First published in Dutch on October 2, 2017
This morning I was watching ‘Ik mis je’ on Dutch television. Two people shared about their deceased loved ones. They told about how grateful they were, how important the late person was to them and how they loved to talk about them, and also that it blessed them when someone wanted to hear stories about who they were.
I could relate to that. And I was surprised I did. Amanda only lived for six months and only inside of me. When she was born, she had been passed away several days already.
Yet she greatly impacted our lives. My life, our marriage, our family, lives of friends, our faith, our world. Life isn’t the same and will not be the same again.
Yesterday I sang in front of the church like I used to do before Amanda was born. It was the first time since her arrival-and-passing away. I felt that I had become stronger, I was more just me, and more powerful. Yet also more vulnerable. I knew I could easily burst in tears, but the one leading worship knew that too and he would step in if I couldn’t sing anymore.
The songs also aren’t the same. At least, they don’t feel the same and mean the same as they did before Amanda. For instance, we sang Oceans: ‘Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever you would call me.’
Well, He did just that. I did walk on water, so to speak. I do need trust without borders to live and to keep having faith and I find it quite hard to sing: wherever you would call me. Wherever You call me, whatever circumstances life may bring. I will trust in You.
Yet, that is exactly what I did, tried to do and will keep on trying, also because of what’s said in one of the verses: ‘You’ve never failed and You won’t start now.’ I sang this yesterday with a loud voice and I say it to myself just like that when despair pops up when I fear for the future or when I look back astonished about what has happened in our life. You never failed, and You won’t start now.
And so I sing. Not because I have it all together and understand it all. But because I believe and I know that in this life I will never have it all together.
In the past years, my favourite prayer was: Lord, bless this mess. With all my children and a lot of problems in my life, keeping things under control became impossible. And because of that, I learned that that was exactly the point: I shouldn’t be in control anyway. I was supposed to surrender control to God.
And now that my life had become a mess even more because of losing our daughter, problems that continue to be problems, children who grow up having different distinguished characters, a body that keeps on giving me trouble, it is still my prayer that God will bless our mess. And I cling unto that sentence: You’ve never failed and You won’t start now.