I just feel like God is telling me to write this post. So many of you who read my blog "found me" because we share something in common - the death of a child.
People who have lost children will ask me from time to time if it still hurts.
Not a day goes by that I don't think of Melissa. And even though we have been able to do so much good in her name, if God gave me a choice right now, I would ask to have her back instead. I miss that sweet little girl so much.
It's often harder during special occasions - my birthday, her birthday, Easter, Christmas and Mother's Day seem to be the hardest days for me. So knowing that Christmas is just around the corner, and many of you are hurting, let me post this prayer for the moms who have lost their children.
My prayer for you is that in spite of your grief, you'll be able to see the beauty of Christmas. Without the Christ child who came to us, and then gave himself as a sacrifice for our sins, there would be no Heaven. Because of Heaven, and Jesus' promise to believers, we'll see our precious children again. In the meantime, we know that they are safe and in the arms of a loving Father who loves them more than we can ever comprehend. That is so comforting to me.
Remember the blessings you do have. Do you have another child? Are they healthy? Is your mom or dad still living? Do you have a loving husband? Do you have friends who love and support you? If the answer to any of those is yes, thank God for those special blessings in your life.
Find a way to remember your loved one. On our first Christmas without Melissa, we lit a candle as my dad read the Christmas Story to the grandchildren on Christmas Eve. It was our way of remembering her and having her "with us." I also hang a special stocking on the mantle for her. Find the things that make your child feel close to you.
Cry. Cry for the child you miss, cry for the experiences you'll never have together, cry because the pain just hurts so bad sometimes, cry because it's Christmas and it seems so unfair that he/she isn't there. Then after you cry, ask Jesus for his special comfort. Don't ever think that God doesn't know how you feel. Remember what happened at the cross? He gave his son willingly. I could never do that.
Make it a happy holiday for your children. You don't ever want your children to dread Christmas (or your birthday, etc) because it makes mommy sad. On Melissa and Ann Catherine's birthday, I get up and cry my eyes out before Ann Catherine ever wakes up. Then after that, the day is all about her. I do the same during the holidays. I don't mean that little things won't make you cry during the holidays. But don't be so sad, that it becomes a sad day that your children grow up to dread.
Draw strength from those who love you. And hold on tight to your husband, the only other living, breathing soul who knows how it feels to have lost your child.
When my daughter died, I remember crying out to God asking "Why?" I quoted Romans 8:28 - "All things work together for good to those who love God" - and told him that I just couldn't see the good in my daughter's death.
Looking back now, I can see the good that came from her death, and although I would rather have her here, I have accepted that this was his will for her life. This is my favorite verse now:
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
I cannot put into words the comfort that God has given me in the last three years since Melissa's death. And because I have felt that comfort, I feel I can extend that same comfort to those who are hurting. It's another reason why I believe he allowed us to go through this pain.
Please know that I am praying for all of you special moms during Christmas. I know your hearts are hurting and I pray Jesus will heal your broken hearts. I pray you will feel the comfort of our Lord Jesus Christ during this Christmas season and the days beyond. I pray you will feel your child's love and spirit on the days that are really hard.
When I am hurting, I often think of Melissa. What would she want? Would she want to know that her mommy dreaded the holidays because I missed her so much? Or would she want me to continue living to the fullest extent and to focus on the lives of Ann Catherine and Lily?
I think the best way I can honor her memory is to continue to live. And living means experiencing the joys that God wants to give us. Even at Christmas. I know it's not always easy, but with God's grace and love it is possible.
God bless you all! You are in my prayers.