How many kids do you have?
This is the question everyone asks that seems simple to answer, but for me is very difficult. I constantly struggle with this question.
How’s that for a response? No one really wants to hear that answer. They want to hear how many living children I have. Believe me, I have learned the hard way telling complete strangers my story only to receive blank stares. How do I answer the question truthfully?
Do I feel fulfilled as a mother that I honors all of my children, or respectfully hide the truth from others so they don’t have to bare my hurt?
After losing our infant son to an incurable kidney disease four years ago, we thought we would only have to deal with the grief of losing him and not all the other things that came with it.
We didn’t realize that the life we lived before no longer existed and now had to live a new normal, a life without him. Our new lives took on a whole new shape and form that we didn’t recognize and a whole world of pain we didn’t know what to do with. I discovered how incapacitating grief could be. I felt like the paralyzed man lying on his mat at the healing pool waiting to get in the pool to be healed (John 5).
Grief is very paralyzing, just like the paralyzed man.
It doesn’t allow you to do the things you used to do or be the person you used to be. I knew I had to get up off of my mat in order to be healed, but was paralyzed by my grief. There were many times I cried out to God, “Please take this pain from me!” only to feel the invasion of grief envelope and overwhelm me.
Really God was pursuing me, trying to take my hand so he could lead me out of my grief, but grief can be so blinding that I couldn’t see what God was trying to do all along: Save me.
It wasn’t until I used up all of my efforts to avoid, stay busy, run from, ignore my pain, that God made me choose. When I couldn’t run away from it anymore, God asked “Do you want to be healed?”
I did want to be healed, but I was scared.
I knew God was the only way to truly being healed whole-heartedly, but I was scared of experiencing more pain! God said then “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk!” (John 5:8 NIV). God knew what I needed. He knew I couldn’t stay on that mat any longer. God knew in order for me to heal, I had to get up and start walking! I couldn’t stay there in that place anymore, nor could I go back to it.
I couldn’t imagine being paralyzed for 38 years and then one day Jesus approaches me to ask, “Do you want to be healed?” Out of all the disabled people laying around the healing pool, Jesus approaches this one paralyzed man. He pursued him, sought him out, just like he does us.
There are going to be times that Jesus asks you to do things that you don’t want to do, that may be hard. I promise you, that God will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born (Isaiah 66:9).
Our pain will never be wasted. The same God that sent Jesus to conquer the grave for us and raised him from the dead is the same God that can deliver and raise us up also (1 Corinthians 6:14). There are days I long to hold our son in my arms and the grief starts creeping in again. But I know that one day I will see him again. I know God is taking care of him and I can rejoice because of His promises.
We can trust our God who is a God of Hope. Hold on–pain ends in His promises.
Heather received a master’s degree in Nursing at Villanova University in 2004 and her Bachelor’s degree in Nursing at West Chester University in 1999. Heather works full time as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist at a surgery center. Her husband, Mac, is an Oral and Maxillo-Facial Surgeon serving in the United States Air force. Heather lives in Alaska with her husband and two living children. When she is not working, writing, or taking care of the house, you can find Heather running the trails, reading, taking the kids to gymnastics, crafting with her daughter, building legos with their son and camping with her family!