Communities and nations erect monuments
to mark particularly important moments in their history, and we too
may find it helpful to celebrate our own landmarks – both the
special ones and the more difficult moments. For example, there came
a time when Rosalind felt that there was “one missing” in our family
quiver. The Lord confirmed this, but tactfully did not mention the
emotional roller-coaster that we would go through in the process.
Before our youngest son was born we endured no fewer than five
We have no explanation for these
losses. On each occasion, we had felt convinced that all was going
well, and were taken completely by surprise when the loss occurred.
The fifth miscarriage differed from the others in that when Rosalind
passed the foetus, we were able to hold him, weep together, and hold
a simple burial service. This made grief resolution easier than the
more jagged experiences of the earlier losses.
Finally, we could bear the
roller-coaster no longer, and set a “cut-off date.” One month before
the point of no return, Ros conceived again. She was so wary by now
that she conducted seven pregnancy tests to make sure that
everything was still alright!
Our grief over these miscarriages was
“clean,” in the sense that we had nothing to reproach ourselves
Many losses, of course, are more
emotionally ambivalent. In the case of an abortion, for example, it
may well prove helpful to devise some suitable dedication to hand
not only the foetus but also all the attendant guilt back to the
Lord. It is the same when people feel they have no alternative but
to walk away from relationships they had once assumed would be
Rather than staging one of those
wildly euphoric “divorce parties” that are all the rage in some
quarters, why not hand your original vows back to the Lord? This is
surely as good a way as any to mark the end of one phase of your
life and to re-commission the next.
Because symbolic ceremonies can be
profoundly liberating, ask the Lord to show you whenever such a
ceremony might be relevant. In the case of a dissolved marriage, for
instance, it might be appropriate to remove your wedding ring and to
declare before the Lord,
||I have been faithful
before You Lord, and ask You now to set me free from my
if matters have been less straightforward:
Lord, I confess that I have not been faithful to my vows.
As I come to You in repentance,
do whatever it takes to cleanse the depths of my heart,
and to heal all who have been hurt by my unfaithfulness.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Breaking bread together is another means that God has
ordained to remove our guilt and to affirm our determination
to follow Him. In the words of the old prayer book:
Ye that do truly and earnestly repent . . .
and intend to live a new life . . .
and are heartily sorry for these misdoings . . .
draw near with faith.
Reflect and Pray
Lord, I come to You in need of closure about . . .
I repent where my actions or attitudes
have been part of the problem.
Forgive me, and cleanse me from the sense of guilt and shame that I
From this moment on, help me to live in the light.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Ian Britton. freefoto.com