I am your worst nightmare. I am a living, breathing example of bad things happen to good people. I am a picture of what it looks like when it happens to somebody else.
I am the mother who has buried her child. Twice. It is not easy to be friends with me, because at some point, you will inevitably think about the deaths of my daughters. And you will know that your children can die too.
I am the mother whose every special occasion involves a trip to the gravesite. To not one but two tiny graves positioned caddy-corner to each other. I am the mother whose daughter’s names are written in bronze plates embedded in the ground, just above their bodies.
Our family is your worse nightmare. We are the story on the 10 o’clock news. We are the faces of tragedy. What has happened to us is “beyond what you can even imagine.”
We are the parents who have lived what you hope you never will. On two separate occasions, three years apart in the same wing at the same hospital, we have had to make the decision to take our child off of life support. We have watched while death turned our children’s bodies gray and purple, bloated, swollen, stiff.
If you have known my family for any time at all, when you see us together, you will know that there are people missing. Seeing our faces means that you have to face the reality that you may not outlive your children.
Knowing me, knowing us, means that your worst nightmare could come true, because it did come true. For me. For us. For someone you know.
BUT…HE is Sovereign.
Knowing me doesn’t make it more likely that the same tragedy will happen to you. Knowing us also doesn’t make it less likely that the same tragedy will happen to you. Because, God is sovereign. He decides what He will allow to happen to whom and when. He wants you to trust in HIS plan for your life, no matter what has happened in mine.
BUT…HE is Good.
God is Good regardless of what happens to us. He is good regardless of whether we believe He is or not. Romans 8:28. Even after watching two of my daughters die, I still believe God works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. I still believe in His Master Plan, which one day I will fully understand when I am with Him (and my daughters) in paradise.
BUT…HE mends the brokenhearted.
While it may be true that not a single day of my life goes by without joy intermingled with sadness, God is close to the brokenhearted. He is close to me in a way that I haven’t really experienced before losing my daughters, a way that I’m not sure is really possible without utter brokenness. He binds up my wounds over and over again. God is the great Healer. He can heal anything. His way of healing is not always our way of healing, but He can and He does.
Psalm 34:18 “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Psalm 147:4 “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
AND…HE has conquered death.
Death is not the end, and death cannot permanently separate us from God nor from our loved ones if they are with Him. To quote Princess Bride, one of my favorite movies of all time:
“Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for awhile.”
Romans 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Heb. 2:9 “But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”
1 Cor. 15:57 “But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
I know it is scary for you to know someone who proves that bad things happen to good people. Twice. I am your worst nightmare. I am the mother who has lost two of her children. You don’t want what has happened to me happen to you. I get that. There is no sugar coating what has happened to me, to our family. It is horrible, painful, terrifying, sad, isolating, gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, and unfair.
I would never want what has happened to us to happen to anyone I know let alone anyone I don’t know. There’s no guarantee it won’t. There’s no guarantee it won’t happen to us again. But there’s no guarantee it will.
BUT, GOD. God is Sovereign. He is Good. He is close to the brokenhearted, and He has conquered death. I am living, breathing proof that life after tragedy exists and there is beauty in brokenness.
I am the proof that God is bigger than everything. Even Real Life Nightmares.