This past week has been one of the most emotionally draining I’ve experienced in a while. I wrote in one of my posts from last week that I’d been experiencing an inner turmoil of sorts, like I was waiting for something to happen. And something has. Nothing that I ever would have hoped for or imagined, but the unthinkable. The tragic.
You see, I serve as Co-Coordinator of our local MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group, which is an amazing ministry of women who support and love one another during all of the ups and downs of motherhood. We introduce women who may not know Jesus to a Creator who loves them unconditionally in a non-threatening, neutral environment where many simply need conversation with another adult and time to recharge. Many women who’ve never stepped foot in church or simply stopped going are drawn to it as a result of MOPS.
Last Friday, I was informed early that morning by our Coordinator that one of my friends and very active members of our group had experienced what I can only comprehend as the worst kind of loss. Her son had died.
I had woken up several times the previous night and unable to fall back asleep, had prayed. Although I didn’t know what requests to bring before God or what was making me so restless, I felt the unspeakable need to pray. When I awoke the next morning and checked our MOPS Facebook page, I discovered why. The mom had posted that her son was in the hospital, had coded and was on a ventilator. So again, I came before God, not sure what the status of the situation was. Until about fifteen minutes later.
When I volunteered to become a MOPS leader, I knew that difficult times would arise. It never fails. I began my leadership experience in Utah about a year after giving birth to my first son. But I never dreamed anything like this would happen. My immediate response, which was the repeated sentiment of the leadership team, was that we did not feel equipped to respond. We had no words. We were grief stricken, spent much of the morning in prayer and tears, and any condolences we could offer felt trite and hollow.
As I sought wisdom from the Lord through prayer and spoke with family, our Pastor, and a friend who had also lost a child, I heard the same reply repeated over and over. Be there. That’s it. There is nothing you can say that will do much to ease the pain. Just be there. So that’s what we did and will continue to do throughout this process.
Over the course of the week, as acquaintances have responded with questions, comments and support, I’ve experienced emotions ranging from sadness to anger to grief, and I cannot, I will not presume to know what the family is going through. I’ve been made painfully aware that there is indeed a difference between curiosity and concern, and that while some people will try to mask one as the other, it doesn’t take much guessing to see where the heart really is. Concern says, “What can I do to help?” Curiosity says, “What happened? What are all the details?”
One question which we all ask, and one I know the mother has already grappled with, is, “Why?” Why would God allow this to happen? And that I simply cannot answer. My heart feels as though a weight has been placed on top of it, and glimpses of my children running and playing over the past few days remind me how blessed I truly am.
What I do know as that God is good even when life isn’t. And although that may sound cliched or simple, if I had faith only when life’s circumstances were joyful, well my faith wouldn’t really be worthwhile or helpful. If I trust God only when life is easy, where will I go when life is hard? Although I’ve never experienced loss of this magnitude, I’ve gone other places when existence is painful. Places that further added to my pain.
Jesus is my hope because nothing else makes any sense when everything crumbles. If I had all the answers, it wouldn’t be called faith.
A few days after all of this happended I received my quarterly MOPS magazine. Wow, what a blessing that was. Filled with great articles and encouragement. I was near tears, reading an article entitled, “Don’t Lose Heart: The Unseen Truth” when I found just the verse I needed to hold onto in the coming weeks. It has become my mantra.
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18
Although I cannot see Laken, I know his Heavenly Father sees him. The Creator who made him and loves him with a love so deep and wide I cannot fathom it. Although I don’t always see the good in the ashes laying all around me, I trust that the Spirit will bind and mend and heal in a way which only He can.
I know that our entire team is devastated by the events of last week. We grope along, trying to find the best ways to comfort this wonderful mom who has just had her heart broken. Sometimes, we just have to take the next step in faith, even when we don’t feel as though we have the equipment. When we don’t think we have what it takes. Those are the moments when the Spirit steps in, he takes our hand, and reaches through us.
Toward those who need us the most.
We place our hope in the unseen.