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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
Hi this is Sarah Nelson and I'm Bernie Dick, 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. All my gosh sixth grade I Believe this year on enjoyed elementary school so much but I gotta say he is a little nervous right now about middle school and the bigger kids and so this mamas heart is little tender right now. I want the very best for non-course is an awesome kid and he's a great friend. So I know he'll be just fine, but still it's a big change.
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. The next grader setting our kids off to college right now and it's a lot for a family should never 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 you get more money from the cafeteria by more snack that's enough Bernie bridge target. That is my attempt to poor parenting. On another note in this series on parenting. The Israel's were gonna spend the next two weeks discussing the pain of loss. In today's episode were 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 email@example.com or call us at 1-800-229-9965 as we begin to talk about laws 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 is led to them being separated from the family and for parents to go through that and to see it ailment every day basis and to not be close to the children.
They love and in 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 that comes through death, and we experience that what we quickly began to realize is there very few chapters in the parenting manuals that discuss that in a previous episode 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 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 with the right tragically, that moment was a loss of our oldest son, Matthew was 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 wanted to know whose fault it was.
And why this had to happen, and I wanted to figure out what 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 that always said I believed that I would have to start over and rebuild my faith on something else the Lord was very near to me and carried me through that time is very difficult as our first son. He's he is the one who made me a mom and so it first I thought, I'm no longer a mom but that's not true because I had other sons who loved. I loved and they were dear to me as well. That 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 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 solitude of God in his care force, and that individual situation is a said the family was traveling alone. I was several hours away. They found me in the in the early morning hours and I was with one of my close friends spending the night at his place. They found me and it took me a while to really grasp what had been said to me is the is the emergency room attendance and all were conveying messages of what it happened to the various family members.
I just couldn't get my mind around the fact that we lost. Matthew just wouldn't register and had to give that to me and pretty graphic terms, and finally when I got the information I needed and where needed to go and how soon I would be getting there hung up the phone and I was with my best friend Doug and he began to pray and the head is hands on my shoulders and was praying for me in that moment I had the 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 freefall and Doug's voice kind of faded off and I open my eyes I could see his lips moving, but is really not comprehending anything that he was praying and I remember the sense that this is it. I'm going into emotional, mental breakdown I'm losing and I'm going over the edge and I know people often speak about the heard God's voice and people view that with the degree of cynicism and what I would say to you is the Holy Spirit moved in my heart and 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 in that moment. This incredible peace came over me. I would say do you that the pain is no less today than it was when I first receive that news. I miss my son the 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 with in a few hours we both receive that piece in them 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'd been driving and no amount of Windsor. Bad weather. Could I take the blame off myself and would he blame me as well, or the next morning when he got there. That's the first thing I asked him and he was surprised that he couldn't even fathom it here.
I was fretting over something that it never hit him in the Lord brought us back together and the relationship that we needed in each other to lean on each other to survive the things in the days ahead the same time I was going through this tremendous sense that I wasn't there for my family that I was absent that I'd failed to care for my son and for my wife and my other children in this responsibility since that came to both of us that somehow we are responsible for this loss we come to find out since then that amongst parents that lose children their very significant divorce and separation rates as 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 they come right at how your viewing each other and really the essence of our relationship is really difficult to get through those moments, even as we've testified to God's provision there some real challenges for quite some time. I just really didn't want to speak about Matthew 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 of loss to the to the family dynamic in the discussions and the storytelling and all that is just one of those things. Neither one of us is right or wrong is just how we each go through, there's gonna come times where the unexpected breakdown and things that happen. I remember it 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 to be here 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 closed and share that part as a part of my relationship with my husband so that he knew what things were bothering me is very difficult to know how you cope with these things and you how you find your new normal in 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 characterizes loss is really not the loss because we are absolutely certain of his eternal salvation and his presence in Jesus Christ and how we ever characterize that as a loss when we think about every believer in Jesus Christ. That is, are they have for their children. Thank you for joining us and 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 the relationship.
Again, we thank you for being with us.
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