When describing to someone in more recent, traditional Christian circles, how I still cry over my son Micaiah – that I am still torn on occasion with gut wrenching sadness and moments of near unbearable loss, I have heard the reply, “Have you ever thought you might need deliverance?” Considering that mimic’s the very kind of statements we heard at the time of his death under spiritual abuse, it used to trigger my post traumatic stress. The racing heart, the trembling, the rising anger, confusion, fear, whatever, feelings that overwhelm a persons coping. I hid it pretty well – but it would come out later in a myriad of frustrating emotions wrapped in stress induced, depressive, anger.
Recently I found myself chuckling over it. Not quite sure where the chuckling came from, other than I found myself thinking in my husbands fond term of, “knucklehead.” Hmm. What used to hurt me in the depths of my core now can make me chuckle and think, “KNUCKLEHEAD?” That is the power of God. The power of grace. The power of healing. The power of Truth. The power of Christ’s unconditional love for me, enabling me to love others. There is something about true and utter betrayal by people you trust, that (to coin the phrase) makes you, “bitter or better.” It took many more years and many more betrayals (no longer life threatening, but ministerial death) to find the place of peace where like Jesus I can say, “Forgive them Father they know not what they do.”
This is where true resiliency comes in – the ability to bounce back – move on – hold our head up in reflection of Christ’s love. This is where we find the peace that passes understanding as Philippians 4 teaches. It stems from a gentle spirit – not to be confused with an upbeat or outgoing personality, but the spirit that has learned simple trust; the spirit that has learned to take the wrongs and let the defensive posture go. The spirit who has learned (or is learning) that the Shepherd leads us into the places of greatest change – sometimes floundering in the dark and murky waters to recognize that the clear springs flow on the other side. The spirit who has let go of fear and anxiety to find it replaced with things much better. The “Much Afraid” who has walked along the shores of Bitterness and climbed to the High Places to become “Grace and Glory, and for Peace and Joy to become her new traveling companions. (Hannah Hurnard, Hinds Feet on High Places)
“Accept and bear and obey the Law of Love, and nothing will be able to cripple your hinds’ feet or separate you from Me. This is the secret of the High Places, Grace and Glory, it is the lovely law of the whole universe.”
I will always have times of sorrow over the loss of my son, and I sure hope I am not “delivered” from them; for it only through knowing Sorrow that I can see it so clearly in others. It is only through knowing Suffering, that I can go to the Philippines and maybe, just maybe, instill a small measure of Hope, to those who know Sorrow as their constant walking companion. It is only through Sorrow and Suffering that I was introduced to Peace and Joy, and they have become the most cherished of traveling companions.
To anyone reading this who has lost a child, been betrayed by those you love, been used by people you trusted, were abused, beat up, forsaken, broken, alone, or in despair – hold on, Peace and Joy will join you along the journey if you can just keep on trusting in the Good Shepherd to lead you. One day at a time.
Happy Birthday Micaiah. You did not die in vain, but your life has touched many. I dedicate all my writing to you – you may have become a writer yourself – or a doctor, a scientist, or a Navy Seal. Whatever you may have been, you would have been wonderful, just like your siblings who miss you too. And your Dad, who will always wear your name as a scar upon his heart. xxoo Mom
** Excerpts from Hannah Hurnard Hinds Feet on High Places. If you haven’t read it and are struggling – do so. It may just encourage you along the way. <hugs> Jamie