Shut Your Mouth

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“Before you tell a grieving parent to be grateful for the children they have, think about which one of yours you could live without?” – author unknown.

This quote has made a few loops around the fellow child loss community. It is probably one of my favorites, because it is one of my favorites, I share it quite often. Personally I think it sums up many insensitive comments that we loss parents face quite often. This isn’t really snarky, well actually that depends on what you consider snarky, and it educates in way that makes people think “hmmm I didn’t think of that.” 

I shared this quote a few weeks ago and a fellow loss Momma commented. She suggested that we should try not to be so sensitive to the comments of other people, most of them are just trying to help and do not know what to say. She also suggested that loss parents should “rise above bitter comments.”

I read her comment closely several times. It didn’t appear she was trying to be snarky. I do not think she was being rude. I honestly believe she was attempting to be helpful. Also, She did have a good point. Most people do mean well.

Let me say that again.

Most people do mean well.

Most people do not know what to say.

Child loss is a sensitive topic, many people fear approaching it.

It is too hard.

It is too scary to think about. 

A child dying?? A baby dying??

Many people will choose to put it out of their minds quickly.

Most people will say the first thing that comes to their minds when faced with the grieving family.

After we lost David, I often felt like people purposely avoided me. They saw me in the grocery store or at church, quickly turned around and ran in the other direction. Okay, well maybe they didn’t run, but it sure seemed like they couldn’t get away from me fast enough.

I do not really know which one I preferred more after David’s death. Those who avoided me and Ben or those who tried to make it better by commenting insane comments.

“It just wasn’t meant to be.”

Actually God’s word says “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”

God doesn’t make mistakes. David wasn’t a mistake and I believe God creates every child with a purpose. So try again.

‘”God needed another angel.”

Humans do not become Angels when we die. We are below the angels.

“But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”  Hebrews 2:9.  So try again.

“At least you know you can have children.”

Yes, exactly what every women wants when they spend over a year trying to conceive and MONTHS carrying a child inside of them. The KNOWLEDGE that they can conceive. So try again.

“Oh you have two more children now, be thankful for them.”

Trust me. I am more than thankful and grateful for my two beautiful blessings. That does not mean I no longer grieve David. That does not mean I forget about him or hurt any less because he died.

These comments do not even begin to describe the many insesitive comments I and many other loss parents face. But these comments, they usually are not said with malice intent.

So yes, this fellow loss Momma did have a point. Most people mean well.

However, I also believe most people are open to being educated. After all God does tell us in his word to watch our tongues, it has incredible power.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:6

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29

“The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.” Proverbs 15:4

“From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled; with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied. The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:20-21

These are just a few scriptures concerning what God says about the power of the tongue and what we say.

Most people, when their eyes are opened, can understand how what they say hurts, regardless if it was unintentional “yes I see how that comment would hurt someone even more, someone who is already hurting so badly right now. That was not my intent.”

I believe most people are inherently good and want to be helpful.

I also believe that loss parents should not have to “keep quiet and accept these harsh comments.” Not when educating gently is an option.

That is why I share about child loss, even when it makes other people uncomfortable.

That is why I wrote the book Faith Actually; Living Life After Tragedy, even when it was painful to write.

I pushed through that pain in an attempt to educate those who do not know what child loss feels like. Those who, hopefully, will never experience the unfathomable pain of watching your child slip from Earth.

I believe those people still want to know what is the appropriate way to approach the subject of child loss. It is a possibility that one day they or someone they love will have to face this tragedy, it is always a good idea to know how to help not hurt.

The truth is there is no one way to grieve. Every person  grieves differently. Some people grieve by keeping it inside. Some people need to talk about it. Some people grieve for a long time. Some people choose to see the bright side and build a brighter future. There is no wrong way. There is your way. One may choose to look at the bright side, encouraging others to see the bright side. Which is what I believe this fellow loss Momma was trying to do. I remember the dark side though. I also know that many people need that dark side to be acknowledged. They need the comfort of knowing someone understands. There can be sunshine after child loss but there is also a whole heck of a lot of rain. Some thunder and lightening thrown in there too. If we only choose to accept and acknowledge “happiness always” then we aren’t really helping anyone. Are we? That mentality reeks of “shut up and get over it quickly.” Which is never okay to say to a loss parent.

You see, when I share and write about child loss, I choose to write about the painful moments, the uncertainty, the hurt, the reality of child loss because I remember what it is like to be at the end of my rope and to have no hope.

I do not share out of bitterness. I share because I believe, no I know. there is hope. However, that hope didn’t come right away. I found it after a process.

I remember the night I begged God to take my from Earth. I remember, like it was yesterday, what it felt like to not want to live anymore.  I wanted to be with my son. I begged and begged God to take me. I wanted to waste away in my bed until I was no more. I gave it some good thought. How hard would it to be to choose to just not get up? I choose to share that reality, the reality that was mine, because I know so many other loss parents out there have faced or are facing the exact same feelings and torment. Wrestling with the desire to no longer exist.

I do not share out of bitterness. I share because I know I am not the only one.

I am not the only one to face the insensitive comments from strangers and friends a like. I am not the only one to face living with the painful reality that your child will never be with you on this side of eternity again. I am not the only one to face having to wake up everyday and figure out how to walk through life without your child.

This is the reality for so many people, women and men included, because it takes two to make a child.

When I share, I share in attempt to educate, not to be bitter.

Because I am not bitter.

I actually have never been bitter.

I have been hurt yes, excruciatingly so.

Bitter, no.

When a loss parent shares something in an attempt to educate, do not jump to the conclusion that they are bitter. Most of the time, it is an attempt to share what their reality is. Do not tell them to hush and get over the bitterness. Do not try to make their feelings invalid because they are not the same as yours. Their feelings are valid just the same. They need to be able to share those feelings. To heal and to educate.

My goal is to share with those who are curious how to be gentle and how to be kind o fellow loss parents, on purpose, with thoughtful intent.

That is all we actually want.

And in case you are wondering, I will continue to share this quote 😉

Until next time xoxo,

Jenna Jury

 

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Faith Actually Podcast Interview

Last week we had the privilege of joining Curt Klingerman, from the Perfect Faith podcast, in an interview. The interview was over our book Faith Actually: Living Life After Tragedy and how the Lord brought us through our loss and grief. We share our heart and our journey in hopes to encourage those who have been or are going through tragedy. You can find our book on Amazon, Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble, if you are local you can also find it at the Bookshelf and the local libraries. We have another interview coming up next week on REALLIFE from the cornerstone network. I thank God he has given us so many outlets to share his love for those who are hurting.

Listen to the Perfect Faith podcast here.

While you are at it subscribe to Curt’s channel!

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook at Jenna Jury, Writer and  like our book page Faith Actually, Living Life After Tragedy and Twitter @thepeacefulnest.

Until next time,

Jenna Jury

 

 

The Problem With The Phrase “It Was God’s Will.”

In December of 2011 I stood next to a tiny casket. Inside the casket held my beautiful and fragile son. Four days earlier I had held him as he took his last breath. He didn’t make a sound because he was premature, but I knew when he left this earth. I felt it. As I stood next to his casket, people who loved us and David assembled in line to give me their condolences. I lost count of how many well meaning people muttered the phrase “It was God’s will” to me. I nodded my head, numb from all the emotion. But inside I was screaming. How was any of this God’s plan? This wasn’t the God I knew. God didn’t take babies away from their loving parents. He didn’t plan their deaths. I was lost. I couldn’t understand the reasoning. So I blamed God and in turn I almost turned my back completely on him. I didn’t. Through events that took place in our lives after I grew in understanding of God’s love and his true nature. As well as the promises he makes us in his Word.

Most people understand that God has given us free will and that he is not a dictator. However, that doesn’t stop us from overusing the phrase “It was God’s will” when tragedy happens. I understand. I have been there. I muttered this phrase as I hugged someone facing unimaginable pain. Then I walked away, praying to myself that I would never have to face what they were facing. A few years later I was on the receiving end, being told over and over again, how it was God’s will that my son died.

It took me quite a long time to realize how false that statement is. Please don’t mistake me. I believe wholeheartedly that the bible teaches God knows the future, he is all knowing. God is not a dictator though. The bible clearly teaches free will. God desires for us to choose him, to choose right but he doesn’t force someone’s hand.

Deuteronomy 20:19, 20  This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Galatians 5:13-14 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh ; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
There are many other scriptures about free will. Yes God’s power is not limited by anyone. However, the bible also teaches that God does not use that power to control anyone.
So, if we have free will and God doesn’t use his power to control us, doesn’t it stand to reason that the phrase “It was God’s will” could be incorrect?
By telling a grieving parent that losing their child was God’s will, you are saying that God formed this child in their womb simply to cruelly take them away. You are saying that God controls everything. You are unwittingly denying free will and claiming that God dictates our lives. When in reality, sometimes things just happen. Death, sickness, tragedy, they all happen because we live in a fallen world. It goes way back to the first sin, when darkness and sin was ushered into the earth. Along with it came death, disaster, famine, pain, heartache, disease, and all the other sad, cruel things. It was humans that brought it all in. Not God.
I don’t get to know why David died. I don’t get to know why Pre-Eclampsia happened to me or why it even exists. I do know that God loves me. God loves David. God wanted David to be a part of our family. I do know that he formed David in my womb. I also know that it wasn’t God’s will that I lose David.
God does make things work together for the good of those who love Him. This means He can bring you back from your heartache and pain. He can bring joy and peace back into your life.
Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
The next time you are faced with someone elses tragedy, fight the urge to say “it was God’s will” because honestly, you don’t know that it was.
Until next time,
Jenna Jury

Faith Actually: Living Life After Tragedy

Available on Amazon(3)
My husband Ben and I have recently released our first book,  Faith Actually. You can find it here on Amazon. Faith Actually: Living Life After Tragedy is also available on Amazon Kindle Unlimited! Writing and releasing this book is such a milestone in our life. I wanted to take some time and explain what Faith Actually is and why we decided to write it.

I could give you the short version: Benjamin and Jenna Jury share the death of their son David, the grief they shared, and how they found faith in God again. However, I honestly want to delve in a bit and explain how Faith Actually has come about to those of you who have no idea who I am and what my story is.

In 2010 I married my best friend. He is funny, smart, and one of the hardest working men I know. In 2011 we conceived our first child. A boy, whose due date was March 12, 2012. We were ecstatic. You know how children dream of what they want to be when they grow up? The only job I dreamed of as a little girl was being a wife and a mother. In December of 2011 I developed Pre-eclampsia, delivered our son David and buried him within a 13 day span.

David’s death propelled Ben and I into unfamiliar territory. I felt as though I was drowning. Waves were crashing down and I was yelling and waving my arms frantically, but no one heard me. That is what grief felt like to me. I lost my faith in God. I honestly wanted to turn my back on Him completely.

How did I come from sitting in the hospital room, threatening God, telling him if he takes my son, I will never believe in him again, to proclaiming his unfathomable goodness and grace?

The loss of a child is a nightmare. There is truly no other words to describe it in-depth. A parent should never have to watch their child slip from them. It happens. More than many people want to acknowledge. When I was pushed into this world of death and grief, a world I wanted no part of, I realized how many other people were right there in it with me. Why didn’t I know this? It is simple. Child loss is not something people want to talk about. It is too sad. Hits to close to home. Even in the Christian world.

It took us two years to write Faith Actually. I wanted to scrap it so many times. In this book both Ben and I allow ourselves to be vulnerable and real, as a Christian couple. A Christian couple who both grew up in church, loved the Lord, and believed that good things happen to those who love Him. As a Christian couple who were launched into the deep waters of grieve and death, not knowing where God was. I turned away from God. Ben clung to Him. Neither one of us were wrong in how we grieved.

We wrote this book because we want to shed light on child loss in the Christian community as well as in society in general. We want to offer hope and encouragement to those who have lost a love one, to those who may be questioning God. To that person who is finding it difficult to find a reason to live. Faith Actually is our story, of how we found God’s love and grace through his promises and through faith.

You can buy Faith Actually here.

Until next time,

Jenna Jury

 

What I Wish People Knew About Losing My Son

When tragedies occur it isn’t uncommon for a person to be told how strong they are.

I remember when my son died I was told by numerous individuals that I was the strongest person they knew. I was tough. If only they were as strong as me. They wouldn’t be able to survive such a loss.

I am still told all of this quite frequently, to be honest. It is usually as soon as someone finds out we had a son and then he died. I don’t tell others about my son to gain sympathy or be told how truly strong I am. I talk about him because I want others to know that he existed. He was here. David was and still is very important. He is a vital part of my family.

I don’t talk about him to be told how strong I am.

Here is the thing. I already know I am strong. I have known my whole life that I am a strong person and woman.

My mother is a strong woman. My Mamaw was a strong woman. No, I already know I am a strong.

When my Mamaw lost her dad in a coal mining accident she had no choice but to get through it. She took care of her siblings. Raised the younger ones. When she had a tubal pregnancy during her first and only pregnancy it caused her to lose not only her precious baby but both her tubes as well. Making it impossible for her to ever conceive again. She had no choice but to get through it. You see later on she saw two precious babies that needed a home and she took that opportunity to provide that loving home for those babies by adopting them. She wouldn’t have seen that opportunity if she didn’t realize that in life you have no choice but to to get through the tough things if you want to see the beautiful things.

When my Mamaw had a stroke that left her paralyzed, unable to talk, or eat. my Mom brought her home to live with her. She took care of her for six years. Took care of her every need. She knew that she had no choice but to get through it and she was going to channel all the strength she had so her mother could be comfortable and around family in her last years. She didn’t have to do it but she did it anyway. It was hard on her at times. However, she was able to spend several beautiful years with her mom that she wouldn’t have gotten if she didn’t know that sometimes in life you have to make the hard decisions and they can often have some beauty within them.

When I lost my son David I wanted to die right alongside of him. But I couldn’t. That wasn’t an option. I buried my son and grieved during what seemed like a blur of weeks or months. Then I was put on hospital bed rest with my daughter B for four weeks. She was born early at 32 weeks and we had another NICU stay.  Now I have two wonderful daughters that the Lord has blessed me with and a beautiful life with my husband. Do I miss my son? Absolutely, but I have been able to see just how beautiful life can be despite tragedy. This is because I know that in life you simply have no choice but to get through the loss. Losing my son showed me that sometimes in life you simply have no choice.

You get through it because you have to.

Yes I am strong. But losing my son did not create that strength inside of me. It has always been there. I believe that everyone has that strength inside of them. When people tell me that they couldn’t do it. I want to say to them just pray you never have to do it.

Because when it comes down to it you can if you have to because you simply have no choice but to get through it.

I have recently read a quote that summed it all up for me.

“When you survive loss everyone is quick to tell you how strong you are and how tough you must be. But actually, no one has a choice to survive grief do they…. it’s not optional. You just have to cry in the shower, sob into your pillow, and pray you will make it.” Zoe Clark- Coates

That is it. I lost my son but that doesn’t make me the strongest person alive. There are so many others who lose their children as well. Or people who lose other loved ones. There are those who go through other unimaginable tragedies.

They are strong too.

Some choose to share that pain with their friends and family and others choose to keep it to themselves. Neither one is the right way.

You see each person gets through grief and trials of this life however they need to. They get through in whichever way works for them.

Because they simply have no choice.

I get through by sharing mine with you.

Have a beautiful day,

Jenna

If you are someone who needs help getting through loss please feel free to contact me in the link below.

https://lovinggodsbeautifulplan.com/no-affliction-ministries/

Catching Fireflies 


That night when I closed my eyes, I saw her. A beautiful, innocent little girl. Running through her yard on a crisp night, catching fireflies with her brothers. Laughing, smiling. She didn’t know pain, she didn’t know heartache. To her the world was bright and beautiful, full of light.

That little girl was me.

Oh, how I wanted to scoop that little girl up in my arms and beg her to stay little forever. I wanted to warn her of the heartache that would be hers if she grew up. She was still so innocent. She believed good things happened to good people. She believed the world was a good place, a place with endless possibilities and hope. She knew nothing of heart wrenching pain.

She was safe.

Her world was wonderful.

If I could only warn her, tell her. Explain to her that life isn’t always roses and butterflies. That sometimes life is so hard. Sometimes the unthinkable happens. I wanted to tell her that the unthinkable does happen, to her.

I wanted to tell her that one day she will sit in a NICU surrounded by her husband and family and by what seems like a million doctors, holding her beautiful, perfect son as he struggled between holding on and letting go. She would struggle between making a decision to leave him on life support or unplug him. She would sigh a breath of relief when she didn’t have to make that decision. But she will feel heart wrenching pain at the decision God made for her.

I wanted to tell that innocent little girl that one day, not to long from now she would have her rock bottom moment. The moment when nothing in this world seemed to matter. She would crawl into her bed, wishing she could just waste away. Her heart would be broken, into a million pieces, and everyone who loved her would try so hard to help her piece them back together. But it was broken. There was no piecing it back together.

I wanted to forewarn this little girl, so maybe she would be prepared. But I just stood there. Motionless, in the shadows as I watched the little innocent girl run around with her brothers.

Catching fireflies.

I had reached it. My rock bottom. Sure, I had plenty of bad days after I lost David. But this night, this was the worst night by far. I sat in the corner of my bathroom. Clutching my sons hat. It still smelled like him, like oranges. Hot tears were streaming down my face. I had an ever present lump in my throat. My husband stood in front of me. I could see the pain in his eyes. He was hurting, he wanted to help me. But no one could help me. I had reached that moment. That moment when I questioned every single thing I ever knew. I questioned if there was even really a God. I yelled, I screamed, I cried. I tried to find some kind of answer to all my many questions. There were no answers. After many hours my husband finally coaxed me into bed. I lay there clinging onto my sons hat. Willing him to come back to me. Sleep wouldn’t come, and in the dark hours of the night, I came to the conclusion that if I couldn’t have my son then I didn’t want to be here on earth anymore. I wanted to waste away. Lay in bed and never get up.

The next morning was Sunday. I didn’t sleep much the night before. My heart was too broken, to heavy. “Get up, get ready, we are going to be late for church.” My husband said. “I’m not going, you aren’t going to change my mind, so you might as well not even try” I snapped back. He left. I could see the heaviness in his eyes. We couldn’t help each other. It was too hard. I laid in bed for what seemed like an eternity. I couldn’t will myself to get up. It was to hard, pointless.

I closed my eyes and saw my younger, more innocent self again.

Catching fireflies.

I wished I was her, that little girl didn’t know pain. She thought everything was safe. I wanted to be her again. I had lost my innocence. Good things didn’t happen to good people. The world wasn’t bright and happy.

A while later I heard my door open. I didn’t even attempt to get up.Someone crawled into bed with me, She wrapped her arms around me and I could tell by her perfume and strong loving embrace that it was my mom. Tears came, they wouldn’t stop. I bawled for what seemed like hours. She let me, she cried with me, and held me like I was that little girl again.

“I don’t know where to go from here, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.” I said as I wiped tears from my eyes, it was a pointless venture, tears just kept coming anyway. “You get up, you get dressed, and you come with me so we can go eat.” My mom said.

And I did.

I have had many more bad days since that day. I still continue to have bad days. Even after having my daughters. I miss my son. I still question, why. But if I knew why, would it make the pain go away? No it wouldn’t.

The pain would still be there.

This big empty hole in my heart.

The empty chair at my table.

The missing person in all our family portraits.

The missing car seat from my car.

The missing room and bed.

They would all still be there.

I have had many people try to explain this to me, but you can’t. You can’t explain the unthinkable. You can’t explain away this pain. This pain is the type of pain that only someone who has also lost a child somehow, someway could understand. I wish that everyone could understand this pain. Then the explanations would stop. But you can’t, unless you have been there. And I would never wish this kind of tragedy on anyone.

Because with this kind of pain comes loss of innocence.. With this pain comes the emptiness. With this pain comes the worst kind of reality, the reality that good things don’t always happen to good people, that sometimes there is no explanation. The kind of pain that makes you wish you were that little kid again.

The one catching fireflies.