Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tuesday’s Trust - What Do You Do When You’re Terrified of Jesus? - by Tommy Prince

Tuesday’s Trust

What Do You Do When You’re Terrified of Jesus?


Tommy Prince

We can talk about trauma and being traumatized all day long, and those things are not to be minimized, and they must be walked through. But tell me,

What Do You Do When You’re Terrified of Jesus?


Part of the “bereaved-parent tribal language” to describe the kind of life a person can expect to develop after the death of a child is described as a ‘New Normal’ life.

Now this much is what I KNOW:

Nothing in your life will ever be the same.

Every aspect of your life is affected by the death of your child.

Your emotional life intensifies.

Your physical life suffers.

Your mental functioning is called into question.

Your spiritual life is a total wreck.

Yet this is what I AM BEING TOLD:

To help cope and survive, I’m told I will develop a

“New Normal” life.

I’ll never forget the first time I heard this term, “new normal,” I was livid on the inside. I thought,

“There’s nothing ‘normal’ about anything I’m experiencing or will experience for the rest of my life! All I feel is devastation. What the hell is ‘normal’ about that? I can’t imagine the term ‘normal’ applying to any part of my life from this point on.”

The term "new abnormal," maybe.

The term "new normal," no.

Is a life filled with

· sadness,

· hypervigilance,

· irritability,

· fear, and

· uncontrollable bouts of crying

a “normal” life?

No, of course not! But now, I am told, it should be considered a "new normal" life?

To me the term ‘new normal’ is a polite way to say,

“Really, you’re screwed, but in several years you will develop—at best—a minimal level of functioning to cope with life. So, to encourage you and give you some sense of hope, we will call it a 'new normal.'”

But since I can’t come up with a better term right now that captures what I’m going through and where I’m headed, I will concede and use the bereaved tribal-language term of “New Normal.”


Spiritual Trauma…

We talk about the irritability, fear, and uncontrollable bouts of crying being my “new normal,” but is this “new normal” also to include feeling terrorized by Jesus?

As I was journaling the other day, I realized I have not only been traumatized emotionally, physically and mentally but I have also been traumatized spiritually. By way of background, I wrote a post called I ASKED FOR BREAD AND GOT A STONE almost a year ago. Briefly this post was a description of what I went through as

I prayed to God intensely for months to watch over my daughter, only for her to … end up getting killed?!

Don’t think that won’t seriously mess you up.

Now, I find that a chill goes through me when I’m asked to pray for something or somebody. My insides just freeze up. I wouldn’t last three seconds in a Sunday school room or a Bible study where prayer requests are being taken.

I reluctantly must admit I mostly have been exposed to the ‘Consumer Benefits’ approach to evangelism and spirituality through the years. This approach basically says, “Come as you are, and look at all the things you can get—by saying this prayer, and tithing your money, etc.”

A “Consumer Benefits” approach to spirituality seems to include a delusion that one can use “sin management” to effectively run one’s life, and that one simply needs to just rub the side of the Jesus-Genie-Bible to get whatever one thinks one needs in life, and THAT should provide him/her the key to a successful spiritual life.

To begin to figure out how best to deal with my spiritual trauma, I find

o I cannot speak the tribal language of church and evangelism any more.

o I have not lost my faith or my trust in God.

o I have to question my assumptive beliefs and what I thought were truths.

There is some residual fallout from having gotten caught up in the “Consumer Benefits” philosophy of living the Christian life. While I struggle to find my bearings, right now

· I cannot approach my relationship with Jesus as I have before.

· I find it too terrifying to ask for ‘things’ or for ‘help.’

· I find that I can only ask for Him and Him alone.

For now, all I know is seeking Him-and-Him-alone is the only thing that gives me a modicum of comfort.

If seeking God-and-Him-alone is to be my “New Spiritual Normal,” I am fine with that.

Anything else terrifies me.

Thank you to my hubby for this post. May God use it to stir our hearts, and to direct our questions about who He is to Him...

picture: http://www.123rf.com/photo_4927989.html



Deedy said...

A....in 3 days it will be 1 year since our daughter died...I remember a few months ago thinking that if I could just get to March, then things would 'resolve' a bit..Recently heard from 2 sources about the '3'year mark. What happens in the meanwhile? There is much in my life that needs to be done, and many things that I could do, but then again... have some good days, but still sense an overwhelming feeling of "I just can't get it done", or 'nothing turns out right' (even when it's not true)...Thankyou for being so honest,
With respect for you, and love for the Lord (who daily carries this up+down Mom)...D

Grieving Mother/Therapist, Angie Bennett Prince said...

Oh precious Deedy,

I am so so sorry you are approaching a whole year since you've been with your baby girl. In regard to what happens in the first few years, I looked through the survey that I have here on my blog (and I so appreciate your taking a part in it!) ~ the general pattern seems to be as follows:

The first year, the grief itself is of course incredibly raw, yet there seems to be a numbing that soothes and gets you through the unbearable, as well as a good bit of spiritual comfort to get you through the horrific nature of it all.

Year two seems harder (in a different way than the rawness of the first year) as the numbness begins to wear off, and the reality that one's child is not coming back begins sinking in so that the finality of their death is progressively dawning on you.

And then, year three seems to plummet even further down than any year, sort of a bottoming-out, ongoing pain (and volatility of emotions, thoughts, spiritual struggling) compared to all other years, almost as if as even more numbing is wearing off, the stress hormones begin aggravating the grieving process with some crazy-making kinds of dilemmas in mind, body, and spirit.

But as year three comes to an end, it seems you can go back "uphill" to feeling some better as you go into year four. Kay Talbott in her book, What Forever Means in the Death of a Child actually did a scientific survey that concluded with similar findings.

From what she found, your sense of well-being doesn't begin to return to close to the pre-death normality until around year five. But as we all know, when it comes to child-loss grief, our grief will continue on through our lifetime until we are able to see and hold our children again in Heaven!

I am at 3 1/2 years, and I still feel fairly debilitated in terms of functioning. But my grief steadily "flows," in that as I make time for it on a regular basis, the tears are there, I write my poetry to process the pain, and there is comfort that comes. It's still painful but fairly manageable. I do make sure, to-the-best-of-my-ability, that I protect myself from "toxic" people and toxic situations. And I give myself plenty of room to handle the ups and the downs, ensuring flexibility in each day so that as the grief surfaces, I can go with it and help to express it in some way.

I'm afraid your comment, "There is much in my life that needs to be done, and many things that I could do, but then again... have some good days, but still sense an overwhelming feeling of "I just can't get it done", or 'nothing turns out right'" still pretty much rings true for me even to this day! Grief is quite a bear to tackle, but then again it wouldn't be so strong and so tough if our love for our babies didn't go so incredibly deep~and that love I am so very thankful for!

I hope this helps some. Thank you so much for reading our blog and for your encouraging comment. Our prayers will be with you especially over these next few days.

Much love, and may our God continue to hold you so close to His heart,

Angie and Tommy
Isaiah 40:11

bigD said...

Dear Angie and Tommy,
I came to your blog quite unexpectedly via the blog of a follower. It has been only seven months since I lost my twenty-six year old son, Nickolas, to leukemia. He suffered from lung damage as a result of a bone marrow transplant. It was a horrible fifteen month battle. I struggle every day. When I read you husband's post about the "new normal" I just wanted to cry out..."Yes, I HATE THE NEW NORMAL!" I have railed against that term ever since I first heard it in relation to how my son's life was going to be after his bone marrow transplant and how he would have to learn to live with all the side effects, medications, etc that come with having someone else's bone marrow in your body and having a cancer diagnosis hanging over your head. I cannot begin to tell you how many people were praying for my son and how utterly devastated I have been in trying to understand how to find my way since Nick's death. I was a Pediatric intensive care nurse for twenty-eight years, I already knew that God doesn't always "answer prayers" no matter how fervently or sincerely they are offered. I have many concerns with my own spirituality and faith, and now I am shaken to my core. I have been trying to find help, solace, comfort, release from this pain since my son was diagnosed in May of 2008 and now since his death in August of 2009. It is only with other parents who have lost children that some clarity emerges and then I see that this suffering will be with me forever. When I just read your comment on how it takes a good five years to really find your way back to some kind of life, I wonder to myself, can I survive that long? I see that I am only at the beginning of this journey, I am like a newborn to this horrible pain of loss and grief. I cannot imagine feeling worse, being more scattered and forgetful, feeling lost and without direction in my life. I keep wishing for some magical insight, so I can understand how I will feel when I am finally on my way to that freaking "new normal." Maybe then I could know that I can do this. I am so glad I found your blog. I have been writing a blog since my son began this journey. Now it is a grief blog. I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful daughter. Thank you for helping others to find their way through this dark and cold place. I pray I am able to keep searching. I miss my wonderful son more than I can begin to say. Thank you again. diane

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