Seven years ago today, my son Jacob died.
How do you go on? How do you process that and keep living? How do you still have faith?
These are questions I’m often asked and there’s no way to answer in just one short post. But I will say that the biggest thing for me is re-centering myself on what I know to be the truths found in God’s word, for they are the only stable foundation that is never swayed by feelings or the storms of life whirling around us.
In honor of Jacob’s “Heaven Day” (the day he left this life behind and began his new life in Heaven), I am sharing an email I sent to a grieving mom several years back. She lives thousands of miles away and we’ve never physically met. But through our mutual love for Jesus and our worldwide church fellowship, we’ve become friends as we have both, unfortunately, experienced the deep, cutting loss of a son.
When I wrote these words, it was for her but God used them to help me re-set the anchor in my own soul as well. These truths were tested in deep valleys of grief and yet were found to be more trustworthy than any emotion I have ever felt in those dark times.
I share this today hoping it will encourage you as well.
Email From: Jenny Leavitt
Subject: one grieving mom to another
To: [my friend]
My name is Jenny Leavitt and my husband Myron and I have been a part of the Christian Fellowship Ministries since 1992 and have been born again since 1991… Our family met the Martinez family after our two sons were in a horrible car accident on August 30, 2015, and our 17-year-old son Jacob went to be with Jesus. Our 20-year-old Caleb almost did not make it but by God’s grace and mercy he survived and is physically recovered… Our families have become very close since then as it is truly an amazing gift to have someone who has lost a child to talk to. They understand!
I just wanted to let you know I understand, too. I know the searing pain and agony of loss. I know the intense pain, like a part of you, has been cut off and your heart stabbed through. I know the dark times of grief. Even though it’s been almost 2 years for us- which is so hard to believe…two years! – the grief still comes in waves…
I used to tell people, before the accident, that my favorite verse was Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
But after the accident, I started to see all of the ways that God had prepared us even before the accident and how He had walked with us, every step of the way since the accident and now I add the next few verses to my favorites:
“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” (verses 12-14)
When I have sought Him, really sought Him with all of my heart, mind, soul, and strength, He has faithfully shown me how He was there. He has never left me nor our family. He knew the end from the beginning and not only made sure Jacob was ready, he met him on that roadway. He prepared us with conversations we didn’t remember until His gracious Holy Spirit reminded us after the accident. He was there on that long, dark night in the hospital with Caleb, praying he would pull through.
He was there as we lowered Jacob’s mortal body in the ground at the cemetery while our other son was in the trauma ICU unit fighting for life.
He was there in the sleepless night, the long walks I took, crying out to the Lord for relief!
He was there in the talks I was so blessed to have as my sons were growing up- about a relationship with God, about Heaven, about the 7-year-old girl in our church who died of brain cancer just two months before the accident. He was there in the precious moments. Conversations preparing us for the future we didn’t know was coming.
He was there in the shadows of the valley of death, walking it with us. Bringing hope in the midst of deep despair.
He was there as we went through months of surgeries, therapy, wheelchairs, walkers, and canes with Caleb.
He was there, lovingly leading us. Bringing strength where we had none.
He was there, providing all of our physical needs so we could concentrate on healing.
He has been so faithful.
My hearts’ prayer and cry for you and your family is that you will feel Him in the quiet. In the despair. In the hurt, anger, confusion. In all the areas of this grief, you will know Him so much better than ever before and see His hand right amid tragedy. For He is there. He is walking this painful road right there with you. Sometimes carrying you if needed.
That when you look back on this season, you can see that every valley, every low, through it all you can see Him. Holding you, whispering to your heart that you’re not alone. Every moment, He was there. Working it all for good because you love Him. Never leaving nor forsaking you or your loved ones.
Carrying you; being your Rock in the storm- when the waves of grief come- holding you up.
That’s my prayer for you today. Please know that I will continue to pray for you and your family…
Your sister in Christ,
Even after all this time, these words still resonate with me.
I’d love to know if they helped you, if they raised questions you’d like to ask, or anything else you’d like to share. We’re on this journey together, friends!