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All I Have

02 Dec

Or Handling Grief – The Second Year, Thus Far

It has been a while since I’ve written in-depth about our grief journey. I’ve mentally dictated several posts, but have been apathetic about writing out my thoughts. It seems that I lack the vigor for numerous things these days. The fire the used to me in my belly has burned down to seemingly a flickering flame. I know that the Spirit is still there, but the passion for many things in life has been squashed.

The journey this second year after Isaac’s passing has been difficult and different from the first year. Adrenaline carried us through much of the first year. Anticipation built as new milestones and first anniversaries passed. Now, this second year is characterized largely by just “normal” living. Not that anything is really as it used to be. That dull ache still exists deep down inside. However, life has continued and for the most part our familiar routines and patterns have returned. I feel a sense of frustration sometimes, as if my desire to use this tragedy for something big for God’s glory has not materialized. Yet, was that desire really meant for God’s glory or mine? Rather, can God be glorified as we live out each day without falling apart, humbly relying on His strength to make it through whatever lot He has allowed?

We continue to make new connections within our local community. We have found it very helpful to extend ourselves, even somewhat beyond our comfort zones. Besides our immediate church family, we’ve connected with people in several local churches. I’ve been participating in a vibrant men’s group that meets biweekly here in our local community. The encouragement that we’ve received through these relationships has helped us tremendously. Also, relationships with certain family members and friends continue to grow deeper through this journey and have been sources of strength for us. Finally, we’ve experienced joy through serving our community and reaching out and hopefully encouraging others with the same encouragement that we’ve received. Within the last month, our family helped with a local food drive and I lent a small part towards the clean-up of a local house that was severely damaged by a fire. It is truly a blessing to give, not only financially but perhaps even more of ourselves.

I am beginning to earnestly pray. My personal prayer life was haphazard before Isaac died. I would often lack focus in my quiet times of prayer, allowing my mind to wonder aimlessly. After Isaac died, I found it difficult to pray quietly. I would throw up hurried prayers here and there (which can be fine when needed). I could pray out-loud with my family or in small groups, but when it came to time alone with just God, I found it difficult to go there. Now, I’ve been challenged and inspired to spend earnest time each morning in quiet prayer with God. I’ve been reminded that I am in a spiritual battle, and I must suit up in my spiritual armor each day if I am to stand. My family needs me to cover them in prayer. I must cleanse myself each day and remind myself of whom I am in Christ Jesus. I have actually made a topical list to keep me focused when I pray and to also allow the Holy Spirit to guide me specifically within each topic. I find this very helpful to keep my mind from wondering. *

In a nutshell, really all I have right now is enough strength to love my family, fulfill my job responsibilities and connect with our community, family, friends and other siblings in Christ. I have no grander plan right now and I think that is OK. As long as I draw closer God and serve Him faithfully right where He has me, I trust Him to continue to heal me and fan that flame deep down inside to renew that passion again.

Blessings,

Andy

* The idea to create the topical prayer list was inspired from reading a book titled “Lord, Teach Us to Pray” by Tom Harmon (thanks Brother Terry!).

 
14 Comments

Posted by on December 2, 2012 in Grief, Spiritual and Emotional

 

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14 responses to “All I Have

  1. mercifulwords

    December 2, 2012 at 8:26 AM

    I read this with tears. I am extemely blessed to have all members of our family still here so I can’t relate to your grief in that particular area, but I’ve experienced crippling grief and extended pain in other ways so I too know exactly what you mean about your quiet, inner prayers being possible in public but nearly impossible when there’s no one but you and God. I want to make myself a prayer list like you mentioned. I think that will help. Thank you very much for sharing your heart. You have blessed me this Sunday morning. And thank you for your comments on my site this morning, too.

     
    • Ephesians 5:16

      December 3, 2012 at 7:51 AM

      Thank you for your encouraging words and sharing your experience.

       
  2. Butch Dean

    December 2, 2012 at 11:26 AM

    Our prayers are often from the heart…with words that can’t be uttered, while our Heavenly Father holds us in the palm of His hand. Selah!

     
    • Ephesians 5:16

      December 3, 2012 at 7:52 AM

      Thanks Butch – I like that comment and visual!

       
  3. Susan B

    December 2, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    When one year had passed after Nick’s death, I realized that I would now be counting the time since his death, not in days, weeks or months, but in years. The grief refocused and the pain magnified. The reality of never again seeing my child in my life time hit me like a hammer on top of my head. I also felt what you described as lacking “passion for life”, but I questioned the purpose of his death, his life, my life…

    I didn’t – I don’t have your faith. I have a small growing sprout in my heart. What you said about being “where He has me” was perfect. On our journeys, yours and mine, (thirteen years since my son’s death) we trust we are where we are meant to be.

    And it is good to rest there.

    Lovely post.

     
    • Ephesians 5:16

      December 3, 2012 at 7:54 AM

      Thank you so much Susan, especially for sharing personally from your journey. May our mustard-seed faith continue to grow!

       
  4. Cheryl

    December 2, 2012 at 9:14 PM

    Beautiful post. I find what you say much of what you say to be so true on my journey also. When our Caleb died Heaven got so much more real and I had so much more clarity about it. It is difficult to be experiencing deep grief–knowing that we will have to wait to see our loved one again but yet we still have to carry on here on earth for our families.

    Before our Caleb died I had the opportunity to meet parents (at different times) whose children had died of various causes and I was drawn to them (Christians) and listened intently to their stories and how they endured. One of the parents had lost their child about 15 years earlier. I was so touched by their stories. I know that God can use our tragedies with the people that he has placed around us for many years to come for His Glory.

    With Hope,
    Cheryl

     
    • Ephesians 5:16

      December 3, 2012 at 7:56 AM

      Amen Cheryl. Thank you for your thoughtful and hope-filled comment. We share your prayer that God uses our tragedies to help those the He has placed around us for His glory.

       
  5. Donald Henderson Jr

    December 3, 2012 at 8:56 AM

    Still praying for you here.
    Hoping to see you personally sometime soon.
    As far as doing a “big thing” I personally think that dealing with a child’s death without completely losing it and maintaining a loving family that’s a good testimony is not in any way a small thing. I’ve been encouraged in my walk, by your perseverance in the midst of your fiery trial.
    Love you brother,

     
    • Ephesians 5:16

      December 3, 2012 at 9:49 AM

      Thank you Don for your encouragement. I hope that you are enjoying the blessings of marriage and fatherhood. I look forward to hopefully seeing you sometime soon.

       
  6. Peter Wiebe

    December 3, 2012 at 9:13 AM

    In many ways, Andy, we find our second year without Jesse much more difficult than the first, too. Let’s keep looking to Jesus. You are an inspiration to me. God bless you.

     
    • Ephesians 5:16

      December 3, 2012 at 9:50 AM

      Thank you Peter for your encouragement and inspiration. Yes, let us keep looking to Jesus.

       
  7. Debbie

    December 3, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    What a wonderful post.
    I have learn to trust in God and he does show you his plan in His own time. I know that watching you at work and hearing about the things that your family does has helped me on a down day. We don’t always tell each other how much their smile and friendship means. I know that it is hard to live God’s word in the world today, but you are an inspiration to me.
    I hope that you just remember that you got to live with an angel for several years and now he is watching over you from heaven.

     
    • Ephesians 5:16

      December 3, 2012 at 4:46 PM

      Wow Debbie – thank you so much for you encouraging words (tears :-)). You guys will never know how much your support has meant to us. We are truly blessed to know such a wonderful group of caring people. God bless you and may you always trust Him.

       

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