by Jennifer Carson
I had a friend say to me when our son Braden died, “How can you believe in a loving God who would take away your baby?” I told him, speaking for my husband and I, that we had never felt more loved in our whole lives. God extended His loving arm to us through so many different people. We were overwhelmed by His love and His grace in such a difficult time.

August 3rd would have been Braden’s 4th birthday here on earth. It has historically been a difficult week for me. In light of that, I decided to go away this year and spare my family the exposure to my emotional turmoil. I had the opportunity to attend a National Women’s Convention in Chattanooga, Tennessee and decided to go. Once again, God met me where I was and brought me to a totally new level of experiencing His unconditional love.

Prior to this past weekend, I was at peace with God’s plan for Braden’s life, even though I didn’t like it. I trust Him completely with control over my life. He has provided for me time and time again in the past and proven His faithfulness. However, there wasn’t a whole lot of joy in me. How can you have joy when you have personally experienced such pain and loss? How many times have I said, “Nothing in this world matters to me any more. The only thing that matters is getting to Heaven and taking as many people with me as I can.” What about the abundant life the bible talks about through having a relationship with Jesus Christ? Does that not apply to people who have suffered so greatly?

Yes, it does and I found it this past weekend. I have done Precept upon Precept Bible Studies for almost eight years. Kay Arthur is the teacher and her studies have transformed my life. She led the convention this weekend. I was so moved by one of her presentations that I longed to “go to lunch” with her to tell her what she has meant to me. As the thought overwhelmed me with emotion, I realized something so life changing. It has very little to do with her. It has everything to do with God! He loves me so much that He has provided for me and met me where I was so much over the past eight years. He has loved me beyond my wildest imagination, when I haven’t deserved any of it! Once again, I am overwhelmed with His unbelievable goodness and unfathomable love. It fills every ounce of my being with joy! As I left the convention and headed home, I had a new song in my heart… “The joy of the Lord is my strength!”

That’s great for me, but what about for you? If you have suffered the loss of a child, you are hurting beyond belief. You feel alone, forgotten and empty, and thirsty. May I suggest that you put yourself in God’s presence. James 4: 8 says “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you”. I long to cup your face in my hands and tell you how much Jesus loves you too! In John 4 , the woman in the story is going to the well to fetch water. Instead she meets Jesus. He tells her He is the Living Water and anyone who comes to Him shall never thirst again. That is my prayer for you. That you would put yourself in God’s presence, through personal bible study and prayer, and allow God to fill those empty recesses in your soul. He is the only answer to the pain you are suffering!