How Can I Have Faith After Losing My Son?

Written by Christie Hoos

faith_havefaithI have never been a big fan of the “paste a smile on and pretend it’s okay” club.

In my case it was months after my son, Noah’s, death that I began to feel angry. I had to return to work and the crushing unfairness of it all began to sink in. I used to think that people of true faith accepted everything quietly and calmly, but now I’m not so sure.

I wrestled with God for several months.

My husband was afraid that he would never get his wife back. If anyone saw me walking in the woods behind our house they must have thought I was crazy — I was muttering, crying, even shouting at God. I read books in the bible that dealt with people who were suffering – Job, Psalms, Ecclesiastes and Lamentations — and was reassured that some of God’s favorite people were angry and confused by Him. The best advice I got was that giving God the silent treatment would only punish me. God can take it, so tell Him what you are feeling.

How can I have faith you ask? I’ll try to answer you as best I can. My husband is a scholar and he finds reassurance in philisophical arguements about truth, the state of the world and nature of God. I’ll admit that these truths are convincing and I would be happy to share some with you if you like, but in crisis my faith was not bolstered by academic points so I won’t get into them now.

First I must explain my faith to you, so that you know what I am choosing to rely on.

I do believe with my whole heart that God is good and the world is not. The bible is clear that because of our choices to reject God we live in a fallen world full of sickness, natural disasters, pain and death. This is not God’s purpose for humanity – he wants us to live with Him where there is no pain, no sadness, no death. In order to make this happen He made the greatest sacrifice, He sent His own son to die, to pay the price for our wrong choices (it is hard to imagine that He loves us so much that he would allow his son to die – on purpose). When Jesus rose from the dead three days later He destroyed forever the power of death over the human soul. Still, we must choose to accept or reject this gift. That is the faith I have.

I trust in Jesus to pay for my wrongs and to save me from death.

Especially since Noah’s death, this hope is my foundation. I know that one day I will see not only Jesus but my son again. I would rather he was with me, but since he is not I am so glad that he is safe and loved. For this reason I hold onto my faith. I even wrote a website all about this – Noah’s Place.

Not only that, but my faith in Jesus is about relationship. Like I said, I have been angry with Him. I will never be happy that my son is away from me (even temporarily). I miss him terribly. There is a hole in our family and in my heart that aches. But God does know how we feel. He lost His son too. And He has made it so clear to me that He loves me more than I can comprehend. This comfort did not come quickly or easily. Slowly, in so many ways – through reading the bible, praying (even angry and despairing prayers), through nature, through others around me — God put His arms around me and helped my broken heart to heal. He was there all along I just had to open up to Him.

To live without faith seems to me a hopeless, comfortless and pointless existence.

So I hold on, even when I don’t feel like it. This is how I have faith, not a feeling or an experience, but a decision. As Job said “though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” I can’t imagine life without Jesus. Holding onto faith has been a struggle, but to live without it, is unthinkable.

You have a choice to make also. Faith is not something you lose, it’s something you choose or reject. I’m sorry to say that anyone who has lost a child has a very long and hard journey ahead of them. Grief is exhausting, messy, and misunderstood. Anger and confusion are normal and healthy (only if you get stuck there for an extended amount of time will you need to worry and seek medical help). If you have lost a child, be patient with yourself, you are in mourning. Do not rely on your feelings to decide what you believe. Look ahead – what kind of life do you want? Who do you want to be?

I would not trade my Noah for a child that lived.

I would not have chosen this path, it has been hard and painful, but it has changed me for the better. I am forever grateful to my son for that.

In Love,
Christie
Noah’s Mom

If you have lost a child, know that you are not alone. I can’t tell you why you’re child is gone, but I can tell you that there is a God who loves you and who loves your child. He knows what it means to lose a son.

Are you struggling with a sadness that never seems to end? We are here to talk

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23 Responses to “How Can I Have Faith After Losing My Son?”

  • Doris Beck Doris Beck says:

    Losing a child is the most difficult grief of all because it just isn’t supposed to be like that…our children are supposed to outlive us.

    Stephanie,my prayers are with you. Our good friends just lost their 26 year old son last month and having walked the journey with them I can only imagine what you are going through. My prayer for you is that the God of all comfort will be bringing you much comfort in these days and that you would be experiencing him as your Rock and your Fortress when you feel like you cannot go on.

  • vierocka says:

    Have in peace. Your child is in heaven now waiting for you. All this suffering will end one day and you will be happy in heaven with him. Give your life to Jesus and repent from your sins to go to heaven too.

  • Chris Chris says:

    hk….i am sorry to hear of this Young boys decease. the world is truly a dangerous place with people going here and there so many times without the slightest notion of sensing the need to be walking in close communion with christ and his protection. no, we dont know the circumstances in detail i suppose but one should never leave their house without having made that close contact with the lord jesus and asking for his divine protection once leaving. proverbs tells us that wisdom is the principle thing to be able to live a long life. sadly, sometimes the younger ones lack that understanding and in their haste can and do make precipitated decisions that can be life threatening. we all need to do our part to lead the youth to christ. for more information on knowing jesus savingly log onto…knowingjesuspersonally.com or click talk to a mentor above. i pray that jesus use you mightily hk to win many youth, middle aged and seniors to him each day so that we all may grow together, increasing in the knowledge of God in jesus name amen!

  • Hk says:

    I pray for all of the mums who lost the sons and daughters.
    I am a mum and at this point I am feeling for one mum who lost her 8 year old son recently.
    It was an accident in my comunity and even I don’t know the family as a mum I am crying every time when I think about it.
    I don’t know why may be because I put my self Iin her shoes I think.
    I went to the site the boy had the accident and came home as a very changed person.
    I pray to god every night , and question why he allow this to happen..
    I thought I have to write this and let my feelings out . It’s been a week now but I feel pain and hard to think about it.
    Hope god wil give strength to the family to cope with the pain.

  • Chris Chris says:

    Stephanie…i regret to hear of your personal losses. losing a loved one, as we all have and some more than others, can be devastating, especially when its not expected. it will take some time to recupĂ©rate from these experiences. in my own case, the loss of my father has taken me around 3 years to totally heal, so dont feel bad about feeling bad. we are made out of flesh and blood not Steel and bolts. who is superman but the man christ jesus? and he was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief nonetheless according to isaiah 53. its not a sin to be sad you see. we simply need to control our sadness and channel it and use it to become better christians in this world. even jesus said blessed are those who mourn in Matthew 5. you might check out griefshare.org for help also. i pray now the great shepherd of the sheep our lord jesus lead you to still waters and Green pastures so that you can rest in his great love and know that soon, very soon, we are going to see the King, his citizens and our loved ones again. blessings!

  • Stephanie says:

    I have also lost my son Adam of 18 years on August 27, 2014 and then my mother on September 9, 2014. I knew my mother was going to God, my son I know is with God also, however I feel that he was in a good place here, he was my youngest child, the only one at home and I am so lost without him, okay I believe he is in heaven with Jesus, but my heart has been ripped out of my chest. How do I stop crying, and stop feeling so depressed? I try not to think of myself and I know he is saying mom stop crying, but I can’t I miss him so!

  • Barbara Alpert Barbara Alpert says:

    Father God, I lift Kate up to You in prayer. I ask that You would comfort her through this sudden loss of her precious son. I pray that You would bless Kate with family and friends that will support her through this time of sorrow and greif. May You fill her with Your Spirit of comfort. I ask that You would also bring comfort to Kates other children that are going through this loss as well. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen

  • kate says:

    jus lost my 17 years old son, am losing it, myself, my faith, trying to be strong for my other children, but it is crushing me inside. Am trying, i cannot seem to wake up.

  • Claire Colvin Claire Colvin says:

    Hi Donna, I’m not sure if Christie will have a chance to respond to you but I wanted to make sure you did hear back. I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your son. I am cannot imagine the depth of the pain you are in. How utterly awful to have so little access to your son while he was in the hospital.

    In this year since your son died, have you ever had a chance to see a counsellor? You and your family have gone through an incredible trauma and counselling could really help. I noticed in your comment that you wrote that you, “stupidly put Max to my left and changed him” – I can hear a lot of guilt in that. It wasn’t stupid to set down your son to change him. It’s what any parent would do. It’s an action you had probably done a hundred times before. Max needed a clean diaper and as a kind, loving and attentive parent you gave him what he needed. There was no way you could have known that Callum would wander in that moment your back was turned.

    Did you ever read the book, The Deep End of the Ocean? It’s about a little boy who is in a crowded hotel lobby and his Mom takes her eyes off of him for a moment and a stranger steps in and takes him away. There’s this scene where the husband yells at the wife, “Children don’t get lost, people loose them!” and he’s blaming her, saying it’s her fault because she took her eyes off of him for a moment, just a moment, to tend to the baby. It wasn’t a horrible thing she did, she looked away, and the worst thing in the world happened. I wonder if you blame yourself when the worst thing in the world happened in your family? You can’t carry guilt like that, it will swallow you whole. You did not kill your son. What happened to him was an accident, a horrible, tragic accident but it was not your fault.

    I wish I could explain to you why awful things happen, why God doesn’t just step in and stop it. The best explanation I’ve heard is that the world is broken. This is not the way it was supposed to be. I do believe that God is at work in the world and that He is a God who redeems. There is a verse in the Bible where God promises to “restore the years the locust have eaten.” (Joel 2:25) There is a lot of hope in a verse like that. You said that you’re not very religious but you are a believer. Did you ever have an experience where you made a commitment to God?

    If you would like to talk to someone privately about your situation and your son we have email mentors available. You can use this form to request a mentor and you’ll hear back, usually within a couple of days.

    Can I pray for you?

    God in Heaven, I pray that you would be close to Donna today and even more so as the anniversary of her son’s passing approaches. You know the pain that lives deep in her heart. You say in the Bible that you count our tears, you see every one. I know that you have seen Donna in her sorrow. Her heart aches Father, she is torn in two. I pray that you would comfort her. Bring her peace – the peace you speak about in the Bible as the peace “that passes understanding” – peace that doesn’t make any sense. Donna needs that peace today God. Hold her heart in your hands. Remind her that you are God who redeems, the one who puts the pieces back together. I don’t even know the right words to pray for a pain this deep, but be with her. Sit with her in her sorrow. Make a way for her in this desert I pray. In your name, amen.

  • Donna says:

    Hello Christie,
    Im so sorry about your Noah…..I lost my Callum last May, almost to the day. We were on a dream holiday in Turkey, saved up for 18 months to go 5 star. the first week was amazing and my family were having the best time. On 23rd May 2013 at 12.15 my life changed forever….Callum was sitting next to me on my right playing with his computer, I had his little brother on my knee. I stupidly put Max to my left and changed him and when i turned round Callum was gone. I ran round the pool shouting then screaming his name….it was too late, by the time i got round the pool he had been pulled out. He had vest or armbands on because he had been in the water and had got dressed as we were going to go for a walk.
    He fought for 5 days in intensive care but his poor little body couldn’t fight anymore. The pressure on his brain was too much and we had to switch the machines of on 28th May. In Turkey you don’t get to sit with your child, we got 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes at night and in the end we never even got to be there when they switched everything off. He was alone.
    I prayed to God constantly during those days and asked him to help him to help us…I prayed so much. But god didn’t help us. I was never really religious but I am a believer but I am really struggling. I go to church, i study but I struggle everyday. Im not even sure if I do believe anymore…Ive been kicked too hard.
    Its one year on Friday since I spoke to my little boy – he was 3 years, 4 months and 23 days old – born 31st December 2009. He was my best friend, for only being 3 he was a great talker and we really clicked. I just miss him so much and im struggling every minute of every day at the moment.
    Dx

  • Aaron says:

    Thank you. I was feeling hopeless and wondered if I was losing my faith. So I googled and came across your website.
    It’s so good to know I’m not the only one out there who was on the brink of losing faith. You have showed me another side to faith that i had forgotten. …that God does care… and that we live in a fallen world. God knows it’s not easy living this life at times.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Hannah, you didn’t really say it clearly in your post but I can tell this article touched on an issue that is very real for you. Did you also lose a son? Was it recent? How did it happen?

    You’re right, I see God differently than you do, but I do understand that in the face of tragedies like what Christie wrote about, that it is very hard to understand why God would allow such terrible things to happen. So what kind of experience have you had with God? Is it your loss that has caused you to rethink your belief in God?

  • Hannah says:

    Don’t have faith. Because God is the devil that has done this.

    There is no for the greater good or better reason why he does these things. If there is a god?

    You will find more comfort than questioning why would god do this, by accepting there is no God, because why would anyone do this, and that life horrible picks us randomly.

    I hope this doesn’t stress you further, I just feel don’t waste your time on trying to think that god has done this and then the agony of why has he?

    Everybody on this website will disagree with me, as we are on a religious website, but the majority of the average world will agree with me, and if not them definitely those who have endured such a tragedy like you.

    Good luck, and my love.

  • Shelley Shelley says:

    Dear Father God
    Lord I lift up this family to You in the loss of there child that is home with You. I pray that they will find comfort in each other and in You as there Father, that you will bless them beyond measure. In Jesus Mihgty Name amen

  • Christie Hoos Christie says:

    Dear Earl,
    I’m so incredibly sorry to hear of your loss! I have been through many difficult things since I wrote this letter more than a decade ago, including the loss of another son. It is, by far, the most devastating pain I’ve ever felt. My second loss was even more confusing and challenging than losing Noah, so I feel like I can relate to your wife. I know my husband wondered if I would ever be myself again.

    I wasn’t. Not the same ‘me’ anyway. But those dark nights of the soul were still good for my faith in the long run. It just didn’t look or feel that way at the time. There are no shortcuts through grief. But here on the other side, though I still carry some with me and I will never forget my babies, I am a better person. I am a little broken and a little less certain, but I am full of compassion, I hold my family closer than ever and my marriage has a depth it could never have reached without these struggles.

    The good news is that you aren’t responsible for your wife’s faith journey. You don’t have to “fix” her or make things better, which is a huge realization for many husbands (I know it was for mine). You can trust her to God. All you have to do is love her (patient, kind, persevering… all that 1 Cor 13 stuff). Which might be more difficult some days, which might require a lot of patience and a lot of faith, especially since you are carrying your own grief too.

    Just remember that it is a process. Even Jesus (in Gethsemane) grieved and struggled and questioned, not because He wasn’t perfectly obedient, but because it hurt that bad. It’s scary. And it’s not the way life is supposed to be. But it will get better.

    Also – thank you Claire for your wise words. Well said!

  • Earl Smith says:

    Thank you Claire. I appreciate the words of advice. We do deal with pain differently. I hold it in, then explode with emotion. She has witnessed this and understands that is how I deal. This is by far the hardest thing I have been through. I know that people can drift when these things happen, and I do not want that to be the case when it comes to us. We have a beautiful baby girl that means the world to us. I will try hard to let her have her space and do the things you mentioned. Thank you,

  • Claire Colvin Claire Colvin says:

    Hi Earl, First I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your son. I cannot imagine the pain you must be experiencing. I know that one of the main stressors in a marriage that has gone through the loss of a child happens when the two spouses process their grief differently. There can be a misconception that “Because your pain looks different than mine, you don’t hurt the way that I hurt.” If it appears that one spouse is “moving on” from the loss it can be very painful for other, even if it’s just a different method of processing the grief. So one thing you can do, is to make sure that as you stay sure that God is good, your wife knows that you are not in less pain than she is.

    I am not married, and I have never had children, so I cannot speak from experience with that, but I do know that in general, women need to be heard. If she is questioning God, let her do that. If she is experiencing anger, hear her out. It may not be the time to show her all the blessings you have – she might not be able to hear that right now. (It’s possible that she’s thinking that she would gladly give all of these other blessings back, every single one, in exchange for the return of your son.) I know that you are trying to help, it could be that what she needs right now is just to be allowed to be raw and hurt and angry and sad. Don’t try to fix it. I know how hard that is, and that you would do anything to make this better, but she may hear your attempts at fixing it as an attempt to make the pain smaller. The pain can’t be smaller right now. It will, in time.

    So what can you do to restore your wife’s faith?

    Be an example to her of what faith looks like in the midst of enormous pain. Don’t preach to her, just live your live as a man who still believes in God. Pray and let her see you praying. If she’s willing, pray together. If she’s not willing, pray for her and let her know that you are praying for her. Love her and sit with her in her pain. Comfort yourself with the truth of Rom 8:38-39 – death cannot separate her from the love of God. She may not be able to see God’s love for a time, but it is still there, God is still there and He will not abandoned her.

  • Earl Smith says:

    We recently lost our baby boy. We have been getting through it together. We just found out that there is no explanation for our loss. The doctors did test and said that they did not see anything that could have caused it. Today, my Wife is questioning God’s existence. I am trying to talk to her. Show her all the blessings that we have in life. I am feeling lost and empty. I do not want to say the wrong thing to her. I do not want to lose her. Any advice for me, from a female perspective, what a male can do to restore my Wifes faith?

  • Christie Hoos Christie says:

    Dear Cayla
    I’m do very sorry to hear about the death of your son. Such a sudden and unexpected loss is devestating, ours certainly was. I wish there were something I could say that would “fix” or speed up the grief process for you. It makes me so sad knowing what you are going through. Even many years later I miss my Noah very much. But it does get better and I know I am a better person for loving him and wrestling with God over this and other hurts. Hang on.
    Love
    Christie

  • Cayla says:

    Yes I have I went into premature labor at 24 weeks my son lived for 6 hours and then passed away :( It was very unexpected everything had been fine… He passed away September 7th… So it’s been very hard to keep my faith but I’m trying!

  • Barbara Alpert Barbara Alpert says:

    Dear Cayla, Glad that you found this article to be inspiring, have you lost a loved one recently?

  • Cayla says:

    This was very inspiring thank you!

  • Anna Sklar says:

    Hello Christie:
    I am having a really hard time getting in touch with you, so I’m hoping this works…I have known your story for a while – my story is similar – losing a son to stillbirth. I believe it was Nicolle Huggins who first told me about you and your website. I’ve been working on a book the past year for others who share a similar loss and I am very close to being done. I love your webpage that explains to friends/family of the grievers what would help them and what wouldn’t. Would you be open to me using your words in the book?
    Let me know if this email reaches you and your thoughts on my idea…
    Blessings,
    Anna Sklar

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