Monday, June 6, 2011

Tuesday's Trust - "A New Normal" Or "A New Creation"?

Tuesday's Trust

"A New Normal" Or "A New Creation"?

Tommy has often said to me during this grief process, that "A New Normal" just doesn't seem to capture what has to take place after the death of our child. It seems to him, it really is more like,

"Ye must be born again!"

(from the Scripture John 3:1-16:

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.

“How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”

Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,fthat whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

So too, Tommy senses that even in child-loss, the Lord Himself must transform us just like He did with "the new birth":

The "new birth" was not something we could do for ourselves.

As Scripture says, "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us":

"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

~Romans 5:8 (NAS)

In the "new birth" that Jesus says needs to happen for a person to have salvation from his or her lost condition in order to be saved and become a child of God, Scripture tells us we cannot save ourselves; it is God's doing -- God provided a Savior for us in the sacrifice of His Own Son. We respond to His provision.

The same provision, it seems, would be required for making this transformation that evolves after the death of our child. In many ways, we child-loss parents feel dead. We feel we just "exist." The life has been sucked out of us. Many of us feel that when our child died, a part of us died too.

So, it follows, if we could not "resurrect" ourselves from death to life in the "new birth," neither can we "resurrect" ourselves after our child's death in our own strength alone. That is why I think Tommy says, in essence,

Forget the characterization, "'the new normal" as it doesn't capture the massive transformation that must take place in a child-loss griever. Rather, the kind of transformation called for is tantamount to "Ye must be born again"!

~ Which again, is a transformation that is God's doing not ours... We are simply to lean on Him, feed on Him, walk with Him amidst the cocoon of grieving which He provides, and He will transform us bit by bit to be able to walk this "new life" without our child ~ in His strength and with His guidance, one baby step at a time. Yes, sometimes we will fall down, only to have Him pick us up again, but baby step by baby step, with safety and nurturance around us, and with His help, we begin to grow stronger.

Then, we find we are becoming "new creations." Like the butterfly that springs out of the cocoon of its chrysalis, we will find we are completely different, with many changes for the better:

  • a new depth of capacity for intimacy
  • a deeper compassion for others
  • a clarity of recognizing what is really important in life
  • a deeper intimacy with one another
  • a new "family" with the ones who understand and can love us IN OUR NEW FORM (not selfishly demanding that we go back in time to who we were before, as if that were even possible)
  • a recognition of our limitations and our basic needs which helps us take better care of ourselves
  • a clarity and discernment in regard to which relationships around us are edifying to our war-torn spirits and which ones are perhaps toxic, and therefore ones from whom we must guard ourselves
  • a commitment to what brings "meaning" to life versus chasing empty promises of fulfillment from the plastic baubles of status, riches, glory, or fame
  • a sense that we always have "one foot in Heaven" where our child is, and where God assures us, is where our true investments really lie.

With such a transformation in our person, perhaps we really do emerge as "better" people, perhaps even as "beautiful" in our new nature as the exquisite, yet fragile, butterfly.


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