How can we pray for you in light of the passing of your daughter?

As always I give thanks for the prayers of God’s saints on my family’s behalf. One of the best lessons learned over months of mourning has been the experience of being held up by the prayers of the saints. We who are Reformed aren’t always the most adept pray-ers. Being on the receiving end, however, makes me long to do better. Thank you for your prayers and every other offer of helps. In the hopes of giving specific answers to this common and welcome question- how can we help- here are five peculiar challenges we are now facing.

  1. Fear in my little ones. The passing of both my wife and my little girl has brought forth fruitful conversations with all my children. The littler ones, however, are the most open and honest. They are at peace, but I am not surprised that they sometimes find themselves wondering, “Who is next?” My desire is that they would learn to believe and rest in the unchangeable verities, that they are loved on earth and in heaven, and that no circumstance could ever change that. My prayer is that they would rest on the Rock.
  2. More pressure to deliver the goods. I noted many months ago that many people seem to believe that there is a special kind of tree, heavy laden with juicy morsels of unusual wisdom, growing down in the valley of the shadow of death, and that we who walk there are supposed to bring out those nuggets on the other side. I have been delighted to share my journey over the months, and deeply grateful for the encouraging words I have received from so many. Now though is the burden of the looks of expectation I receive- what will he tell us now? Please pray that I would continue to be a help to others, but also that my foolish vanity would make me content to disappoint people waiting for amazing insights from me, that my vanity would be the next to die.
  3. Competing demands for the ladies in my life. Darby, Delaney, Erin Claire and Maili are doing well and continue to be a joy in my life.  They are all blessing, and no burden. The weirdest thing I’m currently struggling with is I don’t know which way to look. I was not done mourning my wife. And now time and energy and tears spilled over the loss of my daughter feel weirdly disloyal. Time and energy and tears spilled over my wife also feel weirdly disloyal. I know it makes no sense. I know they experience no jealousy. But there it is.
  4. Jealousy of my wife. Over the years as she grew bigger, even when my wife was well, Shannon became something of a special project for me. One key way I sought to help my wife in her domestic duties was to do the heavy lifting of the heavy lifting. I took Shannon up and down the stairs. I lifted her up into her bed. I fixed and fed her most of her meals. And now the two of them are talking, while I am left out.  That sliver of me that is not an idiot rejoices for them both, and gives thanks to our Father in heaven. The rest of me wishes I could be there too.
  5. That I would come to know who I am. My identity is wrapped up in Christ. My self-image, right or wrong, however, has been wrapped up in being a husband and a father. What we do is make things better. As irrational as it may seem, it is difficult not to believe that I have failed my wife, failed my daughter, and in so doing, failed all of my children.  I know that God numbered their days. I know also I wish there was something I could have done. Pray especially that I would not fail the seven children that are yet with us.

The pain cuts deeply. I pray it will change me deeply, that I am being remade into the image of that Man who is well acquainted with sorrow. My scars, I am confident, like His, will survive into the new creation, for they are not wood, hay and stubble, but precious jewels. Please pray with me that I won’t waste my mourning.