Hanging in There

Written by Mary Foulger

The last time that I saw my son alive, I told him to go to hell. Of course, that was never what I wanted him to do, but I was so frustrated with him. I felt like he expected so much of his father and me, his mother, but so little of himself. A nineteen-year-old should not be living at home without trying hard to find work and contributing to the chores that keep the household running smoothly. That is what I thought, anyway. Nathan’s behavior suggested that he thought otherwise.

I can still picture him leaving the house, with his kit bag on his back. I so wanted to help Nathan, help find a job that he would enjoy, help him become a responsible member of society. But I failed. I tried everything I could think of, but in the end, I came up empty. I prayed too. Every day I prayed for my son, often hours at a time. I had often joked that Nathan taught me how to pray. Before I had my son, I think I relied more on logical reasoning than I did on God. I tried to rely on God, of course. I relied on him for salvation for sure, because I could not have a relationship with the Father without trusting in what Jesus won for me on the cross. So much else in my life, however, I reasoned what was the best way to go in my walk with the Lord and tried to do that. But logical reasoning never worked with Nathan. And that is when my prayer life grew!

Nathan hitchhiked all the way to British Columbia. He kept in touch with emails, and even phoned at Christmas, which was a pleasant surprise. We had a good chat, and I told him that I loved him.

The next time I saw Nathan he was in a coffin. This was not supposed to happen to me. This kind of thing happened to other people, but not to me. I was so angry at God. I had continued to pray daily for Nathan after he left home, not for hours anymore, but I did pray. And I had felt that the Lord had told me Nathan would return to me within three years. Coming home in a coffin was not how I expected that to happen.

How was I supposed to recover from something like that? I was a Christian. I loved the Lord. And he had let me down – or so it seemed to me. I considered turning my back on God, but where would that leave me? Nathan would still be dead. I went to church, and I cried. I prayed, and I swore at God. I told him how I felt. But I had previously experienced so much of God’s love. He had changed me, loved me, helped me to feel that I belonged to him. Despite my anger, my immense disappointment, I could not walk away from God. And yet neither could I feel anything of his love for me at that time.

You never get over losing someone, you just get used to them not being there any longer. After Nathan died, I simply went through the motions. I went to work, I went to church, I read my Bible, I prayed, I ate, and I slept. Sometimes I even had some fun. I played tennis, I went to the movies, I went out for a meal with my husband. Praying was so hard though. For a long time I felt that not only had I lost my son, but I had also lost my relationship with the Lord. Yes, I was still doing all the right things, but they were now a chore, where previously they had been a joy. Logical thinking helped me now, however, because reason told me to keep going, and eventually things would get easier.

My first breakthrough came about four years after Nathan died. I was at a twenty-four-hour prayer gathering. I could not simply do my praying and move on, because the meeting continued, and continued. I met with God. I told him I saw still so angry, but now I also told him that I was sorry that I had sworn at him and that I had blamed him for everything. I cried and I cried. And I felt loved by God.

It took even more years before I felt free again in my walk with the Lord. Nathan has been dead for eighteen years now, and I still miss him, but I no longer feel a lack in my relationship with the Lord. I feel loved by God. Nathan’s death was an accident, a tragedy. God didn’t cause it. I believe he wept with me, grieved with me. And one day I believe that I will see Nathan again ….

About the Author

Mary Foulger currently resides in Ontario, Canada, although she was born and raised in England. After getting saved at a beach mission, Mary was determined to dedicate her life to serving the Lord. She married Mike, and after giving birth to two children, they joined Youth With A Mission in Switzerland. After serving in London, UK, Lausanne, Switzerland, and Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Mary and her family moved to Canada. When the YWAM base closed in Cambridge, Ontario, they decided to stay in Canada, and Mary returned to teaching at the High School level. They had three children now, although sadly they lost their son Nathan in a tragic drowning accident when he went to live in British Columbia. After many years Mary felt ready to write a book about her experiences around her son’s life and death.

You can read more from Mary by visiting her website: maryfoulgerchristian.com

Check out her book:

One thought on “Hanging in There

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  1. Thanks for sharing, Mary. I’m sure a lot of people have gone thru this and are going thru this. If they are, hopefully, your words will be comfort and healing to them. There is hope in Jesus. He didn’t say we wouldn’t have problems but praise God we don’t go thru them alone. We may feel alone and forsaken but God can open our spiritual eyes to see Him and feel His love for us. God bless.

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