Friday, November 8, 2013

Living well

I read a blog post this week from a mother who experienced the loss of her infant son through stillbirth. She is bitter, beyond bitter. I hurt for her because I believe that bitterness, left unchecked, will grow like a slow-spreading poison that will eventually contaminate every one of her relationships, but most especially, her relationships with her remaining children. I understand how she can be bitter, I do, and I pass no judgement on her. Families are complicated. Communication is challenging. Grief in the midst of both is an intricate, delicate dance.

Her post served to again strengthen my resolve that my son's death would not be in vain. I can ensure this by changing the way I interact with Matt's siblings. One of my deepest, most painful regrets is that I did not do this with Matt. Our relationship was beyond strained in the weeks and months before he died. In a phone conversation with my best friend just a few weeks before Matt died, I uttered words I never thought I would say in my life. I told her crying, "I just want him out of my house." It is my "dirty little secret" that Satan fires relentlessly at me in order to condemn me and to bind me in paralyzing chains of guilt.

Satan's goal is to kill and destroy, and there is no better means to accomplish it than using condemnation, guilt, and lies. If it were not for the truth of God's word, I would have surely drowned in a pool of guilt by now. GriefShare was my life preserver. The truth is that I am forgiven and, had Matt lived, we would have worked it out. I'm not proud of the way I handled things with him and, while I don't get a "do over" with him, I can commit to see that I don't make the same mistakes with his younger brothers and sisters. It is one of the best ways I know of to honor his memory and to not let his death be in vain. With God's help I will be a better parent.

Matt's second youngest sister is so much like him, though she is the extroverted, "party" version of him. It, too, can be a cause of much friction and disagreement. I realized early on after Matt died that things needed to change or she and I would possibly be headed down the same road of difficulty. I have prayed fervently for God's wisdom and help. This week, I believe I received an answer to prayer when I obtained a copy of the newly released book Love and Respect in the Family.

For several years my husband and I have benefited from applying the principles put forth in the Love and Respect study materials, and I had actually yearned many years ago for something similar that would address the same issues between parents and their children.

As soon as I got the book, I started reading the acknowledgement page (Yeah, I do read that page!) and was struck by what Emerson said about his parents being in paradise. When I am tempted to lament the loss of these temporary, joyous occasions with Matt, I need to remember this: My son is in paradise! How could I not want that for him? While I am sad for me (and for his dad and Matt's brothers and sisters) and it makes me cry, I am comforted in knowing that paradise (and reunion) awaits for all of us who have trusted and believed in Jesus as Lord and Savior.

I also have hope because God heard my prayer and is bringing beauty from ashes. He is weaving good in the midst of sorrow. I will live life well because it is yet another way to honor my son's memory and honor God. 


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