I was at the library with my kids when I got the phone call from my Dad. I almost ignored it because I thought it was one of those annoying sales calls. Last second I realized it was a Rochester, MN number and my parents were there for my Dad’s doctors appointment at Mayo Clinic. I answered and My Dad told me something horrible had happened; my Mom collapsed while they were eating dinner across the street from the hospital, and she was rushed into surgery. They found a brain aneurysm and were trying their absolute best to save her. It is all a little foggy in some ways and I remember every detail in others, but a stranger came and hugged me and told me she’d be praying for whatever was happening. Jhett, my almost 4 year old at the time, grabbed me and said “Just take deep breaths Mommy, take deep breaths like this and you will feel better.” I called John and he left work immediately so we could catch a flight to Minnesota. I called my two best friends who called in their prayer warriors. I got ahold of all of my prayer warriors. We all never stopped praying. We had people all over the world praying. Praying to heal my Mom, to guide the doctors hands, to leave her on earth with us. You name it and we prayed it. We never stopped praying the whole trip. I cried out to Jesus as we drove from Minneapolis airport to the hospital an hour away. I begged him not to take my Mom.
Out of my 2 siblings I was the only one close to an international airport, so with the help of an amazing friend whose husband helped get us tickets immediately, we made it to the hospital first. I still have flash backs a lot about the next moments. I ran through the emergency room door and the ladies said they’d take me to the Neurology floor. One of them asked if I was cold and it wasn’t until then I realized my whole body was shaking uncontrollably and my teeth were chattering. The two front desk girls took me to the wing my Mom was in which seemed so far away. The entire time we didn’t even see one person, almost like the hospital was empty. It makes no sense but I remember staring at my feet while I walked quickly and thinking this is the last time I’ll look at my feet and have my Mom. My Dad had said she wasn’t doing good but he didn’t want to tell us over the phone that she wasn’t going to make it. Deep down though I already knew, I could feel it, but I couldn’t believe it. For one whole long hour I knew my Mom was probably gone, and I knew I’d have to tell my siblings soon.
The next 8 hours I prayed so hard for complete healing over her. The doctors said she was gone but I knew she couldn’t be, because why would he not answer my prayers. Why would he take someone who made this world a better place. Why would she collapse outside of one of the best hospitals in the United States if he wasn’t going to save her. Why would he do this to us. I had just gotten off the phone with her before they walked into my Dads appointment. None of this could be true, she had to be okay. We were asked to step out and the doctors did another exam to see if she was still with us. The doctors then gave us the news that she was gone. We cried for over 72 hours straight that we laid by her and then we just ran out of tears. We said our final goodbye in the hallway before they wheeled her down for organ donation surgery. I was done. I became numb. Im sure it was the minds way of coping but I felt something in me change, and I just went numb.
I went back and forth from being numb to angry. I was so angry at God. I knew he was capable of miracles and I knew if it was his will then he would heal her-but he didn’t. For some reason, unknown to any of us, she went to heaven that day. All the praying, the crying out to Jesus, the all out begging, it did nothing. So, I was so mad at God I couldn’t even talk to him. When people said they were praying for us it literally made me cringe. When my Christian radio station came on when I got back in my car I shut it off as fast as I could. I knew he had a reason as to why he didn’t heal her, but I didn’t care. I knew she saved 5+ peoples lives that day with her organs, but I didn’t care. I knew there was light in the darkness that he showed me, but I didn’t care. All I could focus on was that he didn’t answer our prayers. He didn’t save her.
It has been a very hard journey in my faith since I said my final goodbyes to my Mom. I never questioned whether God was real, I’ve seen what he can do enough times in my life I have no doubt about that. It’s the fact that he is real, and capable, and didn’t save my Mom from the tragedies of this world. A very wise friend of mine who unfortunately has had a lot of heartache herself messaged me and said, “It’s okay to be angry, God can handle your anger he is a big God..but just don’t shut him out.” She sent me a song that I played on repeat for the next couple months by Rend Collective called “Weep With Me”. That song helped open the door back to my heart that I had slammed shut on Jesus. At first I just cracked it open, I was still angry but I tried to pray again, I started listening to my Christian songs on the radio again. Slowly but surely I let go of my anger, for the most part. I still have bad days where I want to blame someone but I know she is in a much better place. We just miss her so dang much it literally hurts. In 1 Peter 5:7 NLT it says, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” Hope in him is the only thing that has gotten us through this unfathomable pain. I have lived a life without God in it before, and it is nothing I would ever wish upon anyone. It’s easy to have faith when everything is easy to see, the hard part is to have faith when everything around you is crumbling. I failed in trusting that God is taking care of things I can’t see, but he is a forgiving God and I am trying.
The tragedies of this world are not from God. They are from satan. “…He steals, kills, and destroys” anything in his pathway. So no, it wasn’t “Gods plan” that she died that day, and it’s truly not helpful when people say that to people who have had tragedy in their life. I know Christians mean well but it can be damaging and misconstrued. It’d be like telling the girl with a chronic illness who is in excruciating pain all day that Gods plan for her was for her to be in pain. That means God causes her pain, which quite frankly is a load of crap. Essentially it’d be the same as telling the Mother that her daughter who has been missing for 7 years that, oh it’s Gods plan. When no, it’s not Gods plan that she was kidnapped by a psychopath. This world is filled with evil, it’s filled with pain, it’s filled with sickness, because we live in a broken world. So yes essentially God has a plan but we also have free will, and because of that things happen that God never intended to happen. Sure, he is all powerful and can step in and take over, but he loves us enough to allow us the free will to not be his puppets with no purpose. So no, tragedies were never a part of God’s plan for us. To sugarcoat it into sounding better is not only annoying but also could potentially stop someone from wanting to know Jesus-because why would someone want a relationship with a God who causes so much pain. We as Christians have to be real and honest with people suffering, that sometimes horrible things happen and it really sucks.
In reality, Jesus is the only one who truly offers hope. Hope of a life without pain and suffering. Hope in something bigger than ourselves. In Revelation 21:4 NLT it says, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” I know in my heart my Mom wouldn’t even come back if she had the chance, because she has seen heaven and it’s better than we could ever imagine. God gave me 27 years and three months with the most amazing Mom and I am so grateful for that. Maybe someday I’ll get a glimpse as to why our prayers didn’t save her that day, but even if I don’t I will find comfort in Gods word that he cares for us, and he wants us to spend eternity with him in a life without pain and suffering. My relationship with Jesus has a long way to go to be where it was before losing my Mom, but I am trying and I will get there. Thankfully, my God is a loving and gracious God because I am most definitely not worthy of his love-but he gives it anyway.