“For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:13-16.
This past month has been a time of great joy and a time of deep sorrow.
I have been really struggling as I was writing this blog post, but I knew in my heart the Holy Spirit was prompting me to write it. My emotions and grief are still so raw and I really don’t want to be so open and transparent.
On September 27 our youngest son Dan was married. We are so thankful that God has brought Dan and Jackie together to become a new family. With their marriage we have also received the blessing of a 7 year old granddaughter. This day was a day of fun and rejoicing with this new family. We, and our extended family, enjoyed a great weekend in Texas meeting Jackie’s and our granddaughter’s family.
On September 29 our son Tom and his wife Sarah found out that she had had a miscarriage. Our hearts were grieved and saddened over losing this precious child.
On October 7 I received a call from my brother Jim that our brother-in-law Rod had been killed early that morning when the bike he was riding was hit by a car. Shortly after receiving his call my sister Julie called me to come to the hospital.
The calls from Sarah, Jim and Julie were such hard calls to receive. You feel so helpless and then just numb.
At the hospital God had provided a wonderful social worker for Julie, her children and all of our families. This social worker met me and brought me back to the room where Rod and his family were. Nothing prepares you for the grief and pain that will meet you as you walk through that door. As I hugged my sister all we did was cry. There were so many questions going through my mind, first our grandchild and now Rod, Why God? How do I begin to comfort my sister, my 3 nieces and Rod and Julie’s new son-in-law? Does the man who hit Rod know Christ? Will he be ok or will this accident destroy him? Why?
It didn’t take long for the hospital room to fill up. Soon my brother Jim and sister-in-law Lori and Rod’s 2 brothers and their wives came. Rod played the drums and was involved in a couple of praise teams from a couple of local churches, so soon we were joined by pastors from Sonrise Ministries in Hudsonville and Ridge Point Community Church in Holland. We shared lots of tears and laughter as we remembered and shared funny stories about Rod. As our Heavenly Father sheltered us under His wings, we shared in a beautiful time of prayer.
It was hard to leave that hospital room but we all knew it was time to leave. With heavy hearts we headed to our cars. As I brought my sister and 2 nieces to their home we were showered with one of the many blessings that God would provide for us during this long week, the sun was shining.
When we got to Rod and Julie’s home we experienced more blessings from God. People immediately were bringing food and just stopping to hug and care for my sister and her children. Prayer teams were activated at many churches and at South Christian and Unity Christian.
I can’t begin to describe how incredible it is to be held up in prayer.
When you are numb, you can’t pray. Your mind just doesn’t seem to be working. These prayers carried us through that afternoon as we made difficult decisions at the funeral home. These prayers surrounded our parents, Rod’s parents & my husband as they all made their way home from Florida. These prayers carried Julie, my nieces and myself when we went to the cemetery the next day to buy burial plots, and when the pastors met with Julie and the kids to plan the funeral and then as they met with the extended family. We felt those prayers strengthening us for the visitations and the funeral. We felt God’s peace surrounding us.
One of the things I learned through this time is that when you are asked by someone to pray, choose to be a blessing and pray.
It doesn’t matter if you know the person or family you are praying for or not because God knows them. He knows what the person or family needs. God is inviting you to join Him in bringing His comfort and His grace into that person or family’s lives. God loves us deeply and as Christ followers we are to love deeply. You may never know how your obedience to pray when prompted by the Holy Spirit will effect someone else’s life but it will. God is Sovereign and He works through the prayers of His people.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7.