More from Mary Fran Heitzman

by Upper Room Editorial on Monday, January 02, 2017

"Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die." That’s the retort Job of the Old Testament heard from his wife when God allowed him to be tested by the loss of all their children, their herds, and their servants. But Job asked, “Shall we indeed accept good from God and shall we not accept adversity?” Then Scripture tells us that Job’s friends came and sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights and no one spoke a word to him as his grief was very great (Job 2:9-13).

The summer my brother and father died in separate accidents, just 29 days apart, my attitude toward God was less drastic than Job’s wife's, but far from Job’s faithfulness.

No matter where I was, whether in my upstairs bedroom looking out over the fields, lying in bed at night, or sitting in our old church with its stained-glass windows, I wondered, Why has God abandoned our family?

But after a time, I loosened my grip on anger enough to see what remained. While it was true that two chairs sat empty at our kitchen table, I still had three brothers and our mother. Neighboring farmers helped bring in the autumn harvest. Aunts and uncles called on the phone, came to the house, and brought sandwiches, salads, and cakes. Friends at church reached out with kind words and reassuring squeezes. After the funerals, cousins invited me to sleepovers and girlfriends sensed when I needed to talk. They all listened to me tell the same stories over and over because they understood that repetition was therapy.

I bought a notebook and filled line after line and page after page with questions and frustrations that held no answers. But as my mind slowed to the speed of my writing, grief that I’d stuffed deep into my heart emerged so that I could sort through it one issue at a time. Then when my soul was soothed, I’d put the notes in a drawer until the next time. Eventually I’d take my writing out again to sort through the latest battles and heartaches.

Initially, well-meaning suggestions that I focus on a “new normal” felt impossible to embrace. But during those early years, I gradually saw the wisdom of giving the “new normal” a chance. Accepting change was necessary to moving forward. It was not a betrayal to those we’d lost, but a belief that we would see them again. And a belief that their wish for us would be happiness and peace.

Several decades have passed, and I’m grateful to those who kept me busy, to those who were there to listen, and to those who sensed, as Job’s friends did, that sometimes my pain was so deep there were no words of consolation that could be spoken. But most of all I am grateful to God for his provision during those dark days.

- Mary Fran Heitzman

12 Comments

Comment by Georgine

Mary thank you for the devotional and more from the author.
I too have felt grief like yours but over my mother who died of cancer when I was in my last year at University, I was 23 years old. She had been ill for 4 years, she seemed to get better and then metastasis.
Georgine,Arqua Petrarca, Italy

Posted January 02, 2017 at 03:15AM CST
Comment by veronice of Greenwich, CT

Thank you, Mary!

Posted January 02, 2017 at 04:17AM CST
Comment by panzarona of jamaica, NY

MARY , words of Wisdom . THANK YOU ! I have a First Cousin who lost her son due to gang violence . He was an innocent bystander going home from school . My Cousin has up and down emotions . Understandably so . I pray one day she finds the Peace and understanding you have . Many Blessings to you MARY !

Posted January 02, 2017 at 04:25AM CST
Comment by William of va. beach, VA

Mary; Thank you for sharing your story with us. Many suffer grief but not all have the strength and wisdom to continue to pray and trust God as you have. Through reading about your personal struggle many will be inspired to work through their grief and depression knowing that God is always near. May God continue to bless you and your wonderful family and give you strength daily.

Posted January 02, 2017 at 05:54AM CST
Comment by Carolyn of Austin, TX

Mary. Amen and Amen! God bless you and keep you always.

Posted January 02, 2017 at 07:18AM CST
Comment by Joyce of Fayetteville, NC

Mary, Thank you! Beautifully and eloquently written from the heart. I am certain other readers, just as I, will receive comfort and inspiration from your story of journeying through this time of adversity. You have offered words of hope to many. God's blessings always.

Posted January 02, 2017 at 07:49AM CST
Comment by Edd of Ocala, FL

Mary you are a strong woman who will succeed no matter what live cone throw at you. Bless your lady. God is Love 4 all!!! .

Posted January 02, 2017 at 08:23AM CST
Comment by john of frisco, TX

Two of my grandchildren lost their Mother to breast cancer when they were 5 and 3 ten years ago. Saturday they went to visit her Memorial. I have forwarded your comments to them. Thank you for your moving testimony and may God bless you.
Dean Texas

Posted January 02, 2017 at 08:44AM CST
Comment by Jerry of Hughesville, PA

What a wonderful testimony of God's love as he brought you through the valley. As you have discovered, when you come out on the other side and trace God's hand thru it all; you are never the same again. May God bless you as you share your scars that tell a story of Jesus in your life.

Posted January 02, 2017 at 09:18AM CST
Comment by Katherine of Stafford, VA

I so appreciate your special gift of expressing the journey that so many of us have gone or are going thru in different scenarios. It brings hope to those just beginning this journey and brought tears to my eyes in remembrance of all that God's Grace has provided in multiple major tragedies throughout my 70 years. Thank you!

Posted January 02, 2017 at 09:55AM CST
Comment by Matt

Mary Fran Heitzman, thank you for sharing & reminding us to trust our Heavenly Father, prayers for you & yours.

Posted January 02, 2017 at 10:05AM CST
Comment by natalie

Hi Mary,thank you for sharing your story.It is something my husband and I needed to hear today. We are going through a family crisis right now,and we are in our own dark pit at this time. Your message has given us hope that we will get through this and give thanks to God for carrying us through. May you be richly blessed. Natalie and Neil

Posted January 02, 2017 at 11:42AM CST
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