Letters to Taylor: On Healing

Letters to Taylor: On Healing

My Girl,

I wonder what you are doing today. If you’ve had something really yummy to eat. If you’re singing new songs. If you’re looking forward to seeing us again or if you’re content with Jesus and your new knowledge and understanding, realizing that in his perfect timing, we’ll see each other again. I’m guessing it’s all of the above. I just can’t help but dream of what life is like for you now. Makes me smile.

For the last couple years of your life on earth, when someone asked how you were doing, I sometimes struggled to answer. I began using Daddy’s answer: “She has good days and bad days.” It’s interesting how now that you’re gone, that’s my life. The journey of grief holds good days and bad days for all of us who miss you. And we don’t all have the good days at once and then the bad days at once. That’s one of the struggles with family mourning; we aren’t all on the same page at the same time. Emotions hit us in individual waves. How to respond to one another through it all contains a learning curve.

Last week, I began to think that the sorrow of missing you was making me crazy. You know how much I love receiving emails from folks who have been touched by your life, right? The only issue is that sometimes well-meaning readers send tough emails. The question posed?

 “Why didn’t you stand against this (Taylor’s fatal report) with faith in God’s promises for healing?”

The entire email essentially accused me of not having enough faith in God’s  promises and power for you to be healed. According to the writer’s opinion, I allowed the enemy to steal you from me through disease.

Ok, first of all, the enemy did not steal you. You are in the arms of Jesus, safe and beautiful and whole. Satan has no authority over death or the grave; Jesus paid the penalty for death and rose from the grave, hallelujah!

However, the enemy did take this well-intended email and twisted it up into half-truths in my head for a little while. I poured back over what God’s Word says about disease and healing and purpose. In my head, I replayed the Bible story of the blind man. The disciples asked Jesus, “Who sinned? Who caused this man to be born blind? This man or his parents?” And Jesus answered, “Neither. He was born this way so that God’s work could be displayed in him.”

I believe the writer of this email is absolutely correct in that God’s Word contains promises for healing and that yes, God’s power reigns over disease. I believe God is still in the miracle-working, healing business today. But the ultimate healing is heavenly healing; I know you agree with that! I had to choose to overlook the strong email statements and remember that your purpose, my purpose, in life is to showcase God’s beautiful handiwork. Girl, your life sure is a glorious display of that.

When Your Family’s Lost a Loved One book

A dear friend gave me a book a few weeks back and when I saw the cover, I’ll be honest, my heart sank. The title? “When Your Family’s Lost a Loved One.” In the moment, I didn’t even want to read the cover of that book, much less the contents. But her sweet note was so encouraging that I tried to begin reading it. The timing wasn’t right, and I put it down a few more days.

Then last week after that whole email incident, I picked the book up during lunch. What a precious gift! The understanding and gracious tone of this book made me realize I wasn’t crazy and I’m not alone. It turns out that the roller coaster emotions that accompany losing a loved one are humanly normal. Chapter 2, “When People Add to Your Pain,” was a perfectly-timed present. I’m halfway through the book and plan to read it again, adding highlights. I want to order a few copies for others and hope that the Lord will allow me to do the same thing for someone else that my dear friend did for me.

I guess I should get to work. I find myself lingering when I write a letter to you. The moments of sharing my heart draw me in to feeling your dearness.

There’s going to be a supermoon tonight. I imagine your view will be particularly spectacular. I’ll be thinking of you.

I love you. Not just to the moon and back, but beyond.

Your Mommy

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    Letters to Taylor: On Gifts in Grief

    Letters to Taylor: On Emptiness

    Letters to Taylor: On Expressions of Sympathy and Love

    Letters to Taylor: On Pain

    Letters to Taylor: On Grief and Imagination

    Letters to Taylor: On Sorrow and Joy

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    27 Comments

    1. Tonia Hadley says:

      Rachel,
      I read of Taylor’s journey to Jesus at work and it broke me. Knowing I would have to tell my Taylor that her friend was in the arms of the father was going to be one of the most painful things I would ever have to do. I am so sorry we weren’t able to be there for you.
      Your strength in Christ and your family have always been something I admired in you. My faith is something I have rediscovered in the last 18 months and am so thankful that Jesus was there for me even when I was so angry with him.
      Please know you are so loved and strong and that you were the best earthly mom for Taylor. She is know free of her earthly bonds and is at home with our father. She is waiting patiently for you to join her as her sister!

      We love you Wojo’s!

      Tonia Hadley, Taylor Delong and family!

    2. I don’t know how much this will let me write but OH MY! On March 19, 2010, my then 1.5 year old son was diagnosed with a terminal disease, he succumbed to this disease on October 3, 2012 (8 days after his 4th birthday). During his life time, I heard those exact statement, and I allowed them to make me feel I wasn’t praying hard enough, or more importantly I wasn’t “believing” that he would be healed. Truth is, he is healed, I knew God would heal him, maybe not the way I would have preferred, but he is healed and he served a purpose in his short lifetime which I can still see glimmers of nearly seven years after his passing. People say things without a full understand of God’s word, I’m sorry that you were allowed, even for a second, to let those “accusations” seep into your heart. God Bless!

    3. Dear Rachel,

      So sorry to read this. Not everybody is at the same place spiritually and some speak out of the level that they are on at that moment. We ought to pray for them and trust that God will continue to work in their life and that their understanding will grow. May God continue to be your strenght and guide.

    4. Good Bless you and your family!!

    5. Diane Thompson says:

      Rachel – I have never responded to one of these before, but feel compelled to share. As others have said, God always heals – either here on earth or in Heaven. But by thinking we can “pray hard enough or have faith enough” to make it happen our way – isn’t that presuming that we are more powerful than God? We are not! Don’t let that bad thinking get to you.

      A wise friend shared this Max Lucado excerpt with me:

      Every Life is Long Enough
      We speak of a short life, but compared to eternity, who has a long one? A person’s days on earth may seem like a thimbleful. But compared to the Pacific Ocean of eternity, even the years of Methuselah filled no more than a glass.

      James was not speaking just to the young when he said, “Your life is like a mist. You can see it for a short time, but then it goes away “(James 4:14). In God’s plan every life is long enough and every death is at the right time. Although you and I might wish for something different, God knows better.

      And this is important. Though you and I may wish for a longer life for our loved ones who’ve gone to glory before us, they don’t. Ironically, the first to accept God’s decision of death is the one who dies. While we’re mourning at the grave, they’re marveling at Heaven. While we’re questioning God, they’re praising Him!

      From the Inspiration Lucado Reader

    6. Jan McMullen says:

      Oh Rachel , I feel your pain. My husband passed away last May. It will be 9 months on the 24th. I didn’t lose a child but whenever you lose someone we all feel that same pain. I am going through the Griefshare Class for the 2nd time. There is a gal in my class that lost her daughter to a rare disorder . I love the letters that you are writing. Last night in my class God told me to buy your book One More Step. I have been reading your book and following along with the journal. I am going to give this book to Abigal. She is struggling for the past 2 years as what does she do with her time now that she doesn’t have a special needs child. She has 2 other children but there is an empty space. Please pray for Abigal . I pray that your book will help her figure out What One More Step she should take. You are loved ,

    7. Karen Roth says:

      Oh Hun (((+hugz))) some people take the Bible out of context, especially when it comes to Healing. I’m still alive and I am still hearing the same thing myself. But I remind them to read all of the sickness stories in context. You are going to find out that not everyone was healed. Paul is my first example. He was plagued by a hideous oozing eye disease for the rest of his life. Then There is the one who chose to stay crippled so that she could be a better servant of -Miriam. Just to name a couple. The is the one phrase that keeps me quiet in times like this, “Hurt People Hurt People” . I’m keeping you and your family members in my prayers ??. Keep hanging in there ?.

    8. My dear Rachel, there have been many days since my husband’s terribly painful death from the ravages of cancer that I felt schizophrenic! I have a very strong faith and I know where he is but the enemy will still seek to destroy my joyful testimony, my peace, and my calm. I believe my beloved is now healed in the loving arms of his Savior…not here on this plane with me. Even as Taylor has been healed on the other shore and these things are to bring greater glory to the Father in ways we cannot know. Perhaps “thank you for your opinion, however your words do not align with my own faith, my belief system and my unwavering knowledge in a loving God who chose a different path for Taylor with our family.” Sometimes the enemy comes at us through false faiths. Be comforted…you were faithful and loving to your child.

    9. After I read your post today it made me think of the power of our words. I think back to the time before and after my son was diagnosed with Schizophrenia in 2012. My son was one of the sweetest little boys to raise and as he grew he always had a smile and an I love you, Mom. In 2007 our world started to change dramatically. Our son changed into a young man we didn’t recognize anymore. We were hurting so badly and our hearts were broken. In the midst of all the pain my husband and I were experiencing there were words spoken to us that I will probably never forget. Tonight as I sit writing this note I want you to know that I am thinking of you and praying for you and your family.

    10. Been there. “Why did you let this happen” from his doctor who prescribed meds for him over the phone for a month. Actually said that 45. In after he was pronounced dead. I quickly learned that people say wrong things because they feel they have to say something I hate that you have to grieve and I also realize how God has used you. Take the good and toss out the bad

    11. Kelly Lee says:

      Dear, sweet, Rachel!
      How it breaks my heart to read those words, that someone would actually say that to you! I understand the pain. Many years ago my dad died at Christmas. I firmly believed that if I prayed hard enough my dad would be healed. I know now that he was healed, but in a different way than I expected. Some well meaning ( but misguided Christians) made comments that led me to believe that my dad would have been healed of his cancer if I had greater faith. It is so sad when Christians make these kinds of comments! But I know that my faith was strong, and my dad was healed in a way that they did not understand. God’s ways are perfect. His time is perfect. It is beyond our understanding. In times like this we just have to acknowledge that He is God and proclaim our love for him and give thanks that our loved one is in heaven with Him.
      Sending you love and prayers..
      Blessings,
      Kelly

    12. Dear Rachel,
      Thank you again for sharing your heart. It’s a dangerous thing to do because it makes us vulnerable to each other, and sometimes others don’t respond in love – that email didn’t. I’m sorry for that. But I’m so glad and praise God that He’s bringing you strength and healing in unending faithfulness, which is what He does. <3 I admire your courage and faithfulness to Him. It inspires me, so thank you for allowing Him to make you a blessing in the midst of this heavy and painful time in your life.
      The interesting thing about Jesus’s healings here on earth – or any other healing example stated in the Bible – is that every one of them was only temporary. Those people He touched and healed eventually died. They didn’t stick around & aren’t still here somewhere, and they didn’t get (as far as we know) swept up to heaven in a whirlwind. At some point their bodies failed and died, as all do at some point. I don’t think God healed them for the sake of ridding the world of disease in the name of faith. Those people who were healed, as far as I can tell, were normal people with great fears and doubts who came to Jesus in desperation. They weren’t super Christians with super faiths greater than ours. I love the story of the centurion’s faith, but the majority of those healed came in fear and trembling and doubts and the smallest rays of hope. I think God’s purpose in healing them was to proclaim His power and His grace and to set His seal that Jesus was/is His one and only Son and that His words are true. If that was His goal all along, that’s what He accomplished in Taylor’s life and even in her death. I pray this encourages you. When I see all the blessings and glory that God has brought through this time in your life, I know He has His hand upon it and is pleased with you and your family as you cling to Him and praise Him even through the pain.
      One more thought: I have a friend who fought cancer for years. She had faith God would heal her and so much so that she refused human treatment and medicines, instead choosing to pray God would heal her directly without human intervention. Her cancer needn’t have been fatal, but it took her life. Her husband has now had to struggle with anger and bitterness toward God for not healing his wife. I know God will bring glory and healing even in this situation, but I wish their story was different. She trusted God to heal her in only one way: through direct touch of His healing might. You and your family surrendered your futures and Taylor’s to God and accepted His healing in whatever form it came, and it came in ultimate healing. As I write this, I realize that my friend did also receive the same ultimate healing, praise be to God! He did touch her with His healing power. But it wasn’t the answer they expected or wanted. I pray her husband’s heart is healed and he realizes God’s faithfulness even in the midst of his disappointment. God is so gracious and merciful! God bless you and yours as you mourn and continue to live the pages written for you.

    13. You are so courageous and gracious. I’m not so sure the email was well meaning. If what someone has to say isn’t uplifting, encouraging and compassionate they should just be quiet especially in a time of grief. I love your letters to Taylor.

    14. Melinda Hagan says:

      Rachel, so sorry you had to experience a person’s lack of knowledge of God’s word. You and your family really are healing, it is just such a slow,painful process…God’s timing & the Blessed tho g is we have Him to hold onto through the process.. I’m sure Taylor has thanked her Father a cazillion times for the earthly family He allowed her to be a part of..Y’all keep on keeping on, you are Blessing many folkes & in return, so many of us are praying for you & your family…

    15. Susan Sikes says:

      You handled that very well! I just lost my son to leukemia on January 17th, and we stood strong and prayed with faith. I actually found your blog after he passed away. You have been such an encouragement to me. Your article about the C-section scar blessed me beyond words!! Jacob was a C-section also. Thank you so much for sharing with us!

    16. I am so sorry someone was so cruel as to say something like that to you. As evident by the fact that God does not always heal the sick on Earth, this is a false statement. I have heard people speak that way and believe their theology is skewed. God is the giver of life and he can take the I’ll to alleviate their pain if he chooses to. I am still praying for you and your family. Love you!

    17. Sally Hodges says:

      Rachel, it hurts to read the part about someone thinking you didn’t pray hard enough, that you allow Satan to take your daughter. This person apparently knows little about the Bible, because she would have known that sometimes its God’s will to heal a person in heaven only, not here on earth. I’ve been following you for a few years now, and I have seen nothing but love and grace with your care for Taylor plus your love for God. We know that God cans saved through the fire if He so choose to do so, but if not, God is our ONLY HOPE. Praying daily for your and your family.

    18. Deborah Payne says:

      I’m so sorry someone felt the need to send you that kind of email. You and your family are on my prayer list. Hugs and Blessings to you all.

    19. Joanne Dunbar says:

      Dear Rachel, you are an amazing gift to all of us who read your letters to Taylor and your blog. I agree, I wish we get just let the hard words would just steam away, and in a sense do .. my thinking is we have unhappy, hard emails, words so we can relie on Jesus. Love how he turned you to the book your friend gave you, loved Gods timing for you to read it. You are encouraged, a gift to all of us readers. So sorry, yet happy for Taylor, how God used her to use you to give to others. Thank you, Joanne

    20. Beth Zimmerman says:

      Rachel
      Please don’t ever second guess yourself! You did a wonderful job with Taylor. This letter was beautiful. Thank you for sharing with us. I’m sorry you received such a hurtful e-mail. Thank you for all your hard work

    21. Rachel, it breaks my heart that you ever had to read a response like you got. Your letters, in fact your blog has done so much good for those of us who have lost loved ones. So sorry you had to read that one. Love to you and your beloved family❤️????

    22. Love this beautiful letter! I’m so sorry for the email you received! People definitely do not know the appropriate ways to talk to people about loss. I’m glad God brought that book to you at just the right time! Thank you for sharing Taylor’s story with us!

    23. Yes, there are people who say unkind words but instead of striking back with something likewise we have to remember to pray for them. Undoubtedly they’ve never had one of their own have a terminal illness that only God will heal in the hereafter. I know that from experience with my husband’s Parkinson Disease. I never wavered from the fact that God loves us, He can heal-sometimes immediately, sometimes gradually, and always in the hereafter. Satan would love for you to get “caught up” in her words but we have Him in our lives. I don’t know you, your family, nor did I know your daughter but I do know you were meant to have her for a reason and we will never know the reason why. But God knew and that’s all that matters. Hugging you close in my heart, praying for strength.

    24. Dear Rachel, I just read your post after seeing the link on FB. i want you to know that you have been so helpful to me in my own grief in losing our son a little more than 2 years ago. He was a wonderful man….47, in his prime, and full of God’s spirit. I prayed and prayed the healing scriptures over him during his 18 mos battle with cancer. At times, in my fear and desperation, I think I overdid it, and unknowingly sent a message that maybe he and my dil’s faith was not strong enough…..that is not how I felt, but that was the message received. Try hard to let this email fall off your shoulders and heart and not hold on to the hurt it wants to bring you. People don’t know what to say and in the awkwardness say the wrong things so much of the time……..I have experienced this too…..in the form of an anonymous letter from someone at church. You are amazing, I wish I could have half the grace you have been given and share with others. This road is so very hard…………Our son was also our oldest. We are forever changed, but trying daily to put one foot in front of another, but we can hardly wait to meet him again in heaven. We know he is now forever healed and joyful beyond understanding just like your Taylor……….she is such a beautiful girl. Thank you for this post……….it helps. May your heart be full of God’s love and comfort. My blog is inactive right now, pretty much since our sons diagnosis. Linda

    25. Jean Smith says:

      Rachel,

      It is with amazing strength and love that you honor your beloved daughter as you write to Taylor. God is with us all the time even if we don’t feel it. Your gifts that you share help others to grow in their faith and you touch the hearts of many. You are always in my prayers.

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