Friday, March 26, 2010

Prayer Summit: Grieving

The final session of the prayer summit (I’ve skipped over two) was a celebration.  “Precious Bridegroom, we want to dance with you tonight,” the leader prayed.  “You lead and we will follow.”  For me, it was a time to grieve. 

Standing near me at the back of the room was a young mother with what looked like four small boys.  Since I raised four sons I felt an affinity with her.  You should pray for her, I heard God say, but that felt awkward.  Surely I could pray for her and her sons quietly without her even knowing.  No.  Go to her.  It was a fight to do so, but finally I went up to her and told her I too had four sons.  Could I pray for her and the boys?  Yes, I could.  And so I did.

After I sat back down, the prayer that kept repeating in my thoughts was, “Don’t let her have to bury any of her sons.  Keep them alive.  Let them all outlive her, God!”  The pain was great but it only prompted me to continue repeating my prayer. 

The thought came to me that I should ask one of the women there who had come from my church to pray with me but it felt awkward and it meant leaving my seat at the back and walking closer to the front where they were sitting.  I didn’t really want to do it—I have a hard time asking for help—so I argued with God.  Surely I could wait till after the session was done.  No.  Do it now.  Sigh. 

I’m glad I did. Three of them came to where I was sitting at the back and began to pray with their hands laid on me.  Sometimes their prayers were audible and sometimes they weren’t.  I was wracked with sobbing.  Sometimes my cries were loud, though the band covered the sound; sometimes my cries were silent, but all parts of my body were sobbing regardless of sound, my mouth frozen into open contortion.

I wish I remembered what the women said and prayed.  One reminded me that God is keeping my tears in a bottle.  She prayed that the bits of grief I let out would stay out and gone. 

I cried out, I want to hold my son.  I want to hold my son!  I don’t want him dead.  He should be living.  Jesus, please hold my son for me.  Take care of him for me.

I thought of Mary, the mother of Jesus.  She too buried her son.  But he rose again and because of that we will rise. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also.  (1 Corinthians 6:14 NIV)  Mikael will rise.  Mary’s grief was our blessing.  Because of what caused her grief, we are healed.  “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24 NIV)  These are hopeful truths.

It was good to cry and embrace the grief.  I seem unable to most of the time. 

Before the women returned to their seats and joined the larger group again, we had a group hug and they covered me with a large blue cloth telling me it represents life.  I stayed swaddled in it for a long time. 

Another thought came to me.  I need to pray for those four sons of the woman near me—doing so will be part of my healing—so I went back to her and asked for their names.  I wrote them in the front of the Bible I had with me and will pray for them till they are grown.  May God save their mother from the grief I’ve experienced!

I turned back to what was happening around me and was able to enter into the praise:

I cry out,
For Your hand of mercy to heal me.
I am weak,
I need Your love to free me....
For You are good.
--Eric Myers

The Lord is gracious and compassionate...
He has compassion on all he has made...
Praise the Lord, oh my soul!
--Graham Ord

Creator God you gave me breath so I could praise...
So let my whole life be a blazing offering...
Glory to God, Glory to God
Glory to God forever.
--Steve Fee

The prayer summit ended with this admonition: “Don’t let the fire go out.  The way you do that is practice the spiritual disciplines.”  It’s the only way to live—letting the fire of God burn in us at all times.

3 comments:

Samantha said...

I'm grateful you were able to grieve in circumstances where you were supported by others and in the presence of God. Your loss is one felt by many who grieve with you. You are in my prayers--and I pray you will continue to have positive experiences which will allow you to heal as you honor your son's memory and yourself.

Thank you for writing about your time at the prayer summit.

Harmony said...

Hi Debbie,
I read this a week or so ago and haven't had time to respond. However, I do continue to pray for you and your family.

I thought this setting was so gentle and caring an environment for your grief to be expressed.
As Samantha said you are blessed to have the support of others as you express your grief.

Thank you for sharing your experience.

Debbie Haughland Chan said...

Hi Sam and Shirley! Thanks for your comments and encouragement. Sorry I haven't been writing more. There is so much to share but I've been bogged down somehow this month. Hopefully I'll be writing often again soon.