For a long time, I had the misconception that the stronger my faith, the less problems I would have. I also believed with all of my heart that the stronger my faith, the more good things would come into my life. I sincerely (and wrongly) believed that if I had a super strong faith, I lived in somewhat of a protective bubble that would keep the bad stuff away.My first wake up call to reality was when my thirteen-year-old sister died tragically. I was only fifteen at the time, and my faith was a very real, very living part of me. Carmella’s death didn’t make sense. My family was very involved in church. We loved God, yet this terrible sadness came into our lives when Carmella died.
My heart was broken, and I began to question some of the core beliefs I had about faith.
The next faith-shattering event came into my life when I delivered a stillborn baby boy. I was a preacher’s wife at the time. Our family was truly living according to God’s principles, and we loved God with all of our being.
Yet…………our baby Samuel was not born alive. And, my heart was broken more than it had ever been broken before. Not only that, I couldn’t understand “why” God didn’t answer our prayers for a healthy baby boy.
My faith was so strong, yet this child had been taken away so suddenly. My prayers for a healthy child were not answered. Instead, my child was born still.
I grieved for a long, long time. And, I also added more pain to my heavy burden of grief because I thought I was a weak person of faith for feeling so alone and so sad. I cried millions of tears over baby Samuel and felt so ashamed because I thought I was not holding up to my end of faith.
As the years went on, I prayed fervently that God would never take another child of mine again. In fact, there were times when I begged God to never allow this kind of pain touch my heart again because I didn’t think I could live through such agony another time.
On May 22, 2015 a phone call came that would forever bring changes to my life once again.
My 42-year-old son Mike died unexpectedly of a massive heart attack leaving behind a beautiful wife and three precious young children. His brothers, sisters, and so many friends and family members are devastated and we will be a long time working through this journey of grief to a place where we can finally see some of the light of life once again.
And, so I’ve concluded something that I wish I had known years and years ago.
People of strong faith grieve, too. People of strong faith can have their hearts broken, too. Bad things really and truly do happen to good, honest people of faith and love.
Why? I don’t have that answer — at least not an answer that makes any sense to me right now.
What I do know is this:
It’s okay to not be okay after the loss of a child. It’s okay to grieve deeply for the loss of your child. It’s okay to feel shattered and alone in your grief for a while.
It’s NOT okay to let people tell you that your faith is weak because you are grieving the loss of your child.
Listen to these thoughts as I share with you in hopes of helping you during your time of questioning and deep, lonely grief over the loss of your child.
Please don’t add extra grief to your already broken heart by thinking that your faith is weak if you are grieving the death of your child. You are human, and it is natural to long for your child — just as I am longing to have my children here with me.
The hope of heaven is my strength. I will cling to that hope as I continue to walk this journey of child loss.
And, I will grieve the loss of my children all the days of my life.
*NOTE: Following the loss of my baby Samuel, I wrote a book, “Silent Grief.” If you are struggling with the loneliness of child loss, I know this book will help you. It is God-inspired, and written from the depths of my heart. It is my prayer to help those who are in the trenches of child loss to find hope and healing.