Monday, September 3, 2012

Should I Be Angry with God? Part 2

The last few months since Mia's death have felt a lot like living underwater.  I am so thankful that I have had increasingly more joyful moments and that I feel like I might just be getting more of a handle on daily life.  There were dark days when I thought I would never be happy again.  Thankfully, this past weekend has helped me realize that there is a very good life waiting for me(more on this weekend later).
It hasn't been three months since Mia died but it feels like it has been decades.  Immediately after her death, I was shocked at how much extra time I had in my day.  Don't worry, the boys and my commitments have thoroughly filled up my spare time.  Also, since losing my Mia-girl I mostly feel exhausted.  Feeling sad so deeply and so pervasively is draining.  I have cut a lot of striving for perfection out of my life.  I have gotten better at asking for help.  I met a mother of two boys who has also lost her daughter- she said that grieving the loss of her daughter has been much more work than caring for three children ever was.  I agree, and that exhaustion can be so frustrating. 
I have learned that I can try to escape from the reality of Mia's death for a short time if I distract myself with an activity or with other people.  Inevitably, these times of being distracted- trying to go on like nothing happened- have been followed by feeling sick and anxiety-ridden.  Grief builds up inside like steam in a pressure cooker.  When the weight of my loss settles back in, it tends to render me immobilized.  It is unpredictable and it is overwhelmingly painful.  I am incapable of stuffing my grief.
Since I can't escape grieving Mia, I am trying to be as honest as possible about my sadness.  Honest with myself.  Honest with God.  And honest with others(writing is a very healthy vent for my grief).  I am constantly asking myself if I am doing this right.  Because grief feels a lot like riding waves- very unpredictable, I am trying to be as healthy as possible.  Facing the sadness helps calm the vicious ups-and-downs a bit.  I now welcome tears- they heal my heart.  Tears bring relief from mounting darkness that looms over me.  After the tears, my soul feels lighter.  Honesty about this sadness also brings relief from the overwhelming waves of grief that threaten to sweep over me when I least expect them.
I'm a reader. I have a stack of books in my bedside dresser that I pull out every day.  I have been fortunate to talk to other people who have lost a child.  I have heard from some that I should vent my full anger at God, because He can take it.  When I heard this, I worried that I might be glossing over my true emotions.  It left me feeling disingenuous.  Others have told me to be honest with God if I am angry but have not encouraged me to be angry with Him. These conflicting pieces of advice leave me wondering: Should I be more angry at God? Am I covering over my true feelings if I'm not very angry at Him?  Am I really being honest with myself when I say: "I am not angry at God"?
Well, I am not angry with Him.
Oh, I have had two momentary times that were probably angry.  First, in the first few weeks I tried to make it to the grocery store for days.  I couldn't make it because I couldn't stop crying.  One day I drove halfway there and stopped next to a field that was being harvested.  I didn't care if the farmers could see me crying hysterically.  I was sobbing and asking, "Why did this have to be MY daughter, God? Everyone else gets to keep their babies- why did my daughter die?!"  Instantly I felt guilty and wondered, "Am I saying that I want other people's children to also die?"
God answered me by whispering to me words that said something like, "Why are any of us able to live? None of you deserve to live.  You all deserve to die.  Your sin was great.  It's only by my grace that any of you are alive."  Oh, how comfortable I was with my life before.  I never seriously considered mortality.  Nevermind that I think far too little of my sins that have been forgiven by Christ's suffering.  I think I actually had felt like I deserved a beautiful family because I was pretty good.
After awhile, Derrick noticed that I was gone too long and called me.  When I told him, "I can't go to the store if I can't stop crying," he told me to come home.  As he walked me into our home, I threw the things in my hands as hard as I could at the floor, and finally the tears really brought relief. 
A few days later despair threatened to overtake me.  I stood in the shower and asked God, "Why is this MY life? I didn't choose this and would really like to do this over."  People had told me that God must have chosen me for a very special purpose.  At that time, I didn't want the appointment and I wanted to let Him know that.  That's when I vaguely remembered a quote by C.S. Lewis which says that if we do not find satisfaction in this world, it is evidence that we were meant for another world.  In that deep dissatisfaction, I longed for eternity with my Savior.  In Nancy Guthrie's book "Hearing Jesus Speak Into Your Sorrow", she says that God cares more about your soul than about your comfort. 
Since Mia died, God has become my great reward.  He has given me more of Himself, because I have so desperately needed Him.  He has been shouting in my pain(also from a C.S. Lewis quote).  He has felt as close as the willow branches swaying around me or as real as the gentle breeze .  Thankfully in the traumatic time after first finding Mia, he was like a master surgeon directing my hands from over my shoulder.  As I have come to the Bible with such deep need, every thought has seemed to be meant exactly for me.  Every verse sent by a friend has come straight from the Lover of My Soul. 
He has spoken through His Word, His children, and even His creation.  This past weekend, I was praying with some dear new friends at the Guthrie's Respite Retreat in Tennessee.  We were standing at the railing of the second-story deck.  The deciduous trees swayed in the wind with a peaceful river glimmering behind them.  Each bright green leaf sparkled from recent rain.  I asked the Lord for His strength and for grace.  As I was still before this lively masterpiece, a hummingbird darted to within inches of my face.  Its wings whirred rapidly as it stared into my eyes.  I have stopped seeing things like this as coincidences.
There have been two brief times I have felt such deep sadness that it turned to frustration and anger.  There is Someone who makes me want to shout from every summit.  God's nearness and faithfulness has erased any hint of fear or doubt in my mind.  It has taken time.  When my faith wavered and stumbled, He did not.  This has been the gift of losing my little darling, my daughter.  During each long day, He has been sufficient for me.

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