I’ve been in the pit. If you’ve been looking it’s been six weeks since I climbed down there. It’s where I realized there is a big difference between the first and second year of grief.
I remember every morning during the first year of Tristan’s loss. My eyelids would fly open to the reality that my precious baby boy had hung himself. I didn’t want to live in a world where my sweet, prayed-for boy could hang himself. I was so desperate for God’s help to make any sense of my new reality that I would run to His Word first thing and stay there until He gave me something. It was there I met my Yahweh and there He walked me through the reality of this horrible, horrible life. I was compelled to pour out what He taught me by writing it down for you, my fellow sufferers.
Then came year two. Without shock to soften the blow the reality of Tristan’s loss hit harder than ever. And somewhere just after the two year mark, around March, it hit me that this was now my life forever. For the rest of my days I’d be living with loss and grief. And instead of running to God I simply said no to my life of suffering.
It wasn’t lost on me that I was repeating thoughts that must have filled Tristan’s head when he looked forward to endless days of suffering and said no, himself.
I knew I couldn’t leave like he did because I had experienced the devastating effects first hand on those left behind. So I decided to leave in the only way I knew how, by rejecting the life God had given me.
Can you say no to God’s plans? Jonah did. Jonah ran. I ran. Reading my bible meant saying yes , so I stopped that. Praying meant saying yes, so I stopped that, too. I filled my time with self-comfort, sometimes barely getting out of bed. The only prayer I could manage were three words Peter said when he began to sink beneath the waves, “Lord, save me!” (Matthew 14:30)
This stage of grief was new to me. I couldn’t tell if it was an attack from the enemy to get me out of God’s Word, or if it was simply the results of trauma because the shock had worn off and I needed rest from everything.
I still don’t have the answer. But I can share with you what God did to keep me safe.
Firstly, when I confided in a close friend that had gone through her own trauma, she understood and said, “I will go to God’s Word for you! And I will go to God in prayer for you.” I was given permission to rest while my friend did these spiritual disciplines on my behalf. A couple of friends joined her in this resolve and it was like they were holding me up because I couldn’t stand on my own.
Secondly, some time after that, another friend encouraged me to take a baby step. It was praying through the names of God for 30 days. All you have to do is click, read a one paragraph prayer, and click, read one verse. I found I could do that much. The plan had just enough depth to feed me Truth but not too much work to overwhelm me. I was surprised at how much it made me appreciate the different facets of God’s character. Here is the example of Day 17:
Elohim Machase Lanu
God Our Refuge.
Elohim Machase Lanu you know what I’m asking you first. My first request is that I won’t need a refuge but that you will stand guard in my life and guide me away from trials and tribulations. But I know in your word you say that in this life we will face trials and tribulations, so I know that there will be times where I am in great need. I ask Elohim Machase Lanu that you will do something in those times to get my attention – to remind me – to look to you so that I don’t falter out there on my own trying to comfort and protect myself, or in looking to someone else rather than you. In Christ’s name, amen.
Verse Psalm 62:8Trust in him at all times, O people;pour out your heart before him;God is a refuge for us.
Thirdly, God gave me an answer to a question that had been niggling at the back of my mind for months. I was puzzling over something Jesus did. It took time to get the answer, but when I did it made me feel so close to Him and so thankful that it started to break the stone around my heart. I’ll tell you all about it next time.
Until then, thank you for waiting for me. If you are in a similar place you are not alone! I still don’t know how long it will take to get back to my former practices. But I had to let you know where I was in case you ever find yourself there, too.
Dear God, this is such a new and different life. I never knew there were so many stages of loss to get through. Sometimes I feel like I’m just waiting in the longest line at an amusement park for the ride at the end when I will see Tristan again. What do you do while you’re standing in line? Nothing. Eat cotton candy? That’s all that feels good right now. Please save me from myself. In Jesus’ name, amen.