This post is part of a weekly series I am sharing called “In the Raw.” These are things that I wrote early in my grief after the death of my identical twin daughters in 2011. I share them in the hopes that newly bereaved parents will be able to identify with them and know that they are not alone.
This post was originally written in October of 2013.
I visited my girls in the cemetery the other day. For a few days before and on the drive there, I was feeling so empty. As a mother of four young children, I often feel like I’m running on empty, but this time, it was just overwhelming me. I needed a break and it had been a while since I’d taken one. I’d been giving to and taking care of everyone else and there was no one who was taking care of me. Not even me.
So, crying and mentally checked-out, I told my husband that I just needed to go visit them for a bit and have a good cry. He stayed with the kids and I left.
On the way, I told God how I was feeling. Saddened that there is really no parental figure in my life, since those relationships were destroyed when my twins died. (They were never really that great to begin with.) Now there is no one who thinks of me that way, who takes care of me or gives me a time when I just don’t have to worry about something – groceries, laundry, cooking, cleaning, diapers, arguments, discipline. No one to say, “How about if I take care of that for you today and give you a break?” I was parenting, but I also longed to be parented.
And, as if that weren’t devastating enough, I was missing my babies and heading to the cemetery to visit them. The feeling of loss and emptiness was crushing me, as it does from time to time, even now. Even two years later.
Suddenly, as I cried and cried out to Him, a flood of Bible verses came pouring into my head. Verses that I’ve known since childhood. Verses that I’ve been reading for so long that they had started to lose their meaning. They’d become so familiar that I forgot how special they were.
First, it was “Jesus wept.” And I had the realization that Jesus, the healer, the one who raised people from the dead, the one who was with the Father, hovering over the waters before the creation of the world, wept at the death of his friend, Lazarus. My heartache and tears were not something that He didn’t understand, or that He expected me to keep inside because of the hope I had to be reunited with my babies one day. They didn’t reflect a lack of faith or of that hope. They were a natural part of loss.
Then came “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” And I realized that a mother’s love for her babies is so enormous and so universal that the Lord used it as an example of His love for us. And then went on to say that His love was even greater. Of course I love and miss my babies. I am their mother. But how much more does He love them and love me? Even if I forgot them, which of course I never ever would, He wouldn’t forget. I felt so close to Him during our losses, and then I felt like He was pulling away. But He hasn’t pulled away. He hasn’t forgotten me. He is still here with me.
And then, “My grace is sufficient.”
“Be still and know that I am God.”
“For I know the plans I have for you.”
“My God shall supply all my needs.”
“He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.”
One after the other, they came flooding over me and I felt so loved and cared for.
I remembered that He refines us by fire, and that when a refiner is working with precious metals, making them pure and perfecting them, he holds them in the fire just until he can see his own reflection and all the impurities are burned away – not for a moment longer. And then, he takes them out. But he doesn’t just leave them. He molds them into something special.
We are made into something beautiful, meant to reflect our creator to the world in different ways. He does not just make mirrors. He makes beautiful items that can be used differently and reflect him individually – a platter or a spoon for serving others, a shiny pitcher for pouring ourselves out with words or art or music, jewelry for bringing His beauty to places that need it. All have unique patterns and unique uses, but all reflect Him in the way He carefully and lovingly designs them to.
He has not forgotten me. He is molding me to be a unique reflection of Him to others.
And with those thoughts, I felt known and understood and comforted. I felt restored.
I felt parented.
What has God used to comfort you in the midst of your grief?