It was during those first days after my friend Heather tragically lost her little boy, that I realized a heart could break, I mean truly break, for someone else’s pain.
I often didn’t know what to say to her. What can you tell a grieving Mama who wants, only, to hold her son again? Words failed. Sometimes I was only left with simply “I love you. I am listening.”
The years have passed. Sometimes I still can only say “I love you. I’m listening.”
If you are walking close, this holiday season, to someone suffering with overwhelming grief: stay in it with them. Pray for them and never underestimate the power of, just, being there.
If you are grieving this season.. if Christmas will come to you, not wrapped in beautiful bows and glittery joy, but wrapped in the pain and sorrow of tragedy, we see you. Those God has placed in your life, in your circle, we see you, we love you, we are listening.
I felt God relentlessly pursuing me to search out a note I sent Heather during that first Christmas season without her son.
It was written in the early morning hours, after God woke me to pray for her family, as He often did during her hard first days of grief. The words poured from my heart – words more His than my own. When it was done, I knew it was a word for Heather.
And now for someone else.
As today I felt again, God asking for me to get these words out.
So, if it is for you, or for someone you care about, then just know this: the God of Creation? The author of this Christmas season? He is thinking of you. You who are grief-stricken as you tumble headlong into the “festivities” and He loves you, dearly, and uniquely.
This message I wrote for my friend, is being shared below, with her permission:
I wanted you to know that I have been praying for you morning and night as always. You are so loved by your church family, we see the pain and bring you to God often.
This morning as I prayed for you a thought kept crossing my mind:
God could have saved this wretched world, could have made a way to reconcile sinners to Himself, in any form.
Yes, the plan for salvation could have taken any form but nothing God does is accidental.
I think God knew that the most leveling, most painful, most heart wrenching grief a human would ever experience, would be found in the death of ones child.
So good is God that He made salvation come through the death of His child. I believe He did this so that we could never believe there was a pain so deep He did not understand.
1 John 4:10
“This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His SON as an atoning sacrifice for our sins”
But Satan also knows the heart-shattering pain this type of loss brings.
The enemy is a gambler and he bets against us with this.
Satan wants to be able to take the loss of a loved one and use it to turn the face of the grieving, from the power of God.
Job 1:11 (satan speaking..)
“But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face!”
God always knew Satan’s game, his schemes. By the sacrifice of His own child, God gave grieving parents such a weapon to beat back the evil: shared experience.
You and God both lost a child you love.
You can cling to Him knowing He knows fully the depth and breadth of your pain.
In this pain, you have the chance to know God more. I was thinking about how, in a way, as you grieve the loss of Seth you will get to know God in a way I don’t – as another parent who had to lose their child, to death, for a bit. (For we know death is not the end, that heaven is real and one day you will be together again! Oh happy day!)
Truly, in the past I have thought about how slightly sad even the day of Jesus’ birth was to the heart of God.
For what we celebrate as Christmas was actually the day God sent His son away for over 30 years..just as you have been asked to send your loved one, for a time. Even in THIS waiting you are suffering in a way very familiar to God.
He sees you, He knows, He can be trusted with your grief and you can trust in the victory that will be found as you continue to stay with God and resist letting the enemy use this for his gain.
“And a second reminder, dear children: You know the Father from personal experience. You veterans know the One who started it all; and you newcomers—such vitality and strength! God’s word is so steady in you. Your fellowship with God enables you to gain a victory over the Evil One.” 1 John 2:13-14 MSG