When Motherhood isn’t Playing House: Living Beyond Imagination


“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

John 15:55

Dear Page Turner,

I loved holding my baby dolls as a little girl. I sat in my rocker singing them to sleep and kissing their boo-boos away.

Motherhood did not turn out as I imagined.

It has been full of pain, laughter, surprises, mistakes, and successes. But what no one prepares you for when they place that new wiggly crying baby in your arms–loss.

Why would they? How could they? Amid the balloons, gifts, cards, and celebration, life breathes fresh, expectant, and new. Hopes are not tainted by the darkness of health problems or overwhelming trauma. How do we live beyond the life imagined?

As hard as losing a child is, there is life beyond the grave. It is possible to draw the first breath, then another and another. Jesus prepared his disciples for such a new life. But they had to walk through his death first. And even though Jesus tried to prepare them, the disciples scattered in the crushing betrayal of dreams. The death of Jesus spiraled them into confusion, abruptly stopped all they planned, all they imagined. Why didn’t he fight, why did he not defend himself or call his heavenly army? Was he really the Son of God? Jesus rerouted the disciples’ lives from an earthly kingdom to a cross on Calvary. From royal court to servitude. Victory over the Romans to disgraceful defeat. There would not be a single one who sat beside Jesus’ throne.

Yet, Jesus raises all things from the dead and makes a new life out of the confusion of the grave. Here how he is making things clear to me:

  1. He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:5
  2. So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Luke 7:22
  3. We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel  that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace.

I am learning to live vibrant beyond the grave because I know that what I experience in this life is not all there is. Jesus’ will is that none perish. The gospel is my heartbeat. I find joy and delight in the unexpected breath I now breathe more deeply because Christ is not limited by the grave my son is in.

I would not trade the joys of motherhood for an untroubled reality. I came to Christ through a child’s heartbeat, and I now breathe life into others because Jonathan, Daniel, and Natalie are a part–not the whole of my story.

Love Always,

Karisa

Life is So Worth Living
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Yes, Virginia, There is a God (Guest Blogger)

While we recognize that Christmas is the time believers celebrate the birth of Jesus and family and friends gather, we also acknowledge the heartache many of you are experiencing today. Some of you have just lost a loved one to suicide.

That is why our guest blogger, Pam S. Walker’s testimony is so moving.

She uses both the sorrow from the loss of her mother to suicide and the joys that emerge out of her choice to live life to the fullest. She encourages us to do the same.

Jonathan brought Pam and me together through his death in 2014. As we mourned and comforted one another we also discovered our mutual love for writing ministry.

May you be both challenged and encouraged this Christmas as you walk through all circumstances in life.

Merry Christmas, from Turning the Page on Suicide.


“Does God still care for me? Does He even exist?”

Dear Mother,

It has been 36 years since I celebrated Christmas with you. Not a year goes by that I don’t miss you or wonder what life would be like had you not chosen to end your life 11 days before your 41st birthday. Your birthday, so close to Christmas, keeps your decision fresh in my memory each year.

Gary, Pam, and Daddy

During this month I often think of the famous letter that a young girl, also named Virginia, submitted to the New York Sun in 1897. She asked if Santa Claus was real. Instead of asking about the existence of this jolly St. Nick, I think you must have asked another compelling question throughout your depressed state: “Does God still care for me? Does He even exist?”

So many questions unanswered back then. With no note left behind, we had no choice but to draw our own conclusions. Sadly, as a sophomore in college, I was too consumed with my own life to see the depths of your despair. You hid it well. Always wearing a smile for others, and yet wrestling inside with sadness.

I thought your suicide would draw me back to God. Back to the childhood faith, you shared with me. I remember feeling His presence so strongly during that long car ride from college when Uncle Mike and Aunt Camille came to pick me up. The radiant sunlight bursting forth through the dreary Indiana winter sky seemed like God’s own hands reaching down to tell me that things would be okay. Although much of the week that followed your death was a blur, several things remain forever etched in my mind.

Attempting to console Grandma after burying her youngest daughter. Seeing Daddy’s tears and blank stare. Wondering if I could grasp the depth of pain Gary would have to deal with for the rest of his life after being the one to find you.

Why would a loving God allow one of His own to choose the path of suicide? Instead of seeking answers from His Word and other Christian brothers and sisters, I ran.

For nearly 10 years, I turned to unhealthy coping: stuffing my emotions, drinking to numb the pain, but thinking I was brave. When I finally stopped running and surrendered my life to God, I moved back to my Indiana home. Only then, I realized that God’s hands protected me every day since losing you. His love, care, and protection has been so evident throughout the seasons of my life.

If only you were here for me to speak of His unfailing and extravagant love. I would tell you, “Yes, Virginia, there is a God.” I experienced His love when He saved me from my hell-bound race and turned my eyes toward Him. I learning to live one day at a time without numbing my pain through alcohol.

God was there when Daddy walked me down the aisle on my wedding day to my beloved, David, where we committed to spend the rest of our lives together, “‘til death do us part.” And God comforted me when David took his last breath six year ago after losing his battle to cancer but winning his eternal prize; everlasting life with our Lord Jesus Christ.

He was there when I experienced the miracle of birth through my two beautiful daughters, your granddaughters, and the sadness of a miscarriage in-between. I experienced firsthand how fearfully and wonderfully we are made.

God was there when Gary and I discovered your closely guarded secret. You sacrificially gave a baby up for adoption before you were married. Lisa is now a part of our family. She looks so much like you with her curly hair, short stature, and spunky personality. And she was raised in a Christian home just as you requested of the agency.

God was there when He gave me the desires of my heart, allowing me to live my dream job of combining writing and ministry.  And He was there when Uncle Mike walked me down the aisle to join hands with the new love He had brought into my life, Michael.

“Yes, Virginia, there is a God.” And I know that you are with Him now. While suicide ended your life on this earth, God’s love for you is eternal. I hold fast to His promises in Romans 8:38-39: “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” I know that nothing can ever pluck you from His hand!

Love Always,

Your Pamela Sue

Pam S. Walker

Pam S. Walker is the former National Editor of Answers magazine, a publication of Answers in Genesis, and is a freelance writer living in the Cincinnati area where she writes for various Christian publications.

Contact Pam at: pswalker1010@yahoo.com

Devotionals post every Tuesday at 7:00 pm

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