Many of you know that the While We're Waiting ministry hosts a Facebook page. Actually, we host two Facebook pages -- a public one, which we encourage anyone who is interested in this ministry to "like" and follow -- and a private one, with membership limited just to parents who have lost a child.
Something amazing has been going on on that private page this month.
While the rest of Facebook has been filled with posts from people doing their obligatory "30 Days of Thanks" during the month of November ... stating their thankfulness for everything from the health of their children to the fact that the lines at Wal-Mart were short on that particular day ... the members of the "While We're Waiting -- Support for Bereaved Parents" page have been sharing the things they're grateful for as well.
And the list has been nothing short of astounding. And humbling.
The fact that these statements of thanks come from hearts which have been crushed into pieces make them all the more precious. I believe that they are a sweet aroma to the Lord, made all the sweeter by the sacrifice required to see these things as gifts from Him.
Here is just a peek into this amazing list. These parents are thankful:
- for the fog of grief that helped them survive the initial days, weeks, and months after their child's death
- that their child is no longer suffering from physical illness, addiction, or mental illness; or for those who died young, that they never experienced heartache
- that they already had appropriate clothing to wear to the funeral; or that they had friends who helped "dress them"
- for their dog, who forced them to get outside every day for walks
- for the opportunity to be transparent and authentic with their surviving children
- for co-workers who did not expect them to be "back to normal" right away
- that their son had not had a haircut recently so they could save a lock of his hair
- for people who opened their homes so extended family had a place to stay around the time of the funeral
- for items they found after their child's death with their child's handwriting on them
- for a friend who brought their son a birthday cake after his death
- for a friend who brought toilet paper to their home
- that their child died in their own backyard
- that their child died doing something he or she loved
- that they were able to hold their child as she took her last breaths
- for supportive teachers and administrators at their child's school
- for friends who organized pictures, details, etc., for their child's funeral
- for their child's salvation
- that their child's death makes the need for a Savior so very real
- for people who began a relationship with Jesus or renewed that relationship because of their child's death
- that their last words to their child were, "I love you."
Not exactly the typical "What I'm Thankful For" list we often hear at this time of year.
The picture above, from Ann Voskamp, perfectly captures what is happening here. These parents are thankful to God, not because of how they feel, but because of Who He is. I've made that picture my Facebook profile picture this month, just to remind myself of the truth of it.
Many of these precious folks also expressed thankfulness for the While We're Waiting ministry, and I can't tell you how humble and grateful that makes me feel. WWW is a gift God has given us as part of our healing process after Hannah's homegoing, and we feel privileged that He has entrusted us with it.
May we always be thankful to God for Who He is, and not because of how we feel.