This broadcaster has 590 podcast archives available on-demand.
Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.
July 30, 2021 2:00 am
Facing the loss of a loved one can leave life feeling so empty and gray. Ron and Nan Deal, along with Brad and Jill Sullivan, give listeners the hope that the color WILL return!
Show Notes and Resources
Help for grieving parents is avaliable at https://whilewerewaiting.org/
Find resources from this podcast at https://shop.familylife.com/Products.aspx?categoryid=130.
Download FamilyLife's new app! https://www.familylife.com/app/
Check out all that's available on the FamilyLife Podcast Network. https://www.familylife.com/familylife-podcast-network/
Okay, I can specifically remember a day in our life. After tragedy after your sister died when I was in the kitchen and you are in the garage do know is that yeah she is my best friend was really hard to watch her go because when she passed she was only 44 set for boy stepping on and I think you can say you remember hearing me laugh yeah I remember you know your you are a joy filled the laughing woman.
You bring laughter into the Wilson house. It's one of the greatest things I love about you but you had left in two years is in the kitchen you're doing some of the garage and the door was shut and the laughter was so loud it came through the door into the kitchen. What did you feel that I'm ever thinking it's gonna be okay. There is life after death there is hope that we knew that intellectually. We knew that scripturally we knew that theologically I had taught it as a pastor when you literally had felt it had no interest again was a lie. Go it's all over and now we can be joyful, dresser life, but it was like glimpse like okay to make it.
Welcome to family life today where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most and Wilson and Dave Wilson and you can find us if it will live today.com or on our family life app family life today we're talking a little bit about grieving today in the hope that comes after grieving. And Jesus is our hope that it's not a topic that we always like to go to because when our friends and experience it. We feel awkward. We don't want to say the wrong thing so many times we say nothing, which then that feels weird but I'm glad you had this discussion to death. So we get the deals in the Sullivans back with us and the we've Artie talked a little bit with Ron and then many of you know Ron from blended director blended family ministry here at family life in amazing ministry will need to puff them up anymore by the Sullivans Fred and Jill came in in great friends of the deals but both of you lost a child the same year 2009 and we walk through that journey. They both went through the same year and then the journey after and what God's even done it is still doing ingested. The best is yet to come in terms your military and so today we sort of want to talk about okay is there life after death.
Is there joy is there hope you is that comes and I'm looking at you and I can see the smile it's real, but we need to help people get through that I so how to get there.
I think one of the frames of reference, I would give people is the pain and intensity of your sorrow after losing a child. Changes over time. It doesn't go away. There's moments where it instantly comes back we call them landmines. It's a song on the radio or on your podcast or it's a word or you walk in you find a picture on your phone and boom you are back in the middle of the throes of your sadness, but the space between those moments of intensity gets wider over time.
In the beginning it is all consuming and overwhelming. But over time were 12 years out of all of us are in our cases and the space gets wider so you're able to experience again more of the. The ups of life and happiness in life is the joy of life. I think on some level you can always have joy even in the beginning in your head. You know Jesus wins the day. We know we get to see Connor again.
I knew that I said that at his funeral. That doesn't mean I didn't fall apart immediately after the funeral and then begin to try to figure out how to you walk through life when you have no motivation for life.
Like the reality of the sorrow is very very heavy in the beginning but there is joy there is comes this year we are all descent got married and I'm so thankful we were 12 years out. The first 246.
I couldn't dance like I dance membranes, letting I was full on celebrating for them that there was Connor's picture on Brennan's lapel I was carrying an all day long I was missing him like crazy. He was mentioned at the rehearsal dinner. He was, and mentioned at the wedding.
This money wasn't there. The way I wanted him yet we celebrate it, and I know it's what he would want.
I was in a space where I really could not tell you this. First, for six years. I don't think I could handle like that and it does count yet here's a question how you know because I know it's it's true mentioned in the little bit I know that I after my little brother died and I grew up I got to a place of of hope and thinking of a good friend of mine John and his wife Sonia lost their teenage son to suicide and we were at the funeral and John got up and gave one of the greatest sermons I'd ever heard. And saying with his arms raised to Jesus and that in that funeral worship moment and I know a week later he collapsed, you know. And now, years later. I know he and son had they found joy is not fake joy, a deep well of joy but it's a process. As you know this process as well as anybody. So help us walk there no Ron you talk. I don't know what they're talking about. They talk about you. So the colors going to come back with Sammy so in 1998 and I lived in Jonesboro, Arkansas and Jonesboro had a school shooting.
It was one of the first one, the year before Columbine was the Jonesboro school shooting. I was at the school. That night, along with thoughts of other volunteers trying to provide comfort to families that have lost their children. The counseling center in our church within six months. There were five people killed four students and a teacher.
Three of those five families were in our care. I walked personally through the tragedy with a number of families, but especially those who lost children. This is all years before we lose Connor. I remember sitting with one of the mothers and had a conversation one day in which she said to me, the color has gone out of my life. My life is gray went home that day and share that with Nana and said that was a moment as a counselor I knew I was incredibly inadequate.
I had nothing for her and I also know that that was profound in a holy moment, and I just don't even know what to do with the fast forward.
Years later, we lose our son Connor and this mother reaches out to us and she starts mentoring me. She starts helping me make sense of my world, and she never knew the conversations now and I had about the story. Life is great.
You have lost the color she never knew we dialogued about that were that I had shared that with colleagues and people and I talked about it and out of the blue.
One day she sends me this message and she says Ron I told you once that my world was gray and I just want you to know the color comes back.
So here's this woman who out of her tragedy is now turning around and giving to me and I held onto that color comes back and I just said that to myself over and over and over minutes as a believer I know the colors wrapped up in the cross and Christ defeating death, and I have hope because of that, but my pain is really strong right now you know someday I'll see Connor again. But that's not today so at the same time I have joy. I also have sorrow and those two things do not cancel one another out. Christians need to know this and hear me say this because when you say to somebody, well, aren't you glad that they whatever the you'll see him again as if that means their pain goes away. Now it doesn't.
So, we comfort people with what will be, but we have to help people be sad and cry over what is we have to do both of those at the same time, which is what I think. While were waiting does it gives people the space to in their faith deal with their pain.
You know we've said this before on this program. My faith informs my pain but it doesn't get rid of it. And while were waiting gives people a space to do that in the midst of their Christian is you just think it is interesting that if somebody else who really hadn't gone through something like that had said the same words to you.
You might've just winked and said thanks you so much as been there. I mean mentioned this earlier, but it really is. Second Corinthians 1 where Paul wrote, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that there is the purpose why he comfort us just for us.
Well, partly, but really, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. And she did that for you as now you all of us are doing for others, just let me ask you as you've done that is youth Greek. You're also having grieving siblings you are leaving children filling your home. How do you do that when you're suffering so much. That's a really hard thing actually recently recorded a podcast with my daughter about that topic. She is now 25. She was 14 when her sister went to heaven, healing knowledge, the fact that when she lost her sister sheet that just we just had the two girls.
Hannah was her best friend Hannah was her confidant Hannah was the one that she went. Nina went to with everything that at that. A girl is going through. And when Hannah went to heaven. She lost her sister but she also lost her parents. Parents that she had known all of her life. And so it was a profound loss for her.
She became an only child and became an instant only child with parents who were no longer the same.
At the time. We really weren't like you said we are so caught up in our own grief and we tried to help her and be there for her, but it's a very hard thing to do, and we've learned it now, of course. In retrospect, that we should have probably included her in our grief more we try to protect her from our grief and she tried to protect us from her grief and so we ended up you know grieving a lot behind closed doors in grading separately here.
I should have been grieving together and I think that would've helped both of us and of course we did that some we could've done that better. You know all of these things you can look back at now and say that these are the things we could have done better.
Do you remember laughing together as a family. After Hannah's death. That's the thing that I'm going encourage people to the laughter, the joy comes sin and at a retreat if you will walk inside the refuge and hear the laughter going on.
You think what I want to join this party within you found out what were all therefor and but you know we have mentioned on this sub so why are you there talk about this so while were waiting retreat for very parents of that of lost a child. So you're all there because you lost a job, but your laughing, laughing, and we probably laugh more than we chronically absolutely and that's that's good, but that also is this a safe place for parents to do that but the thing that we've got to experience over the last 10 years of doing retreat to me around parents of lost children is to see that process of their joy coming back to see what God is doing in their lives and that is been very rewarding for us just to be a spectator to see and you see ministries that are worn, you see people using their story to give God glory and to just be obedient.
That's so powerful to us to get to see God work. Her father is the Redeemer and he started to redeem the story and in and is also. But we know it's going be redeemed and we focus on that hope in and have or that are fixed toward eternity in its powerful and to experience that with this to see Jory start returning them in others lives in our lives in then to see God work and we kind of change. This parents to we kind of jokingly with our other two boys at this point talk about the loss two years when they, lost us as parents like we just weren't functioning very well.
Is there anything you can do for us.
God's grace was my sister who really flew to where we lived and spent time with us and we would say hey and Jerilyn's gonna come back in my younger son Brendan would go all good will get to eat again. It was sort of the joke with Fred to feed my sister came. She cooked and like I'm not kidding you really stopped being proactive parents all the things we hear from left to do. We went in barely function barely function getting through life. So you need that community of people say to just takes time and I think we need to be gentle with bereaved parents that it's not a year and then it's over. It takes time and some people take a little bit longer to find their way than others and I would say I was one of those people.
I was really angry with God.
I was frustrated with him. I really dug in my heels for a long time. I'm on the other side of that now that it just takes time and the Julie can come back. I think the one thing that we did really well is weeks to meet each other a tremendous amount of grace.
That's what I want to ask about the difference yes you know, maybe one spouse is mad at God.
Others move beyond that, or possess grieving your other timetables different.
So how do you know I'd be really curious for Brad and Jill to talk about their journey. So when Nana and I started grieving. We like to say we grief together clung to walk to reach with each other. The intensity of our pain was the same.
The frequency was the same. We were both in the pit together and then I would say for five years into it, you read the book of Job, you know, it helps me help me turn some corners theologically in my head and make sense of some things she didn't want anything to do with a stack here still manic. I was so drunk and resentful of Ron resentful.
I just wasn't going there so I let him go. I did yeah let you go in the big journey for us at that point as we begin to diverge a little bit socially where we were and how we would function in life is we had to have a she said grace for each of which meant I needed to be really super patient when she needed to rehash stuff over and over and over again that I no longer needed to do and I needed to sit and listen and be with her. I think we extended our boys, grace to you because we wanted to be at the cemetery more and do things like that.
They didn't want to. And so we never really pushed that we never really push counseling unless we really saw a red flag with them that we extended each other to medicine Nana grace if they still wanted to do the pizza and movie night and I wasn't ready. Can I let them go and I can do my own thing and so its delicate IQs, no prescription for this for every couple of family would be different for us it was all four of us individually were grieving we had our own journeys. But then we try to do the family grieving thing like Jill said we tried to talk and share and be open with each other and connect indoor children's grief, but that's only when I could be mindful enough to get outside of my own head to see hundred of their space gets a hard hard hard journey and you know if you're doing it right right and wrong. We had one child would talk to us and tells everything he was feeling and our other son went silent for years, twice in a decade, but then when he finally crashed.
He crashed hard when he was in college and then it came out and we had to pay attention to him and help him in that space again just never know if you're doing okay. When I do okay.
And so it's touching go, which again reinforces this idea that when you have somebody to bounce it off of someone else's ahead of you and other persons grieving beside you, you can I get a sense of where you're at and what you can do different. What you can't control. I'm not curious about your grief journey as a couple. What was ours was a little bit different in that hour started before Hannah actually went to heaven. You know from the time she was diagnosed.
We knew we were dealing with a potentially terminal illness.
We need to pray for healing. We trusted for healing, but we knew that God might not choose to heal her. So we began grieving her before she went to heaven set and we had to walk that journey of the cancer journey with our child making decisions about treatments and in hospitals and things like that. So we had to process some of those things together before she died.
So I think that may be bonded us together a little bit in that so that when we grieved.
I think we grief together in one thing we definitely noticed and have heard many many brave parents say this when he would have a really really bad day. I was usually doing okay and then vice versa. When I was having a really really bad day or week or whatever he was doing okay. We rarely were both way down here at the same time and I think that's a grace that God gives us guessing maybe we've heard that as you do your retreats this at something that yeah you say that a long walk because the truth is that I don't know statistic. Maybe Ron you know what the number marriages that don't make it after a tragedy like this you don't make it. I'm glad you brought that up. I've looked into it. There's really not any good science you'll hear things like 85% of couples divorce if ever losing child is not true is not true. It's not nearly that bad.
But it's hard and takes a toll on your relationship and again if you have other children. They can be so forgotten.
In the process. People ask you other deals ask you how you're doing because they're adults, you're an adult. Very few people go up to your 14-year-old and say do you do really know. I want to know tell me about this and they will asked how your mom yes. Is that something we should be doing. Oh to the plains as a parents are having a hard time doing it. If you step in and be a parent for those kids or help them. I would long for just somebody to take him out of the house where the grieving mom was just house was over and taken to get a shaker taken to moving to something normal that because they're not grading on the same level as appearance are just help is actually a term the forgotten mourners that's what siblings are called in the research literature around us because everybody gets paid attention to the adults do not so much the kids think about a teenager I was 14 going into high school. It's hard enough now your kid whose brother just died. Yes, kids don't know how to talk to. Anyway you're trying to make it in this high school C. Genome uncomfortableness and now you got that on you to do your four head. That's hard. So if the majority said it so I don't know if I'm asking for some derisive but if you could look at a parent right now listening whose feeling like I don't know if I'll laugh again. Don't know if I ever feel the joy I once had before my son or daughter died what would you say to them anyone of you are all of you. How could you help them. What would you remind them. I would say two things. The color comes back and just take the next step.
That's about as far as you can see right now and you don't you worry about what's beyond that and are so many questions in your head. You don't have answer your right. Try to focus on just taking the next step.
Brandon, Jill, I'm curious we have some friends whose two sons overdosed and they died and we watched each grieving parents there just so heartbroken and I'm thinking of parents of kids that have committed suicide. So now they take on on top of all this grieving. They also curing this sense of guilt and shame, or maybe even blaming each other do you address that is there. Somehow I feel like that's been killing.
It's a little bit different from when you've been talking about it is different in our retreats.
We do have mixed groups. Typically you know whoever registers as we have so we have retreats that have parents who have lost from stillborn children to kids that I have cancer or car accidents or suicide or murder. All these different things and we've done that that way for years now and it's been fine.
But even in that we know there is a difference when your child dies by their own hand and says something that we have just recently started our retreats that are specifically for parents that have lost children to suicide and they are led by or facilitated by parents that have lost children to set aside we've just done a few of them so far. We got some more on the calendar and those have just been amazing. We sat in on one just because it was the first one we just kinda sat in on some of the discussion time. The discussion those parents have his reach is just amazing.
And when you comment from a foundation of faith and makes all the difference. People who have lost children to suicide. You know, you think people say crazy things to us who lost a child from cancer from an illness or something like that people really say inappropriate things to people that have lost children to suicide for them to just be able to get together and being a very safe place where they can say anything without a filter in and I can laugh and they can cry and it's it's just a beautiful thing. We do offer something that is specific for them and I just want to say I guess in some I stumbled on this program today and there like I don't. I can't believe I tuned into this podcast radio broadcast. This is hope. God put this program in your ears right now because you need what we're talking about. I think about Jesus saying come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give thanks for being with guys appreciate so much thanks for having so much it may be the you're the person or couple. Dave Wilson was talking about just a minute ago someone who stumbled on this program and who needs what Dave and Leon have been talking with Rhonda man deal and Brad and Joel Sullivan about the day you need comfort you need God to draw near to you in the midst of your own grief. We encourage you to go to our email@example.com there's a link there to Brad and Joel Sullivan's website more about their ministry that is available again, go to family life today.com and then we recommend podcasts and books resources that can help you as you walk through a season of grief or maybe you know somebody who's walking through a season of grief and you will look for resources for them. Levi Lusk on his wife Jenny were here recently. They shared about the loss of their five-year-old daughter Levi has written a book about their journey through grief called through the eyes of a lion facing impossible pain finding incredible power. You can order the book from us firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you know somebody you want to pass on to get the website family life to.com or call to order the book, one 800, FL, today is our number that's 803 586-329-1800 F as in family L as in life, and then the word today. Well here we are at the end of July. The beginning of August for some of us summers already starting to wind down world.
Look ahead to the new school year starting on fall is almost here and it's gonna be a sprint. Before long, David Robbins was the prison family life is here with us. I think that's how a lot of our listeners are feeling right now.
Right. Well that is certainly what's happening in the Robbins household, Bob. I'm Sommer is feeling basically over school is right around the corner for assuming we are shopping and school supply and getting in the last bits of summer and one of things Megan I did recently was peek into the fall and realize how quickly was coming know you look at the next 90 days we go okay it's here and it's already so full with a lot of things, like kids sports in school activities and we just, how to Paul's moment to go how we can invest in our marriage and we are so excited it family life to be able to share that most of our weekend to remember locations are opening up and coming to a city near you and want to invite you to take a pause yourself and go ahead and carve out time think proactively.
Now it's good to be a sprint in August and September for many of you as families we know that reality is so how do you plan ahead to carve out time just you and your spouse to get away and that's what we can remember is all about well and what were suggesting is that you now put it on your calendar. Go to your website family like to.com. Find out what a weekend. Remember getaway is happening near you and make this a priority for the fall.
Don't let it get crowded out by other things by putting it off the side to date that you're going to join us this fall that we can remember marriage get away again.
Get more information email@example.com and with that, we gotta wrap things up for this week.
Thanks for joining us. Hope you have a great weekend. Hope you your family are able to worship together in your local church this weekend and then join us on Monday. Talk about how important it is for us to be thinking rightly about our identity about who we are who God made us to be driven wax joins us for that conversation. I hope you can join us as well on behalf of our hosts Dave and Ann Wilson on bobble peanut. Have a great weekend will see you Monday for another edition of family life today is a production of family life accrue ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most