Friday, January 1, 2016

Life-Changing Grief & The Holidays

In his book, "After Lament," Glenn Pemberton encourages readers facing significant suffering or grief to enter into lament--to go deeper in a struggle with God. In marked contrast to the flavor of many Christian churches today, Pembertson points to the example of David and other Psalmists us to lament--to ask of God His purposes, to wrestle with God, and to generally cry out to Him in lament. Pemberton writes, "It is my observation that many people assume [that] [o]nce God has heard our lament and answered our prayer, the crisis is over and we may resume our lives from the point at which the crisis hit....As soon as the crisis is past we try to get on with the business of living our lives as if nothing happened." Pembertson, After Lament, p. 25. My observation is that friends and family members of grieving parents try to "fix" the grieving parents by trying to get them "back" to the normal way of life, especially at the Holidays. The first Christmas after Micah died, Heather and I made the decision we would not try to be "normal" around the Holidays. Rather than enjoying a traditional family Christmas, we took off for 7 days in Mexico. In hindsight, this was an excellent decision. In every Christmas season since his death, we have taken on a few "traditions "back," but it would be unrealistic to think that our holidays, like the rest of life, can ever be "normal" again. Nothing in life is normal after the death of a child, especially those rhythms of life associated with family and children. If you know a grieving parent, I would encourage you to not try to "fix" their problems by getting them "back" to their normal ways. God is using the most terrible circumstances imaginable to change the lives of the parents, and most likely numerous others, for His glory. Please don't think that a grieving parent needs his or her "old" way of life back in order to be happy again.

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