I received this comment on my post "I Remember." I have no other way to reply to my dear sister in suffering than to post my letter to her and hope that she comes back to read it. And if you do, dear one, and if you would like private correspondence, my email is email@example.com.
Melanie, I come here and read often. Sometimes I go back and read some of your posts again. I lost my son 3 years ago and I am still struggling. My faith has been tested and I fear I am losing the battle. I ask God "why", a million times. My whole life has been very difficult and it was like this was the last straw. I can't seem to come up for air anymore and it is getting worse. How do you cope? You seem so strong and I feel so week. I want to love God but I feel like he has turned his back on me and I am not worthy. Even though I continue to go to church it just feels like an automatic motion. Everday I want to hug my son's neck and tell him I love him. I understand the hair you snipped from your son, unfortunately my son burned up in his car and we never saw him again. I have often wondered what would be worse, to lose them quickly,as I did or to have to watch helplessly and not know what to do, as you did. I think you are amazing and I wish I has your strength and faith. Please pray for me as I desperately want God in my life. Sometimes it feels like the pain takes my breath away and smothers everything.
I feel your pain. I feel it because I can relate to the suffering, the death and the separation from a dearly loved child.
I also feel your pain in your wrestling with God. I have twisted, tossed and turned with God in confusion, anger and ultimately what boils down to an almost mind numbing disappointment.
Disappointment in a God, who could have done something, but who didn’t.
Let me recount a few of the highlights (perhaps more aptly they should be termed lowlights) that I have experienced in the past eight and a half months since Andrew made his journey to Heaven.
At his hospital bed in the hours before his passing, the four of us hovered as close to Andrew as possible. We huddled together as we spoke tenderly to him, kissed him and caressed him.
I spoke to my husband and our other two children.
“Whatever happens, we do not give up our faith in God. We do not blame Him and we do not turn our backs on Him. We resist being disappointed in Him.”
Well, three of those things I have not given in to. However, the last – disappointment in God…I have to own that one.
I have been very disappointed that God did not honor our faith, and did not do what I believe His word teaches, honor His very Word concerning healing.
(I have promised God I will be honest with Him, honest with myself and honest with others. And so I share here honestly.)
At Andrew’s funeral we stood as a family, with our hands lifted to the Heavens as praise and worship music was sung. We sang and we worshipped.
(It has taken me months to say the “f” word. I usually refer to it as Andrew’s service.)
It was many months later that I would lift my hand high like that in praise again. I could have faked it for the sake of people who may have been observing me. But I had promised to be honest. And I could have taken the approach of fake it‘til you make it or attitude follows action. I could also have offered a sacrifice of praise. But I refused to give what didn’t come from the heart. Sacrifice of any kind must first come from the heart. It must cost you something or it is falsely labeled sacrifice.
You ask me how I cope.
I can give you some practical ways that have helped me get through my days and nights. Nights have been the worst. (I’ll give some of those practical ways at the conclusion of this letter.)
You tell me I seem so strong.
I am always surprised when people tell me I am strong. I have never felt strong. But what I have felt is determined.
Determined to feel the pain and not avoid it.
Determined to get healthy for my husband and children.
Determined to lead others to a Savior who led the way for us to be reconciled to the Father.
I had a close family member tell me when I was questioning so many things about God, that she thought it was too early for me to be reconsidering my theology.
I had to disagree.
I began my wrestling with God the month after Andrew passed on to Heaven.
I needed to find out from getting in God’s face how He expected me to go on.
Not just go on with this physical life.
But how to go on in my walking out my faith. What would that look like now? What would I look like now? What did HE expect of me now?
Now that my worst fears were realized. Now that all I wanted to do was die so I could go to Andrew.
Now that I felt so many eyes watching me…waiting to see what I would do…wondering if my faith would withstand such a devastating loss.
I am not strong. I am weak. But I am determined that in my weakness, the power of God will be revealed. The power of God to draw others to the cross, to the wounded side of Jesus and to the boundless, bottomless, beautiful love of God.
Mickey, God loves you. HE LOVES YOU!
He is not disappointed in you. He is not removed from you.
He may be silent at times. He may be hidden at times.
But he HAS NOT TURNED HIS BACK ON YOU.
His eyes are upon you. His heart is for you. He listens to the prayers of Jesus interceding for you.
He loves your boy and he loves HIS boy.
You have been separated from your son for 3 years. I have been separated from my son for nearly nine months.
But God was separated from His Son for 33 years.
That separation was for me.
For our sons.
I'm going to stop for now but I have more to tell you.
Please know that I am praying for you, dear sister. I PROMISE TO PRAY FOR YOU. And I'll be praying as a sister who has "been there"...who is still "there" in some ways.