This past Wednesday marked 19 years since our son, Mitchell, was born.
Fifteen days later, Jesus tenderly lifted our baby from his hospital bed and carried him into eternity.
Some days it feels like only yesterday when a part of my heart left my being.
But this story isn’t about me.
It’s about what God can do with the pain that comes through tragedy, struggle or deep disappointment.
It’s about Jesus understanding our grief, experiencing it with us, and then healing it to a point where the ugly duckling of sorrow becomes a beautiful swan of purpose.
Jesus uses our pain (if we allow Him) to work as a salve for other hurting souls.
Two days ago, on Mitchell’s birthday, I went to a job site to preview an upcoming project. I expected it to go as simply and straight forward as usual.
God had other plans.
After everyone else left, I had the client all to myself. I could see pain in her eyes. I knew that the sale of her home was tearing at her heart.
But I had no idea what was really going on inside her.
I asked her, “How are you holding up? This must be very emotional for you.”
The floodgates opened and the tears poured.
And so did the stories.
Four years ago, this precious mama lost her teenage son.
There was nothing to do but hug and hold her.
There was little to be said that she hadn’t heard a million times before.
Except one thing.
That I understood.
That I, too, knew the pain of the backwards reality of outliving your child.
And while our pain came from different circumstances, we had something in common.
The loss of a child.
Her teary eyes lit up a bit when she realized that she wasn’t alone.
That she wasn’t the only mother on the planet who had to face living after a part of her had died.
She let her guard down and shared things I am certain she had never said aloud before, because she had never met someone who knew what she was talking about.
The flailing emotions.
The excruciating steps that come with grief.
The desire to crawl into a hole and stay there.
The impulse to build a wall of protection around what remains of your heart.
To just let the pain have its way and turn you numb to life.
To wake up sad each morning knowing that all of this was not just a bad dream.
She wasn’t alone.
Everything she has experienced emotionally falls within the “normal” range for grieving mothers.
A little more light came into her eyes.
But it wasn’t enough for us to bond through grief. For her to know that what she was feeling was normal.
I needed to let her know that purpose and hope and meaning were in her future.
“God has some very good plans for you,”
I promised her.
And because we are part of the same “club”, because of 19 years of experiencing that truth for myself, and because I was standing right there in front of her, breathing and whole….
She somehow believed me.
“I’ve been looking for that for a really, really long time,” she said through eyes that now looked a little less lost.
She wasn’t alone.
Over the next few weeks, we will spending a good amount of time together, working side by side.
I would love the prayers and support, once again, of all of you who, with me, believe that God has something beautiful and surprising up His sleeve for this sweet woman.
HOW ODD that this would happen on Mitchell’s birthday, right?
HOW GOD, that it did.
– Do you have pain that holds a greater purpose for this world?
– Do you have a story that God can use to help others?
– Have you experienced something that will allow you to help others feel less alone?
I would love to hear from you and celebrate with you how God has taken your ugly duckling and grown it into a breathtaking swan.
People need you. They need your story. And God has every intention of using it if you’ll let Him.
2 Corinthians 1:4 – He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.
Romans 5:3-5 – More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.