If you haven’t already done so, please read last week’s post “When the Unthinkable Happens” (Part 1) by clicking on that title in the right-hand column of this page
God? God is the reason you still have some kind of healthy relationship with your MIL despite how your infant daughter, Sophie, died?
That’s what Susan had said. God.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I wanted to know what she meant. She doesn’t blame her MIL. That would be a natural reaction to what had happened. And hate could have followed … and won the day.
When the rubber meets the road, I want to know what people really mean when they say “God helped me survive that tsunami of a life-happening” … because most people go under. I want to know how other people have found God to be BIG ENOUGH for the most difficult, painful experiences we face.
How does she see that the “bigness” of God has anything to do with her MIL/DIL relationship? Faced with such heart-breaking – and as one commenter put it, “gut-wrenching” – loss and the circumstances surrounding it, why does Susan believe that “God” is the reason she can love her MIL?
Here’s what she said.
“My MIL convinced herself that it was SIDS. I found Sophie. I know she suffocated and the autopsy results said the same.”
“She probably couldn’t live with herself if she …” I was vaguely aware that I was thinking aloud.
“Yeah, she can’t. And so I just don’t touch it. It’s not something I need to set the record straight on. It’s pointless.”
They never talked about it.
“It wasn’t something that was possible to revisit immediately or even years afterwards.”
What did happen, Susan related, was that God did a work in HER heart, changing it completely. She felt that God let her see the event from His vantage point – a bird’s-eye view… or perhaps a “God’s-eye view” … of much that was involved.
Susan went on to talk more about the aftermath.
“My face was in the dirt because of the loss of my daughter… I spent three years just keeping God at arm’s length. ‘Who IS this God who would allow that? Who IS this God? I don’t know Him!’ And I was right – I didn’t.”
“During the three years of holding this God that I THOUGHT I KNEW at arm’s length, I was so wounded. I went for weeks without talking to Him. I felt betrayed. For months He had been telling me to read (the book of) Job (in the Bible). Finally, I relented. Job took me into the deepest waters I had ever been in with my God, the place where your feet don’t touch bottom. I realized I had made this awesome God into a ‘candy man’. The gospel as I knew it was ‘Christian’s don’t suffer’. I had a one-dimensional God and He was revealing to me that He is multidimensional.
“Reading Job showed me WHO WAS RESPONSIBLE for Sophie’s death. Satan was. This had nothing to do with my MIL. She was just a player in the play, a pawn of sorts. … He (God) helped me forgive the part she played.”
Contrary to popular belief, Susan said, her MIL is not “the enemy”. Satan is. “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” – 1 Peter 5:8
Nope, that’s not your MIL.
Much of what I read online these days by MILs & DILs – what they say about one another, how they complain, criticize, judge and dismiss one another – causes me to ask “Are they facing real adversity with their MIL/DIL?” Or are most of these monologues basically petty, self-absorbed whining because we feel diminished or threatened? Or things don’t go the way we had planned. When we’re not getting what we want, it’s all too easy to blame someone else for the discomfort and disappointment that plagues us. I’ve done that myself – more often than I’d like to admit.
Susan’s situation is a real-life example of caring enough about the MIL/DIL relationship to pursue it with perseverance. She didn’t direct her confusion, pain and anger toward her MIL. She turned to her God for answers. She didn’t ditch her husband’s mother. She dug in and hung on, believing that this special bond is worth the effort. It’s a challenge to all of us to rise above the norm, examine our hearts and make truth, mercy and love our lifestyle and our home.
What I’m learning is that the MIL/DIL relationship has more to do with what’s going on inside me than it is with what’s going on around me.
MILs and DILs – Family, Friends & Allies … That’s what I’m looking for.
“I hope this will be a blessing to someone, someday” Susan adds.
It already has, Susan. And it will. I’m sure of it.