The sound of the switch whistled through the air. The two girls screamed as if in pain, breaking free of their mother’s grasp, desperate to distance themselves from the thin tree branch. Their long skirts swirling behind them as they each ran to one side of the room, running free of the well deserved spanking. When their mother left the room and footsteps fainted with distance, the two youths broke out into fits of laughter.
“Did you feel anything?” Betty asked her sister, smiling broadly
A little giggle burst forth, “No! Did you?” Georjean couldn’t help but relish in the trick they played on their mother.
“She thinks she hurt us with the switch,” the girls fell over laughing as they recanted each other running and screaming as if in pain. The thick, long skirt each wore tainted the sting of the branch meant for their backside and legs.
“How long do you think we can keep doing this?” whispered Betty.
Shrugging her shoulders, Georjean got up to play, “I don’t know. Come on, lets go outside.”
When I was a little girl, my grandmother would tell me stories of her sister, my great-aunt, Georjean.
I never had the privilege of meeting her, but the tales my Memaw told were of a fun, loving woman who died much to early.
Memories of my great aunt are filled with laughter and jokes. Georjean had an entertaining personality, always ready for a laugh, and passed that gregarious humor to her son Jimmy Brown. My grandmother, Betty, would smile when ever she reminisced about her sister. I was told tales of the “skirt” store or when she would paint Georjean’s nails, bonding as sisters do.
My aunt died at the age of thirty-nine from what I understand to be cancer. She left behind a loving son and husband who adored her. The mark she left on others can be felt today for her only son can not talk about his mother without felling sadness and sorrow. The love a mother and son share can be felt even though one has passed to be with the Lord.
Losing a sibling is heartbreaking.
One has to deal with the passing of a loved one, but also the loss of a friend and companion. One such woman in the Bible lost her sister, companion, and friend, while becoming a mother of her five children.
King Saul has two daughters, Michal the elder and Merab the younger. You may remember Michal married the Man after God’s own Heart, David, but Michal was not betrothed to David first. Merab was. Merab was promised to David for his victory over Goliath, but was eventually given to Adried, whom she bore five sons. Sadly, many commentators believe she died young and that her children were given over to her sister Michal, being childless, cared for them as her own (www.biblegateway.com/allthewomenofthebible).
“How tragic,” we say, when we think life is taken away too soon.
I know many who have lost siblings and mothers much too early. My step-mother, Cathy, has lost both of her sisters and parents. Cathy represents many women today who have lived memories, childhood experiences, hard-working parents, school, childhood vacation, trips, laughter and recollections of a life that seems so long ago. For my step-mom, there is no one else to remember this family’s history, for she is the only one left out of a family of five who shared experiences and fun. Pictures capture a moment in time where she can remember, but no one to share in the memory or past.
I do not know how long Michal mourned Merab or how long her sons longed for their mother. I do not know how long my grandmother missed her sister, but my mom tells me her cousin, Jimmy Brown, to this day can not talk or look at pictures of his mother, Georjean. It is just too painful. After fifty years of her passing, Georjean made a loving impression on her son. At seventy-five, Jimmy Brown still misses his mother.
The Bible is full of individuals who lost loved ones.
From parents losing children, to siblings and friends deaths, and children losing parents, my comfort has to come from the Lord. God understands our pain, for He gave own His son up to the cross to conquer death and the grave.
Stages of grief range from denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
The challenging part is the ability to move through each stage with the help of Christ, Scripture, friends, family, counseling, and prayer with out becoming immovable and emotionally unstable in one stage. God will help you move through each stage with His strength, but we have to trust Him to move forward. I can only imagine the emotional torment of being “stuck” in one stage and you can not seem to move forward.
During a depression, which is a stage of grief, after one of my children was born, I had no idea what was wrong with me.
I could not seem to smile, I cried all the time, had fits of rage, and just seemed to be emotionally out of control. I understand this to be postpartum depression and the chemicals in my body where adjusting back to pre-pregnancy, but I sat my heart on a Psalm and repeated over and over.
Psalm 40:1-3 reads, “I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in Him.” That is exactly what depression feels like, a pit, mud, and mire. You try to get out, pull yourself to a place where you think you are breaking free only to slip and fall back into the pit. It took prayer, fasting, praise, worship, Scripture, and faith for me to climb out of the pit and stand on the Rock, Jesus Christ!
God is the only one who can heal a broken heart.
He can give a peace, which surpasses understanding, to your spirit and your mind to help you through the process. Our Lord will also remind you, it is not the end, you will see them again Heaven. As Christians, we have a future hope. Our hearts should be set on things above and not below; an eternity where we will see our brothers and sisters in Christ.
I pray Merab’s short life has blessed you to remember she was real; her loss was real to her family and children. God’s steadfast love is available for healing your broken heart as it did Michal’s at the loss of her sister, companion, and friend. Let’s pray and give our heart to the Lord.
Let us pray out loud and CONFESS the Word of the Living God;
a prayer for the loss of loved one
Jehovah-Elyon, The Lord God Most High,
My loss has broken my heart. The years I have spent with ______________ replay through my mind and I need you. I know we need to spend time together for the healing to begin. So, I will follow the Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ, and I know I will not want. I know you will lie next to me beside quiet water, filling my spirit with Living Water which bubbles forth to never thirst again (Psalm 23:2, John 4:13). I will follow you into green pastures where I can lie down and eat the supplied nourishment for my soul (Psalm 23:2, Mark 6:31).
I am thankful for the hope in the next season of life. I know you have plans for me to succeed and not fail (Jeremiah 29:11). But when my soul is downcast and saddened, help me to lift my hands in praise for there my hope will remain (Psalm 43:5). For this faith I have, is being sure of what I can hope for and certain of what I can not see now (Hebrews 11:1).
I do know when I am tempted to remain in the pit of sorrow, depression or pity you will lift me out of the mud and the mire, helping me to set my feet on solid ground giving me a firm place to stand. Lord, you will put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to you. I pray many see my joy and put their trust in you (Psalm 40:1-3). I praise you for loving me, I praise you for your goodness and knowing ______________ has seen you face to face. In the name of Jesus of Nazareth I pray, amen.