You may have heard the concept of choosing a word, or words, each year as a point of focus. Words such as “present” or “balance” or something along those lines to remind us of where we want to go and how we aspire to live our lives.
Last year, “balance” was one of my words. I needed help finding the right balance between pursuing my writing, completing Sunshine After the Storm: A Survival Guide for the Grieving Mother, while not allowing that to completely overshadow my children who are here with me. Sometimes I did well. Many times I failed.
But I kept trying.
This year, my word is “new.” To remind me that each day is a new day, a new opportunity for starting fresh. If I fail in living my life in the way that I desire to do, I do not need to dwell in that, but continue to look forward.
But beyond the daily grind, this word “new” is also a re-committment to my faith. When I suffered the loss of my two day old infant, Kathryn, I was so numb and angry and cold. I could not pray, I had no interest in talking to God.
But the Bible tells us that God is close to those who mourn. Even if we cannot recognize it at the time.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Not only could I not SEE that in the immediate aftermath of my loss, I did not WANT to see that. I hurt, I could not understand. But Psalm 34:18 has been my guide and refuge.
Looking back on my journey, I can see that not only was God with me, He was carrying me. I spent over four weeks in the hospital waiting for my babies to be born, knowing that one or both of them would not live. That time was a blessing. I spent time listening to my daughters’ heartbeats, talking to them, loving them. I knew it might be the only time I had with them.
But I was also deeply depressed. I did not want to see or talk to others. Yet, I felt very comforted by the fact that I knew that entire churches, all across a variety of faiths, were praying for my babies, and for me. As I remember those days, even though I was clutched by sadness, I also remember a certain calmness that enveloped me. I knew that, regardless of the outcome, we would survive.
Then the twins arrived and Kathryn died. That calmness seeped away and the rage snuck in. It took me a long time to recover from that. During the course of these events, my older sister, a woman completely assured in her relationship with Christ, prayed with me. She prayed aloud for me. And through her example of Faith, I began to find my way again.
There is light. Some days it is hard to find. Other days it is blinding.
I know that it is okay to grieve and mourn, even to be angry and question. But over time I have also realized that by continuing to question, I do not allow myself to completely heal. Maybe some of you do not want to heal yet. Maybe you are not ready.
It took almost two years for me to be ready. The Lord was working in my life and guiding my steps along the way. I was put in contact with the amazing women who contributed to the book. Together, we helped each as we poured out our deepest thoughts and our love into our book.
I will always be brokenhearted over the loss of my sweet baby. But God is good. When you are ready, open yourself up to His goodness. Don’t allow the bitterness to overshadow all the good in your life. But allow yourself the time to get to a place where you are able to see the goodness again.
I found these bible verses for those who are grieving at the site What Christians Want to Know.
Psalms 119:92 If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.
Proverbs 15:13-14 glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.14 The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly.
Isaiah 41:10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Revelation 21:4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
May they provide some light and healing to you as well. Do not allow the bitterness of loss cloud the Sunshine in your life.