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The Pain of Loss Part 1

Words of Life / Salvation Army
The Truth Network Radio
August 4, 2019 2:00 am

The Pain of Loss Part 1

Words of Life / Salvation Army

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August 4, 2019 2:00 am

For the next two weeks, Terry and Donna share their painful and powerful story of losing a child from a car accident. They walk us through their grief and God’s restoration.

Series: Modern Family: a series on parenting

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Hi, this is Sarah Nelson. And I'm Bernie Dake. Welcome to the Salvation Army's Wonderful Words of Life.

Bernie, it is good to be with you today. And I have to say, what is on my mind today is the fact that I am getting ready to send my son Nolan, 11 years old, off to his first day of middle school. Oh my gosh. Sixth grade.

I can't believe it. This year. Nolan enjoyed elementary school so much, but I got to say he is a little nervous right now about middle school and the bigger kids. And so this momma's heart is a little tender right now.

I want the very best for Nolan. Of course, he's an awesome kid and he's a great friend. So I know he'll be just fine, but still it's a big change. And I know that a lot of parents out there can relate to this because so many of us are preparing for the transition to the next grade or sending our kids off to college right now. And it's a lot for a family.

Sure. Listen, Nolan or any other young people out there that might be hearing this, if it's your first week in a new school, milk it for all it's worth. Get more money from your parents for the cafeteria.

Buy more snacks. Okay, that's enough. Bernie, we're good.

We're good. That is my attempt at poor parenting and I'm sorry. On another note, in this series on parenting, the Israel's are going to spend the next two weeks discussing the pain of loss. And in today's episode, we're so grateful for them sharing their own testimony. And it's our prayer that this is a tremendous source of hope for someone who's currently experiencing a similar tragedy. Let us know how we can pray for you.

Send us an email at radio at uss.salvationarmy.org or call us at 1-800-229-9965. As we begin to talk about loss, we want to acknowledge that there are parents that genuinely sense the loss of their children, not through some physical absence, but because they have fallen into addiction, they have gotten into some bad decisions of life, perhaps criminal behavior or something of that nature, something that has led to them being separated from the family. And for parents to go through that and to see it on an everyday basis and to not be close to the children they love and whom they've invested so much time and energy can bring this terrible anguish of the heart. Also, there's the time when the unthinkable happens, and we do experience the physical loss of a child.

And when that comes through death and we experience that, what we quickly begin to realize is there are very few chapters in the parenting manuals that discuss that. In a previous episode, when we were discussing disabilities, we mentioned that our third son, Nathan, was involved in an automobile accident that led to him experiencing a traumatic brain injury. In that accident, the three boys were traveling with Donna. It was a single vehicle accident.

We've already discussed some of what Nathan went through. Our middle son, Timothy, was in the accident, came through with minor injuries. Donna received significant injuries, but the great tragedy at that moment was the loss of our oldest son, Matthew, who is the love of our life, and we lost him at the scene of the accident. In the moments after being told that Matthew had died, I wanted to be very angry with God, and I wanted to know whose fault it was and why this had to happen. And I wanted to figure out what in the world was going on. And in those moments, I realized that if I didn't believe that he was in the hands of God like I'd always said I believed, that I would have to start over and rebuild my faith on something else. And the Lord was very near to me and carried me through that time.

It was very difficult. As our first son, he is the one who made me a mom. And so at first I thought, I'm no longer a mom. But that's not true because I had other sons who I loved and they were dear to me as well. But loss is different for each member of the family. Each of the brothers experienced it differently.

Terry and I experienced it differently. There are times that we think about what Matthew would never do. He would never date. He would never drive. But in all of that, I have to trust that the Lord knew the exact moment he was going to call Matthew home. And so those were things he would have never done anyway. And that really helped in considering how things were to trust that the Lord was in control of every minute of this.

We often speak about the sovereignty of God and His care for us in that individual situation. As I said, the family was traveling alone. I was several hours away. They found me in the early morning hours and I was with one of my close friends spending the night at his place. And they found me and it took me a while to really grasp what had been said to me as the as the emergency room attendants and all were conveying messages of what had happened to the various family members. And I just couldn't get my mind around the fact that we had lost Matthew.

It just wouldn't register. And they had to give that to me in pretty graphic terms. And finally, when I got the information I needed and where I needed to go and how soon I would be getting there, I hung up the phone. And I was with my best friend, Doug, and he began to pray and he had his hands on my shoulders and was praying for me. In that moment, I had this sense of emotional falling. And you often know that the significance of the impact is measured by the depth of the fall.

And so the impact just would not come. I just sensed myself emotionally and spiritually in this free fall. And Doug's voice kind of faded off and I opened my eyes and I could see his lips moving.

But I was really not comprehending anything that he was praying. And I remember this sense that this is it. I'm going into an emotional, mental breakdown. I'm losing it.

I'm going over the edge. And I know people often speak about they heard God's voice. And people view that with a degree of cynicism. And what I would say to you is the Holy Spirit moved in my heart in that moment in such a manner that it was as though I audibly heard God's voice say to me, in all of this, do not forget I am here. And in that moment, this incredible peace came over me. I would say to you that the pain is no less today than it was when I first received that news.

I miss my son daily. But I would testify to you that I've never lost that sense of peace. It was literally several weeks before Donna and I could get together and share the experiences that we've just shared with you that through God's grace and mercy, in a few hours, we both received that peace.

In the moments shortly after the accident, I dealt with my anger towards the Lord, and He promised me and showed me how He had been there through all of it. My next concern was that Terry would hate me because I had been driving and no amount of winds or bad weather could I take the blame off myself. And would he blame me as well? Well, the next morning when he got there, that's the first thing I asked him. And he was surprised.

He couldn't even fathom it. And here I was fretting over something that had never hit him. And the Lord brought us back together in the relationship that we needed in each other to lean on each other to survive the things in the days ahead. At the same time, I was going through this tremendous sense that I wasn't there for my family, that I was absent, that I had failed to care for my son and for my wife and my other children. And this responsibility sense that came to both of us that somehow we're responsible for this loss.

We've come to find out since then that amongst parents that lose children, there are very significant divorce and separation rates because it strikes right at the heart of your relationship. It strikes at the heart of the family. And there are these tremendous needs that you have to get through this spiritually. And there are so many challenges that they come right at how you're viewing each other and really the essence of our relationship. So it's really difficult to get through those moments.

Even as we've testified to God's provision, there are some real challenges. For quite some time, I just really didn't want to speak about Matthew. It was too intimate. I just didn't want to hear about him in a humorous story or an anecdote.

And yet for Donna, it was very important to her that he still be an active part of our family, that she share life experiences and that he not be lost to the family dynamic and the discussions and the storytelling and all of that. And it's just one of those things. Neither one of us was right or wrong. It's just how we each go through it. And there's going to come times where the unexpected breakdown and things that happen. I remember at Valentine's Day after the accident, it's a whole year later, I just couldn't deal with Valentine's Day because Matthew had given me a special gift the year before.

Nobody knew that. Nobody knew that I was having a hard time. I had to reach out and talk to someone else and be close to someone and share that as a part of my relationship with my husband so that he knew what things were bothering me. It's very difficult to know how you cope with these things and how you find your new normal and your new dynamic in your family life. And there's probably no greater challenge than the loss of a child. As we take time to look at our own lives, we find great assurance in what we would characterize as the loss of Matthew. It was really not a loss because we are absolutely certain of His eternal salvation and His presence in Jesus Christ and how would we ever characterize that as a loss.

When we think about every believer in Jesus Christ, that's the desire they have for their children. Thank you for joining us in what is a difficult episode. We do encourage you to join us for the next episode in which we will continue this discussion and talk about how to cope, how to find your new normal, and how to reconcile those relationships. Again, we thank you for being with us. May God bless you. The Salvation Army's mission, Doing the Most Good, means helping people with material and spiritual needs. You become a part of this mission every time you give to the Salvation Army. Visit salvationarmyusa.org to offer your support, and we would love to hear from you. Email us at radio at uss.salvationarmy.org. Call 1-800-229-9965, or write us at P.O.

Box 29972, Atlanta, Georgia, 30359. When you contact us, we'll send you our gift for this series. It's totally free for listeners like you, one per household while supplies last. You can also subscribe to our show on iTunes or your favorite podcast store, and be sure to give us a rating. Just search for Wonderful Words of Life. Follow us on social media for the latest episodes, extended interviews, and more. And if you don't have a church home, we invite you to visit your local Salvation Army worship center. They'll be glad to see you. This is Bernie Dake inviting you to join us next time for the Salvation Army's Wonderful Words of Life.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-03 07:02:08 / 2024-02-03 07:07:16 / 5

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