When a child suffers or dies, caring people are affected. It doesn’t have to be your child, or your family member for you to feel the grief. If you care, you hurt. Of course the pain is far more substantial for the parents and those who love the one afflicted, but somehow difficult stories become public and even strangers hurt.
When I lost my daughter, the publicity was difficult at first. I didn’t want to be the subject of strangers’ conversations or the charity case for their meal drives. I wanted people to leave me alone and let me deal with this myself. I felt as though people were using their knowledge of me as their bragging rights to my story or their generosity.
It was a friend of a friend who brought me to a breaking point. She walked into my house with her beautiful meal in hand all in a huff. She was overwhelmed with her own life and adding another family to her meal plan and finding the time to run it two towns over to me was no easy task for her–and she made me very aware of her great sacrifice.
I tried to enjoy her guilt offering that night, but I couldn’t suppress the frustrations of being a burden to my community. My family and I are independent people! We take responsibility for our own needs, we like to be the ones helping, not the ones needing!
I have an amazing husband who shows more grace than anyone I know. This wasn’t easy for him either; he is a very generous man who would give the shirt off his back to his enemy without a thought of himself, but he knew that with giving comes pride and being needy is the best antidote for that. As I shared my frustrations with him, he taught me to submit to the condition we were in, and allow others to help us, that this was simply a season and we should let people be part of it because they care, even if they do and say things that are way out of line. We need to look at people’s hearts, not their actions or words. Child-loss is a huge challenge and no one knows what to do or say. And really, one day certain words or actions might be helpful, another day they may be hurtful. It’s no ones fault that our emotions are irrational; it’s life.
We are all human, we mess up, but more often than not we do not intend to. I know I have said the wrong thing to another grieving mom, and I’ve been there–I should know what helps! I can only hope that when my words or actions hurt others, that they too have learned that we each have a choice: we can take things personally and let our offenses rob what strength we have left to get through our challenges, or we can look at the heart of our offender and believe that they care and do want to help, they just are struggling with their own issues and don’t know how to do it well.
After all, that’s what Christ does for us.
2 Peter 3:14-18 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
Catrina Welch is an image- and life-coach whose message is not as much “what not to wear” as it is, “Know Who You Are,” which is the title of her book of guidelines for your personal image identity. Catrina has also written a Bible study to help women overcome their confidence conflicts; it is titled Supreme MakeOver: a Rich and Refreshing Devotional Experience. Her other books include Footprints Through the Sand: a Consolidation of Life-altering stories about Loving and Losing a Trisomy-18 Baby and Confident Beauty: Reflecting the One Who Made You with the Images in Your Mirror and Your Soul, which will be available in book stores this spring. All of these books are available now at www.CatrinaWelch.com
If you are interested in having Catrina come speak to your friends, colleagues or ministry you can contact her on facebook or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.