Saturday, April 12, 2008

Hope of a Life Spent with You

Something that has always been hard for me to understand is why some people seem to have more hardships than others.  This is not a proven philosophy or anything, it just seems common that people that have experienced loss or grief, seem to have more loss and grief than others.    You’d think that tragedy would even itself out a little more - you know, a little to everyone; to share the loss between all of humanity.   

I used to get really upset that life wasn’t fair.  I would shout to my mom in a moment of anger, “That’s not fair!”  and she would calmly reply, “Sweetie, life’s not fair.”  Which would only upset me more, really.   I think my usual response was a heartfelt cry of, “WHY???”   To which she would say, “It’s just not.”   Why isn’t it?   Why do some people lose their parents at such an early age and never grow up knowing them?   Why do we have disease infect the youngest of children who have no ability to comprehend what is happening to their body?   Why do people die by the second from hunger and malnourishment all around the world?   Why do some people choose to abandon their own family, and refuse to have any relationship with them whatsoever?    And as you well know, the list goes on forever.

We went to a memorial service yesterday of a baby girl who had Trisomy 18 (a genetic disorder where you have too many of the 18th chromosome), and only lived for 22 hours.   As we listened to our friend share about his precious daughter, I couldn’t help but wonder why.    Why had God allowed this family to have this happen, especially with the other struggles of loss that they have already faced?  But what amazed me, was that he wasn’t asking why.   Rather, he chose to say how faithful God had been through all of this.  How he’d been blessed to know his little girl for as long as he had.  How through believing God’s truth, he’s been able to fight off the lies that would tell him, “God doesn’t care about you”, and, “This is all there is, she’s dead now, and that’s it.”   He talked about how he knew that Hope was more alive now than any of us sitting in that room.   He chose to continue to praise God, not for the situation at hand, but because He is still worthy of our praise.

But that choice doesn’t come easy.   It’s a choice to lay down our own bitterness and anger.  A choice to surrender our plan for how things would go.   A choice to allow God to be a part of our lives, even when tragedy and loss surround us.   A choice for life.

We sang “Here I am to Worship” during the service, and as tears rolled down my face, I remembered how hard it was to sing songs of worship and praise soon after my mom had died of brain cancer.   I remember not wanting to sing at first, even though I knew the words were still true.   I didn’t want to say that God was good and that He was faithful.  But just because my mom died, it didn’t mean that God’s character had changed.   It just made it harder to understand His plan.    It didn’t make His plans bad for me, even though the situation at hand was very bad.    I had to surrender my own hurt to be able to offer Him my praise.   And it was so hard.    It was the hardest choice I ever made.   And I had to make it many days, through many tears.  But I knew that choosing to praise Him in the midst of it, was the only way that I would be able to know peace.

I think I thought that if I said, “God is good.   He still loves me.   He still is working, and has good plans for me,”  that I would be saying that it was ok to lose my mom.    That I didn’t mind having her die.    But really, it wasn’t saying that at all.   I think that inviting God into my grief allowed me even more to see how much I was hurting, and how He was hurting with me.   That he hated it as much as I did.   That it made Him sad too, and that it was ok to say that it really sucked.    He knew that it did.    He grieved with me.   And still does.

Today’s the anniversary of losing my brother in law 2 years ago, and again today, I am faced with sadness of him being gone.   At how much I wish he was at the soccer games with his boys.  Or building the tree house in their yard.  Or see the look on his face when his wife told him how she got into nursing school, just like he knew she would.  But, just like our friends, I am choosing to believe that we will see him again.  That he does live on, and that he is more alive than even we are.  It’s that hope, of a life spent not only here, but with Him.   And I’m so glad that we have that offer, too.

“Death has no more dominion over that He lives, He lives unto God.  Likewise consider yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive to God.”  Romans 6:9-11 


Sissy said...


I remember Emily speaking of your brother-in-law and what was happening at the time. Seems like it wasn't two years was just yesterday. I didn't remember the story of your mom though, and I can so relate to the grief of losing a parent. My dad passed away from luekemia when I was 20 and that loss still profoundly affects me, as I am sure your loss affects you. Recently, in my own dark and depressed time dealing with infertility, another blogger recommended the song "Praise you in this storm" by Casting Crowns. IT is now my anthem...about raising my hands to heaven when things hurt the most. I downloaded it from iTunes and play it often.

Here's giving you a box of tissues and a big hug over the blogosphere.

Nan said...

If you are able, please squeeze and hold Hope's mom, dad and brother for me. My heart is breaking and wish I could be there with them. We knew that it was likely, as they had shared with us, but hadn't heard an update. We are praying for them!

Shannon and John said...


I hear your heart so clearly- these are all questions I struggle with too.

Loss can seriously distort your view of the creator. I have found it an up hill battle to replace the lies with his truth.

In times of great sadness I meditate on Psalm 103 and on theese verses...

"I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord."
Psalm 27:13-14


emily said...

Beautifully written, friend.

Nan said...

Please forgive me for being so focused on one thing in your post andnot the rest. I can't imgaine your grief and the reminders that come up of your loss. I think that it is special that you have been able to talk some about your mom...I've never known anything before, until the last few posts or so. Thanks for a bit of insight. Again, please forgive me...we had been wondering how Hope was doing and it was such a shock when I read your post that that is all I really "saw." I am sorry.

Caroline said...

Extremely touching, extremely true - we have such a personal, intimate God who is capable of binding our brokenness and filling in the empty places.

melissa said...

thanks, y'all for all of the encouragement.

nan, don't even think twice about it. i've been much more sad for them, too, because it is what just happened. i think that it helps me to identify with what they're feeling a little bit because of knowing a little about loss. but i am totally with you on having a broken heart for them with this.