Planning Funerals that Won't Happen Today
Lysa TerKeurst

"And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?" Matthew 6:27 (NIV)

A couple of years ago my teenage son came to me and asked if he could take his brother and sisters to go get ice cream. How fun! How thoughtful! "Sure," I said, "Let me grab my keys and we'll go."

"No, Mom ... we sort of want to go just us kids," he quickly replied.

"Oh," and that's about all I could get my mouth to say as my brain started racing and reeling. In my mind's eye pictures started flashing of a terrible accident, a phone call from the police, planning a funeral, and then thinking back to this moment when I could have said no.

And it was that strange sense that everything depended on me and my decisions that made me want to say no. Absolutely not. You will stay home today. You will all stay home forever. I have to keep you safe.

Why do we moms do that? Most of us live with this gnawing, aching, terrifying fear that something will happen to one of our children. We carry the pressure that ultimately everything rises and falls on whether or not we can control things. And mentally, too often we plan funerals that won't happen today.

We do it because we know the realities of living in a broken world where car accidents do happen. Tragedy strikes old and young alike. We have no guarantees for tomorrow. And that's really hard on a mama's heart.

I stood at the front window of my house chewing my nails and watching as the entire contents of my mama heart piled into one car.

And I realized I had a choice.

I could run myself ragged creating a false sense of control that can't really protect them. Or, I could ask God to help me make wise decisions and choose to park my mind on the truth.

The truth is:
God has assigned each of my kids a certain number of days.

My choices can add to the quality of their life, but not the quantity. They could be at home tucked underneath my wings and if it's their day to go be with Jesus, they will go.

"When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." (Psalm 139:15-16)

Jesus conquered death so we don't have to be afraid of it any longer.

Of course, the death of anyone I love would make me incredibly sad, heart-broken and dazed with grief. But I don't have to be held captive by the fear of death.

"Since the children have flesh and blood, he (Jesus) too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death - that is, the devil - and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death." (Hebrews 2:14-15).

Death is only a temporary separation. We will be reunited again.

In 2 Samuel 12, when David's infant child died, he confidently said, "I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me" (v. 23). David knew he would see his child again--not just a faceless soul without an identity, but this child for whom he was longing. He would know him, hold him, kiss him, and the separation death caused would be over.

I know these are heavy things to process on a Thursday morning. And I certainly don't claim that these truths will help you never ever fear again. But I do hope these truths will settle your heart into a better place.

And the next time my kids go get ice cream together, instead of chewing my nails I'll only pick at them while awaiting their return. See progress? It's good.

Dear Lord, the fear of something happening to one of my children is so raw. And I guess the thing that makes it so hard is I know we live in a broken world and awful things happen to kids. But if I focus on this fear, it will consume me. Instead help me focus on You so I'll only be consumed with Your truth, Your love, Your insights, and Your power. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Click here to visit Lysa TerKeurst’s blog for a list of three practical things we can do when we start to feel consumed with fear.

Lysa is speaking in over 40 cities this year and she’d love to meet you! To check for a city near you, click here.

Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl by Lysa TerKeurst. This book is the perfect 6 week summer book for personal devotions or group Bible Study!

Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl DVD set – Contains 6 sessions lasting 15-20 minutes each on one DVD for only $24.99. Perfect for your Bible study group or neighborhood Book Club.

Application Steps:
The next time you find yourself worrying and getting consumed with fear, see it as a trigger to pray and ask God specifically to use His truth to comfort you.

Think of what commonly triggers your heart to go to those fearful places and pray for Jesus to help you work through these. Ask for Him to show you verses in scripture that will speak truth into your situation.

How did this devotion comfort you today?

What is one nugget of truth you can commit to memory and use the next time fear grips your heart?

Power Verses:
Psalm 139:15-16, "When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." (NIV)

Hebrews 2:14-15, "Since the children have flesh and blood, he (Jesus) too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death- that is, the devil- and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death." (NIV)

© 2010 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much to you and to God for this post! Just before reading your post, i had fear all over me about my job, but now, i am more than sure that God holds me in His loving hands. Thanks, Lysa! May you, your family and the Proverbs31 Ministries be blessed!

Blogger Amanda said...

Thank you. My pray is that I too can become a Proverbs 31 woman. I know if I train up my children with God's guidance, then they will not depart from Him.

It is almost scary when you realize that we are only borrowing our children for a season. What an awesome responsibilty.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a mother of a 15 year old daughter who will soon be learning to drive AND riding with other teenagers, this post truly hits home. I have always been one to see all the dangerous possibilities. This has opened my eyes. Thank you.

I agree that as a mom - one of the scariest tings is seeing all of your children drive away without you. The first time it happened to us I remember thinking, "There goes my life..." They're in their young 20s now and I still struggle with giving them completely to God - but I KNOW HE is the one in control and have seen first hand how HE can provide the strength and comfort we need as we knew 7 families who lost their kids the summer after our oldest graduated high school. I know without a doubt my God will walk with me through all this world brings...

Anonymous TEllison said...

These devotionals have been such a blessing to me. I often fear for the safety of my children knowing that there is only so much I can do to ensure their safety when I'm not there. I pray for their safety each day, I just need to leave my fears and my children in God's hands because fear is not benefiting anyone. Thank you!!!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this encouraging devotion. After my daughters were born, I experienced the symptoms of anxiety. I worried about them being taken away from me by injury or illness. I was afraid to love them too deeply. One day in church, God helped me understand that these beautiful girls were not mine but His. That day I gave them back to Him, trusting that He loves them even more than I do. After that I was able to enjoy my daughters so much more because the anxiety I associated with being their mom was gone.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome post!!! My son is my life & often times I worry and have the most horrible thoughts of "what if". Thank you for reminding me that the Lord did not give us a spirit of fear. What a wonderful blessing that the Lord has given us to be the care takers of his precious children. Thank you for reminding me to trust fully in God!!!

Blogger Melissa Milbourn said...

I love this. Thanks

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this devotional today. It's just what I need. Exactly one month ago today, our sweet baby girl went to be with Jesus and since then I am constantly battling fear that something could happen to one of my boys. When we found out our daughter's life on this earth would be short, I claimed Ps 139:15-16 because I knew that this was God's plan for her and for us; however, it is easy to forget that promise and succumb to my human emotions and fears. I will strive to claim this promise every day and trust God for his protection and his perfect will. He is, after all, full of goodness and mercy all the time.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you...I often have thoughts of planning my children's or husband's funeral and I have to constantly remind myself that they are God's and only on loan to me. Thank you for making feel not so alone in this fear. I will choose NOT to be afraid, God is my ROCK and COMFORT

Blogger Glynnis Whitwer said...

I battle this fear every day after losing my niece in a car accident. I know what it's like for someone to not come home. Satan would like to take that fear and blow it up so big that I never let my children grow up into bold young men and women. Thanks be to God that I have learned this truth about God, and settled it in my heart. I just have to remind myself of it every day.

Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks you for this devo. I don't have children at home, but my fears about everything seem just as real, in particular with my husband's job. I need the reminder that God controls his life, not me, and God controls my life, not me. I therefore need to constantly remind myself to rest in His loving refuge and put my focus on Him, and trust I will experience His best each day

Blogger Hopegirl said...

Thank you for posting this! God must have known to lead me to it today. As a new mom, I struggle with this worry constantly and fear has been overwhelming me.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks soooooo much for this post. The fear of worry has consumed me for quite some time, but this post help me realized that only God knows our time, not me. Thank you so much, the time could not of been perfect.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was just what I needed to read today. My heart goes out to each mom who's lost a child - a mother's greatest fear. For the month of May we've had all 5 of our kids back home in WI and it's been so great, but in 9 days our oldest son gets married and moves to ID, the next day our 2nd son leaves for a job on a ranch in MT, a week later our 3rd son goes away for an internship, and this mom is tempted to worry! I remember holding each one in my arms as babies and fighting overwhelming fear that something would take them from me. God showed me then, and this reminds me now, that each one of "my" kids is His and He loves them far more than I ever can. My attempts to control and keep them safe are only going to stifle them and hinder God's work in their lives. Thank you very much for the reminder!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please know that God spoke directly to me this morning, through YOU! I have a 16 year old taking his driver's test and a 13 year old about to undergo surgery for scoliosis. Fear has been my middle name. Thank you so much for being God's gentle, loving, reminding voice to me today. . .

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank for reminding us that we (mothers) are not alone in these types of fears. Mothers have an inborn, protective nature that for some of us goes into overdrive. My children are grown children, with little children. God's grace has helped me overcome my need for control and to trust him. I vow that I will do my best not to surrender another day in the land of the "what ifs." I am still a work in progress, but there is so much peace and freedom in trusting God today, and every day.

Blogger Unknown said...

I do have to say God's peace is truely like no other. I lost my 6 month old precious baby boy in January and the only thing that I hold on to is God's love for my son and myself. Thigs do get hard on days but I'm always reminded God saw it before it happened.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I wished I had read this devotion about 20 years ago. I am one of the most anxious people I know. When my daughter was about 3 years old, I lost my 18 year old nephew in a car accident. When she was away from me I always worried. When she started to drive oh my goodness it was even worse. She now is 26 years old, when she was about 18 I finally realized I cannot control anything I have to leave it up to the Lord. I have been a christian for 32 years and that was something that took along time to get over. I went through depression and anxiety alot. I am so thankful for my daughter she is such a blessing in my life. This devotion just spoke to my heart and reminded that my God has all things in control.

Blogger Unknown said...

God's perfect timing AGAIN! My 16 year old son just asked me last night if he could go with a group of friends on a tubing trip. The drive there is about 2 hours long. And we know a few teens who took the same trip a few years ago and did not make it home. Instead they made it home to be with the Lord. I am scared to death!! Thank you for giving me the gift of God's truths. I pray that I make the right decision.

Blogger Christina Berry said...

You don't know how much I needed to read this post.

I'm the mom of a 19 year old boy who just finished his freshman year of college. I worry so unbelievably about him, and making it worse is the fact that he's my only child and therefore, I don't have other children to focus on.

I have had the same thoughts as you, about how to protect him and what to allow (or not allow) him to do. It's crazy.

I know I need to let go and give it to the Lord. Thank you, though, for the sweet reminder.

Anonymous VB said...

Wow!!! How comforting to know that I am not the only one who has this fear about our children. To want to have control and just keep them here with me, keeping the family all together so that if something does happen we are all together. One of my sons turns 18 today, and graduates tomorrow, my 17 year old is preparing to go to England in July on a mission trip, my 14 year old is working hard to buy his gear to ride bulls, my 11 year old little girl would like a new quicker horse to do barrell racing, and we are in the middle of a court struggle trying adopt a little one we have had so long, that we just dont remember life without him. Fear, death, I have struggle with these just praying to have more faith. This devotional was amazing. God is amazing to give us all what we need exactly when we need it.

Blogger Sally Ann said...

Lysa, Thank you for such insight,..I have a dear friend who lost her daughter, and this was written in such a powerful way that I had to send it to her..I am certain the Lord will bless many people as they read this...may their hearts be touched and find healing in Jesus name.

Blogger Unknown said...

I can't believe you posted this! My 16-year-old is getting his drivers' license and I have been so stressed about it. I have been consumed with fear that something will happen to him. I can't promised that I now I will no longer fear, but this devotion has really blessed me and given me a lot to think about.

Blogger Unknown said...

WOW! I am always so amazed that God leads me to the devotions that I need! After losing our daughter almost nine years ago, there is not a day that goes by that I don't worry excessively about my other three children...In fact, my husband and I deal with the repercussions of our grief journey on a daily basis in many aspects of our lives--but through our faith and with God's unending love--we take steps of progress everyday! Thanks for your great ministry...

Anonymous Grace said...

Lysa, As I read this it's not on the day that you wrote it, but it's on the day the Lord has me to read it. I play that scenerio over and over again in my mind, Too! Now my daughter and her husband are moving to Hawaii. He's in the Navy and they are newlyweds and this is where they will begin there married life together. Far away from Mom and Dad. Thank you again for pointing my heart towards the Truth!

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