Multitude of Counselors

A Mother’S Tears

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript



Series Code: MOC

Program Code: MOC170035A

00:27 Welcome to A Multitude of Counselors.
00:29 We're thankful you've joined us today.
00:31 We're going to be talking about grief.
00:35 The loss of a spouse can be devastating,
00:39 the loss of children doubly devastating.
00:42 But the loss of a spouse and children together
00:46 is completely crushing.
00:48 It's exactly what our guest today
00:49 experienced more than 20 years ago
00:52 when she received news that her husband Jim
00:55 and her two oldest children, Tony, 13, and Joey, 11,
01:00 died in a private plane crash.
01:03 Since then Pat Arrabito has really
01:06 made lemonade out of lemons, if we can call it that.
01:11 God threw her, has recycled this tragedy
01:14 into a wonderful ministry.
01:16 Our program today is called "A Mother's Tears"
01:19 because there's something unique
01:21 about the loss of children.
01:22 Here are some of the things that parents
01:24 who lose children experience,
01:26 the unfairness of it causes anger,
01:29 they experience guilt
01:30 thinking they could have prevented it,
01:32 or guilt about things left unsaid or undone,
01:35 or guilt about needing to grieve,
01:38 or guilt about not grieving enough,
01:40 trauma because it shatters assumptions
01:44 of what should be such as children outliving us,
01:48 or children growing up with their father.
01:52 These horrible traumas can be devastating
01:55 to some individuals.
01:56 And people can develop
01:58 as a result of losses like these,
01:59 something called complicated grief,
02:01 complicated grief sets in.
02:03 When an individual doesn't process the grief
02:06 and rather than getting better, they get worse.
02:09 Symptoms can include extreme focus on the loss,
02:13 and reminders of the loved one.
02:16 Intense longing or pining for the deceased,
02:19 problems accepting the death, numbness or detachment,
02:23 preoccupation with the sorrow, bitterness about the loss,
02:26 inability to enjoy life, depression or deep sadness,
02:30 trouble carrying out normal activities,
02:32 withdrawing from social activities,
02:34 feeling that life holds no meaning or purpose,
02:37 irritability or agitation, and lack of trust in others.
02:40 I don't believe that our guests today
02:42 experienced complicated grief
02:45 because of the level of resiliency
02:47 that God was able to give her.
02:49 But I do believe that she experienced
02:52 complicated loss
02:53 that could have turned into complicated grief.
02:55 But instead there was what in psychology
02:59 we sometimes call posttraumatic growth.
03:02 Post traumatic growth is when an individual
03:04 has a devastating experience, but instead of getting bitter,
03:07 they get better.
03:09 They actually turn that devastating experience
03:11 into the basic materials of personal growth.
03:15 Some of the features
03:17 act over the characteristics of a person
03:19 who experiences posttraumatic growth is spirituality,
03:23 faith in God,
03:24 also social support both before and after the trauma
03:28 tends to lead to posttraumatic growth.
03:30 And then finally, what we call acceptance coping,
03:34 accepting the tragedy
03:36 not in such a way
03:37 that you accept the notion of tragedy
03:40 or think that it was somehow good
03:43 in and of itself,
03:44 but acceptance of it as something that happened,
03:47 and then moving into the future in a constructive manner
03:50 dealing with that tragedy.
03:52 And that's exactly what our guest today has done.
03:55 So glad that we have Pat Arrabito with us.
03:58 Pat runs LLT productions in California,
04:03 and she's going to be sharing with us her story today.
04:05 But let me introduce my panel as well.
04:07 This is Rob Davidson,
04:08 professional counselor from Maryland.
04:10 This is Nicole Parker,
04:12 biblical counselor from Tennessee,
04:14 and also teaches at Southern Adventist University.
04:17 And this is Dr. Jean Wright, my friend from Philadelphia,
04:20 which I missed very much, by the way,
04:22 and he is a forensic and criminal psychologist.
04:26 Did I say that right?
04:28 Clinical forensic psychologist, very close.
04:30 Very close, I switched center.
04:31 So clinical forensic psychologist from Philadelphia.
04:35 We're so glad to have each one of you here today
04:37 so that we can unpack this.
04:38 But let's get into your story first, Pat.
04:42 I just want to ask you,
04:43 what was it like the moment you received that news?
04:46 Let me tell you about it.
04:47 It was, well, you can all imagine.
04:50 But my husband had taken our two oldest boys
04:52 on a trip to Alaska.
04:54 He was doing some photography up there,
04:55 and he had enough miles for two free tickets.
04:58 And, of course, the boys were outdoors kids,
05:00 they loved the thought of going to Alaska,
05:01 it's a dream come true.
05:03 So for 10 days, they were up there,
05:06 you know, fishing and getting to know
05:08 native kids and loving it.
05:10 They flew home on a private plane
05:12 while they flew into Anchorage that was the goal.
05:15 It was late at night, a storm blew up,
05:18 and the plane was missing.
05:20 I didn't know that until one of our helpers
05:23 had gone to the airport to pick them up
05:25 on that afternoon.
05:27 They're supposed to fly out early in the morning,
05:28 he went to pick them up, they didn't come off the plane.
05:31 And I hadn't heard a word,
05:33 and I had to call up to Alaska
05:34 to find out that there's small plane,
05:36 it never landed in Anchorage the night before.
05:39 So, of course, there was a bit of a shock.
05:42 But I thought, I know that God is taking care of them
05:46 because first of all, we prayed for their safe return
05:48 the whole time they were gone, me and my two younger kids.
05:51 And secondly, Jim was doing this work
05:52 that we had watched God bless,
05:54 and open doors for and provide for,
05:56 and I knew that that job wasn't done.
05:57 So I didn't panic.
05:59 I called my other two kids in and some friends
06:01 and we prayed for them.
06:03 And then we just had to wait because weather was bad,
06:06 search and rescue was out,
06:07 but they hadn't been able to do much.
06:10 So it wasn't until the next afternoon
06:12 that I was called by search and rescue
06:14 that they had located the plane.
06:18 And in the meantime, when I went to bed that night,
06:21 you know, I was confident that everyone was fine.
06:25 But I asked God, you know,
06:26 "Talk to me, I need to hear some words from You."
06:30 And I opened my Bible, and I'm not just big on,
06:33 you know, opening it, but I did,
06:35 I opened my Bible and my eyes went right
06:37 to this verse in Job 23:10, and it said,
06:41 "I know the way that you've taken
06:43 when I've tried you, you should come forth as gold."
06:45 And I thought, you know, how can You give me that one?
06:49 Is it just because it's a trial to have to wait?
06:51 You still, at this point,
06:52 weren't not sure if the status or...
06:54 I mean, I sure am, I was sure at this point
06:56 that they probably had to make an emergency landing,
06:59 but they were okay
07:00 because God wasn't done with them yet.
07:02 And the other thing was,
07:03 I knew that God would not allow me to lose a child.
07:07 Because I had that verse in 1 Corinthians 10:13,
07:11 it says, "There's no temptation will come to you
07:12 that's cometh to man.
07:14 And with every temptation,"
07:16 and there would be nothing that you can't bear.
07:18 And God would try to provide a way of escape.
07:20 And in my heart, I always knew that
07:21 I couldn't bear to lose a child.
07:23 So I knew that God would not allow me to lose a child.
07:26 So it wasn't really an option for me, I come to that promise.
07:31 And the next afternoon,
07:32 then search and rescue called that
07:34 they had located the plane, but they didn't.
07:36 They said they were sending a helicopter in.
07:39 And my brother, who is a pilot
07:40 had been keeping in touch with them also.
07:42 He lived in Sacramento, you know,
07:45 less than an hour's flight away.
07:46 And he called them,
07:47 then he called me back, and he says,
07:49 "I'm going to fly over and just be with you
07:50 when you get the news."
07:52 So he flew over,
07:53 my house was full of people by this time,
07:55 our neighbors, our friends, my dad, our pastor,
07:59 just everyone waiting for news.
08:01 And my brother, my dad went to pick Tom up
08:04 with our little airport there, and they came in,
08:07 and they took me outside.
08:09 And my dad and brother
08:10 just wrapped their arms around me.
08:12 And they said, there are no survivors.
08:16 And, you know, I don't even...
08:19 Sorry.
08:20 I don't even know how long I was out there.
08:22 You know, I felt like I was spinning out
08:24 in the universe somewhere.
08:26 And the words are going around, and then I was feeling like,
08:29 "No, but there are survivors because I'm still here,
08:32 and my two other children are still here.
08:34 And, you know, we were, we were one,
08:36 our family was a unit, and Jim and I were one."
08:39 And I felt that, you know, that,
08:41 "No, we're still surviving."
08:44 And finally, someone from the house
08:47 came out and said, "You know,
08:48 your kids are getting really restless,
08:49 you need to come in.
08:51 And I went in, and Andy, who was seven,
08:53 just ran toward me,
08:55 and he just flung out these words,
08:57 my daddy's dead, isn't he?
09:01 You know, as parents, you want to protect your kids.
09:05 It's your job to protect your kids,
09:07 then I couldn't protect him.
09:09 And I had to acknowledge to him,
09:14 even if I'd said it wasn't true, it was true.
09:16 And I had to be the one that landed that blow on him.
09:21 And I just could hardly bear it.
09:23 And then they were, both my kids are on my lap.
09:25 My daughter, Adele was almost nine.
09:28 And they're both on my lap.
09:29 And she said, "What about Tony and Joey?"
09:31 And I had to do it again.
09:33 And I had to say they're gone too.
09:35 And I felt like
09:38 we were this tiniest dot in the universe,
09:42 and we're this tiniest dot of the most intense agony
09:45 in the whole universe.
09:47 And I thought, you know, does God know?
09:49 And does He see us down here, does He know our agony,
09:54 you know, and I had then such a sense
09:59 that God was there,
10:00 I had this peace that just filled me inside.
10:04 And there was the sense like,
10:06 I felt like God was saying to me,
10:08 "You know, it's My loss too.
10:11 You know, I love them too, this is My agony too,
10:13 and this is My loss,
10:15 and I won't get to see them either
10:17 until the resurrection."
10:18 And I felt such a sense of His presence
10:21 in this core piece that I knew it was not me.
10:24 And then my daughter said,
10:27 "Mom, I'm sure glad you're not the kind of person
10:28 that blames God for everything."
10:30 And I thought,
10:32 "Wow, does she feel God's presence too?"
10:34 And yet at the same time, my son is blaming God
10:37 because, you know, we're all so different.
10:39 And God understands that, and in his mind was like,
10:43 "If God is so good,
10:45 He wouldn't have let this happen to me."
10:48 You know, and he has, "If God is so strong,
10:51 He would have stopped it."
10:52 You know, and those are the things
10:53 that are going through his mind.
10:56 And yet, there was God in the midst of it.
10:58 And I've never once in all the times
11:00 we've talked about this,
11:02 I've never noticed even the slightest bit
11:04 of blaming of God
11:06 or resentment toward Him or anything like that.
11:08 And I think that's why you've been able to move on.
11:11 You know, I could see the ways that God gave me preparation.
11:16 And when it happened, I almost had this feeling,
11:18 oh, like this is what you're preparing me for.
11:21 You know, from the time my boys were little,
11:24 I could see God giving me preparation for that.
11:27 How so? Can you unpack that a little?
11:29 Yeah, I remember reading, you know,
11:32 from one of my favorite authors,
11:33 from Ellen White, long ago, you know,
11:35 that before things got really bad on earth
11:38 that God will lay some of our children to rest.
11:42 And I remember when I read that,
11:43 feeling impressive, that was for me,
11:45 and my Tony and Joey were probably
11:46 one and three years old when I read that.
11:48 I remember feeling this sense there for me.
11:50 And I remember feeling like, "Moses' mom knew that
11:53 she had 12 years with him, I don't know
11:55 how long I have with my kids.
11:56 But I'm preparing them for heaven."
11:58 I know, as parents, as Christian parents,
12:00 we all feel like
12:01 we're preparing our kids for heaven.
12:03 But there was more than, you know,
12:05 there was a bigger sense of that with my boys.
12:08 In here, they were 11 and 13 when I lost them,
12:11 and I could look back and see.
12:13 And in other ways, for some reason,
12:15 I had just wanted to study the Book of Job.
12:19 I was on my way through it for the second time,
12:21 I wanted to understand Job's brilliance.
12:22 And that's really weird because you had this
12:24 like idyllic life kind of,
12:26 and then you're reading the book in the Bible
12:28 about tragedy.
12:30 Well, and the other thing, you know,
12:31 I remember reading in Hebrews 2
12:34 where Jesus Himself perfected a character through suffering.
12:37 I remember thinking,
12:39 "I've never really suffered in my life.
12:41 Really, I've had a good life."
12:43 I would argue with that knowing about your childhood, but...
12:45 Well, for the most part,
12:47 it was a great childhood for the most part, yeah.
12:49 Okay.
12:50 Anyway, I mean, there's no abuse in our home
12:53 or anything like that at all.
12:54 Okay.
12:56 Pat, here we are 20 years later,
12:58 and you have feelings
13:01 now as you're telling the story again.
13:03 How often did these feelings come up
13:05 where you just intensely feel the loss?
13:09 Not as often as they used to.
13:11 I cried every day for a year, but I don't cry every day now.
13:15 You know, time gives you some history,
13:20 so that there's history between the loss and now,
13:22 and those are things you think about,
13:24 but, you know,
13:25 a loss of somebody you love is with you forever.
13:28 Do you envision what your kids would be
13:30 if they were still alive?
13:31 That's something that often grieved parents do.
13:34 I sometimes think of that
13:35 because my son's had three cousins,
13:38 three male cousins, all of the same age.
13:39 There was five boys all born within a year of each other.
13:42 So I've watched my nephews grow up,
13:44 and I think about what my boys were like,
13:47 and what they would be like now,
13:48 my oldest son, Tony was very scholarly.
13:52 And, you know, he read very, you know, he read widely,
13:58 he had probably read, I mean,
14:00 he'd read the Bible through by the time he was 13,
14:03 and he had read just scores of other books.
14:05 And he, you know, he loved nature,
14:08 he'd go bring in fresh road kill, and skin it,
14:11 and, you know, tan hides,
14:14 and he'd look at all the organs and see what they were like.
14:16 And I thought, "You know,
14:17 maybe this boy will be a surgeon.
14:21 Homeschooling mom.
14:22 Yeah, you know, that's another thing
14:24 I'm still grateful for, is I homeschooled my kids,
14:26 and I got to be with them every day,
14:28 you know, I'm the one that got to see their first steps.
14:30 And I'm the one that got to hear their first words,
14:31 and I'm the one that got to watch them,
14:34 you know, expand and grow.
14:36 And, you know,
14:37 much as every parent feels like,
14:38 they didn't do well enough.
14:40 I'm so grateful
14:42 for getting to be a part of all of that
14:44 and be the one to do that.
14:46 You know, Jennifer said something
14:48 earlier about you didn't blame God,
14:49 and you didn't do any of those bitter,
14:52 those bitter things against God.
14:53 I'm interested in,
14:55 did you go through any stages at all.
14:56 I mean, I know that the Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
14:58 stages have been kind of fallen on disrepute lately,
15:01 but just wondering for your situation.
15:03 Not really, you know, when I got the news,
15:06 I knew it was true.
15:08 There was nothing in me that, that can't be there.
15:12 I knew it was true.
15:14 I accepted it, I believed it.
15:16 I mean, you know, I've been spending
15:17 two days praying about it up till that point.
15:21 And while I knew that God wouldn't let me lose a child,
15:24 God, let me lose two children and a husband all at once.
15:27 And I could see that God carried me.
15:31 You know, He was right there.
15:32 I wasn't alone in it.
15:34 I didn't bear the whole weight of it all by myself.
15:37 There was such a sense
15:38 that God was right there with me.
15:40 And like, and, you know,
15:42 he'd given me words before that.
15:44 There was a time when I'd be so discouraged at my kids,
15:47 you know, you feel the weight of their salvation
15:49 on your shoulders, and one time,
15:51 and my husband traveled a lot
15:52 because he was doing evangelism.
15:54 And one time he had gone,
15:56 been gone for six weeks out of a seven week trip.
15:58 And I was just like, this is too much.
16:01 I'm home with four kids and all week long,
16:04 all I could see was their faults,
16:06 and they just loom huge before you.
16:08 And Friday night, I put them all to bed early.
16:10 And I sat down on the couch and I cried.
16:13 I said, "God, look at my kids, you got to talk to me.
16:16 Look at my kids.
16:17 I can't even save myself, much less them."
16:19 And I was so, so discouraged.
16:21 And again, it's another of those times
16:23 when God led me right to words.
16:25 And He led me to Isaiah 49:24, 25
16:28 where it says, you know,
16:29 "I'll contend with him who contends with you,
16:31 and I will save your children."
16:33 You know, how much more clearly could God have told me
16:36 it's His job not mine, and that He will do it,
16:40 you know, and I can trust Him, I can trust Him to do it.
16:44 So that was another way of preparation,
16:46 and I felt like, "Wow, you know, He already did that
16:48 for two of my children now.
16:50 Does your son know that scripture
16:52 that's so dear to you,
16:54 the one that right now today is...
16:57 I would guess that he's heard it,
16:59 but, you know, he's an adult now,
17:01 hasn't been home for a while.
17:03 But that would be an interesting thing
17:04 to bring that up to him.
17:07 You know, I get kind of aggravated
17:10 when I hear a sort of a version of God caring for us,
17:15 that's almost trivialized, where it's like,
17:18 everything ends up being okay.
17:20 With the loss that's devastating,
17:22 everything is really never okay.
17:25 And there isn't a little bow on it,
17:27 that you can say, "Oh, look how pretty."
17:28 You know, it's a constant process of God
17:31 recycling the devastating effects of sin
17:34 into something
17:36 that produces growth in us, growth in our characters.
17:38 But it doesn't necessarily produce a pretty life.
17:41 And if our goal is to have a pretty life,
17:44 and have happiness,
17:46 we're going to be sorely disappointed on earth.
17:48 But if our goal is growth,
17:49 it's going to be a completely different story.
17:50 There is no such thing as just a pretty life.
17:53 There is no such thing.
17:56 You know, if Jesus Himself suffered
17:58 in order to develop a character,
18:00 how could any of us be like Him without that?
18:02 And I realized that,
18:04 that was part of the preparation
18:05 that I never really suffered.
18:07 I'm really going to be like Jesus, you know,
18:08 my life will have suffering too.
18:10 And I don't know anyone that hasn't had suffering.
18:13 That's the human condition on planet earth.
18:15 And yet there is God,
18:18 He's right there in the midst of it.
18:20 And He's there, you know, for me, He comforted me,
18:23 it wasn't a painless study,
18:25 like I said, I cried every day, over and over again.
18:29 And you think, how can someone be alive this minute,
18:31 and they're not alive the next minute,
18:32 how can that be, you know, it's incomprehensible.
18:36 For our understanding, yeah, we weren't created for death.
18:37 Yeah.
18:39 And yet, you still had two kids to raise.
18:41 I had, still had two kids,
18:42 and what happens to them happens to me.
18:44 Right.
18:45 And I'm wondering about the effects,
18:46 the long term effects of grief on them because, you know,
18:49 the little bow on it whole pretty life thing,
18:51 like they don't fake, kids don't pretend
18:54 everything's okay if it's not okay.
18:55 Did you watch this...
18:57 And I would think, you, being a mother,
18:59 and so and emphatically connected to your kids,
19:01 it would be almost worse what they were going through
19:03 than what you are going through.
19:04 You know, at first I thought,
19:06 "Well, God, you let this happen to my children.
19:08 I had the ideal home.
19:09 In that, I got to be home with my kids,
19:11 my husband and I loved each other."
19:12 We got, you know, in so many ways,
19:13 I had everything that really counted,
19:15 and now I'm minus.
19:17 One of the most important factors for a kid, a dad.
19:21 And I thought, "Well, God, you let this happen to my kids,
19:23 but You will protect them from the damage of it."
19:27 But no, it's not true,
19:28 they're damaged, we're all damaged.
19:31 And I watched that, you know,
19:32 kids without a dad
19:34 have their own unique set of problems.
19:36 And especially for my son, he, you know,
19:40 his two older brothers were his mentors,
19:42 his heroes, you know,
19:44 all the men in his life were gone.
19:46 And it was like, gravity was gone for him.
19:48 And he was always a challenging kid,
19:51 and they helped people led on him.
19:52 And literally, it was like, gravity was gone for him.
19:55 And he, you know,
19:57 he didn't know how to deal with it.
19:59 He's a very bright, particular creative,
20:03 kind of amazing person.
20:05 He's, you know, he developed himself
20:07 out of that in ways that I would never expected.
20:11 Like he became a navy seal, and I asked him,
20:15 "Is that have anything to do with
20:16 losing your dad and brothers?"
20:18 He says, "Oh, yeah, everything,
20:19 you know, they weren't protected, now.
20:21 I'm the ultimate protector."
20:22 You're gonna make yourself invincible.
20:25 But that's what we always do.
20:26 If we can't believe that God is good,
20:29 we try to get into His place and be better than He has been.
20:33 If we can't believe that God is love,
20:35 we either try to make somebody else be love for us
20:39 or we try to be love through somebody else.
20:41 We try to become our own gods.
20:42 We become codependent in our relationships,
20:44 either by trying to be God
20:46 or trying to make someone else be God for us,
20:48 satisfy us in those ways.
20:50 And in the same way,
20:51 if we can't believe God is powerful enough,
20:53 we try to be powerful.
20:54 It's an essence of sin.
20:57 Yeah, we all have our own journeys,
20:59 and your son's journey is not over by any means.
21:02 It's part of the story, it's not all of a story.
21:04 I still have that promise.
21:05 Absolutely.
21:07 And I still believe it with all my heart.
21:08 I have no doubt that God does what He says He'll do.
21:12 Beautiful faith.
21:14 How about your relationship with him?
21:16 Is that been kind of
21:17 a stabilizing force in his life?
21:19 Probably we've had our ups and our downs,
21:23 but I'm always there.
21:24 Yes, yes, we've all experienced that.
21:27 You know, we have a unique bond,
21:30 and partly just because he was a child
21:32 that required a lot of mothering.
21:34 I always said he was a five mom child.
21:36 I thank God for every other mom in his life.
21:40 For my daughter, you know,
21:41 the process was completely different.
21:42 She didn't want to think about it.
21:44 She didn't want.
21:46 She didn't like it when Andy and I cried every day.
21:48 Oh, he cried with you.
21:49 But she would kind of let you off.
21:51 Yeah, she didn't really want it.
21:53 She, you know, wasn't like she didn't acknowledge it,
21:55 but she just didn't want to dwell on it.
21:57 Yeah.
21:59 And it took her five years
22:00 before she was able to set herself down
22:03 and really look at a hugeness of it.
22:06 And how old was she at that time
22:07 when she finally did that?
22:08 Fourteen. Fourteen.
22:10 And then when she was 14, she let herself look at it,
22:14 and she made her adult commitment to God
22:17 at that time because she realized
22:18 there's nothing she could do about it.
22:21 She was devastated.
22:22 She could acknowledge it, and no way to fix it.
22:25 You know, almost everything in life,
22:26 we have some choice over.
22:28 Yeah.
22:29 But the only choice we have is how we're going to react.
22:31 But people can refuse to accept a tragedy like that,
22:35 and they can push back on it and keep asking why,
22:38 not that it's always bad to ask why, Jesus asked why,
22:41 but you keep asking why in such a way
22:43 that it really amounts to not accepting.
22:46 It's a way of not accepting.
22:48 I never felt like why was my question.
22:50 I always felt like, my question was,
22:52 do I trust God, or do I not trust God?
22:55 And I had already decided that God is good.
22:57 You know, I read here that God is good,
23:00 and I read here that God loves me.
23:01 So if God is good, and God loves me,
23:04 then I have to look at everything through that lens.
23:06 And don't you think
23:08 when people look to what happens
23:09 or doesn't happen in this world,
23:11 there's evidence of whether God is good or not,
23:13 they end up setting themselves up
23:14 for coming to the wrong conclusion.
23:16 But if we look at the cross,
23:18 and we look at the story of redemption,
23:20 we see that God is good.
23:21 So we really need to take care
23:22 as to look to the right evidence
23:24 to find out if God is good or not.
23:25 Yeah.
23:26 And this is the same experience that Job went through.
23:28 He knew God was good,
23:29 but he couldn't stand what was happening to him.
23:32 And same with David in the Psalms.
23:34 David continually convinced himself that God was good,
23:37 even though he couldn't stand on.
23:38 He did rail on him.
23:40 Yes, he did...
23:41 Did you ever do that?
23:44 Not in your soft, gentle way.
23:46 You I know, there's so...
23:47 I did a lot of journaling, and there were times
23:49 when I would just start out, you know,
23:52 with all that, and I'd always end up praising.
23:54 And I thought, this is so, you know, this is so weird.
23:58 How can... How does it happen?
23:59 But isn't it great that HE didn't strike you dead
24:01 with lightning bolt before you got to that point?
24:05 You know. I never saw God that way.
24:07 I never saw God as punitive or...
24:10 So you felt free to vent, if you needed to vent.
24:13 But on the other hand, you just didn't need to really
24:16 after at least a short time.
24:17 You know, I was more about for me, I...
24:19 When I journal, I'm like trying to identify how I feel,
24:23 and why I feel that way, you know,
24:25 and what triggers that feeling.
24:27 And so I'm always trying to get down to the meaning
24:29 of how I'm feeling.
24:31 And in that process,
24:33 it really helps me figure it out.
24:35 I mean, I come to answers and conclusions,
24:37 just by going through the process of understanding.
24:40 You were doing cognitive behavioral therapy also.
24:43 Before we even knew what it was.
24:46 Essentially these kinds of circumstances force us
24:50 to grapple with what we really believe about
24:52 how the universe runs, if God if really is good.
24:56 I mean, we all know that terrible things are happening
24:59 over in Africa, India or somewhere
25:01 to people we don't know.
25:02 But we like to live in an illusion
25:05 that if we're good people, and we don't do bad things,
25:07 then bad things won't happen to us.
25:10 And that, that kind of discounts the value
25:13 of all those other people,
25:14 is it their faults that bad things happen.
25:17 Right, so have to grapple with at some point,
25:20 you know, why not me?
25:22 I went through a difficult time when we thought,
25:25 my husband was likely to die too.
25:28 He had a terrible diagnosis, and I had small children,
25:31 and I could see myself at the grave.
25:34 Over and over, it just came to me,
25:36 what are we going to do?
25:37 How old are my kids going to be?
25:39 But I also didn't really grapple with
25:41 why because what's the use of why me?
25:44 Why not me?
25:46 Why everybody else, but not me.
25:48 Does everybody else deserve it?
25:49 Yeah. That came to me too.
25:51 With the amount of suffering that we see in this world,
25:53 why shouldn't it happen to me too?
25:55 That's right.
25:56 Especially when we're the ones who are actually equipped
25:59 to grapple with questions about the character of God
26:01 because we see so much in His Word.
26:03 We know that there's this great controversy going on
26:06 between Christ and Satan.
26:08 Why should we not have to suffer pain
26:11 in order to learn to hate sin?
26:13 So if you have wrong expectations of God,
26:15 you're setting yourself up for disappointment,
26:17 and from really being estranged from God
26:19 or resentful toward Him.
26:20 If you expect Him to make your life a piece of cake,
26:23 I'm sorry, but it's not going to go that way.
26:24 It happens all the time.
26:26 Yeah, that people expect that.
26:27 Yeah, look how many people reject God or throw Him out
26:31 because something bad happened to them?
26:32 Yeah, it does.
26:33 But that's based on false expectations.
26:35 Yeah, He gives us a ministry, and a mission,
26:38 and a vision after tragedy.
26:40 And when you mentioned some people
26:41 never come to grips with it.
26:43 It kind of hit me that 20 years after,
26:45 not only have you survived, you thrived,
26:47 and you're probably helping many, many people,
26:50 and so that's the outcome.
26:51 I call her the counselors' counselor
26:53 because when I need help with something serious,
26:55 I call her, I call her in tears,
26:57 she's got a gift.
26:59 Yeah, what better person that has experienced
27:00 what you have experienced.
27:02 To then, pour into others who are suffering.
27:04 It amazes me that God takes, you know,
27:06 the things that caused us the deepest pains,
27:09 and He uses it to bless somebody else.
27:11 Absolutely.
27:12 Things that were not His will,
27:13 but He uses to accomplish His greater purpose
27:15 of changing us into His image and revealing
27:18 to the universe that He really is good,
27:20 and that sin really is bad.
27:22 And what we're going to do during the second half
27:24 is we're going to probe that because actually,
27:26 your life went on from there.
27:27 In fact, it was more than 20 years ago.
27:29 So amazing things have happened since then,
27:31 and we want to hear about those amazing things
27:33 because you took this tragedy
27:35 and you took up where Jim left off,
27:38 and you carried that ministry into the future.
27:40 And God has been able to do amazing things
27:42 through that ministry.
27:43 And we want to hear about it.
27:44 I'm assuming you want to hear about it too.
27:46 Absolutely. Yes.
27:47 So we want you guys to tune in on part two
27:50 of "A Mother's Tears," and learn how God can make
27:54 triumph out of tragedy.
27:56 God bless.


Revised 2018-12-30