This morning I watched Andy Stanley begin his series “In the Meantime”. As I watched and listened to the message tears fell from my eyes and onto my notebook like a flood. A huge release of grief washed over me as I related to what he was saying. What I have found over the past eight years since the death of my daughter is that grief knows no boundaries and it never ever goes away. Everyday life gets in the way and blocks it from being released, but when you sit quietly and listen you can hear the three lies we tell ourselves:
- I’ll never be happy again
- Nothing good can come from this
- There is no point in continuing
I know I have written about this before and in the early days and weeks of my grief I asked myself those questions often. I wrote in my private journal how I didn’t think I could make it another day. What was the point? When the very reason I lived was taken from me – what is the point in continuing? So you can imagine that Andy’s words today resonated in a way I haven’t spoken much about or acknowledged for a long time. I know I often questioned God’s presence during that time (still do today), but I was also deep enough in my faith that I understood He was present. But I sure did not feel it at times. So I can’t even imagine what it must be like for those who do not have faith or their faith is so young that it has not grown enough to support their loss.
Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me. – Matthew 11:6
God blesses those who do not turn away from me. – Matthew 11-6 (New Living Translation)
Andy mentioned the above scripture in his message and explained that while we cannot always feel God’s presence – that does not mean He does not care or that He is apathetic. While my mind comprehends that, my heart hurts because when I don’t feel His presence I begin to stumble. I begin to question if He cares about my situation. In looking back, I know that God was so very present in my situation. He was present by bringing the right people into my life at the time I needed them. He sent specific messages through them that let me know He was listening to my prayers.
As I sat an cried through this message today I realized the reason I don’t feel God as much is because I don’t spend as much time with Him – talking to Him, reading passages from the Bible and mostly surrounding myself with people who keep me centered. Each time I have wondered away too busy to stay focused on Jesus – I have stumbled. Finding purpose is critical to answering the three questions above. It’s also the hardest to find. I’m still not sure I know what it is yet, but while I pray for guidance I will continue to help those who have lost a child because it is a pain I know and can relate to.
Grief is a journey down a long, twisting road and there are many paths that can take you get you lost if you don’t have a focus of answering the three questions above. Yes you can find happiness again, it’s just a different type. Yes, something good can come from your loss if you just look beyond it and see that there is someone who needs you. Needs your story. Needs your guidance and support. That my friends is how you answer the last question – your purpose.
Here is the link to the series and encourage you all to listen to Andy’s encouraging words on this topic.
Until next time,