If I had to name ONE thing God has changed the most in me through the pain of the last several years, it would be my perspective….my outlook, the lens through which I interpret my world. I can honestly say that before I lost my daughter, I did not long for Heaven. I did not look for Jesus’ return. I had been a Christian for 17 years. I understood (on some level) God’s grace, his forgiveness, and what it meant to walk with him daily. I knew his presence and what it was like to hear from him. But, I had NO CLUE what it meant to have an eternal perspective.
I want to begin blogging a bit about the process I went through as I gained an eternal perspective because it has transformed me permanently. It is now the one thing I want most to teach my children because I strongly believe it has the power to take them from living a good Christian life to living an abundant, victorious one!
It would be insincere of me to give you all of the nuggets of truth I’ve scooped up along the way, though, if I did not let you in on some of the suffering I experienced as God chiseled away my former way of seeing things. For me, pain was the vehicle God used to change my outlook.
I’m not saying God inflicts pain on us because we need to change…but I’m not saying he doesn’t either. I’m comfortable believing that God is sovereign and planned all of Audrey’s days and all of mine. (It took a while for me to get there, by the way.) And, in faith, I’m going to get all of what he wants me to have, no matter what he has planned or allowed. I believe he IS LOVE, and now that I have a glimpse of what he has in store for me in eternity, I know it is worth waiting for!
With that said, I’d like to spend some time sharing with you, bit by bit, some of the very real thoughts and feelings I had as I tried to pick up the pieces after the death of our sweet Audrey. I kept a journal here and there as I processed the loss, and I think that careful communication of my experience may have the power to help other moms and dads who have had the unfortunate privilege of losing a child. I call it “unfortunate” because I would not wish this pain on my worst enemy. I call it a “privilege” because it has afforded me an opportunity to see into the heart of God in a way not everyone can.
If you have NOT lost a child, I still think my “story” can challenge you to begin to explore your own perspective BEFORE you experience tragedy or pain…or in the MIDST or WAKE of your own unique tragedy or pain, whatever that is. Do you have an eternal perspective yet? If not, with the instruction of God’s Word, you can get one…and it will motivate you to live a more dynamic, intentional, and fulfilling Christian life NOW.
If you are reading this blog because you HAVE lost a child, I empathize with you. You won’t hear, “The Lord knows best,” “It must have been her time,” or “God could have prevented it if he wanted to.” You won’t hear, “You have to move on for your other children,” “God never gives you more than you can handle,” or “Time heals all wounds.” As a fellow sufferer, I know that speculation and trite comments aren’t helpful, no matter what their intention. My heart in addressing grief in my blog is to give you something trustworthy to hold onto (God’s Word) while validating your very real, human feelings and thoughts. God knows he made us human! None of our feelings are surprising to him!
In his Word, God has shown us over and over again that he relates personally to human beings with complex problems, conflicting emotions, and intense pain. He is no stranger to suffering, and he wants us to know that. He wants us to know that his love and presence never leave us.
And, he wants us to know that this world is not all there is. He has so much planned for those who trust in Jesus! He has given us a lot of information about Heaven (more than we may assume at first glance) so that we will have hope.
My prayer is that as you read this blog you will find authentic camaraderie with another mom who has walked this road. And, I pray that you will find divine encouragement coming straight from the heart of God to yours. If at any point what you are reading is not what you need to hear, by all means, throw it out entirely! We are all different, and our experiences with and expressions of grief are equally diverse. Praise be to God, however, that His Word remains the same! It is applicable to everyone, and it is eternal.
If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. Psalm 119:92
I rise before dawn and cry out for help; I have put my hope in your word. My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises. Hear my voice in accordance with your love; preserve my life, O Lord, according to your laws. Psalm 119:147-149