About Me

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Kirkland, Washington, United States
I am a child of God. I am a follower of Jesus. I am a wife, momma, daughter, sister and friend. I love good conversation and hearty laughter. A good cup of coffee is always appreciated. Most of all, I desire to bring others into an experience with Jesus. One that will shape their lives and rock their souls for Him. Geoff is my best friend and amazing husband. Parker is my handsome boy who lives in Heaven. Norah is my bright star and bringer of joy. Tori is my overcomer and peaceful warrior. I live to show Jesus' love to each person He places in my path. I pray this blog strengthens you, comforts you and encourages you and that it MOST OF ALL causes you to want to get to know Jesus in a deeper level.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Opening the Vents and Letting It Out

Geoff and I have started grief counseling. We've been doing this for about 2 weeks now and it's been wonderful. Every Monday night we go to Lifeline Pregnancy Center and meet with our counselor, Willie. She's wonderful, a beautiful Christian woman, inside and out. We sit, for an hour, and discuss how we're doing. We cry with her, laugh with her and move closer to healing. It's such good therapy.

At our first session she gave us a book, a Bible study, on grieving. This is the book that we will use during our nine sessions with Willie. The Bible study is written by two moms who both lost babies at 19 weeks and 25 weeks. This is why I'm writing this blog. The Bible study takes an odd look at our loss, and gives a silly reason for why it happened. This is something that has really bothered me lately and I feel I need to vent here.

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The Bible study starts with a story about a grandma who makes quilts for her granddaughters and gives them the quilts when they turn 20. She gave quilts to her two oldest granddaughters when they turned 20, and her youngest granddaughter was so thrilled to receive hers. She waiting for so long for her quilt, she planned for it, prepared for it and dreamt about it. She was thrilled to receive her quilt. This is how the Bible study story goes. On the day that the youngest granddaughter turned 20 her grandmother came to her house and instead of giving her a quilt, she gave her pieces of fabric, a frame and thread to piece the quilt together. The granddaughter was devastated. She sobbed for what felt like days and days. She tried to talk to her sisters about it, and they were sympathetic at first, but eventually lost interest. Why did she not get a quilt? She had dreamt of her quilt, planned and prepared for her quilt and all she got were pieces to put together. One of her sisters had lost their quilt and the other one didn't even care about hers. Do you see why this story is annoying?

To make a long and irritating story short I'll just jump to the ending, which there really isn't an ending, but anyway. The "end" of the story says that the grandma kept coming back to the house and waited for the granddaughter to meet with her so they could start piecing together the quilt. The story says that the grandma had chosen the youngest granddaughter because she was special! UGH!!

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Ever since Parker died I have had to hear from people that this was all in "God's plan," that maybe we were chosen because God knew we could handle all of this. This irritates the living crap out of me! I know that I have blogged about this before, but I decided that I've heard this enough and need to get the word out there that in no way is it even remotely comforting to hear that the God of love, the God who protects us would take my baby!!!

Geoff and I, from the moment this happened, realized that God did not do this. We knew, in our hearts, that God did not take Parker. He did not plan for this to happen. I do believe that he allowed it, simply because he is all powerful and could have enacted a miracle. I do believe that, but I do not believe that he took Parker because "it was his time". People that say such things, I believe, have not experienced a loss as devastating as the one we have. Anyone, who can look me in the eye and say that God planned this, is someone who has never buried their child. They are someone who has never had to plan a funeral instead of a dedication.

I cannot understand how it would be even slightly comforting to tell a grieving mother or father that God planned to take their baby. It just doesn't make sense!! It would be like knitting a scarf, only to burn it (rough analogy I know, but still).

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This past Monday we discussed our views on this quilt story with Willie. We told her that we do not ask God why. We do not ask God why because what is the point? Why wallow in the unanswerable. I will never know why here on this earth, ever. And I am OK with that.

We also told Willie that we have never blamed God because we know that God did not do this. We have never blamed him, because to do so would mean that we have turned away from him in anger and we cannot afford to do that now.

The day we got home from the hospital, Geoff was working in our bedroom with our wireless internet. My brother-in-law Brad came in to talk to Geoff and asked him if he ever felt angry with God and this is what Geoff said, "To be angry at God and to blame him would be the worst thing that we could do at this moment in time. Because we need him now more than ever before."

Here is how the God I know and love works; Romans 8: 28 says, "And we know that God works all things for the good of those who love him, those who have been called according to his purpose."

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Please understand, I do not mean to sound as though I am scolding those of you who read this, in fact, I hesitated to write this blog, but ultimately decided it was something that needed to be said. This is simply something that I have become very passionate about, so passionate, that I could not let it slide.

I hope that those who read this blog will do so with an open mind, to maybe learn how to better approach those who are grieving. I hope that maybe we can all learn how to better comfort those who have experienced the tragedy of death and in so doing, together we can all become people who offer words of true comfort, rather than words that stab the heart and potentially cause a person to become angry with God.

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Thanks for letting me vent :)

10 comments:

Rachel Gall said...

I'm so sorry you have to deal with ideas like that, during a time like this.

I agree- pain and suffering are not part of God, or part of the "plan". The only planned and ordained human suffering was that of Jesus Christ. I get tired of Christians claiming tragedy and pain as part of "God's plan". The point of the Gospel is that we can still claim God is good, and a loving God, in spite of these things, and know God is ultimately in control.

Scott Davis said...

Hi, Rachel. I have been disconnected from you long enough that I didn't know of your loss. This, also, is the first time I've visited your blog, so maybe that would have filled me in. Let me begin my response by saying, I am so very sorry for your loss. It reminds me of my sisters loss of their first son and my wife's loss of her little brother when she was a young teen. I, personally, have not lost a child so I can only imagine the pain. I do, however, understand the frustration with the aggravating things that very well meaning people say. Here are my quick thoughts.

I believe you are right, that God's involvement was only in allowing it. It's very difficult for us to grasp why God would allow bad things to happen if He is such a good God. We see people grapple with that in all sorts of loss and tragedy.

This situation is that we live between Christ's comings. He came to earth to usher in His Kingdom which is not something that only exists later in eternity. It breaks in on us every day in every space. As we grow closer to Him and learn better to spread His love His kingdom grows more and more. That's the loving God with "heart, soul, mind, and strength" and loving others. It's the growing of His Kingdom.

On the other side, it is all happening in a world where Satan was given domain. We may know the eventual outcome of the war being waged, but, in the mean time, we still live in the midst of the battles. There is both gaining and losing of ground as we await the fulfillment of His Kingdom. We cannot respond by saying God did it or someone didn't have enough faith. Paul describes it in 1 Cor 13 when he says that we now see in part, but then we will see/know fully in the same way that we are known fully.

We get bits of the Kingdom in this life as we struggle against the dominion of the devil. There are the joys and there are the pains. The challenge is learning to keep our faith in God in the midst of the deepest of challenges.

I hope my point came out. I want you to know that I love you and that I am praying for you and your husband as you deal with the grief and the annoying and misinformed cliches to which we tend to cling. I agree that the quilt story is lame and I'm not even sure of the supposed parallels it is trying to make. May God come near you today more than yesterday and may He warm your day with His love and healing. God bless!

Tauni said...

Rachel, take time to celebrate victories. One victory that I notice you guys achieving every day is that you guys don't blame God for this. That's huge. This is a huge sign of spiritual maturity and dependence on God.

I applaud you for being victorious over and over again even when you are tempted, even by well-meaning people, to believe that God is somehow against you.

This week I had a major victory of my own. When the "dung" hit the fan, mostly at fault of my own, I didn't hate myself and slip into a deep depression. I explained to Matt, for once, in a tough time, I really heard God's voice. But what I love even more was the realization that God has always been speaking His truth and love, I just wasn't familiar enough with His voice to recognize it. Stupid satan, whose name isn't worth capitalizing... he's trying to rob me of this victory because of mixed response of sharing this victory.

As I realized this last night, I decided I wanted to celebrate this major victory. So Matt and I made some YUMMY brownies and I ate them and relished on the Love of God and how far He has brought me.

Long story short- celebrate your victories, you have so many!

Anonymous said...

Hi honey,
I'm glad you "vented" because maybe someone will read this and learn from it. God is in the "...." and this is "..."

Love you,
Mom

Lindsey said...

I love the thing that Geoff said, about how being mad at God is stupid. What a wise man. Thank you for your post, I agree. much love <3

the Hampton's said...

Rachel,
You don't know me..and I dont know you, although I feel like I do after reading your blogs. I am a fellow NNU alumni who found your blog and have been following your story. My husband and I lost a baby to miscarriage about 4 years ago. It was the hardest thing I have ever gone through. I have related to so many of your posts. This one hit especially home to me though because SOOO many people said things like this to me. I still to this day cannot listen to the song "Blessed be your name" because of the line "He gives and takes away" Really??! While I realize the story of Job and all that, I simply cannot believe the God that you and I serve would "take away" a child. I just DO NOT and WILL NOT believe that. But, what I have learned over the past 4 years is exactly what you said...God works for the good of those who love Him, and while he certainly did not CAUSE this to happen, I still believe He is working for your good. I really do. We now have a healthy happy 19 month old and feel so blessed. God has been so faithful to us, and continues to be faithful to you as well!! Stay strong Rachel. Thank you for sharing your story with us..it has brought hope and healing to me.
PS The song -This is what it means to be held- was what got me through the darkest moments. I am pretty sure I listened to it 100 times or so! :)
Take care! You are loved!
Joye Hampton

Jenn the Indomitable said...

People who say things like that are just being placating. It's easier to say "oh, God's will" than it is to really open up and accept that a really terrible, wounding thing happened and it isn't going to be over in a moment. I wish more people could accept that terrible things happen - like you are doing! - and instead of trying to put God into the "before" narrative (i.e. making Him somehow responsible for what happened), put Him into the "after" narrative where really, we need him most.

I have to say, reading your entries is always so affirming because you are so grounded in your faith and you are a vessel for God's love in so many ways. When the kindly folks try and tell you it was God's plan that Parker didn't make it, you get to tell them it was God's plan for you to have such a strong faith to see you through it.

the POLEN's said...

I don't have any words of wisdom like so many other readers of your blog seem to have given...but what I will say is: VENT vent VENT. You write, and I will listen. I don't even understand why God allows things or if he causes them or yada yada ya...but I do know that he is a God who loves to listen and allows us to vent whenever we need to. So, point being? Don't feel bad and know that I enjoy reading and being a part of your journey of life and will always listen. HUGS! Cynthia

Anonymous said...

Not really sure I follow the quilt story (and don't need to defend it) but just so it doesn't ruin your whole Bible study . . . You could think of yourselves as special and that Parker was just one piece of your quilt. With each piece that goes together to make your life's quilt, God will come and spend time with you . . . in the good "blocks" and in the ones that aren't quite so great . . . and the ones you wish you would have left out. When you quilt is all finished you can recount how many ways God was there for you. Just a thought . . . Mom H

Jamie said...

Some of those books are so annoying. I read one that seemed to suggest that I should be glad that Oliver was taken to heaven so that he wouldn't have to live in such a sinful world. That he is better off there (true but not comforting) and that I should be happy that I don't have to watch him suffer through the temptations of this world. Yeah, thanks for that...

I am also annoyed with the -there is a reason for everything- people. Like there's a lesson big enough for me to learn that would be worth my baby dying... I don't think so.

Hey, just thought it was funny that you work at a credit union and your husband teaches since I teach and my husband works at a credit union...

yup, I am on ivillage too. Saw some of your posts but I am more of a lurker than a poster these days... I am bertram13

Jamie