I have to say it….there are some real downfalls to working as a bereavement counselor. My work as such began in late 2009, when I accepted a position in victim services with Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Besides conducting individual counseling, I ran a support group comprised of moms who’d lost their children to drunk drivers. This was an incredibly difficult task as a mom of six children. The cases I encountered were converted into fear. Every time my cell phone rings, my mind goes straight to those scenarios. This is true in spite of God’s incredible sustaining mercy which has been manifested over the past 25 years of motherhood.
After leaving MADD, I spent a year at the local Children’s Bereavement Center serving children who’d suffered sibling loss. There I encountered cases where children had been lost due to illness or accident. I also acquired an entirely new database of scenarios involving painful, traumatic loss. It is in light of such knowledge that I feel utterly helpless as a mother and grandmother. ” I must prevent these things from happening, but how?”
I’ll be honest…these past three weeks I’ve spent helping with my granddaughter, I’ve been very busy childproofing. Every piece of furniture over two feet tall is bolted to the walls (yes, in the studs). The cupboards are locked with the latest, greatest equipment. Chemicals are out of reach. Outlets are properly covered. These are the things I can do, and they are good things. I must, however, come to terms with this difficult and profound truth: I am not and can never be God. My children and my grandchild are in better, more capable, even more loving hands than my own. The tragedies with which I’ve worked should not compel me into fear, but rather a deeper trust in the One who loves them more than I.
I’d love for this paragraph to be the one in which I share with you how I have overcome my fear of tragic loss. To the contrary, this is where I shall convey my need. In Mark 9, Jesus is approached by a man whose begs for his son’s deliverance from an evil spirit. When Jesus responds to him that “all things are possible to him who believes,” the father desperately cries out, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (ESV). When it comes to my trusting God with my offspring, I must confess that I have everything in common with this man.
How I love to end posts with insight–an example of victory or proclamation of faith. But this very day I experienced panic when a child didn’t respond to a text for several hours and didn’t answer the phone. (Sent another child to check on her!) I have every reason to think that tomorrow will bring fear and anxiety of its own. So consider this more of a prayer request, my way of crying out, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” May I not trust in myself, but in the One who has accompanied me through every dark time in my life and theirs.
Jesus, surround my children and grandchild with your angels. Guide them with your hand in the way that they should go. And while you’re doing that, help me to trust in you. Amen.