After Jackson died, my faith was incredibly strong. Probably the strongest its ever been in my life, strangely enough. God provided me with so much comfort in so many ways. But as time has gone on, I have to admit my faith has somewhat been weakened. I have so many hard and unanswered questions. Sometimes I felt so hurt that my on my knee pleas to God to heal my son were unanswered in the way I wanted. It made me feel like I did not want to pray. So for a few months, my prayers were few and far between. It hurt to pray. It hurt to ask God to comfort me because then I had to deal with my grief. I wondered if there was any point in asking God to heal other people. Not because he can’t do it, but I wondered if he even does. You hear stories of miraculous healing. How does God decide who gets to be healed and who doesn’t? I mean, he can because he is God, but it feels really unfair. Are my prayers not good enough? Have I prayed for healing for people when I needed to be praying for something else? We pray for people who are sick and suffering. Should we even pray that they be healed? Or pray they have the strength to get through their suffering? Just a lot of big, confusing questions.
One day I was having a particularly sad morning. I did my normal cry in the shower routine. But after my shower I couldn’t stop. I sat in my newly Marie Kondo’d closet and sobbed. And then I blurted out to God “I am so broken. So broken. Please just help me” I sat there for a few minutes in silence with God. Then, I got myself together and went on through the day. The days following I just asked God to comfort me. It felt selfish, but I just needed it. I desperately needed to feel God comforting me. And you know what? He did. But you know what else? It was because my heart was fully open to receiving Him again.
I want to share several ways he has comforted me. We like feeding and watching the birds. The bird feeder is right outside our living room window, and we see all different kinds of birds all day long. I always think of the birds and remember the verse In Matthew “Look at the birds in the sky. They do not plant seeds. They do not gather grain. They do not put grain into a building to keep. Yet your Father in heaven feeds them! Are you not more valuable than the birds?” So it had been about a year since we had our feeder out, and it seemed to be taking the birds a long time to find it again. Everyday I hoped to see some birds. One day I looked out of the window and there were probably 15 Junco’s. I was so happy. The next day the Chickadees found us. Then, we had a few more visit. I really, really wanted to Cardinals to come to it. Just as I decided they weren’t going to find it or come to it, there they were, a pair of Cardinals. The beautiful, bright red male was right in front of me. But they are very skittish so they don’t stay long. I thanked God for letting me see that bright red bird at just the right time I looked out of my window. The next day I looked and looked for birds and didn’t see any. I finally saw one little Junco sitting on our little bench. And I just watched her for a long time. I felt like God was saying yes, it’s exciting to see all kinds of birds but be still and look at the little Junco out there. Watch her a few minutes. She isn’t flashy, but I take care of her and oh, how much more I take care of you. And I love bluebirds. They are so pretty! So I had seen one in our neighborhood and I just thought how much I would love to have them visit us. I even googled how to feed them. That afternoon, I was sitting alone in the living room and a bluebird came to the suet and just sat there a long time before flying off. I know, I put the suet out and bluebirds like it but it just felt like God was giving me some happiness that day.
Another way I felt God’s love was through a best friend who organized some sweet ladies from church to bring us food these couple of weeks around Jackson’s anniversary. I feel so undeserving and completely humbled by it. But each time someone has brought us a meal, it has been perfectly timed and there has been a huge amount of comfort surrounding it. And honestly, the last week or two I have felt like I’m in a fog and just thinking about energy to go to the store is hard. Having these meals brought to us has just been the biggest blessing, as well as, the ladies who have have brought it to us.
The next way I have found God’s comfort is very raw and sensitive. But I know he was speaking to me.
Every year on or near Jackson’s anniversary I wait until I have some time to myself, and I get his urn down. We keep in on the top shelf of our hutch because I like to think he is in the heart of our home. I take my time to clean the urn. Then I open it because there a some items I also keep inside of it. I take my time and I look at all the things inside. I cry and I remember him. This time, I sobbed as I looked at the ashes. I picked up some of the ashes and let it fall between my fingers and despairingly thought “How can this be what’s left of my vibrant child who was here with us? Just ashes and dust.” After a few minutes, I placed everything back in his urn and put it back on the shelf until next year.
After this, I went to school to pick up Harry. I have made friends with the kindest, sweetest gal who has one of her boys in class with Harry. She said she thought of me when she was reading a book and gave me a copy. She said she hoped something in the book would speak to me. It’s called “It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way” by Lysa Terkeurst. I don’t really feel like I have a ton of time to read, but last night I started reading it. And guess what the name of Chapter 2 was? Dust.
Here is an excerpt from her book ”
Dust doesn’t have to signify the end. Dust is often what must be present for the new to begin. Think about how much of an end it feels like when someone dies. No matter how well we take care of ourselves and those love, no matter how good we are, no matter how mature in the faith we become, we will not escape the reality that death is certain and our lives will be reduced to dust. Gen. 3:19, tells us that from dust we came and to dust we shall return. ….In the end we all die, decay, and decompose into dust. But for those who believe in Jesus Christ as the Lord of their lives, this isn’t the end but the beginning of a transformation we all long to experience. Physical death is the only way to start the process of receiving our heavenly bodies that will never wear out, decay in any way or ever be reduced to dust.
…Death is but a passageway at God’s designated time for us to finally escape this broken world full of imperfections and be welcomed to the Home we’ve been longing for our entire lives. We don’t determine when this is, but we don’t have to fear death as an end. It’s another beginning.”
If that isn’t God speaking comfort to me, through my friend, I don’t know what is! I’ve mentioned God coincidences before, and I just wanted to share that story. God is real, ever faithful, comforting and loving to his children. All that to say if you open your heart to God, even when you’re in pain, healing will occur and much, much more! As I continue to work through my faith and my big spiritual questions, I know that God is with me. I know he knows my heart and that I’m trying my best despite going through such a tragedy. It was really on my heart to share all of this. My only hope is that as I have been comforted by God through his people that you or someone you know can experience the same love and comfort, even in the midst of heartache and pain.