Misunderstood

Grieving involves new emotions and considerations often too many to numbers. When you find yourself in overwhelming grief, you likely feel buried and lost. In this series, we slowly and compassionately look at one aspect of grief at a time from a biblical perspective for the newly grieving mother. Click {here} to read past posts in this series. 


“I got back in my car and cried.”

It was a text I received from a friend who had recently lost her baby far too soon. I knew exactly what she meant.

She had just been at a baby shower for another friend, and had left a little early. When she got back in her car and shut the door, the tears fell. She wondered if she was normal. She wondered if it would always hurt this much. She wondered if what she did was even okay. She had been smiling and cheerful and celebrating her friend all afternoon—from the outside she looked okay, but from the inside? She was heartbroken. 

At every turn she had received questions that stung a little more than normal. When would they have another? Don’t they want their child to have a sibling? Isn’t all the newborn baby stuff so cute?

She smiled, but inside her heart was breaking.

You have no idea,” she kept thinking.

Isn’t that how it feels, though? Going to the grocery store with an empty cart, instead of having a baby sitting in the front seat. The innocent question from acquaintances, and the awkward, fumbling answers that come out.

“Do you guys have kids yet?”
“It’s been long enough. I think it’s time for you guys to start moving on—live your life again.”

Sometimes even the best intentions leave room for misunderstanding. As if grief—the actual experience of missing your child, and aching in the depths of sorrow and pain—isn’t isolating enough, it seems those around us have opinions and misunderstandings about what it really means to walk this path of child loss.

In the book of Job, arguably one of the oldest books of the Bible, we see a documentation of incredibly deep suffering. In fact, we see that Job not only lost his property and his health, but also his children. He deeply grieved, publicly and privately. And “in all this Job did not sin” (Job 1:22, emphasis added). So much for keeping it together, putting a smile on, and “handling it,” right? 

Soon after, we watch as Job’s three friends attempt to enter into his grief. Job goes from praising God and acknowledging His sovereignty, to lamenting his own birth, and then back and forth again. Then his friends attempt to fix him. They move from entering in with tears to responding to his grief with reasoning, accusations, and empty, hurtful suggestions. Even those closest to him simply did not understand the pain he was in. 

We’re not that unlike Job, honestly. We go through the ups and downs—from praise to angry, bitter cries to the Lord after loss. We’ve all encountered situations where we have been misunderstood by those around us. But like Job, we are also not entirely alone or misunderstood.

God sees Job, and He understands. God listens, and then He responds to Job’s prayers quite directly, giving him next steps, a foundation of truth, and a call to repentance. Then, God rebukes Job’s friends with love, grace, and truth for what they’ve said—correcting their shortsightedness. Finally, God restores Job, and in the last verse of the book, we are told that he “died, an old man who had lived a long, full life” (John 42:17, NLT). Even in the darkest days of Job’s life, God did not left him to his own defenses.

I love Job.

But I love Job because I love who he points me to. Job is surely a man full of sorrows, but he is only a shadow of the Man of Sorrows to come: God’s own son, Jesus.

Jesus left His throne in Heaven to come into a messy, broken, death-filled world. He did so knowing that He’d be met with those who would hate Him, brutally hurt Him, and hang Him on a cross—the very people whose sin He came to die for. The Israelites envisioned a conquering king who would reign politically, and what they received was a mighty but humble Lamb. Jesus was so misunderstood.

But Jesus understands you. God understands you. Jesus gave His life; God gave His Son. Not only do they understand the pain that you feel personally, but God provided the solution to your eternal pain through Jesus. Jesus died on the cross, suffering greatly. He was even temporarily separated from God on your behalf. But then, He rose again. He conquered death. His resurrection signaled the end of all that is wrong in the world, and the beginning of the restoration that is to come. He was misunderstood, but He understands.

I’ve come to see the gift of being misunderstood in my grief. I’m thankful that others have not had to experienced this pain—that they don’t fully know. Do I still get hurt when people say ignorant things? Yes. Does it make me feel lonely and isolated around others? Yes. But has it made me realize that being seen and understood by God alone is what actually satisfies me? Also, yes.

In feeling isolated and misunderstood, even by those I’m closest to, I’ve come to realize that having other people completely see and understand my pain would only make me feel better temporarily. On the flip side, God seeing me, even though others don’t or can’t possibly understand, has drawn me closer to Him—closer to the only One who can truly meet my deepest needs and bring restoration and healing. In being misunderstood on this earth, I not only enter into Jesus’ sorrows, but He also enters into mine. 

So, as I take steps forward towards Him in my grief, I trust that He’ll convict me when I’m in sin, but He’ll also be gracious to me in my pain. He’ll shape me as He desires, and He’ll show me where my true satisfaction lies. That is balm to my soul.

Sister, if you’re feeling misunderstood by those around you, I hope you hear this from me today: it’s okay that you’re misunderstood here on this earth. There is One in heaven who sees you, loves you, and understands you. You are not alone. Take your hurts to Him, and hear from Him what is true. He loves you more than you know, and He’s ready and eager to meet you where you are.


- Meg

Hope Mom to Jacob and Baby Walker

My husband John-Mark and I live in Richmond, VA, where we spend our days with college students, sharing the grace and truth that Jesus offers as He transforms their lives – and ours. I am a big fan of warm weather and the beach, meaningful conversations with those I love, and my family. These days I am in a new phase of my motherhood as I invest most of my time caring for my youngest, a sweet baby girl. The greatest honor of my life is being a mom of two with babies in Heaven.

We would be honored to share your story as a Hope Mom on our blog. On Saturdays we feature Hope Moms’ stories in order to showcase God’s faithfulness even in the midst of such deep sorrow. If you would like to have your story shared on our blog for this purpose, learn more and submit here.


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1 Reply to "Misunderstood"

  • Joy
    March 11, 2019 (7:57 am)
    Reply

    just what this weary heart needed to hear today – thank you


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