Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Cost of Grief

It has been an interesting few weeks. Let me just say that I have learned that material things, earthly issues and matters don't seem near as big of a deal as they did before having Noah. Yet, that does not mean that having to fix the washing machine, the jeep's battery and alternator, getting our roof repaired, going to have to paint the house, get my wisdom teeth out, window repaired, etc. doesn't get annoying. I mean, we're talking around 8 grand in reapairs and upkeep of everyday life. ugh. I think satan tries to use these issues, well, I know he does, to get us in a vulnerable spot. We begin to think poor pitiful me. We even begin to feel that we are entitled to less suffering or less hardship just because we love and serve God.

In fact, I have been going through some deep grieving lately. It is always there, but sometimes it just gets heavier and harder to maintain. While in this valley, you could call it, I discovered I began having this terrible anger problem. I realized I was getting snippy and short with Ava, A LOT. Not just  your typical toddler/mommy spats, but with things that should not have been a big issue, I was flipping out. Simple mistakes made by Nick or myself would result in me getting angry and would throw me into a depressive state for anywhere from a couple of minutes to a day or more. I would try so hard to pray and focus, to remember who hold the future and who held everyday of my past, the one who knows me and still loves me, but I could not shake the anger. I still deal with it. I have confided in some special people in my life and I couldn't be more blessed to have a sister in Seminary, studying Biblical counseling. She sisters me but has some depth and knowledge to her advice and I'm thankful for that. I have decided to seek help with a counselor for some of my deep pain and issues. I suppose I am telling you this because there is surely someone who is facing the depth and darkness of child loss and is trying to function and do it alone, by sheer will or by stubborness. You can't do it. I feel that I have a strong faith, it has gotten me through so much and continues to sustain me in everyday life, yet, having a neutral party who can help me sort through some of my questions and longings, I have realized, does not make me weak or lacking in faith, but makes me human, real and willing to get through this for the sake of myself, my husband and my daughter.

You see, grief is NOT an excuse to sin. Maybe you didn't catch that, but grief is NOT an EXCUSE to SIN. I could easily try to justify my anger, my depression, my ugly words towards nick, inpatient heart towards Ava, my snippy words, bad attitude, harsh judgements, etc by saying I have gone through hell. It feels as if I have, but that is no excuse. If I am to go deeper and know Christ and share in his suffering I feel as if he is taking me to this new level of grace and mercy within the depths of my sinning, to show me that suffering from grief is part of carrying my cross. DAILY.

There will never be a day I do not grieve the loss of my son. ever.

Perhaps when Christ so boldy says, "Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." Matthew 10:37-39 Perhaps, he MEANT it. I'll go out on a limb here and tell you that there are moments when my missing and grieving Noah is more painful that anything and not even scripture seems to heal the wound, but at the same time, God isn't calling me to be happy and comfortable, even in healing. He is calling me to follow him, to press into him, to love him. MORE. THAN. MY. SON. more than Nick. more than Ava. In order for me to be worthy of him, I have to LOVE HIM MORE than the things that mean the most. So, I must lay down the anger and find help to deal with my anger, I must, in my grieving, allow Him to hold me and be enough for me. Because, grieving Noah is not sin. Missing him is not wrong. But, putting that grief and anger ABOVE him IS. Not dealing with it is. I must begin letting him take the anger and entitlement, frustration and the feeling that I deserve good things because I went through the death of my child.

I may not be making any sense, but I have felt more conviction of this and the need to share with others that in our grief, we can begin to put our loved one above God, we can end up worshiping our grief and it begins to make us become obsessed with the grief itself, not letting it be a tool to make us better. I begin to see more clearly now why I have been dealing with such turmoil and agony inside. God continues to use Noah to teach me, to mold me and then to share with you those things. The other night I randomly wrote down that I didn't want to learn anything in my grief or find a way to feel better. I just wanted to wallow in it, be in it, soak it up and let it overwhelm me. That was a trap and I almost fell for it. Don't get me wrong. I can grieve anytime I need to, but I can never have the mindset and attitude that grieving is the answer (always) or that the results of grieving are all ok. Anger is ok, frustration is ok, but sinning in the middle of that, by lashing out at my husband, showing anger and poor reaction to my daughter is not ok, judging others' lives simply by the standard that they haven't lost a child is wrong. God is calling us, even in our loss, to a deeper level and a higher calling. We must grieve and miss our child, but we cannot conform to the world's way of grieving. We must always end in a deeper knowing of God, Christ and His way.
This is a hard word. This is a word that I am even having a hard time digesting and I know that is becasue it is directly from the Lord. Please pray for those you know who are grieving, for those who do not have Christ in their grieving. Be patient with those of us who always talk about our child that is no longer here. Show grace and love as we try to move past the hurt and the feeling of betrayal and move into the beauty of grace. (as most anyone reading this, already does) :)

To those of you grieving alongside me. Please seek counsel when needed. Don't be too proud. Let others help you. For those grieving, who are believers. We must not let our grief become sinful. It only allows satan to create footholds for others, we do not represent Christ's love or his healing and we appear as if we do not actually believe that he is enough for us. I say this in love, as I am living this out, trying to rely on God moment by moment to not let my missing my son become costly to  my daughter. Costing her joy, happiness, a healthy mom, a respected daddy, costing her a childhood of happiness and adventure for one of watching her mother deal with the ups and downs so harshly that she begins to feel it was her fault, in her small, innocent mind. Please reach out. Don't let others watch you destroy yourself, for the sake of the grief and hurt. I know it is real. I still feel it every moment. I am in this with you. Be wise. Press into the Word. Be willing to be held accountable. Do not love your loved one who's gone, more than your Lord. I am. Trying. Join with me and let's give God glory. In. All. Things.

Noah's momma

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A night like tonight...

I don't want to stop grieving. It is the closest to Noah I have sometimes. That is all. I don't need a pep talk or a sweet saying to help me through the rough patch. I just need to grieve and not feel like I have to learn anything from it or find the good in it. I just want to grieve that my son is not here for me to hold.
For now,
Noah's mommy

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Missing Noah

I realized yesterday that in a perfect world, I would have a 1 year old next month. I truly cannot fathom it. A new pain wells up deep within my heart and I ache so much I hardly catch a breath. Did the last year really just go by that fast? The days seemed so long at the time. They would drag on and on. They went in terms of day shift and night shift, Friday nights and Sunday afternoons. The months would come and go and we would realize we were still there. Yet, the days were so long. Another month and we would find the good things to be thankful for and soak up all we could of each other and the little bits of good news and hope. The months since we have all been back home have been fast. We have had lots going on, Ava has been growing by leaps and bounds, daily it seems. We have enjoyed time with family, friends and back at church all the time. We have had a few mini vacations and lots of snuggles. We are still playing catch up on those. But, a YEAR? I am sure that there will be another rambling around that time, but for now, I guess I just want to be in denial. 

I cannot and won't sit here and go through all the what ifs and whys. I will tell you that not a day goes by that I don't think of my baby. Not a day. There are days when missing him makes me better. It makes me take risks and live life fuller. There are days that missing him makes me weep. A lot. There are moments that missing him cleanses me. There are times that missing him makes me thankful. 

Missing Noah has taken a lot of forms and has resulted in various things for me in my life. I won't deny the fact that missing Noah tends to be my form of inspiration these days. Without knowing Noah I would not have had the courage to begin stepping out in faith to follow my dream. Without missing him I would have backed out when my doubts started to cloud my vision. Without missing Noah, I think that I would have stopped listening to God. I have listened to God more in the last year of having Noah in my life, than I EVER had in my entire life previous. I told a dear friend of mine and his wife, in the cool Colorado evening air, as we visited after an evening of worship and the Word, that perhaps Noah was sent to earth, just for me. I have never longed for eternity, never had such a direct means of sharing Christ and never a hunger to keep after Him, than after Noah came. Perhaps even more so after he went. 

The thing about "losing a child" is that it is either a constant reminder of how terrible life is, how ugly life can be, how unfair it all is and how hateful God seems to be towards us. Yet, it can also be a means of grace, a way to the Father, a lesson in love, a message of mercy, a continuing calling to go deeper and climb higher, a way to forever want more of Him, anything to be near my little one. Noah's death keeps me closer to true life. 

That doesn't make it easier, as much as it makes it worth it. Each painful moment gets me one step closer to eternity. Each longing for Noah, keeps me longing for heaven. It keeps me seeking after the places God is and makes me want to be there. 

Worship, in the corporate setting is my healing grace. There were a few moments, during youth camp in Colorado last week, that I felt closer to Noah than since February 22nd. To see young men lift their hands in worship to the Lord, it made me wonder if Noah would have been like them someday, but at the same time it made me realize, he ALREADY is. He IS worshiping, he does have his hands raised in praise and for that I am thankful. 

I may be weak, but your spirit's strong in me. My flesh may fail, but my God you never will. 

God never intended for Noah to be one year old on this earth. Realizing that is hard, but I know that each of our days is numbered and Noah fulfilled his purpose on this earth. The main one, to make Christ famous. The second, to make his mommy seek the Master. 

Good job, sweet son. Job well done. I could not be more proud of you. So, as I get through each day and each hard moment, I'll just soak each one up as a little reminder of the reason I'm still on earth and not with you. 

Missing Noah is something I will never stop doing. That's just fine with me. 

thanks as always, 
Noah's mommy