Everyone has hopes and dreams. And when our child leaves this earth ahead of us, our lives are shattered, including those dreams.
Some of our dreams were for that child, and we know quite painfully that those are dreams that will never become a reality.
What about the rest of our “someday” dreams? Most of us just can’t see those ever becoming a reality, either. Our grief leaves us in a suffocating darkness. We now find ourselves in survival mode, much less having some sort of inner drive and energy to pursue something bigger than ourselves.
But I am here to tell you that it is possible to dream again. Maybe one or two of those same dreams will eventually resurface, and you will have new purpose to fulfill them.
However, many of us pareavors end up with a new set of hopes and dreams that are based on keeping our child alive in the hearts and lives of others, including people who never knew or met our child.
That is what happened to me.
Before our oldest daughter died, I had an international children’s ministry, and had no idea God was about ready to make a huge shift to totally phase out that ministry and start a completely new one.
After Becca died, I was on auto-pilot for the first couple of years, still ministering and traveling nationally and internationally. But the reality of the deep loss and the suffocating darkness of the grief eventually began to seep through, and I could no longer function physically or emotionally, and had to step down.
I spent hours, weeks and months in isolation while trying to find other bereaved parents ahead of me on this path who could pull me back into a place of hope, light, and life again. But almost everything I found (books, Facebook groups, etc.) was all darkness and hopelessness, telling me I would never get past it and life would never be worth living again.
- I refused to believe and come into agreement that the rest of my life here on earth would remain in darkness and not be worth living.
- I refused to remain emotionally crippled in a way that kept me from being part of the lives of my other children and growing clan of grandchildren.
- I knew God was not blindsided by Becca’s death the way I had been.
- I did not believe the death of my daughter was where God reached His limit, and He was unable to pull me out of my black pit and back onto the path of life again.
- I knew there was a Seed of Hope living inside of me.
- I knew there was still a calling on my life.
- I did not want to just survive in a shell waiting to die, but wanted to get to a point where I could thrive in my life once again.
I didn’t know how, or what my life would look like, but I didn’t want more death; I wanted life! After all, bringing life from death is God’s specialty.
Not only did God come through with these things, but He made me an author (which was totally unexpected) and birthed a new dream of a new ministry, Grieving Parents Sharing Hope (GPS Hope) in the process!
And this new dream after Becca’s death is a really big dream, and it keeps getting bigger. It is a dream that is bigger than me, bigger than any one person. It is a God-sized dream.
The month of January celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day. He was famous for his “I have a dream” speech, and I recently found myself wondering if I were to give my own “I have a dream speech,” what would that be like?
In writing it out, I came up with six things.
- I have a dream that no pareavor is left feeling alone, isolated and abandoned.
- I have a dream that all grieving parents can quickly and easily connect with other pareavors for encouragement.
- I have a dream that any pareavor who has his or her faith in God shaken has a safe place to share their hurt, their doubts and their anger without judgment or being shunned.
- I have a dream that the family and friends of pareavors know how to give true comfort and support, both physically and emotionally, and treat the parents’ grief as the long process it is, instead of an event.
- I have a dream that even before a parent loses a child, they already know who they can contact for support and help in their pain and confusion when their own child leaves this earth.
- I have a dream that every grieving parent who feels shattered and hopeless has the immediate opportunity to have other pareavors in their life who can be a light of hope in their place of darkness.
How about you? Do you have any dreams stirring around? It could be one that was in you before the death of your child that God is stirring in you once again, or it might be a completely new dream.
If you can’t see any dreams, my next question is, do you want to? If your answer is not really, or you aren’t sure, I suggest you go to the list of statements I made (refusing to believe my life was no longer worth living, knowing there was still a calling on my life, etc.), making them your own.
Say them out loud.
“I refuse to believe… “
“I refuse to remain…”
“I know there is…”
“I do not want to…”
Print them out and post them some place where you can see them, reminding yourself every day of the truth; truth that will bring a new level of freedom within the grief.
I am not saying these things will cause the pain to go away, or put you on some fast-track of getting to the other side of the deepest darkness. But they can be a spark or a key, cracking open the door to light. And as you continue, that door will open further, revealing hope, dreams and purpose once again that goes beyond the death of your child.
These six things are truly much more than a dream for me.
They are my God-given calling. They are the vision and mission I am taking action on, moving forward in, one step, one day at a time.
They are now my reality.
Once you start dreaming again, what does it take to put those dreams into motion? I have written a short eBook titled Three Things to Put Your Dreams in Motion. Just tell me where to send it, and I will be happy to give it to you.