is not a five, twelve or whatever multiple step program to get past your grief. Rather, it helps you to acknowledge, understand and experience your grief with the focus of your healing on Jesus Christ. We are thankful that the opportunity arose to attend the sessions at one of our local churches.
We continue to be encouraged by the community of grieving individuals and parents both online and in our locality. This is one instance where the Internet is being used for good to bring a voice to grief and allow individuals to express their journey with the hope of encouraging and bringing healing to others and ourselves. These bloggers are writing from an experiential perspective, perhaps portraying an insight that may be difficult for those on the outside to understand. I hope that one lesson that I’ve learned through our experience is to refrain from pontificating on matters that I truly do not understand (in other words, I should not be giving advice on “x” if I have not experienced or don’t understand “x”).
A very difficult and frustrating part of this journey, from a spiritual perspective, is to wade through the barrage of “negative” emotions that we feel. We want to acknowledge our emotions and not stuff them down, which could cause further harm to ourselves. However, how do we experience these “negative” emotions in a nondestructive manner? We funnel them through the truth of God’s Word. I believe that no emotion is invalid, since God designed us with emotions. However, we must be careful about what we do with them (i.e. “be angry and sin not”). We can dwell on the anger, doubt, bitterness, etc., causing us to become distant from God and others, or we can lift our hearts to the Father of love, confessing our frailty, brokenness and frustration to Him (be real and honest!), without cursing Him in the process. Then we can experience His warm embrace around us as He says “this is what I want, your love and trust even when it doesn’t make sense to you.”
I now appreciate the Psalms even more, reading how David poured out his heart in complaint and confusion, searching for God when He did not appear to be anywhere. Yet, he finished by praising and declaring his trust in the Almighty God of the universe. I was reading Psalm 13 the other day and echoed David’s plea to God for His presence and response. Yet, at the end, he recovers to declare how bountifully God has blessed him. I leave you for now with this earnest prayer recorded in Scripture:
How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me? Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved. But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me. (Psa 13:1-6)
Still trusting in Him,