Our identity is so important, and when we lose our child, a huge part of our identity has been stripped from us, even if we have other children still here (but especially if we do not).
In the Bible, in the book of Exodus, chapter three, God shares with Moses that He has seen the pain and misery of His people. He has heard them crying. He is concerned about their suffering. And He has a plan to help them out of their pain, to move them forward into the fullness of who He promised they would be, if they would allow it.
When we are in the darkness of our crushing pain, most of us don’t even think it is possible to move out of the darkness into a place of light, much less have meaning and purpose in our lives ever again. I have heard so many times, “Well, maybe you have found peace and hope and have a life worth living, and I am glad for you, but I just don’t see that happening for me.” Guess what? I THOUGHT THE SAME THING!
After my daughter, Becca, died, I was in such a pit of suffocating darkness, but had no idea how to get out and didn’t think I ever could. And I was absolutely right! I couldn’t.
But I was also determined to hang on to God with anything and everything I possibly could, no matter what. And quite often, that was not holding on to Him at all, but letting Him hold on to me as I just cried and sobbed. And I am talking not just weeks, but months and on into the second and third year after her death.
The added horror of thinking that I was going to live out the rest of my life here on earth just waiting to die, while stuck in the shell of my earthly body, was terrifying to me. Especially when my head knew I still had things to live for, but my heart just wouldn’t allow me to believe it and want to live.
So, I started making myself think about what I knew about my God before the unthinkable happened.
• I AM with you and will NEVER leave you or forsake you
• I AM able – NOTHING is impossible for Him
• I AM a promise keeper (which we often misunderstand or misconstrue)
• I AM love itself
• I AM your comforter
• I AM light in the darkness
• I AM the Prince of Peace
• I AM life, and resurrection power is my specialty
• I AM the one who counts all of your tears and keeps them in a bottle
• I AM the lover of your soul
• I AM all-knowing and all-powerful
• I AM the giver of life, of hope, of rest
• I AM the One who makes a way when there is no way
• I AM the Alpha and O mega, the beginning and end of everything (He will always have the final word!)
• I AM the provider of eternal life
• I AM your rock, your anchor, and the tower you can run to for security
• I AM everything you need
What I have come to know is that because of the identity of the great I AM, my identity, and therefore my life, is not over here on this earth, and I am okay with that. And even more importantly, my identity is tied to Him more than anything or anyone else, which is still slowly bringing a new measure of freedom in my life that I have never had before.
God was not blindsided by Becca’s death. He didn’t reach His limits when she left this earth, and was suddenly unable to bring light into darkness, no matter how deep and black that darkness is.
In other words, He did not stop being I AM, and all that it means, because I stopped being the me I knew as Becca’s mom. He is the exact same God I loved and trusted before He allowed Becca to go ahead of me to our eternal home. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He was, and is, and is to come. He isn’t the one whose identity changed. His identity is sure and secure, proven throughout thousands of years.
That meant I had to find out who He really is, instead of who I thought He was. And you probably need to as well. And the only way I know for us to become unscrambled in this area of our lost identity, and become all that God created and intended for us to be, is to seek to understand God’s identity as the I AM, within our deep pain and grief.
Go ahead, be mad at Him. It’s okay. That is part of how we find out who He really is. Because no matter how we feel about Him or treat Him, He still is the same incredibly secure and great I AM. And that is something to be extremely thankful for.
Because of God’s identity being I AM, you can still have identity, purpose and meaning after the death of your child. It will take a while, but I and many other bereaved parents can tell you that it is worth pursuing and fighting for! And please know that we are here for you, to walk with you to that place, without shaming you or judging you, no matter how long it takes.
Laura has written a book, Triple Crown Transformation, that has a chapter about our identity. Let us know if you would like to receive this as a free downloadable eBook. (It is also available on Amazon in paperback and audiobook.)
Expressions of Hope is written by author and speaker Laura Diehl to bring hope, light and life to those struggling in darkness after a tragedy, especially bereaved parents. If you would like more information about Laura as an author or a speaker for your next event, click here.