I don’t know how I managed to have such a big smile while experiencing the worst thing that has ever happened to me. It was two days after my mother was buried. A thanksgiving service was held in her honour on that Sunday. We were all supposed to give thanks to God and not question what had happened to us, to my mum. I was supposed to say, ‘Thank You, God, I know you do everything for a reason.’
And that’s what I was taught growing up. Give thanks to God in whatever happens because He always has a plan. And usually, I did. I would even start thinking up the different possible plans God had for making me fail or fall or lose something. If I lost something, I would think, maybe it was never meant to be mine.
But I could not see any big plan, any big reason why my mother had to die. There was no possible explanation for why I became motherless a week to my graduation from university. None at all. I couldn’t give thanks. In fact, I couldn’t pray at all.
Now, there were a lot of prayers going on during this period. Most guests who came around would say a word of prayer with us before they left. A couple of days before my mum was buried, members of my extended family decided that we should all do a 3-day fasting and prayers for the success of the funeral and the peaceful resting of my mother’s soul. I joined them in skipping meals but I’m not sure I can say I fasted because I could not pray.
At the three church services that were held the weekend she was buried, there were a lot of prayers. I said a lot of ‘Amen’s from my mouth, but none came from my heart. I may have even scoffed a little whenever someone said, “We can’t question God.” I had a lot of questions for Him, I wanted to know what his big plan was. I was shattered and broken and I needed answers. I still need answers.
In the months that followed my mother’s death, I was filled with so much resentment, hatred, and anger. I was angry at God, I was angry at the universe, I was angry at myself. I couldn’t pray and I didn’t want to go to church. Even when I did go to church, during prayers my lips would be clamped shut, and so would my heart. I didn’t have anything to say to God.
The few months before my mum passed were the months I was the closest to my God. I was praying a lot, I was at peace and finally understanding my spirituality a lot better. I was truly happy and I felt blessed. It was one good thing happening to me after another. Her death felt like a betrayal from God. Smack in the middle of my happy year, the greatest disaster possible befell me. “How could you?” I screamed inside my head every night when I had to bite my pillow to keep myself from crying aloud.
Here I am, 14 months later, still struggling. I am still trying to find my way back to prayers. I crave that personal relationship I had with my God. I miss the ease with which I used to pray back then, I miss the thrill that came with answered prayers. I miss feeling God in my heart. Now, when I try to pray, I can barely focus. A voice in my head starts asking me what the point of praying is if it can’t protect me from bad things.
Eloghosa said to me, ‘If God can’t stand to be questioned, then is he God?’ and I agree with her.
What if the only way to get these answers I so badly seek is by asking God, through prayers?
There’s no rule book to dealing with the loss of a loved one, no one size fits all. But I’d love to hear from anyone who reads this. Have you ever lost a loved one? Did it shake your faith or your belief in God? How did you deal/ are you dealing with it?
13 replies on “Finding My Way Back to Prayers”
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please accept my deepest sympathy. I wish I had some answers but I don’t. I pray somehow, over time, it starts to hurt a little less. Sending you love ❤️
A friend sent me a link to your blog recently and i love your work.Today Morning i read this post and i am having such a hard time concentrating at my desk(i’m at work) so i keep taking bathroom breaks to cry a bit because i can relate with this so well….thought i would write something to encourage you but i have realized i cant,i will cry all day and my colleagues will wonder so i will write something for you on the weekend in my room where i can cry all i want.But one thing i want you to know is God has not forsaken you…He sees each tear that falls and he has the perfect plan for you like he states in Jeremiah 29:11″ For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”And remember in the book of Job when he lost everything but God gave him a double portion of what he had lost??God tells us in Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” God promises to be with you and get you through this time of intense disappointment and loneliness my dear Phidelia.
A few hours ago i had decided i wouldn’t write much especially about how my mum died but after reading a few verses in the bible,i have decided to write so i can encourage you and the others that are hurting because i feel stronger than earlier….so my mum and i used to stay in separate districts and i had last seen her in January 2015,she was my friend,she loved me so much (i was her first born child out of four children-me and my 23 year old bro’s dad died when we were young,so she had remarried and had two more of my siblings and i am 25yrs old) we had a strong bond,i could tell her anything and she would too.we talked almost everyday,sometimes we fought but made up….so on the fateful day of 30th May 2015,i missed her call from her at around noon and i told myself i would return it later since i had talked to her the day before,unfortunately i forgot to return it what would have been our last conversation.so i went went out with my friends later that day and at around 9 pm,i got a phone call from my Aunt telling me to call my mum because she’d called her and a gentleman had picked up and said she’d been knocked down by a car as she was crossing the road and died on spot.i did as i was told,i called and it was the same man who picked up and told me the same.It didn’t hit me at first,i stayed in denial saying she wasn’t dead,it was not until i saw her lying lifeless in the casket that i realized she was gone,i saw her beautiful face but this time it was swollen with cotton in her nostrils,i cried,i wailed,and then i saw my 8 yr old baby brother coiled in the corner with my sister,i just couldn’t imagine how these little beings would be without their mummy…..i had to give a speech but i had nothing to say.
Any way i asked God why he could allow such a thing happen to me after he had taken away my dad that i don’t remember because he died when i was just two years old and my brother had just been born.i would cry all the time.its been a year and a few months after my mum’s death but its still hard….coping with the death of a loved one is the hardest things ever and i don’t think we can ever get used to it,i keep telling myself that at least i had spent 24 years on earth with her, she didn’t leave when i was younger like my baby bro who she left at 8 years,so with that i am grateful to God.
No one travels through life without, at some point, experiencing the loss of someone or something dear. The loss of a loved one through death is one of life’s most intense challenges, and the pain can be overwhelming. But God doesn’t leave you to suffer alone.He is our overall Father and he takes care of us whether we have our own parents or not.”Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). The Lord will wrap His arms of love and comfort around those who trust in Him so keep trusting him in good and bad times,he will surely comfort you,Never give up on him!Cling to the Lord and He will comfort you through the process of grieving and, in the future, will replace your sorrow with great, unending joy!i hope i was able to encourage you in one way or another.God bless you always and bless your writing skills!!Don’t ever forget He LOVES you sooooo much!!
When I lost my maternal grandmother, it was very painful for me. I was 7 or thereabout. She loved me, I loved her. He was fond of me, I didn’t realise. It was all of a sudden, she had been sick for a long while, couldn’t get up from her hospital bed, did everything from there [Peed, Pood, Ate, Bathed, Changed Clothes etc]. I made sure I visited her after school most of the weekdays, it was hard for me seeing someone I love in the hospital bed, it weighed me down even though I was really young. I loved her so much, but I didn’t know it was all going to end up in her giving up. I don’t know if she prayed to our God, our maker, our protector, our guide, our shield, I have no idea what thoughts were going on in her mind. If she prayed fervently or if she was tired of praying [if she did]. I was broken, I loved her so much, I was very young, but I loved her. She introduced me to Akpu, she fed me most of the time whenever she was in Lagos. It all resonates in me. I revel in the memories so much that it feels like she’s with me, she’s beside me all the time. When I grew older, I was fond of praying for her even as she was resting peacefully in God’s Heavenly kingdom. I never stopped praying for her, I prayed that she guides and protects me, everyday, that was one of my prayers. But after a while, unconsciously I stopped praying this prayer that I was fond of, that made me happy, that made me feel whole, that made me realise God has her now. I stopped the prayer that kept me whole even as a youngling. I don’t know how that happened but it happened. I would say, I questioned why she died and why God took her but then, I cried at age 7 most of the time, even during her burial, I was not allowed at her grave side but I cried bitterly, I was bitter. I was bitter with myself. I cried, I cried. But my hope was and is in God. Secondly, my favourite aunt as a youngling died of meningitis but the hospital were treating malaria or typhoid. She loved me and I unconsciously loved her. My love for her may not have been visible on my part but she showered me with love. She loved me like I was her child. Her love was so much and couldn’t have been filled by anyone else except God whose love knows no bound. It was disheartening for me, very heartbreaking. She asked my mom that she wanted to see me at her deathbed, it broke me, that she wanted to see me, a youngling before she gave up the ghost, before she could not fight anymore. It’s been more than 10 years if I can say, not sure exactly but I still remember her on unconscious situations, when am thinking about life, or the people that mean so much to me. Her death broke me apart, sometime this year’, I sang along to Christina Aguilera’s “Say Something” when I remembered her, even as I was 18 when I cried I didn’t think that I had grown up and I couldn’t cry over her. I sang this song bitterly, hoping she was here to care for me, to be by my side, to be the shoulder that I could lean on. But no, she wasn’t. I cried. I didn’t think I questioned God about her death. But I questioned whey she had to die, someone who wanted to see me before she could close her eyes and bid the world farewell. But God understands everything. He created us all, even when he formed us in our mother’s womb. He knows everything that will happen to us, for He has us in the palm of His hands. I’ve learnt to trust God, still learning, and the Bible is there to keep me company and of course the Holy Spirit that dwells in us His children and handmaiden. To God, who loves us beyond this world.
It’s been almost two years since I lost my dad and everytime I think I’m getting to a point of happiness, I experience a new level of crippling pain.
My relationship with God has been like a roller coaster. I’m currently in a bad dip and I’m fighting to get out of it, to stay happy and thankful and not drown in pain.
I really don’t have any words of encouragement but I was there when I saw my dad see what I believe was a glimpse of heaven and that moment…. That’s mostly what I hang on to. That and the fact that God loves me.
I hope this encourages you somehow and let’s you know that some of us are still struggling with getting back to prayers.
Hopefully we get there.
Hang in there with us.
Phidelia love. My mother’s death was the beginning of the end of my relationship with her God (who was also mine, at the time.) I tried to hold on to all the explanations because I was desperate for comfort of any kind. God has a plan. She had finished her work. We (her family) didn’t have enough faith. Heaven was the only reward worthy of a woman as devout and loving as her. Blah blah blah. I tried them all on but none of them fit. So I said my goodbyes and I haven’t looked back since.
At my mother’s funeral, someone played a sermon she had preached a few months before. It was about how we all have one life and we must all live it to God’s glory, which is I guess why they picked it to play. But they must have forgotten the section where my mum insisted that if she could be dead already she would have opted for it because this life is too hard, but God had promised her a minimum of seventy five years. She said it the way one would recount an inside joke between old lovers. The only problem was, her lover lied. She wasn’t even fifty-five yet.
I don’t have any answers for you; I know people who have had the opposite experience to mine and been driven even closer to the Christian God after a loss. I just hope that whatever journey you are on is one that leads you back to peace, to love, to hope, to lightness, to healing. That’s what I have found, and while it does not compare in any way, shape or form to having my mum around, it is the next best thing.
Hey… I’m really really sorry about your loss and I know how this feels.. maybe not as much as you do, but to an extent. 6 weeks ago, I lost a friend to an accident. Strong christian, cheerful giver, active in orphanage homes etc. The most annoying part? She was on her way to her church camp for a convention when the accident happened. I was grieved but God made me understand something. I hope it helps. Try to think of a few people you know who have gone to be with the lord, you’d see that a higher percentage of them are good people connected to God for real. It doesn’t make sense right? But truth is we all have a purpose on this earth….. And the way I see it, once you’ve fulfilled yours, you’re off. The longer you spend here on earth after that, the higher the probability of you getting involved in something that will deny you your space in heaven. Heaven is a reward. Heaven is the reward. You might ask, how about the ‘bad’ people? Truth is, most of them could have avoided death maybe by living right, clean lifestyle etc… I’m no pastor or anything but I just think your mum’s work on earth was complete and she was called to glory. One thing I’m sure of is, she’s smiling down on you now and also sure she’ll love if you became closer to God again. Take care of yourself and I’ll be praying for you.
I’m sorry about your loss, Phidelia. Grief is such a complicated thing but it is a perfectly normal phase for everyone who has lost something/someone.
I lost a friend some months to our final exams this year. It made absolutely no sense but if there is anything it (and grief in general) has taught me, it is the fragility of life. Anything at all can happen…you can lose a loved one, be robbed, experience a fire or even lose your own life.
This all shows that we live in a broken world and God is not looking to ‘fix-it’ but to give us a new home and peace while we wait with the fallen pieces that is this present life. Hang in there dear, God is constant. Tell Him how you feel, write to Him, read the Psalms, cry, talk to a friend, let it out…anything. Just remember He loves you and misses that time you shared probably more than you do.
You’ll be fine.
Hi Fidelia. My name is Hannah and am going through something similar. My mum also died 14 months ago. The thing is we won’t get an answer that would be good enough to justify our loss but the truth is regardless of what happens God is still in control. He let it happen and our God is a God of purpose. Everything happens for a reason. We might not understand it but He does. His thoughts are higher than ours and His ways are not our ways. What if it’s for this singular purpose of reaching out? Or seeking answers? Regardless of what happens to us there’s a lesson to be learnt. I’d say seek Him more now. Pray for Him to teach you what you need to take from this. Praying to a God who can do everything but who didn’t seem to spare us this hurt is hard. But remember prayer is communication with God. Each and every emotion your feeling matters to Him. Talk to Him,cry,tell Him exactly how you feel. The best person to be honest with is God and the best part is only He can help you make sense of all this. Rest in His arms beloved only He can soothe your heart with His peace. Sending my love your way.
August 20, 2014. It shook me, I don’t still feel I’ve recovered. I questioned everything, everyone. I still remember running a series of rants against God trying to add up, but it is what it is – I can’t add up. Only desperately hanging on to my fears. I knew I was more likely to get hurt by it but was too powerless to let go.
I eventually turned to God as a coping mechanism, an outlet, but it’s amazing how my relationship with him is turning out to be. It is difficult, occasional memories keeps coming up now and then, and it’s okay. Found a church that works for me and now I am, step-by-step, getting there.
I completely relate to this. But after my disappointment, I chose to live as if God doesn’t exist. There’s something freeing about depending only on yourself and reality for your happiness and success, and accepting things as life and fate, not someone’s plan.
But to each his own. I hope you find what you’re looking for.
Hi Electric lady… Not knowing God exists is one thing but choosing to live like He doesn’t is another. I can’t imagine what You went through but am sure God let it happen Cz it had a purpose in your life. Look at the life of Job.His perseverance brought him a restoration of a double portion. Knowing God is to know His love. Running away from or trying to forget your father doesn’t mean His feelings for you change. Theres only so much you can do on your own. I don’t know how well it’s been working out for you on your own so far but am sure He longs for you to do life with Him. Turn back to Him beloved for In Him lies the answers you seek.
This was satisfying to read. What you felt/feel is perfectly normal and is a process no human being should try to deprive you of in any manner. I experienced the same emotions and almost similar circumstances except I lost a house to a fire a week to my graduation, it’s really not the same but all I can say, is that the memories would bring smiles to your face on bad days and your sense of worship when it returns would be purpose driven and not duty driven.