To Endure Suffering

The aftermath of suicide is a never ending kind of suffering. I have heard two sermons this past week about suffering and how we who are Christians are supposed to “endure” and “persevere.” Those two words hurt me all over again because it is quite obvious that my son did neither. In a reckless moment of unyielding passion he was said to have taken his own life. My pain is a motherly pain that wishes she could have saved her child from a wife who was wrapped up in herself, who was empty and void of any kind of love for others especially her husband……how could love have left him behind? He who was so loving and kind.  While I believe that Brandon most certainly went to his heavenly home,  I am still stuck in this world wondering about so many things. And while my son’s suffering has ended, I don’t want to “endure” and “persevere” anymore this kind of unbearableness. This terrible heartache of loss….devastating loss. Can anyone of you tell me just what it means not to do this?

There is always the before and the after in any kind of tragedy. People change. Mothers can never be the same once they have lost any or all of her children. There are some who endure quietly, some who boldly persevere, some who withdraw, some who go insane, some whose voices rise up when once they could not, some who are angry…some who have lost their passion, the list seems endless…..and I seem to have all of these after traits at different times. I am enduring only because I breathe and because I call on Jesus to help me through. Yes, the very Savior who will wipe away every tear is present. I still have questions about all that has happened. It is senseless to keep asking but my mind won’t rest. It is still a part of me. Like my soul. It is always asking, always wondering, always crying. I love my child and he died a way that leaves me angry and hurt. I can and can’t endure. What if my last breath is while I am not persevering so well? My whole personality has somewhat changed. I may be the only one who has noticed. Inside I am hiding. I am ashamed that I can’t live up to this “endurance and perseverance” expectation.

Before I seemed so sure of my faith….my son’s faith. This suicide has brought so many questions about God, questions that never crossed my mind let alone my lips before. I never dared to be irreverent with my own selfish assumptions. My faith was intact. I thought. I don’t know if I would have felt differently had Brandon died any other way. In my life before, suicide was an act…an intentional behavior…a sin like no other. I never had to know why! Now my quest has not only been for my son but for myself. I need to know just where I stand with God. What if I am not persevering as I am supposed to? When I break down into convulsive sobs in the middle of the night because the living nightmare of it all won’t let me rest….what about that? What does that say about my endurance? What if I go over the edge?  All the while expecting to land in Heaven. Because how much faith does it take to get to Heaven if all it takes is belief and trust? What about Brandon? Do I have this all wrong? Am I leaning too much to my own understanding….or misunderstanding?

I know this is spiritual warfare of the dirtiest. I know that I am being jerked around by the devil and his demons. I am being tortured. I don’t want God to be disappointed in me. I want to live a purposeful life. I need to feel again other than this suffering pain. In those sermons I referred to, they both were about our sufferings and how Jesus suffered. We are intertwined with the sufferings of this world and the holy sufferings that set us apart. I just wish I knew how to do both well but I feel as though that my child and I have been unable to endure. I want to find permanent joy…cheer, as those who do have hope. I want to do just as Christ wants me to…..but the human heart sometimes cannot endure.  While I am here ….my son is not, what does it all mean?

James 1:12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

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12 thoughts on “To Endure Suffering

  1. Dearest Dale, I wonder at times whether we “Christians” – with the best of intentions – preach belief rather than God Soft Hands Jesus. Endure and persevere sounds like a lot of burden to me!! What “proper people” do. Those who don’t wish to be a burden. Those who cannot – but do until …

    I have always read your words and seen just one thing: unconditional love. Not the wishy-washy stuff. The gritty stuff. The doing stuff. And that combination is what I see when I read the bible. Unconditional love: the doing stuff. That (for me) is not a burden nor sacrifice. And most certainly not enduring or persevering. That is crying with a loved one, sitting still because they want to, walking in the rain because they love to. That is having them holding you, wiping your tears, understanding that walking with you is fixing things – just to your pace and no one else’s.

    Dear Brandon’s mum, your unconditional love is His unconditional love. And just as you love Brandon, our Lord and Father loves you and me and Brandon the same. Not for what we do or don’t. But because you and Brandon and me and all of us “are”. We are all His children. You talk of Brandon’s love for our Lord. You talk of your love. You are love.

    That is the God I know. A God of Love.

  2. Paul, I always seem to need that loving reminder of “being”…”being His.” Thank you for helping me to persevere with your brotherly encouragement who knows intimately God Soft Hands Jesus. Many times I hear or read sermons that end up scalding my already tempered heart. My sensitivity is a sometime enemy which makes me think that Brandon was the same way. It is right that we rely on our Christian family any where in this world to assist when those right beside us have no idea. God bless you in a million and one ways, Paul. Much love to you….and it’s the “gritty stuff.” 🙂

    • Dales, I have just seen your comment over on “the beach” and came here to check your post. If I pray for one thing it is this: unconditional love forgives always. And when I forget that and wince, complain, hurt and cry – then unconditional love gives me a hug. I have this thing about sermons. I like to be freed to hear my Father – I like to free to commune with my Lord during a sermon. And where that is not allowed – where I do not allow – then I am not hearing our God.
      The gritty stuff is the real stuff. Thank you more than you know.
      ((hugs))

  3. Sometimes it is so unreal , least of all unfair and the ever present WHY and if I had known , what could I have done to prevent

  4. Dale, don’t be so hard on yourself! Even St. Peter doubted, and He’d already walked on water by holding Jesus’ hand! After Jesus was betrayed and deserted (and denied 3x)… after He rose, Jesus greeted the disciples with a hearty “Peace be with you!”
    He gets that we’re merely weak mortals–all of us!

    As for the last verse in your post, maybe “persevered and stood the trial”, can also refer to enduring times of trouble during periods of our lives…not only persevering “our whole life.” You have said Brandon had depression from an early age–From that age to how long he lived on earth is quite a long time to endure that suffering. Plus, despite his emotional struggles, went on to become a nurse! A highly demanding, caring-for-others type of employment! He showed much strength of endurance to persevere that long of a period with bouts of crippling depression. He is a hero in my book for enduring that pain for so long…until he finally succumbed to his illness.
    Much love to you and beloved Brandon Bear!

    Donna

    • YES, Donna! Brandon was my hero, too. I just look back with the regrets of not knowing and/or following my intuitions which I will write about in detail later….and also my self-bashing comes from thinking that we, as Christians, have to be such “good” people. I love my WordPress bros and sisters in Christ who keep me in line…so to speak. I don’t have anyone to go to in my real time personal life. Not anyone who truly understands my weakness in this trial of “constant sorrow.” Of course, I know that I must hold on to hope, knowing that “joy comes in the morning” and that I should not grieve as other people do who do not know Christ. AND YES, I am Peter who looks away for an instant and well, you know what happens then. Thank you for your words of encouragement. It is close to “that time”…in a month. It has been mostly very stormy and gray weather since before Christmas. It adds to my sadness and influences my writing. Sending those famous Brandon Bear hugs of love.

  5. I’m sure Brandon had the strength and courage to endure and persevere, but at the time, his ability to cope was compromised. Last year in DBT therapy, I learned the phrase “emotional vulnerability”, and was suggested ways to avoid it because of how it can affect one’s coping skills. Faith in God and Jesus is part of coping, and I find it more than likely that he never really lost his.

  6. Dear sister, I don’t know what to say… I am praying for you right now. You are very tired, may you find rest in God. May you feel His arms of love wrapped around you….

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