Sadness and Madness

Saturday shortly after noon, I filled up the dog bowl on the back porch with water and pitched dishes in the dishwasher so that I could head out with Melissa for a bite to eat and maybe a little shoe shopping. She’d spent the night with Keith and me in the country and we’d had a lazy Saturday morning over coffee and conversation. I’d set out my purse and keys and decided to wipe down the kitchen counter before we walked out the door. Just as I sprayed the cleaner and grabbed the dishtowel, Melissa walked in staring at the screen of her phone with the oddest expression.

“Mom, I don’t know if it’s true or not but I’m seeing references on Twitter to Rick and Kay Warren losing a son.”

She was ashen. My stomach flipped and, over the next few minutes as she read to me bits and pieces of breaking news, we feared the worst. I felt a hot sickness in my throat. My relationship with the Warrens is the same as most of yours. I have simply been served and led well by them. Although I had the joy of ministering to women on the Saddleback campus some years ago, my stay was brief and our schedules were wrapped entirely around the event. I have not had the opportunity to get to know the Warrens in the way that personal friends know one another but I always knew in my heart that I’d like them so much. We’re similar ages and in similar seasons with our families. Meanwhile, I have  loved them and esteemed them in Christ as faithful and mighty servants of the living Lord Jesus Christ. And quite possibly, among the mightiest to ever serve this generation.

Within an hour of Melissa walking into the kitchen with those first pieces of news, someone very close to the Warren family confirmed the tragedy on Twitter. We were heartsick and not for media personalities or even public servants. We were heartsick for a family of real people with breakable hearts. And we wept. Many of you undoubtedly did as well.

An odd mix of feelings overtook me with increasing force through the afternoon and into the early evening. The sadder I got, the madder I got. Mad at an astonishing satanic force that stoops viciously and swoops in unscrupulously to attack children and to prey on their weaknesses as they grow up, shooting so relentlessly at one spot that they can barely get to their feet between arrows. I’ve been that child and many of you have, too. Madder still that the devil in all likelihood delights in nothing more than targeting the children and dearest loved ones of true servants of God. Nothing tries our faith like the suffering of our children. At the end of the day, our faith is what the devil is after most. Without it, it’s impossible to please God. This is why Paul could say with relief nearly palpable on the page of his final letter, “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.

We’ll all finally make it to our finish lines but the cliffhanger along the way will be this: will we keep our faith? That isn’t the same thing as keeping our salvation. I don’t believe my salvation is something I can give back. I received it by grace through faith from Christ Himself and my works don’t secure it no matter how my woes obscure it. His grip never loosens. Nothing can snatch us out of our Father’s hand. What’s at risk is our active belief in who God says He is, what He says He is like, and what He says He can do.

Is He good? Is He faithful?

So the enemy sets out to knock the feet of our faith out from under our walk. And there is nothing more effective toward that end than targeting the ones we love most on this planet.

I don’t say that to scare you. I say it because I believe it is the hair-raising truth. No, we are not abandoned here as victims on this damaged sod. We are not abandoned at all. Our God is with us. The Spirit of His Son is in us. We are more than conquerors through the One who loves us. We are not at the mercy of Satan. We are at the glorious, life-breathing mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, a mercy that leads, as Jude 21 says, to eternal life and will ultimately spill like a river into a sea of reality where no sufferings of our past will compare with the glory of our present. In the meantime, greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world but make no mistake. This is a vicious world we’ve been left to serve. One God still loves or we would not still be here.

And then, in that mixture of emotions Saturday afternoon, I got madder and madder at the bullies in the Body of Christ. I thought how much it turns out that the Warrens have been through personally and, if they are like most leaders, all the while putting out fires and putting up with a bunch of trash-talk from people who would call the same Jesus Lord.

God help us. In the words of James, These things should not be so, my brothers and sisters.

I don’t believe one of us here in this community thinks that leaders should be immune to questions, constructive criticism, and accountability.  That’s not the kind of thing I’m talking about here. I’m talking about bullying. There are Scriptural means for going to a brother or sister to reason with them about matters we genuinely consider to be off base, misleading, or in error. You and I both know that much of what happens out there in public forums is the furthest thing from biblical.

It is slander.

I went on a walk through the woods Saturday late afternoon and did something I don’t often do. I cried angry tears. I got so mad that I could have hit somebody. I kept thinking how believers attack one another and sling stones at each other like the other can’t bruise or break. And all the while that person may be in so much personal pain that it’s nearly unbearable. I’m not transferring this to the Warrens. I do not know them personally. I’m telling you what I know to be true about most people out there. Most of us are in significant pain of some kind. That doesn’t mean defeat necessarily. It just means pain.

Life is hard enough without hatefulness rife in the Body of Christ. We are called to carry one another’s burdens, not pile relentlessly on top of them. We can still hold one another accountable. We can still ask questions. We can still disagree. But we can do it with respect.

I’m sick of the bullying. The mud-slinging and the meanness. I’m sick of careless, idle words thrown out there in the public square and professing believers in Christ standing on the necks of their own brothers and sisters to sound smart and superior. As if it’s not enough that we are surrounded in this culture by Christian haters, we’ve got to have our own hater-Christians. It’s insane.

When we turn people into caricatures, everything’s game. The moment we depersonalize them, our consciences harden and we can mock and slander at will and have a blast doing it. Snide blogs and tweets and Facebook posts about various leaders can also be effective ways to jump in their spotlight. Bullies aren’t just mean. They’re self-serving. They’re platform-hunting. They have to borrow one to perform.

No, I don’t think that saying all of this will change it much but some things still need to be said. Sometimes we need to speak up and call something wrong. There’s a bigger issue in the Body of Christ than immorality. It’s hatefulness. If the greatest priority Christ assigned to us was love, the gravest offender is hate.

Just about the time cynicism threatens to overwhelm us and turn us into the very people we can’t stand, genuine love – the real thing – erupts right here on this earth like concrete breaking open to a spring. Compassion and tremendous affection are pouring forth from the Body of Christ for the Warrens right now. It is right and it is lovely. We have been served well by them and have learned so much from them. To respond with expressions of love, comfort, and intercession is our honor and privilege. We must and we will.

But even now at the hardest moment of their lives the Warrens can teach something vital if we are willing to learn. Their heartbreak demonstrates what has always been true but has never been more profoundly overlooked: these who serve us publicly also suffer privately. They are not caricatures. They are not just personalities. They are people living on a painful planet with the rest of us.

The Warrens will come forth like gold. The enemy will not win. They will fight the good fight. They will finish the race. They will keep the faith.

I love the Body of Christ. I don’t want want to get cynical. I don’t want to sit around and hate the haters or I become one. But this morning I just want to say this. We can love each other better. Let’s do. People have enough hurt. Let’s be careful with one another.





735 Responses to “Sadness and Madness”

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  1. 151
    Roxanne Worsham says:

    My heart ached for the Warrens and still does. I read from Pastor’s note that they had a good day with their son prior to that fatal night. I paused and thanked God for that. Their last moments together were sweet and full of great memories. I know that was a gift God gave to Rick and Kay and I am confident it will bring them comfort for many, many years.

    I have a brother who is severely mentally ill with paranoid schizophrenia. The mental health system in the state of Texas is among the worst in the nation. I wake every morning and ask the Lord, “Father is today the day of my brother’s healing? Is today the day of his deliverance?” I know it is such an easy thing for God to do but for the last 22 years He has not healed my brother. All I know is that He is one day closer…….

    Oh to walk and live with such compassion for the brethren that we would not slander the Body of Christ! We should all be one another’s safe place to fall, their place of rest and peace. I have learned so much about myself, my patience, my lack of patience, my heart, my frustration, etc as I have journeyed with my brother.

    This I know for sure….. the devil is still a liar and his plan has always been to kill, steal, and destroy. But GREATER is HE that is in me than he that is in this world. I long for Jesus to come!!

  2. 152
    Sallie says:

    Bless you, Beth, deeply. Can we paste this into every bible out there– 1Bethalonians — born in the heart and tears of Jesus?! I am convicted, and as an Anglican bishop’s wife, I know the barbs as well. May we just simply stand together at the foot of the Cross– close enough to see both the hope and the pain in one another’s eyes. Bless you . . .

  3. 153

    Yes, yes, and yes!

  4. 154
    Starla says:

    I am so glad that you addressed this issue, and with such love and mercy. I am sickened by the hatefulness I see dripping from the pores of some believers. How can we bless God and curse man? God did not give us His word so that we could use it as a sword against one another. We must remember who our real enemy is and stop allowing him to pit us against one another. The world will know we are Christians by the love we have for one another. We are making a mess of the gospel of LOVE when we refuse to love our brothers and sisters.

  5. 155
    Julie Bauguess says:

    Amen! I so wished I had my church notes with me because we were blessed to have John Shearer’s son, Grahm, at our pulpit and this is what he preached on! Not everything needs to be said.and saying things kinder. We are to care for OUR body as believers…a convicting and oh so true reminder. As he was preaching one of my SSMT verse kept going through my head..
    Ephesian 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of my mouth but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
    Thank you for stating what needs to be said!!!!

  6. 156
    Carol says:

    Wow. Well spoken. Thanks Beth.

  7. 157
    Dianne Rader says:

    Beth Moore, your thoughts are God’s thoughts, your words holy and healing. Thank you seems so little, but thank you, Blessed One to be a blessing. This spoke to much more and much less than the Warren’s tragedy. Their son no longer feels pain or condemnation, but those ‘hater-Christians will turn a vile judgment on his parents. I pray for their strength and discernment s well as their consolation and peace. May God continue to use Rick Warren and Beth Moore for His Great Work.

  8. 158
    Nichole's Mom says:

    Amen! Thank you Beth, you poured the words from our hearts…

  9. 159
    Kathy Inman says:

    Beth, I am so glad and overwhelmed that you took the opportunity to use you fabulous forum to express your feelings. I can not even imagine the pain the Warren’s are going through. I have struggled a lot with cynicism having served with my husband in bi-vocational ministry for over 35 years. But, I constantly remind myself I am not going to give into to that cynicism. Through the grace He pours out on us. You expressed exactly what was and is on my heart. Thank you thank you. I love you siesta. Thank you. I will continue lifting them and their family to the only one that can ease their pain.


  10. 160
    Susan says:

    Amen! Well said! Praise Jesus!

  11. 161
    Greg Diamanti says:

    Thank you Beth for speaking the truth from the Word and heart of God. As we have read, Jesus said…Judge NOT…period. It seems the enemy is using a religious spirit against the body a d we have not heeded 1st Corinthians 8:1-2, let alone 1st Corinthians 13:1-3 . Greg

  12. 162
    Joy says:

    Well said!!!

  13. 163
    Jackie says:

    So so very true Beth, everything written from God’s heart, I truly cannot comprehend some of the stuff Ive seen written about this tragedy by professing Christians, altho I doubt they are, cos real Christians are meant to have God’s heart, not the devils 🙁
    God bless the Warrens, may His peace flood them knowing their beloved son is safe forever, and the space he leaves will be filled by the healing balm of the Holy Spirit xx

  14. 164
    Linda says:

    Amen! Beautifully written, Beth. As been said many times before, christians are the only ones who keep shooting their wounded. No wonder the world does not know that we are Christians. Because we are not exhibiting the one characteristic that would idenitify as such. That would be loving one another. The Bible also tells us that love covers a multitude of sins. We are family. If you would not treat your son or daughter, in such manner, please don’t treat your brothers & sisters in Christ that way.

    My heart goes out to the Warren family. I cannot imagine their heart break. Having buried an infant son. I can only say one should not have to bury their children. Having dealt with mental depression and sucidal thoughts, unless you have dealt with it, you can not even imagine what their son went through. Having been in a minister’s family, it is hard to be constantly judged for every you make or don’t make.

    Beloved seistas let us love one another. I love all of you. Thank you Moma Seista for a safe place to come and be honest with each other and all your biblical advice.

  15. 165
    Betty M says:

    Dear Beth,
    Life just plain happens! It would be wonderful if people who are more in the public eye especailly in the area of Christian service would have pain free lives. The fact is, we live in a fallen imperfect world there is always gona be pain and suffering of one sort or other till the second coming.
    We need to embrace each other in the Love He has shown us, learn from each tragedy what God would have us learn and go on.
    It is okay to be angry at evil but remember even Joseph told satan that “you meant it for evil but God meant it for good.” Lessons learned in life are rarely pleasent but they can reap a bushel of righteouness if left up to God to teach us from them.
    Symapthies to the Warren family for what is an all too often occurance these days may they be bathed in the love and comfort only God cam provide at this time!
    Love Ya’all!
    Betty M

    • 165.1
      Betty M says:

      P.S. After hearing more details on this just now on Fox News I have to say it has stirred up some ire in me as well. One reason being I have made a stand myself agianst two issues that are very hot right now that of gay marriage and abortion. I have always been careful to try and say the truth in love that if we sin God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins etc and that to feel abortion is an option as is gay marriage is a direct violation of God’s will for us and that we in the church pews today do welcome those who are seeking help with these issues and willing to repent for the past sin. I have been attacked with all kinds of hate filled remarks and the very hate they accuse me of, they aim right back at me. These attacks are not only those of the world but the very people who lead our Bible studies and teach our youth in church!!! It is a battle ground out there and those who take a stand these days are marked I see it myself!!!
      As for mental health issues, I fought depression and suicidal tendencies for years. God saw fit to deliver me from that anguish. Why me and not Rev Warren’s son? Only Heaven knows. We need to be careful in our assessment of this situation. I feel one of the first things which delivered me was my help in getting off antidepressants. I feel they contributed to my suicidal tendencies but I can not speak for everyone on that. High powered mental health drugs can really exacerbate an already volitile situation but that is another topic for another time.
      When a brother or sister in the faith suffers from attack by others for standing on an issue, we who share his or her same moral convictions need to stand by them. I have been totally abandoned by others in the faith becuase they were afraid to say anything. THE TIME TO BE BOLD IN OUR FAITH IS NOW!!! Even now the storm clouds of God’s wrath against us are darkening! We need to be on guard, standing up for what is right! God will richly bless us for it whether it is here or in eternity!!
      Yes, we can disagree on theological issues but we all must agree on what God’s Word teaches is truth and on that there is no disagreement!
      Sorry this has gotten so long but I feel very strongly on some of this and felt the need to vent!
      Bless you Beth!
      Betty M

      • allie says:

        betty –
        “We need to be careful in our assessment of this situation. I feel one of the first things which delivered me was my help in getting off antidepressants. I feel they contributed to my suicidal tendencies but I can not speak for everyone on that.”

        The drug side effects are doing this to the majority of people on them – especially the youth and elderly.

        • Betty M says:

          In my case the downward spiral started when a NP started me on Paxil. At one point I was on three antidepressants and an antipsychotic I was still a mess!!! Probably because I was on so much I was a mess. Now I know alot of people would beg to differ with me on this but when I started to rely more on God and His Word through alot of Beth’s studies actually, I was miraculously delivered. Will it work for everyone? Guess the jury is still out BUT we need to be careful and not anesthetize our pain instead of working through our pain through Christian counseling. I have no idea what happened in Pastor Warren’s son’s life and I am not going to judge the situation because I know there are many different scenerios. I just know in my case it ws so easy to”pop a pill” instead of work through the problems and it almost costed me my life! Drugs are dangerous. My heart goes out to the family though as mental illness is a life threatening disease. Thanks Allie!!

  16. 166
    Angie says:

    Amen. Beautifully said.

  17. 167
    Jo Ann says:

    Great post. And I would also like to encourage all of us to BE the loving ones who treat others graciously. I’ve stuggled with why christians seemingly aren’t loving, and now I’m thinking that instead of feeling others aren’t loving me as christians claim to do, I want to love others as christians claim they do! This is actually kind of new for me! So, please, don’t get discouraged and remove yourself from the church congregation, but realize everyone’s got their perspective, and unfortunately it does look like it’s mostly about us on any given day! But then, you will notice that other christians, who may have acted like they don’t notice you and don’t care a bit, really do. Give that benefit, rather than feel hurt, if at all possible! I used to walk past people and not engage and I do care, so so do they. You ARE loved whether you get that much or not. Hopefully, you will get it and I think we may the more we give it.

  18. 168
    Cathy says:

    Thank you, Beth. It is so sad that the people who bear Christ name are so quick to speak harshly and judge. Maybe it makes us feel like it won’t happen to us, until it does …. and then we realize we all need compassion and grace.

  19. 169
    Carol Bartl says:

    Thank you Beth! My husband is a pastor and I can so relate to your “sadness and madness”! Your words are so true and an encouragement and challenge to me to love better. The Warrens will be in our thoughts and prayers!

  20. 170
    Debbie says:

    Yessssssss!! Thank you so much Beth.

  21. 171
    Peggy says:

    Thank you Beth!! Amen!!

  22. 172
    sarah anderson says:

    This is the first time that I have understood the meaning of ‘guard your heart.’ I always thought we should wear it on our sleeve. There are times we cover our childrens eyes to save them from seeing haunting images. Wear your heart on your sleeve to celebrate a brother who is with Christ and to grieve for a familys loss. Guard your heart from the rest. Dance for a brother who knows what heaven looks like.

  23. 173
    Toni Goble says:

    Thank you so much for your words. As I read about their tragedy, I wept for them. I do not know them but as children of God, we weep for one another. I do think I cried more as I read such hurtful comments about the Warren’s and their family. Even at my age of 55, I am still amazed at how cruel people can be. I will never understand how someone can be so uncaring to others, especially when we do not know what has gone on in their lives. God promises us HE will see us through..that doesn’t mean we will never have trials as we all well know..He will be with us. God bless the Warren’s but more importantly, God, place a healing hand on the one’s spewing such vile words.

  24. 174
    Terry Taylor says:


  25. 175
    Harvest Rider says:

    I didn’t know them at all,but I cried hard for them.This was beautifully written. Thank-you.

  26. 176
    Cherie says:

    My heart goes out to the Warren family. We are called to love one another. “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35 NIV). It is sad that the enemy can sew such discord among us. I think that this one thing (in its many examples) is what keeps the world from seeing the light. While we can disagree, there is no excuse for kicking someone in the midst of personal tragedy. Thank you for taking a stand.

  27. 177
    Tammy says:

    What a great message to the body of Christ! As a pastor’s wife and a mother who is currently seeing the enemy dig his claws into my adult children and drag them down a path of utter destruction, I can attest that what you have said is so sadly very true – “these who serve us publicly also suffer privately.” We are going through a very painful season of life involving our daughter and we have been hesitant to share with others because we have experienced and seen others experience ridicule and judgement and at this point we are already in so much pain I’m not sure how we could handle more pain from those who are supposed to love us. It’s unfortunate that our leaders often suffer in silence until something like this forces us out into the open. Thank you for speaking the truth. I pray that we all will be careful to show Christ’s love to our fellow believers and to those who are watching. I truly believe we could do with a lot more love & support and a lot less talk.

  28. 178
    Lauren says:

    No other words are needed… just Thank You and Amen.

  29. 179
    Julie Reynolds says:

    Oh Sister you have spoken(written) a mouthful here! When will we as the Body of Christ learn to lift up hands of praise instead of stooping to pick up rocks? Thank you dear Beth for shining a light today!

  30. 180
    Brenda says:

    Beth, So glad this was spoken. I had the same feelings
    myself. Our job is to love Christ and not hurt people.

  31. 181
    Robin B says:

    I have to go back and read this when I can absorb it more because it is our life right now. Thankfully, we aren’t dealing with suicide, but my daughter is being targeted nonetheless. She is a freshman at a Christian school. The school we’ve loved, where my son graduated from 4 years ago. Since returning to school after major surgery the middle of January, she has been bullied – in the most insidious and underhanded ways; shunning, ostracising, gossip, lies, rumors, igoring, exclusion, mean comments, etc. The very place where she should feel loved and accepted has become a place of torment, and so widespread that even the few friends who didn’t desert her have come to devalue her. Its unimaginable. From a stricly human standpoint, it doesn’t make sense; she’s bright, witty, fun, attractive, talented, etc – not that those are the attributes one should be valued for. She went from being a straight A student to struggling with her grades. She missed a lot of school due to surgery, shes stressed about school, but she’s so alone- worse than alone- because shes surrounded by people – ‘Christian’ people who reject and mistreat her every day. She’s home today- she’s either crying or so close to crying. I don’t know how much more she can take. We are in counseling- the school can only do so much when everyone hides behind each other and things are said in secret. They’ve asked the students to “pour love” into her, but nothing has changed, which hurts even more because they know but do not care. We’ve become church-y, legalistic, going to the right churches, having the right last names and connections – it feels so huge and deep-rooted, that baring a miracle, there isn’t a sliver of hope. The staff are wonderful, this is where all her history and friends were…anyone reading this- we appreciate your prayers!

  32. 182
    Cathy says:

    AWESOME word, Beth!!!!!!!!!! Amen, amen, amen and AMEN!!!!!

  33. 183
    Ann Voorhies says:

    Amen, sister. Beautifully said.

  34. 184
    Kristin Blackwell says:

    To say that this “hit home” is an understatement….I am a pastor’s daughter & am “doing ministry” with him & my mother. I can’t say that I wish this position on anyone. It is so hard to be bashed/hated/slandered & even worse for your parents to have to go through this & really, there is nothing you can do about it.
    The year of 2012 was probably the worst year ever for our family. And though there were many times that I wanted to stand up and defend and correct, i have learned that God will take care of those.
    Thank you for standing up for us that feel strapped, the ones that feel we don’t have a voice…..
    Thank you for truth.

  35. 185
    Melissa Ford says:

    Well said. Thank you.

  36. 186
    Kelli says:

    Amen, sister! Being overseas we miss so much of the “chatter” of Christian media but we have recently found ourselves somewhat hurled into a leadership position pretty deep in Baptist circles and it breaks my heart that as believers we aren’t more aware of the schemes of Satan and the way he pits brother against brother. We are in this together and so often it’s the pettiness of other believers that most slows down the work of reaching the nations and I just want to scream, WHY?! Thank you for laying it all out there and the reminder of what it is to love within the body!

  37. 187
    Teri Beamer says:

    Thank you for these wise words. As a widow who lost her husband to this terrible disease, I agree with all you said. Praying for the Warren family.

  38. 188
    Cheryl Frank says:

    Thanks so much for sharing Beth! You speak the truth that we as a ministry family have experienced and are still trying to recover from. We are so appreciative of your ministry and you will never know this side of glory the great good you have done for so many! Blessings!

  39. 189
    Ola says:

    Thank you Mama Beth, I am grateful for this. I have been guilty of correcting a sister in Christ with anger. I did not approach the situation at hand in a spirit of humility, even though the issue needed to be addressed my approach was not christ-like. I had to humble myself and apologize and this is a good reminder for me. Pride is such a silent attacker and I did not know how much I let it control me. I am so thankful I came here today to read this just to reminder…I am not without sin, God is patient, loving and kind with me therefore I should be gentle, loving, patient and kind with others. This is an area in which I need to grow DAILY. Thanks!

  40. 190

    “The Warrens will come forth like gold. The enemy will not win. They will fight the good fight. They will finish the race. They will keep the faith.”

    Amen! As one who had a son who battled mental illness and social issues related to his mental state – I can tell you it tortured me to see him struggle so… With each escalation of the darkness around him – the more difficult it was to hope and to believe that his life would ever be different. I knew there was both a physical, soul-oriented and spiritual battle for his life each day he lived.

    My son did not take his own life, but he talked of it on occasion. He lived life on the very edge. My son was making self-destructive and often illegal choices by the time he was 17. Some people might wonder how I can honor him so much in light of all that mess. One reason… He was my son. (PERIOD!)

    My heart breaks for the Warren’s who must be hurting deeply in these moments when their private pain becomes so publicly real. I was not a global public eye kind of leader, but I led women’s ministry in my church and community when my son’s accident and death occurred. I did not want to be a stumbling block in my grief – and at times I did not know what I needed. What I was more painfully aware of – the expectations and the watchful eyes of people around me. Those who expected me to fall apart as much as those who expected me to need to publicly share my grief… So many could not understand how I was holding up so well. The truth is – I made a choice. I chose not to grieve in public.

    1. Because I felt the weight of scrutiny and did not want people to think my despair meant God had failed me.

    2. Because many well-intending friends and family said things that cut the wound deeper. When your child dies – grief takes as long as it takes – the timeline is not defined. Some parts -especially the early days- are meant to be walked out with God alone as you find your bearings and your ability to breathe again. And no matter how much you know it – it is not comforting to hear the churchy cliches “He’s in a better place.” “God works all things for good.” Sure he does, I know – but that does nothing for this bleeding ache in my heart – a necessary pain to come to terms with the depth of love and loss I have suffered. Don’t ask me what I need – my answer was I don’t know. But, for me the hardest moment was holding up “so well” in public until the holidays landed on us. Christmas morning we sat in church with our friends all around and I wept uncontrollably. One friend, who knew the grief of losing a child, came and hugged me. She said nothing but gave me the quiet comfort of knowing and feeling my pain with me. My closest friend came to me and hugged me. At a loss for words, she said, “Oh Honney…”

    I said, “I just miss him.”

    She said, “I know. But, he’s not missing you.”

    I knew in my mind she was right. But my heart did not need to hear that at that moment as my arms ached to hold him and my eyes spilled tears at not being able to see him, speak to him. These encounters shut me down with people I would have turned to for comfort.

    After a season of anguish and langishing in my grief, God brough forth life and a newly defined normal without my beloved first born child. I pray peace, love and comfort over the Warren’s today as they go through the painful traditions and rites of laying a loved one to rest. I remember that people who lose spouses are widows/widowers, children who lose parents are orphans, but for those who lose children the term is simply bereaved. A word in our culture that means to suffer the loss of someone close, but in the Bible – there is only one word translated bereaved. It is a Hebrew Word used in the passage that describes Rachel weeping (bereaved) for her children. The word is literally translated “to be bereft, or robbed, of children.”

    God knows better than anyone… The pain of surrendering a child to death – but He through the reality of His Son’s death brought forth the resurrection power of life that brings us hope and comfort in the days when those we love most leave us for heaven.

    May God receive all the glory and may He silence the mouths of any accusers who lack understanding in this an the many other ways that public figures in the church suffer private agonies in their lives.

    In Jesus Name,

    • 190.1
      Pam Houston says:

      Thank you Michelle for this powerful and insightful word concerning those “public figures” who suffer private agonies in their lives. God knows the depths of the suffering and the healing balm that only He can provide. May we take on the compassion and do the work of prayer to assist the grieving and sorrowful in any way that we can. We have an only son who is the joy of our lives, and we can only imagine the devastation his passing from our lives here on earth would bring. Only Jesus…”Life is fragile, handle with prayer.” Thank you for sharing from the depths of your heart and profound experience of suffering the passing of your first born son. My prayers are with you and the Warren’s and all who have suffered such tragedy.

  41. 191
    Sherry says:

    Thank you…Jesus forgive us and purify our body of believers here on earth

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    Laura says:

    Thank you so much for these words. It is the law written in our hearts by our Creator that brings freedom. As much as we may try…our knowledge of the law means nothing without the love of the One who created it. Too many times we boast in our knowledge of law (good and evil) and in doing so miss the opportunity to sow the seeds of LIFE! Gods grace, love and mercy be with you!

  43. 193
    Beth says:

    I am glad that you wrote this. I have secretly prayed that I would meet you somewhere, where we could be friends and talk! I have been hurting for some time and I am having trouble finding someplace to go.

    My husband and I put our daughter in a Christian school thinking that this was the best thing for her. She is different than some of the kids, both in skin color and attitude. She is bubbly, happy and very social (and I mean VERY social LOL). Because she seemingly was a round kid that they were shoving in a square hole, we have lived a nightmare. She was treated poorly, named called by the teachers, labeled a “bad” kid etc. I had no idea how bad it was, although my baby kept trying to tell me. However, one night everything came to light at a school event. I saw first hand how mean they were to my child.

    I have since found out that she has ADD and she was likely not focusing well, and she was having trouble following the teachers. I am sure this didn’t help anything. However, that is no excuse to mistreat a child. I started taking a stand against it and we were then treated worse. My daughter started saying she wished she was dead and horrible thoughts. Our unsaved pediatrician was outraged and told me that we needed to get her out of the school because this is the stuff suicide is made of.

    We went to the pastors for spiritual help, but they would not help because it would appear they didn’t support the school. I found a fabulous counselor, we moved away from the area and my daughter is thriving in a public school. I worry about her spiritual walk with all the horrible things being thrown at her at the public school, but she is so happy for once. She said “Mommy, it is weird that the non-Christian kids and teachers love me, but the church ones don’t”. This is a child!

    If you want to hurt a person, hurt their child. I can’t tell you how hurt I have been by this. I don’t know how to find a church where I can trust them again. I love Jesus, and desperately want to go to a great church full of people who care.

    This article and this tragedy resonated. Thank you. Much for me to be thankful for, but to also pray about.

    Someday, we shall be friends in person 🙂 Here or in heaven!

  44. 194
    Lauralee Courtney says:

    So true, thank you.

  45. 195
    Carol Hoffman says:

    Amen ! Excellent and thanks for expressing it so well. I am a mother-in-law of two fine men in ministry. No one is immune from suffering….!

  46. 196

    Reading so many of the comments posted here, I sense the love toward Beth, but I also see the enormity of the mental health issues! Yes,I too am in depression. I have cried everyday for over a year, and had you told me that was possible I would have doubted you. I KNOW why depression is in my life. It comes from a series of choices. “Guard your heart for out of it are the issues of life.” Sin will bring on depression, health factors can stem from that sin.-“A cheerful countenance doeth good like a medicine.” =Depression can contribute to ill health. The spiritual and the physical are combined. If you are in “good spiritual health”, it seems you are not able to remain in depression. I AM working on my spiritual condition. -Know what I am re-learning?! EVERYTHING is that GOD might be glorified! Vessels to honor or dishonor are so that God might/WILL be glorified. Esteeming the other better than yourself is because they are a part of God’s plan. God be glorified in ALL things. amen

  47. 197
    Paula says:


    Well spoken, my friend.

  48. 198
    Chyrll Vollmer says:

    Amen Beth! Thank you for saying this for us!!!

  49. 199
    Janice says:

    Thank you. Needed to be said. I hear you!!!!!!!

  50. 200
    Susan B. says:

    Amen! and Amen!

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