Questions are conversation starters. Questions are how we get to know people. We ask and answer questions every day, some days all day long. Questions are just a normal part of life.
To those of us who are living in a parent’s worst nightmare of losing a child, we have questions in our minds surrounding the actually death and/or life of our child. But then there are the questions from others which can send us into a tailspin. There are the normal questions of “how are you doing?”, “how are the children doing?”, and “how’s the rest of the family?”. Those are fine, but there is a question that sends my mind reeling into uncertainty, “how many children do you have?”
How many children do you have? It’s a normal conversation starter. It is a question I have asked others many times over the years. But now, since Amanda died, I do not know how to answer it. I used to say, 4; 2 natural born, 2 they married. People would look at me for a minute and then they would smile. It was all so easy and friendly and fun. I meant it – I love my “in-laws”. But, I have no earthly idea how to answer it now. Do I count her?– because the next few questions eventually leads to “what do your children do?” or another question regarding them. Eventually, I have to say “my daughter died” which then leads to “how did she die?” or even worse, the person is made to feel uncomfortable and they spend the next few seconds searching their minds for what to say. Which makes me feel sorry for them, then I find myself trying to figure out what do I say to them. It’s a circle of uncomfortable feelings for everyone around.
As I started contemplating questions and answers God reminded me of my interest for questions in the Bible. I have always enjoyed studying questions in the Bible. I have a few I just absolutely love “ …Why do you seek the living One among the dead?” Luke 24:5b.; “….Shall your brothers go to war while you yourselves sit here?” Num 32:6b; and “ ….but who do you say that I am? Mat 16:15, Mark 8:29; Luke 9:20. Which, of course, brought me to answers from Scripture. Especially Mark 16:14-17 – Jesus asked Peter “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” v17“And Jesus said to him ““Blessed are you Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.”
I have no earthly idea how to answer the question of “how many children do you have?”. I finally realized there is no earthly answer. There is no answer for everyone. But, I need to be led by the Spirit, by God, to give an answer to each and every person. There are different answers for different people. There have been many times the question has led to a conversation about having a relationship with the Lord. Amanda’s legacy of faith, how she lived for the Lord, and talk about her love for her life. The questions has led to talks about motherhood, and priorities and even having a will. Being prepared for death, for living eternally and fighting the good fight. Not leaving your brothers and sisters to fight alone!
I do not have a “pat” answer. I just know I have to be led by the Spirit. Not only in answer to questions, but always in conversations. I hurt a friend not too long ago. I said something hurtful to her at an inappropriate time and place. I tried to put her into an impossible situation. We talked for a while and cried together. I realized later, I was not being led by the Spirit but was being led by my feelings, my emotions. Feelings and emotions can lead me in such a wrong direction. Usually, it’s a selfish direction. A direction not led by the Spirit but in a direction in the wrong way. I ended up apologizing to my friend by text. I know, not a great way to apologize but I was afraid I could not get the words out over the phone or in person. I hope she is reading this, I hope she knows, I know how very wrong I was. I love her and will always love her. I was completely wrong, I was led by selfishness, not by the Lord.
If I try to answer questions like “how many children do you have?” with my emotions or my feelings there will never be a right answer. I need to be led by the Spirit. That’s the answer to all the questions, situations, and direction of life. Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus lived a perfect life, He died for my sin, He rose again the third day, He dined with Peter, He appeared to the disciples, Jesus then ascended to Heaven, and now sits at the Fathers right hand. He is coming back. In the mean time He sent the Holy Spirit which indwells us and gives us just the answers we need, the direction we need and the situations with people we/they need.
Y’all don’t give up and don’t give in. We are not alone!