Tag Archive | cancer

Because of Grace

Cancer, suicide, drowning, car accident, murder. Every mother fears losing her child. We’re supposed to protect our children from the sharp edges of life. Don’t run in the street. Look both ways. Don’t drink and drive. Don’t hang out with that crowd. We hear about other families who face the pain of loss, and we silently give thanks it isn’t us, all the while hugging our kids a little tighter.

A mother is unprepared for the pain of her child’s death. I know. I’ve been there. It’s the worst loss.

But God. Those two words took me through the valley of the shadow of death, to the peace that passes all understanding.

Come with me on a journey from grief to grace.BecauseofGrace_FlatforeBooks

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Grace Defined

The dictionary defines grace as ‘favor or good will.’ A ‘manifestation of favor, especially by a superior.’ When I think about the death of my son, and how it changed my entire world, I wonder at God’s grace. As His child, I have His favor and good will, as described by dictionary.com.

In Jerry Sittser’s best-selling book, he talks about how God’s grace is often disguised in tragedy.

Loss may call the existence of God into question. Pain seems to conceal Him from us, making it hard for us to believe there could be a God in the midst of our suffering. 1

How can Bobby’s death be God’s grace? My comfort is there is a greater plan at work than I can see or imagine. I know that through the excruciating pain following Bobby’s passing, God was there, keeping me from falling into the abyss.

My prayer for those women who have lost a son or daughter, is they’ll find the strength to go on. To get up every day, get dressed, and move through the pain. Grief will either destroy you or make you stronger.

I choose strength.


  1. A Grace Disguised. Sittser, Zondervan 1995, 2004

6.5 things to remember when you’re grieving


Grief will pull you down like an alligator dragging its prey underwater. Here are some things to remember when your grief is as fresh as a new wound:

1. Everyone grieves differently. There is no right way. Give yourself the room to cry, scream, or even laugh.

2. Write a letter to your friends and family, explaining what you’re going through. Ask for their support and understanding. For an example of I letter I sent, let me know and I’ll email it to you.

3. Take a break from grief. When your sorrow is new, it’s overwhelming in its intensity. Give yourself permission to not grieve for a few hours.

4. Rely on your friends and family. Tell them what you need, whether it’s a meal or two, someone to clean your house, or just a shoulder to cry on.

5. Get enough sleep. Your brain feels fuzzy enough. Don’t add sleepiness to the mix.

6. Focus on what you’re doing – be in the moment. It’s easy to be so overwhelmed that you can’t concentrate.

6.5 Remember, you will get through this.


Freedom lost

Every human responds differently to loss. Some are stoic, stiff-upper-lip. Others break down in weeping and gnashing of teeth. I find myself settling into a pity party of epic proportions. “Nothing is good about my life,” I lament. “I never get a break.”
I’ve been caring for my 89-year old mother, who was recently released from a convalescent hospital. My freedom to come and go has been severely curtailed. I feel like a caged bird. I’m grieving over the loss of my independence, loss of time, money, energy. I’m grieving over my mother’s loss of the same things. I carry her loss like another brick that I must drag behind me.
How do you respond to loss? Do you kick and scream against the unfairness of life? Are you stoic, bending slowly under each additional burden? Or do you rejoice in suffering, know that it produces perseverance?

My baby is cuter than yours

Nothing prepares a mother for her child’s passing. A mother carries the baby inside her for nine months. He’s part of her. He shares her food, her air. He feels his mother’s emotions, hears her voice. They’re connected by something greater than the slim tether of umbilical cord.

Love at first sight becomes more than a romantic ideal. From the moment her baby is born, he’s the sole object of her adoration. He’s perfect, beautiful. He’ll be the smartest, cutest, best baby ever born.

We reflect God in that we have created a person solely dependent upon us for everything. We get a glimpse of God’s great love. We better understand God’s sacrificial love for us as we sacrifice for our child. We have a firmer grasp of God’s providential care as we provide for our children’s needs.

As our baby grows, a mother is his world. When he cries, he wants his mother. When she’s hungry, she needs her mother. How many times have you seen a child fall and scrape his knee? The first thing he says is “I want my mommy!”

We foresee a bright, shiny future for our children. We want for them everything that’s been denied to us. The opportunities we’ve let slip by, we grasp onto for our child.

Everything changes when he is snatched away.                                                                    

Like a head-on collision, the world stops in an instant. We’re initiated into a club whose membership we never asked for. There’s a hole in us that can’t be filled. “You have other children,” we’re told. As if he can be replaced. That’s like telling an amputee, “You have another leg. What’s the problem?”

We start the process of grief and we either work through it, or it works on us. Trying to hold it at bay is like trying to stand firm on a beach during a tsunami. When the tsunami warning sounds, we must seek the highest ground, climb to the top of a mountain. Working through the process of grief is like that climb from the valley floor to the high point of hope through Christ. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…” Death is only a shadow to the believer, and our life a vapor. Believer, take courage that you will see your beloved child again. God gave His Son so that you could be with your son or daughter for all eternity.

Life is Inconvenient

When I look at how God works in my life, I must admit that it can be inconvenient at times. It was inconvenient for Bobby to die. It was inconvenient for Mike to lose his job. It’s inconvenient that we have to cook for my mom every night.
When I look at my life’s circumstances as God’s grace to me, I have to stop making the distinction between “good” and “bad” circumstances. Grace is defined as “undeserved favor.” How can these crummy, inconvenient circumstances be undeserved favor? More like undeserved punishment! That’s where I have to stop looking at myself as the center of the universe. That’s when I have to use my eyes of faith. Huh? Yeah, the judgement between good and bad is not situational or circumstantial. Convenient or inconvenient, God’s working in my life just is. I can either accept it with grace (there’s that word again!) or chafe against it. My choice, His Grace.