When adventure triumphs over loss
Stories turn strangers into friends. I asked my friend, Janine to put pen to paper so that you would be encouraged by her journey of growth and healing. Loss and hardships are part of life, but there is always a hope for restoration. This is her story.
Guest Blog Post by Janine Robinson
I am a mother of four precious children. One of those darlings is now with the Lord, our son Zac who passed away seven years ago because of a series of heart defects. Walking with my children through the loss of their baby brother was unbelievably painful. The initial pain was intense, but there are so many layers to healing after loss. It is hard to watch your children grieve: each uniquely from each other and at different stages.
You can choose how to negotiate loss
My husband and I realized that we get to decide how we negotiate loss. For the sake of our marriage and children, we decided to cling onto each other and not allow sorrow to define our love for our son.
It was a revelation for me to embrace the perspective that my son lives in the perfection of peace and joy in Heaven, and would never want our lives defined by ongoing sadness. I could honor his legacy so much better by learning to find joy again and allow myself to live a life of adventure with my children. I cannot say that I always get it right. However with pain, fear often finds a foothold. It feels more comfortable to hide in the busyness of everyday life.
How our healing started
Purposeful healing started when my eldest daughter and I set a goal of running a 10km race. I have never been a runner, however, I wanted to encourage my daughter to overcome certain aspects of fear. Running was such a natural outlet for her, that I decided to embrace the risk of pushing past my self-inflicted barriers to show her that victory and healing are always possible. Within three months we ran our first 10km race together! Not only was it a milestone breakthrough for the two of us, but it was such a joyful memory! Each of us had chosen to try something new over our different fears.
A perspective shift: adventure over fear
This event shifted my perspective. I realized how healing it is to embrace adventure as a family. Not only does it bond our hearts and leave us with treasured memories, but it ushers in personal healing and breakthroughs. If I wanted my children to live fearlessly, they would need to see that I was willing to push myself past my fears too!
Running that race kick-started something special in our family. It seemed to ripple outwards. The next thing I knew, my two daughters decided to push past their fears and learn to surf! I never thought I would live to see the day that my second born would paddle out on a surfboard beyond the small breakers. She has always had an enormous fear of the ocean and sharks. Since then, I’ve also learned to let go more and cheer my little 5-year-old son on and allow him to be more daring when he rides and skates instead of always telling him to slow down.
In memory of Zac
In honor of my little boy, Zac, I ran a half-marathon recently. Thanks to Mandi’s amazing encouragement in the city of Cape Town where little he was born, my heart had a chance to heal. Those 21km signified a massive milestone in my journey. I ran with joy in my heart, knowing that not only was I making my little boy proud in Heaven, but I was showing my children this side of Heaven that we are never too old to try new adventures and overcome our fears.
They knew how tough it was for me to run this race right past the milestones of where their brother was born and died. Still more significant than that, they saw the restoration and joy that came on the day as I chose to “run” that mountain. The kindness of God is that as I looked to the hill where I had scattered his ashes, I knew complete peace and joy knowing that he lives with Christ and was proud of his mamma.
Embrace life with your family
Embrace a heart of adventure! You will be amazed at the healing that God will bring into your life as you choose to tackle your mountains with Him. He has the most amazing ways of bringing victory and healing through the pain of loss and fear when you dare to trust Him.
You will be amazed at the gift that you will be giving to your spouse and children too as you choose to live a life of adventure over fear or pain. It frees you to enjoy life and create memories forever. Who knew that there are incredible gifts even through pain?
You can read a more detailed story about Janine’s journey in my book Parenting With Courage.