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Support in Times of Sorrow
by Janice S Ramkissoon
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“…As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” --(Joshua 1:5)--

It was the 30th day of January 2013.  Sixteen days had passed since the death of my aunt, Grace. Javin, our son, told me that he was very nervous. We were on our way to school. He would be travelling to London that day with 60 other children from his school. They were going to perform at the O2 Arena, as part of the Young Voices choir. The nerves kicked in when he realised how many people they would be performing for. I said to him that it would be okay because God is with Him and then I quoted the latter part of Hebrews 13:5. I then reminded him of what God had told Joshua: “…As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Joshua 1:5). I thought I was just encouraging my son but it was the verse that I would be in need of throughout that day and throughout the following days and weeks to come.


Travelling with anxiety has never been good for me and I had to begin the training early enough for him to grasp the fact that God wants us to give Him all our anxieties.  We once talked about worry being a sin as we discussed Matthew 11:28. He was anxious, waiting for the youth leader to call on him to share his testimony with the church.  He understood and smiled. We prayed. He went up and shared his testimony. I reminded him of that occasion and it made him smile.  We do need these reminders at times. To reassure him, I told him that I would be praying for him throughout the day and that I would ask pastor and his wife to join me in prayer.  He smiled a smile of assurance and mentioned another couple, asking if I could ask them to pray also. I didn’t want to burden the other two individuals as they have their own flock to care for. I had forgotten his request until later in the evening. My husband was on his way to the Arena with his brother and suddenly, I was alone. I had time to think and as I remembered Javin's request, I sent out the prayer request by text.


One of those individuals responded immediately and we had a chain of text messages at various intervals throughout the night. It ended approximately twenty minutes after midnight, when I texted to let her know that the coach had returned as well as my husband; that we had picked up Javin from school and we were all indoors.  She gave God the honour and we both agreed it was time to go to sleep.  That was a beautiful moment for me which would take another article to explain. It was not until I began to write this article, I realised that God was speaking through my child that day and the article took a different route. I really needed to talk to someone, I just didn’t realise it then.  Had I not been obedient to my child’s request, I would have missed out on the blessing that God had in stored for me. 


I was encouraged by the text messages I was reading.  I smiled each time I heard the phone beep, knowing it would either be her responding to my last text message or my husband updating me, at that time of the night. I could not stop smiling and thanking God for His amazing grace that enabled that pastor’s wife to interact with a grieving soul throughout that night.  We aren’t members of her church so she had no obligation to respond and keep on responding, but she is a child of the King and she saw the need to stay up a little later than normal to offer words of comfort and motherly advice that night.  How easy it would have been for her just to text back and say: “We’re praying. Hope all goes well.” And that would have been okay with me but God knew that I needed that extra dose of encouragement that night.  It would have been the first night I was in the house alone since auntie’s death.  I felt so lonely and that I had no one to talk to about the way I was feeling. I was afraid to call anyone from my fellowship, knowing they would all be in bed. But God always sends someone in our times of need.  He said that He will never leave us nor forsake us and that night He used one of our newest friends to remind me that He was right there with me. Although we didn’t talk about the death, it was great just knowing someone cares enough to spend quality time with me.


 “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”

--Romans 12:15--


To everyone who have and continues to share with us we just want to say, "Thank you for supporting us through our time of sorrow." Spending time with us on Facebook (FB); praying for the family members; sending words of encouragement and comfort and sharing pictures of aunt Grace, all added to the help I received in dealing with the loss of my aunt.  It has been over a month since she died and I believe it is now finally sinking in.  My heart aches, knowing the unbearable pain that her husband and children are having to endure, in dealing with the loss. Please continue to pray for their strength.


I would like to take this opportunity to say a special “Thank you!” to the Sligoville Baptist Church (St. Catherine, Jamaica) for their on-going support, with a special acknowledgment for all that they’ve done for the family over the weeks before and shortly after the funeral. I was encouraged by the candle-light service held on the 9th night.  I heard the singing in the background and wished I was there with the rest of the family.  I so appreciate the calls I received from the church officers. Being able to share my feelings during the early stage of the grieving, as well as share memories of my aunt with individuals who knew the relationship I had with my aunt, helped with the grieving process.   It was great to see the Scriptures coming alive through your display of love—living out God’s word.  Thank you for sharing with us on this grieving journey.


Thank you to all my cousins who kept me informed and involved in the activities, on the phone, by text messages, email and FB messages. I am exercising patience waiting to get my copy of the programme and see some more pictures.  Thanks to the rest of the family members for supporting the immediate family.  Thanks to members of the surrounding communities and friends who helped by joining forces, working together, helping one another.  Very proud of you guys and the way you pulled together to get things done. 


I would like to say a special thank you to my cousin, Garfield, who was obedient and timely with his words of encouragement that helped to lift our spirits, shortly after our aunt’s funeral. We don’t always get to know how our words or actions affect others but every now and then God allows someone to share with us and remind us that He is always at work in and through us.  


Garfield, your message came at a time when I desperately, needed it.  We all grieve in different ways and that day God used you to lift my spirit and reminded me that He is always with me and that He will never leave me nor forsake me.  Thanks for taking time out to think of us through your pain.  We love you!


Garfield’s words of encouragement:


Reflecting on a Wonderful Person: It took me a while to internalize the loss of my Aunt and despite the fact that we all knew she was sick and it was only a matter of time before the Lord would call her home, like many of my family members, this is still a tough loss to grasp. A wise person once said, "Life is like a highway, when your exit comes up, you must get off." Well I guess, my Aunt's exit came up. She will be sorely missed, but certainly not forgotten. She was truly an angel on earth and now that she is no longer here on earth in the flesh, she will be carrying on God's work in Heaven. This will hurt for a while, but being a close knit spiritual family, the Lord will see us through. For all those who call Aunt Grace Mom, Aunt, Sister, Cousin etc., hold your heads up; she is in a better place now and will always watch over us. God bless you and may her soul rest in peace.”-- Garfield Green (FB status update, posted 3rd February 2013).


To God be the glory!  


Thank you all for supporting us through our time of sorrow.  God bless!


Copyright 2013, J S Ramkissoon.


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