An Inspirational Post

I strongly dislike the word “inspirational”.  Maybe it’s a throwback to my angst-ridden, poetry-writing, adolescent days.  Maybe it’s the cavity-inducing Hallmark Hall of Fame or Chicken Soup for the Soul image it conjurs up.  Really, though, I think what bugs me is the idea of some talk or story or movie that fills you with a “warm fuzzy”, then is promptly forgotten.  This is what makes me a little uncomfortable when people apply this word to me and my story.  How exactly are we defining our terms here?

Are we talking about being a nice slogan for a poster with puppies on it, or being someone who people nod their heads at and think, “yeah, she’s really amazing”? Well, that’s hardly worth losing a kid over, much less two.  I remember thinking after Peter died, “people better change their lives because of this!”  Conversion, the radical reorientation of lives away from sin and toward God… the idea that people will stay out of hell because of our suffering, this is about all that seems like it would be worth it.

Yet I don’t get to decide how people will react to my life and story.  I have kept sharing about what I have experienced, about my struggles and my firm belief in God’s plan for my life, because others have told me it has helped them.  I have kept offering up my suffering because I know that this is a powerful way to intercede for others.  God, for His, part,  has promised to be faithful.  He hasn’t promised to let me decide how others react.  I could experience the worst suffering imaginable up in the most perfect way, and others still might think me just an “inspiration”.  Especially since it has happened before.

Jesus, God made man, came down from Heaven to save us and did it by undergoing the worst possible physical pain, betrayal, and feeling of spiritual desolation.  Surely, He desires conversion from us to have made His pain “worth it”.  And yet, He respects our free will so much that He does not require it.  Instead, He patiently endures the further heartache of being considered by so many merely “a good teacher”, or “a revolutionary rabbi”… in short, an  “inspirational figure”.  So, what is good enough for the Master, needs to be good enough for me.



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4 responses to “An Inspirational Post

  1. While I haven’t experienced nearly the suffering you have, I do have a degree of understanding of what you mean by that term “inspiration” that others use.

    It can even seen condescending; I remember several years ago at dinner with a cousin. He looked up, appraising me, and said he was proud of me. It was an “inspiration” that I’d done what I’d done at that point in my life. He left a lot unspoken, and it almost seemed…condescending. Patronizing.

    No, that wasn’t how he meant it, but often, that’s how such adulations can come across, especially considering, as you point out, that it IS so often forgotten when we use that word to describe something.

    I like your take on it, though I won’t call you an “inspiration.” Rather, I just thank you for continuing to share your suffering with us all and allowing us to accompany you along the way, even if only for a time.

  2. While I have not had quite the loss you have had, I lost a Grandson mid 2008, my heart breaks for your courage. A Christian myself I truly could not understand how more lives around me did not change! I vowed that I would. It was all I could do. So I, too, share my journey.
    I was honored to read your post. Thank you.


  3. Hi, a friend of mine shared your site with me. I recently lost my first child, a baby girl, in her first 16 weeks of life and it has been incredibly difficult for me to remain faithful and hopeful after experiencing such incredible loss. When I have looked to people around me for insight about how to face such suffering or “get through it” I find that many people around me are blessed to not have encountered such suffering or at a loss about how to “make the most of it” In my case, I think I’m looking for a life-changing transformation- the only kind of thing that can make such loss and suffering seem “worth it.” God has certainly blessed you with a gift for writing and sharing and your insights help me to think about my own suffering and my own life differently. I feel strengthened by your strength and hope and search for meaning. Although I’ve never met you, there is a strange sense of connectedness I feel to you and to others whose hearts hurt a little more when we hear stories about “unwanted” babies or slogans that seem to devalue the preciousness of life. The day after I found out my little girl had died in the womb, I was at the bank and a little boy was throwing a temper tantrum in the doorway. His mother looked at me and said, “This is excellent birth control, isn’t it?” I wanted to say, “I know you’re joking, but please never take your little boy for granted. I would give the world to have my baby with me now…temper tantrums, screaming fits and all” Instead, I just smiled, choked back tears and went on my way. What a different perspective I have now about suffering, the preciousness of life, about everything. Thank you for sharing, as you are so eloquent and express yourself so well. Sometimes I think I can hear God speaking to me through you- your message seems “inspired” My prayers are with you, my sister, as you continue to face the unknown that lies before all of us and allow God to transform you through your children’s lives. God Bless you and your family, in heaven and on earth!

  4. Kyle

    “Inspiration” is one of those words, like “choice,” that has lost its object as used in our touchy-feely society. Perhaps the correct response is: “Inspiration to what?”

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