He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3
I am not sure where to begin with my story. Because God has really impacted me in so many different ways, that everything He has done for me is so important to me. That I am finding it difficult to prioritize in what I have to share. I pray for to the Lord to give me the wisdom and knowledge on what I should share. I pray that whatever I may say will have a small or large impact or you or medium sized impact.
But I guess in my testimony I will give you practical/spiritual lessons that I have learnt over the last couple of years from God as I battled the storm at its fiercest. Not on my own but with the help by God. Hallelujah. If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Romans 8.31
How many of you have lost something dear to you? A child? Something that you have grieved over for a long time? And found yourself wondering if God is really there carrying you through the fiercest point of the storm. If God really loves you? If this is some cruel joke that God is playing on you? Prayed for a miracle? How many of you have looked forward to something for 9 long months for it only to be taken away at the very end? They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast trusting in the Lord. Psalm 112:7
Grief can come in multitudes. You can grief over a lost teenage hood. You can grief over your parents’ divorce. You can grief over your children’s lack of interest in Christianity when you have raised them to be Christians. You can grief because someone dear to you has died. But you have to remember that grief is not bounded to death alone. Grief comes in all forms and shapes.
In my case my grief journey started the moment I heard ‘it seems like your baby is not living’. I prayed, and I prayed and I prayed and I prayed (pray continually 1 Thessalonians 5:17) with no real result or so I assumed.
I wrote a book called ‘Sebby’. It details my journey during and after I gave birth to my sleeping son. I started writing more for myself, and more to my son then planning ‘oh this will be a book’. But with time it evolved into a book. And my hope is – if those who read the book that it will impact you that it will give you hope amidst the trials that you are facing, and that you will realize that you are not alone in this fight to complete wholeness.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. — 2 Corinthians 12:9
Believe it or not I suffer from really bad anxiety at the best of times. Maybe it is to do with my history of experiencing abuse? Maybe not. Who knows? But one thing I do know is that my anxiety and panic attacks became worse after my son died. I had to rebuke them in the name of the Lord. I have to believe that one day I will recover and no longer have to deal with this debilitating condition. I am thankful to my Lord though. He keeps reminding me of certain things like this:
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
When my heart is overwhelmed lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Psalm 61.2
Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55.22
As for me, I call to God, and the Lord saves me. Psalm 55.16
I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34.4
In my weakness the Lord makes me strong. The Lord gives me strength. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
The question I will ask you here is: should we be ashamed of our weaknesses? And try and solve our own weaknesses in our own strength? Or should we ask the Lord to come into our hearts so that He can strengthen us through the Holy Spirit so that we can overcome anything that we face?
Another weakness I have is being scared and living in fear. And not trusting the Lord enough. And I guess the source of that is usually pinpointed to a lot of hurt in my life. I have to rebuild this negative frame of mind and work on believing and trusting the promises of God. Everyone has their own demons locked up in their closet. And God, well just let him in, and He will clean your closet of secrets bit by bit. Unburden yourself at the foot of the cross. Let God’s love flow through your veins. Let God be a part of your life daily.
After my little boy died, I realized that I cannot call God just when I am having an emergency or I will be going from one crisis to the next crisis in my life. Rather I should be prepared for the onslaught of artillery fire. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6.17
How can we be prepared to fight the spiritual battles if we do not spend daily time with the Lord? I remember how before I would spend daily time with the Lord, I went from one crisis to the next crisis. And each time I had a crisis I would call upon the Lord to save me. I realized soon after Sebby died I do not want to live like that, live on tenterhooks all the time. I have to be prepared to fight the battle on the home front, and by doing that, I need to have an armour of daily truths and promises from the bible that I can directly fling back to the Lord, and it works wonders. Daily time spent with the Lord, means you are more prepared to fight spiritually back whenever you are facing a difficulty. And by spending daily time with God, it means you are developing a trusting loving relationship with your father in Heaven, and he will guide you through the storms in your life but also through the times when there is no storm in your life. It is when you will start to experience deep peace and joy. Do you want to experience deep peace and joy again? Then I would like to advise you to start spending daily time with the Lord. It helps. It makes you strong in your weakness because you know that the Lord is with you. Hallelujah!
What did God do for me?
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
I believe that the Lord gifts us, sometimes we get gifts after a loss in order to compensate for the loss. If that makes any sense?
God provided me with friends that believed in me.
God provided me with finances.
God brought me back to my family and healed the broken communication bridges.
God gave me my faith back at a time when I was walking away from him. He rescued me from the Lion’s den and reminded me of this very powerful bible verse:
Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
What helped me to overcome my grief?
- Keeping busy
- For me that was doing little things like starting to find a job. Doing bits and pieces. Though the days passed in a daze I think being able to do small things helped me to focus on grief in small bite size chunks. Those small bite size chunks were bearable.
- Doing a project in memory of your child
- First it was planning a funeral for him, writing poems for him here and there, documenting the grief… somehow a book was formed. I don’t think I remember when I decided to write a book for him. The idea was just there one day.
- Blessed solitude. Solitude and more solitude. Why do we need solitude? I found that I needed solitude to find my equilibrium back. To find who I was in Christ again. To figure out what my purpose in life was. But also to find the space and time to grief for my son, and to accept his inevitable death. It helps. Sometimes you just need to withdraw from the world to experience God’s love and healing power.
- Seeking self-help groups
- I joined a few self-help groups. This helped me to realize that I was not alone on this scary journey. But that there were other people out there with similar journeys to me, walking the same torrid path I was on.
- Reading books
- Reading books of others who experienced brought in a weird way a small comfort that I wasn’t alone in this battle, but that there were others who also felt the need to share the story of their child’s existence.
- Listening to music
- I found listening to music helped. For me the turning point in my healing was when I heard Jules’ music and his testimony of restoration at the foot of the cross. I knew then and there that things would get better, and his music spoke to my soul. It encouraged my soul. It gave me hope. It helped me to draw near to God. Hallelujah for that.
- Writing also helped. It was my outlet. I would purge myself daily of all the negative emotions that would be eating me up, and I found that through my writing God would speak to me. Sometimes He would be silent, but He would speak to me and comfort me, and it was very healing for me.
- I have to admit that I didn’t spend much time in prayer in the first year of grief. Though I do remember an occasion where my sister would ask me ‘Why are you praying and thanking the Lord?’ My response was because my son is with Jesus and he doesn’t have to experience this pain that we are experiencing. And she looked at me and thought about it and she said yes you are right. Then each time she’d cry, she would remind me. What a blessing she was!
- Spending time in the word of God
- I challenged myself as I started the second year of grief to read the bible daily, and to take it very seriously. And I witnessed God moving mountains in my life. It was amazing.
- Bible studies
- Later on I then challenged myself to study his word, and not just read it. I became hungry for His word, and I could feel a whole new level of spiritual healing.
How do you move forward from a loss so great?
Do you try and find acceptance? Do you stay stuck in your comfort zone? Believe it or not it is very difficult to move on. To have the courage and strength to move on. Many of us want to stay in our comfort zones. But if we ask God to help us, He will help us to move forward from our loss, and live our lives, and fulfil them the way He would want us to fulfil our lives. It’s easier said than done. Easier to not move forward then to move forward.
What I have learnt during my years in my emotional wilderness in the days and months after my son died is this:
A daily shot of God’s Word is a good antidote for our dominant sinful nature, better than caffeine.
To spend time in the Lord’s presence on a daily basis is like crème for my broken soul. He heals my wounds, and brings wholeness back to my life. That people cannot do. God’s compassion is far greater than any other compassion that I have experienced. God carried me through my very dark days, when I couldn’t see the path or where I was going. But God knew and he was leading me. In the same way God can lead you. All you have to do is call onto Him and He will answer you. Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3
I have found that a lot of people including (me!) have a tendency to ignore God’s daily encouragement, and live a life of fear. It seems to be easier to live a life of fear then to live a life of faith and trusting the Good Lord to see us through our daily battles. Why not try and call onto Jesus to guide you with your life. ‘This is the day that the Lord has made, and I commit this day into Your hands, I will trust that You will see me through.’
What helps me to overcome my grief doesn’t necessarily mean that it will help you. But in each experience that we have, we can learn something about the nature of God. And it is simple: God is constant. He never changes.
But You are the same, And Your years will not come to an end. Psalm 102:27
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8
I have come to believe every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. James 1.17
And that despite our sufferings that the Lord knows what is best for us, and that he will see us through the hard times. But that he will also see us through the beautiful times. Despite my losing Sebastian, I embarked on a beautiful journey of self-discovery, and I learnt of God’s deep love for me, forgiveness of me, and that He has a perfect plan for everything. I just have to live by faith, and recite to myself the daily truths of what he has done for me. The Lord I know is a compassionate God, full of love and grace. He heals my wounds, and He guides me. Never underestimate the power of the cross, because as you cast your cares onto the cross you will feel the Lord’s healing upon your life, and it is a truly wonderful feeling when you allow him to come into your life to lead you, because everything makes sense than. And even the biggest mountain you have to climb is easier because God is climbing them with you. It is harder to climb a big mountain on your own strength because you’re living in constant fear. Live by faith. Trust the Lord for the outcome!