“Don’t do, just be.”
This was the message I kept hearing from many different places for the first two years after Becca’s leaving this earth. I believe it is a message we all need at some point when working our way through the darkness and back into the light after the death of our child.
We all need that place where we can go to get away and rest. However, the rest we truly need to come into is not a time and a place. It is a position; a way of life. But often we must begin with the time and place in order to learn to live in that position.
That means we have to set time aside specifically to be alone in God’s presence, especially if we have a hard time believing He truly loves us after not stepping in to save our child from earthly death. We need to “just be” in the stillness of His presence, where He can speak peace to us and fill us with His extravagant love.
During that time those first couple of years, God gave me many reminders to rest in Him and His ways. It was a hard thing to do, because I could not see any light in my darkness or understand why God was allowing so much intense pain.
He would share His reminders to just “be” and rest in Him in so many different ways. He would remind me to take a breath and breathe in His love and peace. He never sugarcoated anything, but would acknowledge how difficult and steep my climb was, telling me to cling tightly to His hand, reminding me to look at Him whenever my circumstances overwhelmed me.
He knew how weak and helpless I was, and He never tired of meeting me in my place of need. Looking back, I see now how each time He would free me from a few more of my shackles, even though most of the time I couldn’t feel it.
Not only would He “hold” me, but He would encourage me to relax in the awareness of His presence. Some of my most precious times with the Lord were in my greatest times of weakness, just letting everything go and melting into His peace, love, and compassion. And so much peace and deep revelation came out of those times of intimacy in those first few years.
For example, I discovered so many scriptures that I had misunderstood, such as Matthew 11:28-29 where Jesus says,
Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (NIV)
There are lots of theological teachings on what Jesus meant by this, including what it meant for Jesus, as a rabbi, to say this. But at that moment of my life, the revelation of those verses didn’t mean that Jesus would make my life easy, but that being yoked together with Him is being yoked to that place of rest for my soul; that He would help me carry this heavy burden which is impossible for me to carry on my own.
I rediscovered Psalm 23 in The Complete Jewish Bible translation, that promises to restore my inner person, and that if I pass through death-dark ravines, He is with me; and that His grace and goodness are still pursuing me every day of my life.
This is not to say at some point I got it all figured out and now continually live from a place of rest. I wish God would just speak a command and make it all better, taking away the pain and replacing it with constant peace and rest, but it hasn’t happened that way.
Learning how to live in that place of resting in God has been a process. The pain can still be pretty intense at times, making me feel like I am going backwards, losing that peace and the place of rest.
For instance, a while back, Becca’s husband dropped off four plastic tubs on our front porch. They were full of things he no longer wanted taking up space in his garage. Two bins held Becca’s collection of Snow Buddies she put out every Christmas. One had all of her cassette tapes and CDs, and one contained lots of odds and ends, such as medical items used during her last year and a half of life, and some beautiful photo scrapbooks Becca spent hours on of their family.
But the thing that left me in a crying mess for the next few days was when I discovered her wedding dress smashed in the bottom of one of those bins. My heart still hurts, thinking about it. It felt so cruel, so careless, like she was no longer wanted or to be remembered. My daughter’s life has been reduced to four plastic bins, I thought. But instead of allowing myself to go in that direction, I told myself the truth. Her life was much bigger than these four bins. However… it was another door of finality I had to painfully work through, and once again make a conscious decision to rest in who God is within the circumstance.
Learning to rest in God is a must if you want to get out of your place of darkness.
And that means spending time alone with Him. You don’t even have to talk to Him; just “be” with Him. Don’t feel guilty about being angry with Him, or about taking lots of time to be closed in with the One who loves you like crazy and wants to get you out of the pit and onto the path of living again.
Spend intimate time with Him. Lots of it. Let Him show you the way out by showing you the fullness of Himself. If you stick with it, I guarantee you will learn to come into that place of rest that we all so desperately need after the earthly departure of our child.
Would we rather have our child back? Absolutely. But that isn’t going to happen here on this earth. So, we might as well allow God to love on us and be at work in us, so that their death isn’t wasted in our lives.
This blog was taken from the chapter The Bedroom of Rest, from the award-winning book When Tragedy Strikes: Rebuilding Your Life with Hope and Healing After the Death of Your Child.
This book, When Tragedy Strikes, now has a course for those who feel the need to go deeper, wanting to implement more specific and practical ways on how to rebuild their lives after the death of their child.
The course has three options, based on how much or how little guidance one feels they want or need.
- The first option is a free mini course.
- The second option is a full course with eight modules.
- The third option is for those who see the value in having one-on-one guidance and interaction with author and instructor, Laura Diehl, in their grief journey as they go through the full course. NOTE: This is for a small limited group and only available 2-3 times a year.
The When Tragedy Strikes Hope & Healing Course was created to walk with and help navigate a parent who has lost a child to a place of light, hope and a life of purpose once again. It is easier walking with others who have been on this path than stumbling about on our own.
While the process of grief cannot be hurried, we can learn how to take steps, no matter how small, making sure we keep moving forward instead of remaining stuck in the pain and darkness of our horrific loss.
To find out more about the When Tragedy Strikes Hope & Healing Course, click here.
Expressions of Hope is written by author, speaker and singer Laura Diehl. She and her husband, Dave, are the founders of Grieving Parents Sharing Hope (GPS Hope). Dave and Laura travel full time in their Hope Mobile (a 38-foot motor home) to be more easily available for speaking and ministry requests, including being invited to hold one-day GPS Hope & Healing conferences.
If you would like more information about Laura as a speaker for your next event or want more information on hosting a GPS Hope & Healing conference, click here.
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