I could barely breathe. My heart pounded in my chest, and I didn’t know if I even wanted to breathe.
Every mom’s greatest fear became my reality — my son died. He had taken his life.
I was ten hours from home, on vacation with my oldest daughter and her children, when I received the shocking call from my husband.
Never would we have imagined such a devastating loss.
Suicide was a word other people discussed, cried over, and otherwise grappled with. It was never a word I needed to consider. My life had the picket fence, the green grass, and the stuff dreams were made of.
Until that day, five years ago, when the world I knew crumbled at my feet.
In the tapestry of my life, a string had been pulled, and in the aftermath, it unraveled with overwhelming consequences. Our family grieved this tremendous loss in individual ways. Some leaned in to one another by talking about their grief. Others pulled away and kept to themselves. All of us felt deep heartache.
Initially, I was in shock. Then, the busyness of the funeral preparations left me with no time to feel. Eventually, after life went back to normal for everyone else, I found myself in a dark, lonely place — feeling split wide open and spilled out, terrified I’d be there forever. The unanswerable question of why pierced every thought and crushed my soul.
Where was God when my son took his life? Where was He when all I wanted to do in my grieving was to go to sleep and never wake up? Where was He when my family was grief-stricken to the point of despair?
I needed the comfort of knowing God was there, holding me, yet I couldn’t hear His voice. In truth, I couldn’t bring myself to talk to Him. I was angry and confused. I had nothing to say to Him.
Finally, after weeks of struggling to find a sliver of hope, I gathered enough nerve to ask God what He was thinking.
When are You planning to help me? How long will I cry and toss around in my bed without finding sleep? How long will You leave me here — alone?
Part of me couldn’t believe I spoke that way to the God of the Universe. Who was I to yell at God? To question Him?
Wearily, and even reluctantly, I reached for the Bible I hadn’t been able to open since my son died and opened it to the Psalms. There, I found words of sorrow and anguish so much like my own:
I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch
with my weeping.
Psalm 6:6 (ESV)
As I dug deeper into the Psalms, I discovered that David, the shepherd boy, psalmist, and eventual king of Israel, also faced grief and suffering. After reading his words in that psalm and others, my heart understood what David’s felt long ago: God wants to hear from His children. He can handle our questions and our anger. He allows us to lament.
Lament — pouring it out to God unreservedly — is biblical and truly a gift for the hurting heart. When we are overwrought with grief and drowning in a sea of questions, lament is an invitation to give your pain and your questions to the God who sees. That matters! We all want to be seen and heard and loved, no matter what.
In Psalm 13, when David felt great pain, he sang in anguish:
How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
Psalm 13:1-2 (ESV)
Pouring out our grief, confusion, and anger to God is cathartic. It helps lift a weight God never meant for us to carry. It makes hope visible, and we can see the light at the end of our dark tunnel of despair. Possibility fills every cell of our bodies as the disappointments and discouragements of this world are released to our God — who is big enough to handle it all.
My heart is broken over the loss of my son, and grief will be with me until I’m standing in the presence of Jesus. But pouring out my heart to God allows me to experience hope while I am still in the suffering.
No matter what you’re dealing with, there may be days when you feel like you can’t breathe either. There may be days you feel you are going through the fire. But God left us this promise in His Word:
Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.
Isaiah 43:1-2 (ESV)
God wants to hear from His children. He can handle our questions and our anger. He allows us to lament. -Faith Griffin Sims: Click To Tweet