Someone had recently stated that they had a difficult time even speaking their child’s name after their child passed on. I could definitely relate to this.
It took me years before I would willingly and ‘casually’ speak my son’s name. I would never share a photo of him with another without hesitation and a feeling that by doing so, I was going to ‘lose’ him. When I began sharing and seeking support in groups on line, I would notice that many proudly posted such things. I loved ‘meeting’ all their children and it helped me to know that they are ‘real’. Still, I simply could not do it. Even when someone asked my son’s name, I was apprehensive to respond. I felt afraid of sharing him, that somehow I would be letting go of him.
Finally, I did it…I posted a pic of my son. Others made such kind and loving comments that I was glad I had done it. However, it wasn’t long until I no longer felt ‘safe’ again in doing so. Things were being shared that made me uncomfortable, so one night I deleted everything I posted about him. Time went along, and I eventually re-posted a photo. But then there was another bend in the road. I had shared some Scripture with a professing Christian who sincerely wanted to know what God’s Word said about a certain matter. I was then accused by a moderator of attempting to: ‘proselytize’. That was the word she had used. I wasn’t even precisely sure of its definition and had to look it up. I was removed from that site as ‘punishment’ for violating their ‘rules’ by sharing a Scripture. I soon learned that all other ‘beliefs’ were permitted, even encouraged…but no Scripture.
I was horrified. I couldn’t sleep. I made numerous requests to have my personal posts deleted and the administrator repeatedly promised they would be. But gals I had met would send me proof that they had not done as they had assured me they would. I felt ‘robbed’ of a piece of me. Eventually, the administrator told me they didn’t have the time nor were willing to invest the energy in removing these things; even though I knew it wouldn’t take more than ten minutes to delete them. They then claimed that they were now ‘their property’ because I willingly shared them on their site. It tore me up inside. I was re-living the feeling of ‘loss’ of my child. It cut deep.
It still hurts (which is my way of saying I am currently balling my eyes out as I write of this).
After some time, I attempted to share my son’s photo again on another site. Again, I would delete it and often after a few days, delete all my posts. This time I was on a professing Christian site. I felt warmly welcomed…at first…and was positively assured that nothing like what had occurred on the secular site would happen on this site. Then, one day, I was speaking privately with the moderator in Private Messaging. I shared with her a dream in which my son appeared, warning me of 9-11. She was aghast. She asked: “Do you truly believe that was your son??”. I was taken back a bit that she had even questioned it. I told her: “Yes”. Within a few hours I was booted from that site and the moderator blocked me, as well, to prevent any discussion of the matter. In addition, whatever posts I had on that site I could not retrieve nor delete. I could not make sense of any of this. Had this woman truly believed that God would allow the devil to pose as my son…to warn me about 9-11?? That didn’t even make any sense. It still doesn’t. There is no logic in any of that.
All of this, however, led to something I had never expected. One day, I simply opened up a public site. I had missed having a place to go where I could get support from others when I was overwhelmed and drowning in grief, but I did find other sites to join. Also, because I have met some wonderful grieving Moms along this journey, I discovered that I could rant, rave, cry, complain, etc. in private chats with them. With some, I have even exchanged phone numbers. I decided that having a public site had its place and that anyone who came there knew upfront that it is public. I have learned that even closed and secret sites are never completely secure and that all is electronically recorded anyway. Then the Lord had me go ‘public’ with writing my book. This was very frightening for me. Did I really want the ‘world’ to know all these things? Yet, I believed strongly that I was to take on this endeavor. I wanted God to be glorified; I wanted to share His Redemption and Hope. Secondly, I had desired for nearly eighteen years to have my son’s poems published in his honor. This seemed like the perfect platform for accomplishing both. The first issue was a practical one…it cost money to do this. But that was a minor issue because I knew God would provide one way or another since He was directing me to do this. It was a step of Faith, yet not a frightening one.
The hurdle was ‘me’.
To go ahead with this endeavor I would have to confront a lot of pain and heartache in my life. I also discovered that I was still carrying some shame of my abusers in my life which was theirs…not mine…but I was carrying it anyway. I kept coming back to:
Revelation 12: (KJV)
11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
I knew the ‘blood of the Lamb’ had me covered. That was done and complete by Jesus my Christ. My testimony, though, I had been withholding for the most part. I had to decide what was more important…my fears and feelings or giving God all the Glory which is rightfully His. Through many internal struggles, I finally told myself: “Just do it!”…and stopped arguing with myself.
Then, just this week, I was encouraged by another moderator on another closed site to ‘introduce’ myself and share some very personal matters because the gals on the site didn’t know me, and this person also had reservations about who I am and what my ‘intentions’ were for being on their site. This was another first, but I went ahead and posted such matters holding nothing back. This was after she had booted me from the site, but then let me back on. Then, I was booted again…and my personal posts are now inaccessible to me. This was also a ‘professing Christian’ site. Any wonder that I sometimes feel as if I have a target on my back? One gal, who once operated a site for many years, informed me that many of these moderators have a place to meet up at to discuss ‘people’ on their sites. I’ve never seen this, but have no reason to doubt what she has told me. There does seem to be ‘circles within circles’ in the ‘grief community’. This, to me, is politics. I naively thought that we were all here for the same reason…to get personal support for our own grief while extending support to others.
God has taught me a lot in these past 15 months of being on ‘social media’ in the grief community. I learned about trolls, about liars and thieves, about folks that enter sites for the sole purpose of sabotaging them. I have sadly learned that just because a person has buried a child, that doesn’t automatically make them a good person. I have even learned that there are some very off-balanced folk that say they have lost a child, when they have not. That last one really is a kicker to me.
However, through all of the additional pain and heartache, I have grown closer to my Lord. I have become less afraid in general of speaking the Truth. I now have a great motivator for being in God’s Word daily in which He continues to show me new things. I ‘hunger’ for more of Him. I have my son’s poems published and I have broken the silence that held me captive in my life. I have met some of the most wonderful broken vessels that have integrity and can be trusted. I have found some good sites where folks truly do help one another and carry one another’s burdens. I am learning how to become an overcomer.
Nothing in this world is perfect, however, the good far outweighs the bad in what I have learned. I do still continue to get attacked for some of my beliefs. I have now encountered some that have accused me of only ‘being here’ to ‘sell a book’. If that were the case, why would I spend hours daily posting, writing articles, and speaking with others in grief when I really could be doing other things? I don’t get paid nor materialistically profit from any of it. But, it is becoming apparent that no matter what I do, folks will choose to attack and judge. I do have my ‘off’ days; I do still get discouraged easily and want to throw in the towel. But if I am to do so, it will be in God’s timing and out of obedience to Him. I have learned that the bottom line is ‘what does God want me to do?’. I have learned that I answer to Him, not ‘man’. I have learned that God is my refuge and my Defender (see PS. 5); I know that when I am weak, He is strong within me (2 Cor. 12:10). Every attack, judgement, false accusation that has been hurled at me are met with God’s response. I have learned that God is the absolute best Husband, that I am His Bride, and He is very protective of me. If the darts start being thrown, God goes to the door and answers it. I have also learned that nothing/no one can ever steal away my son from me. He was, is, and shall forever be my son…and I his Mom. He is safely at Home with Abba, Father…and I will soon join them, as well as, others for all eternity.
Psalm 91 (NKJV)
Safety of Abiding in the Presence of God
91 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”
3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
4 He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
8 Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.
9 Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”
Because of all of this, I can now share with you ‘My Son’. His name is Roddy.
xoxoxoLove you, Sweetie!
(((HUGS))) Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at: Xulon Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and DeeperShopping. Additional international retailers: http://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/biography/gifts-from-the-ashes,jude-gibbs-9781498496728 http://www.upliftvstore.com/product.asp?sku=9781498496728 Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs/
Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))