Before Faith goes to bed at night, she and I have a nightly ritual. She begins by brushing her teeth then we pray together.
Lately, she has talked a lot about her mom, mostly what she misses about her. Last night when I took her prayer requests, she let me know how much she missed her mom. First, she said, “I MISS mommy.” Then, with tears streaming down her face, she said, “I NEED mommy.”
When she woke up this morning, she repeated the same two phrases, again with tears streaming down her face. What is a single dad to do?
Not too long after my wife Michelle passed away, I determined how I would handle situations like this one. I decided to give Faith biblical tools that informed her on how to deal with the tragedies of life.
I began our conversation this morning, offering her such tools, by explaining the hope we have as Christians. It is a hope that goes beyond this world. Faith and I often remind one another that we will see Michelle again. One day, we will be together. Faith needed a reminder today.
Faith sees her mom happy, singing and dancing, knowing she is in God’s presence, having received her eternal reward. She also understands that an eternal reward awaits her as she trusts in Christ alone for her salvation.
During our conversation, I reminded her that we live in a fallen world, though I didn’t use the specific term. Faith asked me if her mom could come back. I explained that her mom wasn’t coming back. This was heart wrenching. I wanted to tell her otherwise, but this wasn’t true. She needs to know that death is a part of life. In the future, she will see loved ones, such as grandparents and even parents pass away, so she will need to learn how to handle the situation when it comes.
After I told her that her mom wasn’t coming back, we talked about trusting in God. I shared with her how much God loved her and how he understood the pain she was going through. I also shared about how I too was trusting God through this tough time. Instructing her how to depend on God in tough times is crucial to her spiritual development.
One way we have expressed our trust in God is we pray often together that He would send someone to us. Faith needs a mom and I need a wife. I am confident he will send someone according to His timetable.
Another way we trust God, is bring to Him our burdens and pain. Jesus invites us to do so. One is not being spiritual by suppressing the pain they are feeling. I let Faith know that she has permission to be sad or angry. I encourage her to talk to me about what she is feeling, so I can help her process those feelings.
The last thing I shared with her was that one-day God will renew the world where there will be no more pain or dying. I had her read Rev. 21:4 which says, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Faith and I spent 30 minutes going over every word. It ministered to both of us.
It’s important that Christian parents be counter-cultural on this matter. The West has the least amount of resources when it comes to dealing with suffering because they offer no resources to deal with it that go beyond this world.
The scenario I just mentioned represents what it means to go through the grieving process. It has been incredible how Faith and dealt with her mom’s death. To God be the glory.