Friday, October 8, 2010

Holding onto Heaven

Sometimes people question how I can find joy in any day after losing a child. I'll admit that some days are difficult and there are times when a part of me would rather just give in. There just came a point in this journey that I realized I had to choose...either the grief would take me over, or I would take over my grief.

It didn't happen overnight. In the beginning, even months after, I felt so disconnected from God. I questioned everything. Nothing made sense. I was angry. I didn't want to hear "he's in a better place" because I wanted Austin here, with me, even though I knew he was.

At one point, I turned to a spiritual friend for answers. I mentioned that when we lost Austin I'd never prayed as hard and without ceasing as that night. It hurt that my prayers weren't answered and I felt God wasn't there, that he didn't hear me - or care. He said, "Do you ever think God could've been using Austin in your life to strengthen your faith?"

I have to admit that this made me angry.  Why would he use MY son that way?  Wasn't my faith strong enough?  Then one day it hit me...God sacrificed his OWN son to save the world.  He did know my pain; and all those heartbreaking nights, when tears soaked my pillow and I felt so very alone, he was there to catch each one in his hands. 

And it wasn't all about me.  From the night of Austin's death and every day since then, his life has continued to inspire others.  At his service, and for days after, hundreds of hugs were shared all across this state from the message given by his youth minister.  It was his legacy, to help and hug others, and it continues to be shared.  While it hurts to not have Austin with us, what a privilege and blessing it was to be trusted with such a child and Heaven-sent soul. 

Getting to this place I am now took lots of prayer, time and reflection. Most of all, it took giving it to God. And that's when the joy came.  I'm reminded of the scripture, "Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning." (Psalm 30:5)  The pain from losing a child doesn't end with one night, truly, the pain never goes away.  However, you learn to function again because of the knowledge we all have as Christians.  I do know Austin's in a better place and that joy makes me yearn for Heaven each and every day.  Some morning, I know we'll be reunited at our final home as a family again.

A few weeks ago, something told me to continue listening to K-Love after I arrived at work, so I typed in their web address and tuned in online.  They were interviewing Matthew West, who just recently released an album inspired by letters written to him.  One of the stories was from a mother who had lost her son and so much about his and Austin's story was similar.  The song, "A Reason for the World" gave me goosebumps the first time I heard it.  I downloaded it today and played it over and over on the way home.  I cry every single time but the message is so clear and echoes all the feelings I've had the past two years.  He may have written the song for this family but I feel like he's speaking directly to me with each word. I hope it touches you too...


Anonymous said...

You have no idea how much I needed to hear that song. I'm not as strong as I once was, or as you are.
I was to the point of believing this life is just a joke, something to survive, and would gladly give it up.
You showed me how selfish that is. My place is to do what God wants, not me. To live my life asking what HE wants of it, not what I want.
It will still be hard at times I know. Maybe you can make me a copy of this song for those times.
Thank you for your posts baby, they do save lives, and probably souls.

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