When Love Hurts

topics:
Grief

Quand on n'a que l'Amour/ If we only had love

I remember the day we were told that Emma would never be born; her heart just couldn’t take the stress. She was just 24 weeks old in my belly. I remember walking out of that office and praying that the Lord would take her, because I didn’t want her to suffer.

10 weeks later, she was born.

I remember the first night, her tiny body so very swollen because her little heart couldn’t pump the fluid. I remember the doctors calling and saying that she probably wouldn’t make it through the night, that we should come and visit her while we still could.

2 weeks later, she was still alive.

I remember the doctor coming into the PICU and asking to speak with Mark and I. I remember the words I whispered in her ear and praying a prayer over her little body before I left. I remember the words “transplant” and “another hospital”, and that this would be her only hope of survival. I really don’t remember much else.

4 months later, she received her new heart.

I remember the hospitalizations, the surgeries, the heartbreak. I remember the anger, so much anger.

At God.
At the unfairness.
At the world.

Yet, I also remember the grace and mercy of the Lord, and how He not only held her heart in His hands, He also held mine.

I remember the day we had to let her go. April 22, 2011; Good Friday. She was 9 years old.

I remember leaning over her head, looking at her face through all of the tubes and chords that tethered her little body here on earth.   I said the same exact prayer that I said that day in the PICU. I told her that it was okay to go, that I would that I would be okay.   I had promised her when she were born that I would fight for her, despite what all of the doctors said, I would fight until she stopped fighting.

I told her that it was okay to stop fighting.

I remember not being able to be in the room when she took her last breath.  I often times feel guilty over that fact, but the love that I felt for her hurt too much to watch her go through so much pain….

Then I remembered Jesus, on the cross, and His father looking away as He took his last breath.

There are so many examples of Gods love in that one sentence.

His love for His son.
His love for mankind.
His love for me.

Often times when love hurts, we shut down and stop feeling.  We blame and get angry.   And in those times, we often miss the one thing that we ought to be doing.

Trusting in God that He will provide for our every need, knowing that He is in control of our lives even when our lives seems so very out of control.

Our issues do not shock Him. The death of my precious daughter did not shock Him. He knew before we took our first breath how many minutes we have on this earth.

Earthly life is terminal. It is appointed for every man to die.

But this life is not the end for those who believe in Christ. We are promised an eternity with the One who created the universe.

One thing that I have learned during these rock hard times in my life is that it is okay to be angry.  It is okay to hurt.  It is even okay to be angry with God.

What is not okay is to sit in that anger; to remain in that  place for so long that satan literally has strongholds in your heart regarding that issue.

When love hurts, where do you run to?  Where do you hide?  Is it in the anger and bitterness that satan uses as a magnet, binding your heart with his?  Or is it in the promises of the the One who created you and knows your every hurt, even when you aren’t speaking to Him?

When love hurts, to whom do you run?

{This article deals with bitterness and is well worth the read}
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  1. 2

    I have not encountered such a deep loss. But God has brought me through my own painful seasons. I think it’s okay to question, to get mad, to shake our fist. After all, He already knows our feelings. He is the only one who can bring comfort during painful times.

  2. 3

    Heather, thank you for sharing your story. I cannot fathom the pain of the loss of a child, but I recently lost my father. The day he passed away, I was with him and my family. there were several times during the day the nurses said they thought it was his time. Watching him struggle was horrific. I remember praying for God to take him, take his pain and bring him home. But He didn’t. I was physically I’ll from the pain of watching him and knowing he was going, I could not feel the joy of knowing he would soon be pain free, he would be home. At dinner, they had stabilized my dad and sent us out to rest and get food. I quickly developed a migraine. A debilitating one, and I needed to leave. As much as I wanted to be there when he took his last breath, I wasn’t. I could not understand why I didn’t fight it. I have done so in the past. I have carried much guilt and anger since that day. I have asked God over and over why could I not be there with him in that final moment. Reading your words tonight, “I remember not being able to be in the room with her when she took her last breath. I often times feel guilty over the fact, but the love that I felt for her hurt too much to watch her go through so much pain… Then I remembered Jesus, on the cross, and His father looking away as He took His last breath.” the tears flowed as soon as I read those words. It is all there in your words. In your experience. Why all that happened that day, I have my why. Why I was not there. My love for him was too much too watch his pain any longer. And that is okay. I did not let him down. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • 4

      Please excuse The typos, my iPad is freaking out and auto correcting strangely, and not letting me edit and type.

  3. 5

    This brought tears to my eyes… I lost my son aged 13 days old to an incurable genetic lung disease. I too prayed the prayer that he could go, that he had fought hard and it was time to go to be with Jesus. After he died I tried to stifle my feelings. So I didn’t have to tell God how angry I was at Him, I just didn’t talk to him. For about 1 year I shut God out . Till I finally lay out my feelings and told Him how I was really feeling. And God’s reply to me… “I could handle your anger and hate, I could handle your tears and disturbed faith BUT I wish you had of just come to Me so I could have held you in My arms and comforted you while we worked through it together”

    • 6
      Elizabeth says:

      Carrie,
      I want to thank you for sharing , the part that touched me the most was when you said that God can handle it all but wishes I would have come to him so he could have held me as I was walking through my hard times. Harder said them done. Thanks for sharing!

  4. 7

    I wrote about “The line between then and now” (http://wp.me/p1Ut5W-1Y) — where we were death divides between then (they were alive!) and now (they aren’t). I agree that it’s OK to wrestle with God on these things and ask the big, hard, disappointing questions. Blessings to you and your familoy as you are on this path you didn’t choose. Amy

  5. 8

    Heather thank you for sharing your story! I am so very glad that God is okay with our anger towards him about things! While I didn’t lose my daughter like you, or even suffer a physical loss through death of a loved one. I was suffering a loss, emotionally and somewhat physically, after my family (parents) chose to walk out of my life 14 years ago due to the color of my husbands skin. I hid the pain behind the words-its their choice- for so very long. I had to keep the stiff upper lip when asked by people didn’t it bother me? I was angry at God, I didn’t talk to him at all. God started pulling me back toward him in 2005 but I wasn’t ready to be fully engaged with him yet. It took another 3 years to start opening up to his voice. It wasn’t until 2010 when I was physically alone-divorced and I had no family to support me, that I caved in under the hurt, despair, depression, loneliness, and rejection that I had kept tightly sealed in a box in my heart. God cracked that open and while I thought it was to hurt me more it was really so that I would let him in! Oh, how I cried in anger at him for all the hurt he allowed in my past and during that time of healing. I’ve accepted that without the hurt and pain I endured I would not be the person I am today. God did use all of that stuff to help guide me back to him and show me his unconditional love through it all. I also understand now that running from him will hurt worse because I usually get lost along the way and take a much longer road toward healing. If I just run to him first, it will hurt running through the middle of the flames but he will not let me get burned! I may get a little singed on the edges but deep down I know he is protecting me as I go through whatever is bothering me. And if I’m angry, or sad, or scared I tell him all the time. I have no reason to pretend about my feelings with him any longer. He will help me with them all!

  6. 9

    I cannot fathom the pain you experienced. Wow. THank you for sharing your heart and story. I think your words are so wise – it is OK to be angry at God but it is not ok to sit in our anger and let it warp our view of the Father and his plan. Through our pain and struggles He is right there just waiting to embrace us if we allow Him to do so.

  7. 10

    thank you for sharing heather. our 5th child, adopted from china, has complicated heart issues. life saving surgery at 18 months…and now four years old and rambunctious and wild, but still… we know the journey is not over. more surgery in her future. times when we wonder and watch. i remember clinging to psalm 147:3-5, when bella was in china being operated on and we were half a world away…not knowing.
    “He heals the brokenhearted
    and binds up their wounds.
    4 He determines the number of the stars
    and calls them each by name.
    5 Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
    his understanding has no limit.”

    thank you for articulating so well God’s great love…even in loss…especially in loss. blessings friend.

  8. 11

    Oh, my. It feels like this story must be heard all over this tired world–echoed along the mountains and seas. In a way, I guess it is–heaven drops it down over us in love. Thank you for sharing this with us, Heather. My mamma heart aches with yours. I will especially be thinking of you on Friday. But, yes…seeking that Shelter…under His wings…this is the only place to find comfort. In Him, our pain is known and touched with loving hands. Love to you, friend.

  9. 12

    Hey Heather,

    I read (in)courage not as regularly as I should…it seems I go to it when I need to be encouraged or when I am sick of reading about running and food…ha! Today I just clicked on it b/c I didn’t want to hear Phineas and Ferb on the TV while the kids are engrossed in it.

    Your story is amazing….boy, we can all learn a lot from you and your writings…thank you for sharing…

    ;-)

  10. 13

    In this season that I’m in…..I hide under His arm….I’m still hurt, but, I know He is the only one who gives me strength.

  11. 14

    The journey you have been on has not been easy. Thank you for shooting straight from your heart and sharing bits and pieces of your world with us. I have watched you walk this road online for a few years now and I know that you are one powerful woman of God. You precious baby girl…what a mighty warrior she was for Him and for so many. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being so real with us. <3 Mel

  12. 15

    What a beautifully written post about such a hurtful time. Bless you for your strength and faith in God. May you always cherish the good memories of your daughter!!

  13. 16

    I loved this. It was timely as my daughter’s Going Home Day is April 25th. I love that He gave this specific date to me around Easter season. It is my favorite time of year. He conquered death, and lives! “You ask me how I know He lives, He lives within my heart!”

  14. 17
    Brigitte Anne Gleason says:

    What a powerful and moving devotional today! Thank you for sharing out of your pain. I am sure you helped many others going through similar experiences. I lost my oldest friend to leukemia. I am thank ful I had the opportunity to talk with him on the phone a few hours every night for months while he was in hospital, and to visit and take him over 100 films. He shared them with the others including a three year old boy who loved the movie Babe. I will always miss Sangram. Years later I went through my mother’s rejection and the grief of that was unbearable. I was mad at God much of the time, but His grace and mercy can handle that. AFter two years, I am healed from that pain and now God is using me to help a man who is going through a painful divorce. I can offer him the comfort that was offered to me. God will not leave our souls in hell. Thank you for today’s devotional. God richly bless you.

  15. 18

    Thank you very much for your words, your life, your sorrow, your growth through it.
    God bless you and yours.
    Your question of where do I go when love hurts…..in the past I ran as far away as I could. Now, I stand in the tear showers of my soul, my spirit, my emotions and let His saving grace and long arms support me.

  16. 19

    Hello Heather, I have read your story. How it hit home in so many ways. I have not lost a loving child as you have, but the hurt and pain you have been through are some of what I have gone through-through depression. I also faced God at one time and was angry at Him. I felt that I was in a tunnel and never to come out. I thought I was going to lose my faith. I was afraid, afraid that if I did lose my faith that for sure God would be angry at me and hate me and never be with me. But through it all I kept praying. Then I rec’d a call from my cousin saying he wanted to die, he was going through medication withdrawals, I told him to hang on not to die. I started praying and talking to God and I just bared my heart and soul to him and I asked him why He never talked to me, why did he not answer my prayers. Then I asked Him for healing for my cousin and prayed for all that was in my heart; friends, family and me. I told Him that I was going to be bold and ask Him to send me a sign, I asked for a butterfly. Guess what? He did send me a butterfly, it was then that I told him I was sorry for almost having doubted Him, like doubting Thomas. I prayed and praised Him with joy in my heart. I have held on to this butterfly for over two years and it goes with me wherever I am. I was able to take a photo with my cell phone, so I carry it with me everywhere. In a way I understand your pain Heather, I do. I will pray for you and your child, and may God’s peace be in your heart. Know that God loves you and He will guide you and give you the strength you need. Your daughter is in heaven with God and his angels.

  17. 20

    Dearest Heather, reading this brought tears to my eyes..August 6, 1978 my little Alicia Sue was stillborn. She had a faulty heart. There was no pre-natal care then. I had no idea my baby was so sick. My heart goes out to you. Just knowing those precious little children are with Christ brings me so much comfort. I know I will be united with her when I pass from this life into the next. Thank you for sharing this. God bless! Susan

  18. 21
    Robin in New Jersey says:

    “Often times when love hurts, we shut down and stop feeling.” Oh dear…that is what I have been doing. Shut down, shut off, walls up all over the place. I don’t want any more words spoken in anger, stress and confusion to hurt any one again, so I have shut myself off. From speaking them and from having them spoke to me. I have only lost children through miscarriage, so my hurt is not anywhere near what yours is.

    Thank you for continuing to share your story, Heather.

  19. 22

    Thank you for sharing with honest, your pain, but especially for sharing your hope and strength.

  20. 23
    Anonymous says:

    Heather,

    Thanks for being so open & honest! If love hurts I go to Jesus and my husband for earthly comfort.

    While I’ve never had to lose a child–I went through 2 agonizing years with my mother her illnesses-and dementia & sundowners. It was hard to see her go down hill, but the eventual death was a blessing an end to her suffering.

    During that time I found myself asking God what lessons the family was supposed to learn from all this. It has lead to my father coming to church with us now.

  21. 24

    Thank you for this tender and beautiful story of yours. Thanks for sharing. It is a gift.

  22. 25
    mjclair says:

    Thank you for sharing your stories . These truely are inspirations of hope for me as well as much needed words from above . I’m truely battling thru my season of bitterness & anger with my husband & a family member and although this very moment I do not know in which direction I will go but this I know is true, I do not want this ugliness of bitterness & anger that has consumed what once was my true self , joyful – happy – hearted “me”! I needed this reminder for myself , that yes, God is , always in control of my life no matter how old I am. I must trust Him first & with all my heart believe that he does know & sees all my heart, aches & pains .

  23. 26
    Janelle A says:

    Such a powerful and inspiring story, Heather. Thank you for sharing your heart – even if it hurts. Trust that God has blessed many through your writing today!

  24. 27

    Thank you for these words from you, your life, your heart, your pain. Thank you for yuor story.

    You shared beautifully. It was a gift.

  25. 28
    Theresa says:

    Thank you! My mom dies 1 1/2 years ago and you put my feelings into words.

  26. 29

    Thanks for sharing so beautifully. So honestly.
    I will share this with a dear friend who’s son has a unique heart. At 17 he just had his 5th heart surgery.
    My heart breaks for you moms…you are SO brave.

    I try to run away from pain, from heartbreak. In my mind, I know that there is no where I can run – to be away from Him – but I run. Even to have hurt feelings (which happen oh. so. often) I want to run. I long for the day I can sit in my Father’s arms and know there will be no more pain. No more sadness.

    But until He takes me home, I run on paper. On keyboard. In prayer.

    Grace and peace…

  27. 30

    God Bless you. I’ve never lost a child, in 2010 I nearly lost my oldest daughter repeatedly over a 4 month period. So thankful that God let me sit in his lap with his arms around me while I wept out my fears and learned to surrender all.

  28. 31

    Thank you for this Heather…

  29. 32

    Thank you for sharing this story of love, courage and faith. God bless you and yours.

  30. 33

    Thank you for sharing this. I feel like this is where I am right now! I was pregnant with my first baby and lost her while 5 months pregnant. We found out at 18 wks she would never survive. We delivered her in 2010 and I am still in a very ‘blah’ place with God. We have been TTC for about 18 cycles now and I am just tired of grieving and hoping. But I dont want to live a life without hope either. I feel like a life without hope is a life without God. I don’t have very much anger with God, but I just have a lack of trust or willingness to open up. I guess it’s how I am with friends who have wronged me, I just withdraw.

  31. 34
    Jessica says:

    Thank you, Heather.

  32. 35

    What an awesome post! I was teary eyed reading this. You are so grounded in your faith and you are right God will get you through this because he knew what was going to happen. It amazes me when we just let him work with us how we can survive anything! I will add you to my prayer list and pray God gives you the strength (we know he will) to get through this season in your life.

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