I well-know the pain of losing a child. For each of us, loss is different, and yet God’s love is great enough to encompass them all. In this week’s Faith Notes Guest Post, The Weight of Sorrow, author Kim Findlay shares her own story of motherhood, loss and redemption:
Guest post by Kim Findlay
I sat on my couch utterly exhausted. I’d been coughing for six days – deep, lung-wracking coughs that snatched at my breath.
As I labored to breathe, a thought swept over me. I was done. I was tired of breathing and wanted it to stop so I could rest. But that was impossible, wasn’t it? It’s not like I had access to something or someone that could breathe for me. Exhausted as I felt, I had to keep going. As tears welled up, I prayed for the strength to continue on and for the pressure to lighten. I prayed for rest.
This feeling wasn’t new. Maybe in regards to the physical act of breathing – yes. But this longing for rest? This yearning to lift the pressure that weighed on my soul? I recognized this feeling – this weariness from the weight of sorrow.
Twelve years ago, my 5-year-old daughter, Emma, died in a fire that destroyed our home. I’ve endured twelve years of life without the bouncy presence of her sweet soul, twelve years without my youngest daughter’s squeezes and kisses, twelve years without the privilege of watching her grow.
It has been a long and weary twelve years. Years where I wanted to give up, to give in to the sorrow and allow its weight to crush my soul.
But just as my body compelled me to continue to breathe, there was a deeper sense that healing was possible if I just kept going. I’ve learned that despite Emma’s death, God is good, that he is near to those who live with broken hearts, and he binds up wounds. Even the most gaping ones left from the death of a child.
Would sorrow ever end? I wasn’t sure at first. The pain was so raw and the wound so deep. Each time I breathed I felt the shrapnel of loss and grief. But with tears spilling and my soul spurring me on, I prayed for strength to continue and for the pressure to lighten, just enough to make it through another moment. Another day.
God heard me and answered my prayer. As I looked to the Bible and clung to its truth. I chose to take God at his word and believe he had the power to heal even this.
I also chose to look for his goodness. I searched for it like one in search of life-giving water and would you know . . . I found it. While my daughter’s death would never be good, I caught glimpses of God’s goodness through answered prayer and strength for a new day. I experienced his goodness through the comfort he offered and the ability he gave me to share that comfort with others who experienced similar loss, people I would never have met without the death of my Emma.
I never thought it was possible, this depth of healing, this redemption of death. I truly thought when a child died, life would end. I’m learning that life truly is born from death, and nothing is too wounded that can’t be healed.
“Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion because of the greatness of his unfailing love.” Lamentations 3:32 (NLT).
Kim Findlay is a wife, mom, stepmom, children’s ministry leader, and the author of Breathing in Ashes, a memoir about the death of her daughter and her desire to find God’s goodness. She writes about hope and healing at www.abigumbrella.com.