We are now in the month of June and Father’s Day will be approaching in a few weeks.
We lost Jenae on May 30th 2005, and less than three weeks later it was Father’s day. I wasn’t looking forward to that day, but ready or not, it came.
The day felt wrong, strange and awkward. Memories of the last Father’s Day with all my kids present came flooding back. Worst of all, there was no one I knew who I could relate to as a father. A father is supposed to guide their family in grief. Being new to Grief it was hard to navigate. You find yourself asking how to do that.
That is why it is tough to be a father who loses a child. You become isolated due to social standards placed on boys/men growing up. Like stifling a cry when in bitter pain; pretending it doesn’t hurt or matter despite it is all you can think about. Thinking that strength is not showing emotion and is also avoiding talking about the elephant in the room. This has been labeled “The Boy Code” (Google it).
Then there are biases that people think. Like only the mothers really hurt when losing a child. Because the relationship is different the pain is different but men do grieve pretty hard as well. Many people dismissed that I was grieving. When people found out about the loss of Jenae, they would say oh how your wife must be hurting. Very often, men’s feelings can get dismissed and overlooked. Not having anyone to talk to about grief makes it difficult to process and heal.
With that, John 11:35 states that Jesus wept. Jesus saw in person the great repercussions of disobedience and sin from Adam and Eve when Jesus’ friend Lazarus died. Was Jesus weak; was He not strong? No, he was God in the form of man and He conquered the grave! He is stronger than anyone who has lived on this earth. He is our example to follow. God gave us emotions for a reason, and running from them is like sticking your head in the sand, like an ostrich. No matter when you look out from the hole you are hiding in, the pain will still be there. Mourning is a prerequisite to healing.
Jesus is able to comfort and help us. If we are prideful and try to handle our grief and the grief of our family on our own strength, we will fall short. Because it can be hard as a man to have someone who understands to talk to, we do good by surrendering our pain to Christ. It may seem like a platitude in saying Jesus is the answer, but that is truly the truth. It took me many years to find that out the hard way. Jesus has the perfect answer to our grief and man who is imperfect does not. Pray and seek Christ. He will calm the pain like He did the waters and the winds for His disciples.
Following are some scriptures to go to when needing strength:
God bless you and I pray God comforts and gives you and your family peace on Father’s Day.
He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.
God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the LORD will lack no good thing.
Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.
Do not fear, 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. For I am the Lord you God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Feel free to share your favorite verse in the comments below…